Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 17, 2012

April brings together crazy combination of foods

Lee Ward
Associated Press

ASHLAND — It might seem as though the recipes on this page are unrelated, but there is a common link: there is a day in April to celebrate each one.

Monday was National Eggs Benedict Day; April 24 is National Pigs in a Blanket Day; April 25 is National Zucchini Bread Day; and April 29 is National Shrimp Scampi Day.

This breakfast recipe is from Simply Recipes.com.

EGGS BENEDICT 

8 pieces of bacon or 4 pieces of Canadian bacon

2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish

4 eggs

2 teaspoons white or rice vinegar

2 English muffins

Butter

Blender Hollandaise

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 egg yolks

1 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of cayenne or tabasco

Start with the bacon. Heat a large skillet on medium low heat. Add the strips of bacon or the slices of Canadian bacon. Slowly fry, turning occasionally, until the bacon is browned on both sides, and if using strip bacon, much of the fat is rendered out (about 10 minutes). Use tongs or a fork to remove the bacon from the pan, set on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat. Don't pour the bacon fat left in the pan down the drain! Either sop it up with paper towels when it has cooled a bit, or pour it into a jar to be used later (see rendering bacon fat).

While the bacon is cooking, bring a large saucepan two-thirds-filled with water to a boil, then add the vinegar. Bring the water to a boil again, then lower the heat to a bare simmer.

Make the blender hollandaise. To make blender hollandaise, melt 10 Tbsp unsalted butter. Put 3 egg yolks, a tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender, blend on medium to medium high speed for 20 to 30 seconds, until eggs lighten in color. Turn blender down to lowest setting, slowly dribble in the hot melted butter, while continuing to blend. Taste for salt and acidity and add more salt or lemon juice to taste. Transfer it to a container you can use for pouring and set it on a warm, not hot, place on or near the stovetop.

Poach the eggs. Here is an easy method for poaching eggs. Essentially, working one egg at a time you crack an egg into a small bowl and slip it into the barely simmering water. Once it begins to solidify, you can slip in another egg, until you have all four cooking. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let sit for 4 minutes. (Remember which egg went in first, you'll want to take it out first.) When it comes time to remove the eggs, gently lift out with a slotted spoon. Note that the timing is a little variable on the eggs, depending on the size of your pan, how much water, how many eggs, and how runny you like them. You might have to experiment a little with your set-up to figure out what you need to do to get the eggs exactly the way you like them.

As soon as all the eggs are in the poaching water, begin toasting your English muffins. If you can’t get all the muffins toasted by the time the eggs are ready, gently remove the eggs from the poaching water and set in a bowl.

To assemble the eggs benedict, butter one side of an English muffin. Top with two slices of bacon or 1 slice of Canadian bacon. You can trim the bacon to fit the muffin if you’d like. Put a poached egg on top of the bacon, then pour some hollandaise over. Sprinkle some parsley over it all and serve at once.

Yield: Makes 4 one-egg one-muffin servings of eggs benedict.

t

This could be the easiest recipe in the world, from Pillsbury.

CRESCENT DOGS

8 hot dogs

4 slices (3/4 oz each) American cheese, each cut into 6 strips

1 8-ounce can Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slit hot dogs to within 1/2 inch of ends; insert 3 strips of cheese into each slit. Separate dough into triangles. Wrap dough triangle around each hot dog. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, cheese side up. Bake at 375°F. for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Substitution: If using Pillsbury® Big & Flaky large refrigerated crescent dinner rolls, use large hot dogs and bake at 350°F. for 16 to 20 minutes.

t

Allrecipes.com gives this zucchini bread recipe and the reviews are very positive. One cook suggested skipping the step requiring the zucchini be drained, saying it makes the bread too dry.

ZUCCHINI BREAD

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 1/4 cups white sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

t

Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa on The Food Network, has this Baked Shrimp Scampi.

BAKED SHRIMP SCAMPI

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell

3 tablespoons good olive oil

2 tablespoons dry white wine

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)

1/4 cup minced shallots

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 extra-large egg yolk

2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)

Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel, devein and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

t

While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send e-mail to lward@dailyindependent.com.