Spring is here! …And with it, all the pollen. It might be the new neighborhood that we moved to, but the allergies are out of control. Tissue boxes are everywhere and I had my first dose of non-drowsy allergy medicine that made me foggy headed all day. So I’m soldiering on, no pills, just eye drops and nasal spray to keep the itching away.
As much as I am suffering, springtime also brings fresher produce and we can finally move on from the comforting and hearty roasts and stews that kept our bodies and bellies warm over this winter. Asparagus is a welcome change and it stays crisp and fresh if you blanch it! (Blanch = quick cook in boiling water). It’s also super cheap this time of the year, and as I am a sucker for deals, I tend to over buy good looking, affordable produce. So what to do with all the asparagus? Make asparagus toast!
We happened to have some roasted garlic hummus in the fridge from our attempt to have healthier snacks, (dieting is going terribly btw) and it made the perfect canvas for the asparagus and the soft boiled egg. Then it’s topped with Hollandaise sauce which is made in the microwave (I know, I didn’t know it could be done either), and is the perfect velvety, rich and tangy touch to the healthy toast. Spring is served.
Asparagus Smashed Egg Toast Makes 2 toasts
Ingredients: 2 slices of bread, toasted (I used Ezekiel Bread) garlic hummus (whichever brand or hummus you like) 8-10 stalks of asparagus, pending on thickness extra virgin olive oil 2 large eggs quick microwave hollandaise sauce (recipe below) parsley, for garnish salt and pepper, to taste
Fill a medium bowl with ice water and set it aside.
Trim your asparagus about 1-2 inches from the bottom, removing the tough ends.
Boil a pot of water and bring it to a simmer, add your asparagus for about 1-2 minutes until crisp-tender.
Remove asparagus and place into the ice water until cool.
Rub extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt on the asparagus and set aside.
Bring the same pot of water to boil and once it does, lower the heat to a bare simmer and submerge your eggs carefully into the water with a spoon.
Cook the eggs for 7 minutes and move into an ice bath.
Once cool enough to handle, crack and peel eggs.
On your toasted bread, spread garlic hummus. Remember to spread it to the edges.
Neatly arrange your cooked asparagus in a diagonal, giving it a push to secure it to the hummus.
Place an egg on each toast, and smash it with a fork.
Drizzle on the hollandaise sauce.
Sprinkle on salt and pepper, if desired and garnish with parsley
Quick Microwave Hollandaise
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted 2 egg yolks (from a large egg) 1-2 tbsp lemon juice 1 tbsp. milk Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk egg yolks, lemon juice (start with 1 tablespoon and add more later if needed), milk and a pinch of salt and pepper together in a microwave safe bowl.
Drizzle in the melted butter while whisking the egg yolk mixture until smooth.
Microwave the sauce in 15 second intervals for one minute, whisking in between every interval until the sauce is hot and thick.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Simple Sundays post. I’ve been too busy trying to be creative and unique that I’ve put the effortless recipes on the back burner. But I’m back with this super simple popover recipe. If you’ve never had a popover, I would say that it kind of reminds me of a dutch baby but in a muffin form. Light and crisp on the outside and moist and eggy on the inside, it’s the perfect breakfast food served with jam and butter. Actually, you can pretty much use them for dinner rolls too. If you loved my blueberry cruffins, but feel like it’s too much work to do, I highly recommend this recipe instead. It’s lighter and you can use any kind of filling that you like. Plus, that vertical lift is insane! I mean just look at them. They’re literally popping out of the pans. You don’t even need a blender, mixer or a food processor. All you need is a whisk and a bowl. Oh! And a popover pan of course. 🙂 Giant Popovers
makes 6 very large popovers
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ c. whole milk, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Use a pastry brush to brush your popover pan with melted butter.
Turn on the oven to 425˚F, and place your popover pan in the oven while the oven preheats. (As shown in picture #1)
In a large bowl (preferably one with a spout), whisk salt and flour together. (As shown in picture #2)
In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together milk and eggs. (As shown in picture #3)
Slowly add the egg mixture into the flour mixture while continuously whisking to make a smooth, liquidy batter. (As shown in picture #4)
Whisk in the rest of the melted butter to the batter. (As shown in picture #5)
Remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter into each cavity about halfway full. (As shown in picture #6)
Bake the popovers for about 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and very tall. DO NOT OPEN the oven door during this time.
Remove the popovers from the pan and puncture each popover to let the steam out. (As shown in picture #7)
Hybrid food seems to be the trend these days and they usually involve a doughnut. Doughnut ice cream sandwiches, cronuts (doughnut + croissant), macaron doughnuts, and doughnut bagels are all examples that have popped up on our social media feeds. I freaking love doughnuts and I think they’re perfect as they are so I’m moving onto the cruffin. A cruffin is a croissant + muffin. Insanely crisp and flaky on the outside and fluffy, buttery and moist on the inside, it’s the perfect combo of both worlds. Oh, and because Mr. H loves jam filled doughnuts, I filled mine with my favorite blueberry jam (seriously, my favorite for years! I used for my blueberry pie cookies and blueberry pie doughnuts too) and dusted it off with powdered sugar. Cruffins have become popular in the U.S. by Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in San Francisco. In fact, they are so desired that someone broke into the bakery to steal the recipe in 2015. The thief didn’t steal anything else, not even the cash. In a way it sounds like a ridiculous reason to risk going to jail, but it also shows how awesome a cruffin is. You know how they say there is no such thing as love at first sight but there is lust at first sight? When I first saw the photos of the cruffin from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, I fell in deep lust. I needed to have this cruffin, like now. But San Francisco is on the other side of the continent, what can I do? The only other way was to bake it on my own. There is a very popular cruffin recipe that is on Pinterest by Lady & Pups. They’re ridiculously cute and have tons of layers, but they weren’t tall like the cruffins I was looking for. Enter the popover pan. It’s twice as tall as a muffin pan and perfect for the recipe. Am I telling you to buy a popover pan just for this cruffin? Heck yes. Before this recipe, I’ve even settled for making popovers in muffin pans but there is just no other way around it. I think if you make these in a muffin pan, there isn’t enough surface area for the fluffy interior and the ratio of the crisp to chewy would be off. So how difficult is this recipe? If I’m being completely honest with you, it’s not easy. It is labor intensive and the yield is very small. Only 6 cruffins. But the6 cruffins are worth it. It’s like asking someone would you rather eat one fresh-off-the-conveyor-belt Krispy Kreme doughnut or a dozen stale supermarket ones? If you are the type of person who would go for the dozen stale ones, this recipe is not for you. But if you, like me, would rather have that one delicious doughnut, then dust out your pasta roller. Yes, you need a pasta roller. I’m going to say it is impossible to roll out the dough this thin with a rolling pin. Also, I recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh out your ingredients. The ingredient list is short so you want to use the best ingredients on hand. I love King Arthur flour and I used the best butter I could get my hands on which was Kerrygold’s Irish butter. Irish butter is much more flavorful and rich than American butter and every penny was worth buying it for this recipe. I changed my technique just slightly from Lady & Pups. Her post has beautiful photos of how she did it, and I recommend looking through the photos if you have a difficult time understanding how to put this together. It does look a little intimidating, but don’t get scared because once you get the hang of it, it becomes a rhythmic process, kind of like knitting.
In a bowl of a standing mixer attached with a dough hook, mix bread flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, and sugar.
Once mixed, add in your water and knead on low speed until a shaggy dough forms, about 3 minutes.
Add in the 50 grams of softened and cubed butter and knead for 5 minutes on low speed until the butter is incorporated and then raise your speed to medium and knead for about 10-15 minutes until a smooth ball of dough forms.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes, the dough will puff up and be larger in size.
Prepare your popover pan by lightly greasing the inside with shortening and dusting it with flour. DO NOT skip this step. It would be very sad if the cuffins do not come out of the pan as one whole piece.
Move dough to a lightly floured surface, and divide into 6 equal portions. (as shown in the above picture # 1). Take one portion out and cover the remaining under plastic wrap so the dough does not dry out.
Flatten the dough with your hands to about ½ inch thick and with your pasta roller on the widest setting (or the lowest number), work the dough through your pasta roller.
After you move the pasta through the widest setting once, fold the dough in thirds and then move it through the widest setting again. Repeat this step once more before moving onto the next step.
Once the dough has been moved through three times on the widest setting, cut the dough in half.
Lightly dust both sides of one half of the dough and move it through your pasta roller from the widest to the thinnest setting or as thin as you can get it without the dough tearing. (My pasta machine goes from 0-9, 9 was too delicate of a dough to work with so I only went to 8. It was still tissue thin and that is what you are looking for.)
Set the first half of the dough aside and work the second half of the dough in the same way until the same thinness is reached. (as shown in the above picture #2)
With an offset spatula, lightly butter one side of each half of the dough with the 165 grams of the room temperature butter (not all at once, divide the 165 grams for all the flattened dough). Be careful not to tear the dough and to completely cover each side with butter. (as shown in the above picture #3)
Roll up one half of the dough, kind of like a fruit roll-up. (as shown in the above picture #4)
Take the rolled up dough and place it on one end of the second buttered dough. (as shown in the above picture #5)
Roll up the dough in the same way as the first dough to make one fat roll of dough. (as shown in the above picture #6)
With a very sharp knife, cut the rolled up dough in half lengthwise. (as shown in the above picture #7)
Place both halves of the dough into one cup of the popover pan with the layers (cut-side) facing outwards. You want to curl the first half of the dough in on the bottom, and then layer the second half of the dough on top of that one. Do not squish the dough into the pan, because it needs room to rise. (as shown in the above picture #8).
Repeat steps 7-17 until you are done with all 6 pieces of the original dough.
Loosely place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the popover pan and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until the dough is fully doubled in size. (as shown in the above picture #9)
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place a sheet pan underneath the popover pan (to catch the butter drippings) and bake until golden brown and puffed up, about 20-30 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it to a wire rack.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip with blueberry jam.
Find a divot on top of a completely cool cruffin and wedge the tip into the cruffin.
Squeeze the piping bag to fill the cruffin with jam until you feel resistance.
Repeat with the other cruffins.
Lightly dust the top of each cruffins with powdered sugar.
Remember when Facebook was exclusive to profiles and writing on someone’s wall? It was a simpler past. These days, I feel like Facebook is a black hole for wasting time, especially since they made videos play automatically. Occasionally, I’ll scroll through and catch myself watching every single clip. The beauty of it is that each clip is usually short and you don’t even notice the time go by. This especially holds true for those “Tasty” videos. If you’re active on Facebook, then you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, I’m referring to ridiculously short clips of (mostly) very simple recipes, done in a fraction of a time. The videography is pretty good and the food usually looks, as the name suggests, tasty. So one day, I was scrolling through and I saw a video clip of a bacon wrapped avocado that was filled with a poached egg. It wasn’t a “Tasty” video, but a clip of a restaurant’s dish. No instructions or recipes, just how they made it. After watching it once, I thought that I could do it. So without even really prepping anything, I decided to try it. Yes, I’ve never poached an egg and I’ve never tried to wrap an avocado with bacon before, but how hard could it be? I wish I could say it was super simple, but I was very wrong. My poached egg was a little over done, and when I tried to put it in my avocado, I realized that I happened to have a larger than average avocado with a huge pit. The egg looked a little sad in there, but I figured, “It’s alright. Let’s just wrap the thing in bacon like the video.” So I put the two halves together, and wrapped it in bacon and set it in a low heat, nonstick pan. Well, I know that bacon shrinks from cooking, but I thought I wrapped it well enough that it should hold. As soon as I turned the avocado, the avocado started sliding in half. Now, I don’t know what kind of magic they used to keep the avocado together, but no matter how carefully I turned it, the avocado started sliding more and more, loosening the bacon wrap at the same time. Frustrated, I took the whole thing out, unwrapped the half cooked bacon and stuck a few toothpicks on the outer corners of the avocado (not the center because you don’t want to pop the poached egg). Then I re-wrapped it with the partially cooked bacon, sticking it into the ends of the toothpicks that were sticking out and put it back into the pan. The bacon continued to shrink and slowly started coming off of the toothpick. So instead of the neat bacon covered avocado I wanted, I ended up with an avocado wearing a shredded bacon sweater. I wondered if it was even worth putting on the blog and if I had just wasted my precious Saturday. Even if it wasn’t the perfect dish I was looking for, cut in half and served on toast with some fresh tomatoes, it still tasted great. What I learned though, was to never trust a Facebook video without real instructions. Bacon Avocado Egg