The idea of making Eggs Benedict came out when Mennonite Girls Can Cook website posted an English muffin recipe. My other driving force was beautiful eggs we got from our CSA farmer. The eggs were from the chicken she raised herself. I never ordered Egg Benedict when we went out for breakfast, so this was my first one without any reference what it should taste like. I was full of confident though. What could go wrong with egg-based dish? Right!
The English muffins turned out great. The recipe from Mennonite Girls Can Cook website was very straight forward. I didn't use biscuit cutter as the recipe suggested but divided the dough to small balls then pressed them with hand to form flat round muffins. I also baked half of the dough and pan fried the rest following what's written on the recipe. Hubby and I liked the pan-fried better since they were more moist.
I used Alton Brown's recipe for other components of Eggs Benedict. The poached eggs were fine, but the Hollandaise Sauce didn't turn out really well. Hubby said I put too much lemon juice, which made the sauce too sour. I planned on having this dish for lunch and dinner, but having it for lunch was already too much for me. I think I didn't do it correctly because my sauce was too egg-yolky. It was cooked through for sure since I used a cooking temperature to check if it was done. Hubby said it was fine though, so I might be too picky.
So, next time we go out for breakfast, I know what to order
Summer seems to be a time of sharing vegetables. Almost every Sunday during summer, people at church bring their bounty of harvest to share. Those veggies are either from their backyard or from their friend's overflowing garden. A lady at work also often brings her garden yield to be shared with her colleagues. Still at work, the secretary of a department at my university once in a while send email to the mailing list I join, when there is extra green bean or other vegetables from the university's trial garden.
I love being in the middle of sharing communities, especially ones that share fresh produce. The spirit of giving is contagious and could demolish wall of hatred and prejudice. I know that many things can be shared, but I hope someday I can also share my harvest. When I have space to plant, of course! Eventhough watching plants grow and harvesting the plants are pleasant distractions, gardening is also labor intensive. So I believe that sharing garden produce means sharing of love.
My friend, one of the church people that brings vegetable to share, knows that I like hot chilli peppers. Since there's no one likes hot peppers, he usually hands the peppers directly to me. I love to get those peppers so I don't have to buy from an Asian grocery store. The store only has pre-packaged chilli peppers on a styrofoam tray. One pack is too much for me as they get moldy so quickly -which show the age of the produce.
Having a lot of tomatoes and hot peppers, I made balado sauce. Usually people use about 2 tomatoes for amount of onion and garlic that I used, but I used 8 or more tomatoes. I made a jar of sauce and saved it in refrigerator. When I don't have time to cook, I scoop spoons of the sauce to a skillet and add eggs, vegetables, or meat then cook it just to blend them together.
I didn't follow a certain recipe to make this. I cooked this sauce several weeks ago, and my bad for not jotting down the recipe right away. So please take the composition of the ingredients lightly. The list of ingredients and the steps should be fine.
Balado Sauce Ingredients: 1 red onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, sliced
5 or more red or green chilli peppers
3 kaffir lime leaves, discard the veins
1 tsp belacan (shrimp paste)
In a pan, sauté onion and garlic until fragrant.
Using a food processor, purée tomatoes, peppers, candlenuts, lime leaves, and sauteed onion mixture.
Pour pureed tomato mixture into a skillet. Add sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer until the sauce is thick. Add vegetable oil to prevent sticking. When the sauce is almost ready, add in the belacan.
*Sambal Balado (Balado hot sauce) is a traditional Indonesian food from Minangkabau, an area in West Sumatra.
Our friends and us discussed about how we appreciated our traditional food more after we moved abroad. Now we realize more that Indonesian food is very elaborate. That's the food we used to take for granted because it was everywhere and inexpensive. Food originated from foreign countries including those from chain fast food restaurants is "cooler", which successfully steals Indonesian market. I used to prefer that kind of food too eventhough it put a hole in my pocket because the price could be five times as expensive as Indonesian food from a warung adjacent to my boarding house.
Living far away from our home country has 'forced' me to learn cooking food I grew up with. Sometimes my cooking tastes similar to the one traditional one, yet sometimes it isn't. Some food is too complicated and is time and energy consuming. Unfortunately I often don't have patience so most of the time, I prefer simple and quick food.
The good news is, living far from our hometown and family, hubby and I become less picky about Indonesian food. We even are grateful enough if we could have traditional Indonesian food wannabe! This food that I made, empek-empek is one of it. My cooking would not taste as good if I cooked it back home because getting much better one is just a motorcycle away. Haha...
So, what alteration and mistake did I make to my cooking this time? I used tilapia fish instead of mackerel. I also baked the boiled empek-empek instead of frying them. From making this food, I learned that making empek-empek kapal selam was so difficult. I couldn't make the dough to hold the egg. During the boiling process, the egg burst out.
Despite it's imperfection, it was a perfect dinner for our perfect Sunday evening. As hubby always says, "the secret of happiness is low expectation". Happy Thursday!
*Empek-empek/pempek is a traditional Indonesian food from Palembang, capital city of South Sumatra province.
Bothok telur asin or Javanese Steamed Salted Egg is one of my favorite food. I am glad my sister got a chance to learn from grandma, so the recipe is still around in my generation. Grandma's recipes are too good to be kept ourselves.
I'd been craving this food since months ago, but salted eggs are not not common here. They are imported from China, thus costly. Uncooked salted eggs are not available. I guess transporting them from abroad needs extra caring and handling that would make the price too high for consumers. So, about a month ago, I made my own salted eggs. At about the same time, we got tomatillos from our CSA. It's great that tomatillos can be kept for more than a month, while waiting for the eggs to finish their salted process. The original recipe calls for belimbing wuluh, a type of star fruit. The sour taste from the Belimbing wuluh brings out the distinctive flavor of the eggs, creating a great sensational savor of the bothok. Tomatillo is the closest substitute for blimbing wuluh.
Bothok telur asin is very easy to make. It takes about less than an hour for the preparation, from cleaning and cutting the banana leaves, preparing everything, to wrapping. Another 30 minutes is for the steaming. In fact, I made this because hubby and I were starving after shopping. I knew I could finish cooking at the time hubby finished washing the dishes and cooking rice. I've posted Bothok telur asin recipe several times and each had different ingredients. I hope it is not confusing. That being said, Bothok telur asin is very flexible. You can substitute the ingredient as long as it still contains a salted egg, coconut milk, garlic, onion, and lemongrass. I included what I got from CSA in this bothok, such as eggplants, tomatillos, banana peppers, and jalapeno.
Javanese Steamed Salted Egg (Bothok Telur Asin)
Ingredients: 6 raw salted eggs
12 pieces of banana leaves (about 20x25cm each)
3 small Asian eggplants, cubed
6 green tomatoes, cubed
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
3 garlic, chopped
3 jalapeno, chopped 6 bay leaves
1 lemon grass, discard the outside part. Cut to 12 pieces.
Thin coconut milk
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. pepper
Salt if the eggs are not salty enough
Mix all ingredients except eggs, bay leaves and lemon grass. Place two table spoons of mixture on a doubled banana leaf (see picture). Place egg in the middle. Add one bay leaf and one piece of lemon grass. Add a tablespoon of tomato mixture. Wrap and secure both ends with toothpicks. Steam for 30 minutes.
As some of you may know that I love nasi bungkus. Nasi bungkus is rice and its side dish that are wrapped with either banana leaf or coated paper. Please read my old entries right here and here.
We went hiking again last Saturday, and I prepared this nasi bungkus in a really short time. We watched a play the night before and got home almost midnight, so I was too tired to cook. On Saturday morning, I just put together whatever was available for our lunch. The rice was fried rice browned with sweet soy sauce.
The side dishes were my homemade salted egg and baked tempeh. I baked the tempeh days before for snack and store it for days in the refrigerator. I found out that it came in handy when I had no chance to cook.
We enjoyed our hiking that day. The weather was perfect, although darkish layers of clouds rested above us for some parts of our hike. We finally got to a big grassy meadows after hiking a steep and narrow trail crossing a wooded forest. We had our lunch there, with big rocks as dining chair and blue sky as the ceiling. What a blessing!
Everyone has their own favorite food one's got from childhood. It may be something weird or embarrassing that people never guess. I am telling you mine. Besides Indomie goreng (fried noodle), salted egg with hot rice, sweet soy sauce and chili paste is my favorite food. Yummm...
Since salted egg is rather expensive here in my city, I often make it myself. Most likely I am impatient to find out if the egg is salty and oily, so I try boiling some of them. That's why I like to make it when I am busy, so I forget about it. This time, I really forgot about my eggs. I checked the note attached to the egg container after my finals were done. It had been 5 weeks since I salted them. No wonder the eggs are super salty
Ingredients: Chicken eggs
Soak egg in cooking wine then cover generously with salt. Store in airtight container for 3 weeks.
I still don't know the secret of making the eggs orange and oily. Some of mine are orangish but not oily, or orangish and oily, but some are pale yellow *sigh. However it is still salted egg, and it still is my favorite