Monday, March 29, 2010

Christmas in Springtime: Eggs Benedict

I struggle to find gifts for my husband for any gift-giving occasion.  The trouble is that I love giving gifts, but my husband will rarely tell me anything that he wants.  The conversation goes like this:

Belle: Sweetheart, what do you want for Christmas (birthday, Easter, Valentine's day, etc.)?
Husband: I want a kiss from you.
Belle: What else do you want?
Husband: I want a hug from you.
Belle: What do you want that comes in a box?
Husband: Just wrap yourself up.  All I want is you!
Belle: What do you want that I can buy in a store?

There is generally no response to that last question.  I know his responses are sweet, but are also frustrating because I want him to be able to open something from me.  So, given the fact that he is so contented and wants nothing that can be wrapped in a box, I have to be creative.  And because we currently have no income, I have to find something that is inexpensive. 

A few years ago, I gave him a weekend getaway at a cabin in small town Georgia.  I cooked the entire weekend and we spent the weekend enjoying one another in front of a warm, crackling fire.  He has talked about that weekend ever since.  So, this Christmas, I started thinking along those lines, but on a more frugal budget.  I came up with a "Stay at home getaway," where my husband would choose our menus and activities for the weekend. 

So we celebrated Christmas this weekend, when my husband redeemed his present.  He spent the past few weeks planning the menus.  He requested that we go on a hike and that I teach him to cook a meal.  We picked up a couple of movies, I stocked our refrigerator, and on Friday afternoon we began a much-needed hiatus from school books and enjoyed being in love. 

On Sunday morning, I taught my husband how to prepare Eggs Benedict.  This was the one menu that I chose for the weekend; per his request I chose something that I would like him to be able to cook for me.  What is more comforting than eggs enrobed in a rich hollandaise sauce?  He was an excellent student, and the eggs were divine. 

Eggs Benedict for Two

For the Hollandaise Sauce:

2 egg yolks at room temperature
1 stick of butter, melted and hot
juice of 1/2 lemon
cayenne pepper, to taste
pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons half and half (optional)

Put the egg yolks in a blender and pulse for 2-3 seconds.  With the motor running, crack open the lid of the blender and add the hot, melted butter in a slow, steady stream.  Add the lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt.  Finally, add the half & half if you prefer a thinner sauce. 

Pour the hollandaise into a heat-proof glass bowl.  Set the bowl in a saucepan with an inch or two of water, and set over low heat.  This will keep the sauce warm while you prepare the eggs. 

For the Eggs:

hollandaise sauce
2 whole English muffins (Bay's are my favorite)
2-4 slices prosciutto
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350.  Split the English muffins in half and place them on a baking sheet.  Separate the slices of prosciutto and place them on the baking sheet as well.  Set aside. 

Fill an egg poacher with water and set over medium-high heat to boil.  Butter the cups of the poacher.  When the water boils, carefully break the eggs, one at a time, into a bowl and then slide them into a cup of poacher.  Cover with the lid, and set the timer for 3 1/2 minutes. 

When the eggs have two minutes left, place the pan with the muffins and prosciutto in the oven.  Just before the eggs are finished, quickly remove the pan from the oven and place the toasted muffins on two plates.  Top each muffin with prosciutto.  When the eggs are done, carefully remove them from the cup, drain any excess water, and place atop the prosciutto.  Stir the hollandaise sauce, and pour or spoon over the eggs. 

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Laura said...

happy spring and merry christmas!! I.LOVE.EGGS BENEDICT. i will have to try it out!!

Sarah said...

Oh I love this idea, you guys are too sweet!

Elizabeth said...

I love Eggs Benedict! And these look fantastic!

Emily Dudley said...

Y'all are so sweet! Scott does the SAME thing to me, so I'll have to try this idea.

Elizabeth said...

Way to go JS!!! Cooking for the Mrs. I miss you guys!

Maryanna said...

I love Eggs Benedict! BTW: I absolutely love that dish towel you have hanging ffrom your stove handle with the birds. It's so cute!

fistfight said...

Super cute! What a great idea to let someone know just how much you love and care for them. Plus, eggs benny? Best christmas present ever, I'd say. :D