January 22, 2014
Once upon a time, I served this brunch.
This brunch was an odd creature. It was not to be a big brunch; only three of us. The menu went through several evolutions in my mind before it settled into something like surety, only to change a couple more times.
I had first thought to do baked eggs over cheese grits, with a topping of bacon jam and cream; ouefs en cocotte, essentially, with a couple of extras. But I wound up doing that on New Year’s morning, so did I really want to repeat it? And I had been thinking about latkes; I wanted a latke. And there had been this Serious Eats blog entry on latkes benedict, i.e., topped with a poached egg, pastrami and hollandaise, with some spinach thrown in there somewhere. That sounded good.
Except I don’t care for spinach in that form. (Or at all, except in dip or raw in a salad, truth be told.) And I didn’t have pastrami.
What I did have was some leftover tenderloin, from Christmas dinner, that I’d frozen. Wheels commenced to turn, gears commenced to grind.
I would do the latkes, topped with over easy eggs, because I have never poached an egg in my life and I see no point in starting now, not when a fried one is so good. I would scatter a few cubes of steak, wrapped in foil and warmed in the oven, alongside. I’d top the whole with hollandaise.
To make it more brunch-y, I’d add baked pears, as I was on a pear tear, after having done them for Christmas and one time since then. And I’d bake bran muffins, since I haven’t had them in forever and I love me a bran muffin, gluten issues be damned.
So that’s what I did. Latkes, shredded Yukon Gold potatoes and yellow onions, drained in the cheesecloth-lined colander (thank God I found the cheesecloth, first time I’ve used it post-move) and squeezed to remove the extra moisture; bread crumbs (actually Rice Chex crumbs), and eggs. Let them wait for last-minute prep. Baked the pears; scoop out the core, add a pat of butter, some cinnamon, some turbinado sugar; boom! Done. Baked the muffins; recipe here, the generic, marvelous, wonderful bran muffin we all know and love. Baked them in mini-muffin tins, because that was the first pan I found.
Waited until my guest got here before I fried up the latkes; let them keep warm on a rack in the oven while I did some eggs and blendered up the Hollandaise. Unwrapped the beef, which had warmed while the muffins were baking; assembled the works.
They weren’t bad. The beef was overkill; pastrami might not have been, I dunno. And while the hollandaise over the eggs and latkes was good, I personally prefer my latkes with a healthy helping of apple butter. So while it was good, and each element was one I like a lot, they did not play as well together as I might have wished.
So, if you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em come to brunch and it’s latke day, I believe I’ll stick to the tried and true apple butter, with sour cream on the side. And several strips of bacon. Eggs optional.
In fact, it might be latke day tomorrow, now that I’m thinking of it.