This morning I awoke with several pangs. One was of hunger, the other was a longing for New Orleans. It's carnival season and I crave everything that entails. I spent four years at Loyola New Orleans, soaking up one of the richest cultures in America like a boozy sponge. So much tradition...and so much partying and feasting! A match made in heaven. New Orleans has some of the best, most soulful food in the country.
Right now I should be standing on the street corner by Fat Harrys with a keg and 100 of my closest friends, a poboy in one hand and some monstrous daiquiri in the other. So, while my liver is probably glad I'm not there this year, my heart is yearning for New Orleans.
Back to the first pang: hunger. I was sure that I did not have any breakfast ingredients, but when I peered into the deep dark corners of my kitchen I found: some frozen sausages from the farmers market, corn meal, eggs, milk and a can of diced tomatoes. What resulted was a slightly cajun, delicious version of eggs benedict! I admit that calling this cajun is a stretch, but it certainly had plenty Tony Cachere's Cajun Seasonings, and that counts for something.
Here is my made up recipe, blogging now so I don't forget what is in it. Apologies for lack of pictures, my camera is out of commission today. You'll have to do with this wretched iPhone picture. Hopefully you get the idea..
Saucy, Cajun Eggs Benedict
This recipe serves as many as you like...each serving is comprised of 1 egg, 1 sausage, 1 corncake and as much sauce as you like. Estimate from there. Also, amazingly this only took about 30 min to make, not bad!
Corn Cakes (see recipe below)
Sausages (Mine were Extra Black Pepper Pork Sausages from Emerald Farms at my local farmer's market. These are my favorite sausages ever.)
Tomato Sauce (recipe below)
First, start the corn cakes and tomato sauce. Begin heating a pot of water to poach the eggs.
Corn Cakes (makes about 6-8 cakes)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 c milk
1 1/3 c corn meal (I used Martha White self-rising)
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tblsp vegetable oil
Heat lightly oiled skillet or griddle. Mix all ingredients together. The batter should be a big thicker than pancake batter, but not too thick. Pour about 1/4 cup onto the skillet for each cake. Allow edges to set and better to thicken before flipping.
Tomato Sauce (I recommend doubling this if serving more than 2 people)
1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added
Tony Cachere's Cajun Seasoning to taste
1 pinch dried thyme
Dump can of 'maters into a small saucepan. Add Tony's to taste, and a pinch of thyme. I added a bit extra water because I overdid it with the Tony's...don't forget how much salt is in there! Also, extra water helps because you will want to reduce this. I brought the tomatoes to a boil and let the flavors infuse for a while, allowing the water to reduce somewhat.
Turn off heat and when it's not boiling, scoop out the tomatoes and about half the juice and puree in a small processor. Return to saucepan and further reduce puree until it thickens.
Second, while the sauce is simmering and you are in between batches of corn cakes, begin sausages and eggs.
I simply butterflied the sausages and cooked them in a skillet. Not rocket science. As for the eggs, I added some white vinegar to the pot of simmering water to help them coagulate, and stay together while cooking. I cracked the eggs individually into a glass then gently poured it into the simmer water for about 5 minutes (I actually didn't time them...just drained them with a slotted spoon when they looked right. Right for me is a jiggly yolk, so it will be a bit runny).
Now assemble your "eggs benedict". Layer corn cake, add sausage, poached egg and a healthy slop of sauce. Add a grind or two of black pepper. Eat this IMMEDIATELY!
Also, if you have an ounce of wits about you, you would have had your kitchen minion (or boyfriend) preparing IOBMs (Inside Out Bloody Mary's).
A tasty breakfast out of pantry ingredients...couldn't have asked for more! Except maybe a plane ticket to mardi gras...