Thursday, October 22, 2009

Breakfast Nook: Huevo Benedictino

Eggs Benedict tops my list as favorite breakfast meal. With the soft, slightly crunchy English muffin soaking up all that rich egg yolk and hollandaise and the salty sweet Canadian bacon cutting right through, this is my go-to brunch staple. But staples can get boring sometimes. I like to use regular bacon instead of Canadian, a biscuit in place of the English muffin and sausage gravy standing in for hollandaise on my Texas Eggs Benedict. This is my Tex-Mex Benedict. Ancho Grits, Beef, Egg, Rosemary Guajillo Sauce

You will need:

For the Ancho Grits
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk
5 ancho chiles
1 cup white cornmeal (grits)
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter

For the beef:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup diced white onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1 lb freshly ground chuck
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chile powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano

For the Rosemary Guajillo Sauce
2 cup chicken stock
5 guajillo chiles
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch

8 Corn Tortillas
8 Eggs
Canola oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Fresh lime for juice
Cheddar cheese

Make the Ancho Grits: In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the ancho chiles, chicken stock and milk to a boil with a lid on. Once the anchos have softened, puree with a hand blender. Place back over heat and once boiling, add cornmeal slowly, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for ten minutes, add peanut butter and butter, taste, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

Make the beef: In a large saute pan over high heat, fry the onions and garlic in the canola oil until they are brown around the edges, about six minutes. Add the beef, cumin, chile powder, paprika and Mexican oregano. Add a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Saute until the beef is completely browned. Taste, season and keep warm.

Make the Rosemary Guajillo Sauce: Bring the chicken stock, guajillo chiles and rosemary to a simmer. Once the chiles are soft, puree with a hand blender. Make a slurry with cornstarch and one tablespoon water. Once pureed sauce is simmering, add slurry to thicken. Taste and season with salt, pepper and lime juice.

Using a ring mold or metal 1 cup measuring cup, cut the corn tortillas into rounds. Fry them in a medium sized pot, half way full of 375 degree canola oil and drain. Using heat resistant ring molds or egg pans. Cook the eggs so they retain a perfect circular shape. I use the same size for the tortilla and eggs. Cook the eggs so the white is set but not browned and the yolk is still runny. I went from the stove top on low heat to the broiler.

Assemble: Place a small (about half a teaspoon) dollop on the plate to stabilize the corn tortilla chip. Add 1/4 cup of the ancho grits and spread it out almost to the edge of the tortilla. Add a few tablespoons of beef on the grits and the egg on top of the beer. Top with grated cheddar cheese and the rosemary guajillo sauce.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Craftbar Restaurant Review

900 Broadway
212 461 4300
Grade: B

The arm candy and I had ourselves a little date night last Saturday. After cheap drinks and college football we decided to class it up a little more and dine our asses off at Craftbar.

The attractive and affable hostess seated us at boot/table before a creepy bearded server greeted us with menus. Brown paper on the tables reminded me of the UPS package I was supposed to get but my mildly sweet and strong but-not-too-strong Old Fashioned perked me back up. The rosemary grissini breadsticks that came out disappeared in five minutes and I kept munching on them throughout the meal.

The menu is expansive and it took a a while to decide what to eat even though I'd been looking at it for a few days online. I started with a Pig's Head Terrine. Cold and smoky, the freshness of the mostarda brightened it quite nicely. The lady had Polenta Fritters with jalapeno that were nowhere near crispy or spicy enough.

Braised Short Ribs over Anson Mills Grits with a deep fried egg greeted me for main course. The ribs were rich, tender and extremely beefy though the grits were a little under seasoned. The Fried egg on top was a nice touch and is a cool trick. Deep frying gets the white crispy quickly while the yolk remains ooey-gooey. When the sauce from the ribs mixed with the egg yolk and the grits, it formed a creamy culinary mush I wanted to be served in a Big Gulp cup with a bubble tea straw so I could take it anywhere.

My date had a lackluster celery root ravioli with a sauce that was, well, weak-sauce. The Thomasville, GA cheese I had was creamy but I could have taken it all in one bite. I much preferred the silky butterscotch pots de creme my date ordered. It was the most perfect part of the entire meal.

Our servers were attentive and helpful with menu questions but one was creepy and unshaven and the other one was fat and sweaty. I know it sounds shallow but, come on. Don't send two dudes that look like serial rapists to give me food.