Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hello, 2012. It's nice to meet you.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza, or Ramadan! Andrew and I very much enjoyed our first holiday season as a married couple. We stayed in North Carolina, enjoyed a quiet Christmas eve at home and a not so quiet Christmas day at our friend's home. Tomorrow we are off to Baltimore to ring in the new year with our dear friend, Colbey. I can't wait! I have never been to Baltimore and I am pumped to explore the city. We are also planning to take the train into DC, which only makes the trip that much more cool.

Alrighty, let me get back to updating while I try to contain my excitement! Since we knew that it would be just the two of us, we wanted to make Christmas special (and maybe start a new tradition!) by creating a fun menu. We decided we would make "Christmas Calzones" on Christmas Eve and Eggs Benedict from scratch on Christmas Morning...errrr I mean afternoon :)
The "Christmas Calzones" were inspired by some beautiful photos of homemade dough I spotted over at (one of my top blogs for inspiration). The dough recipe is originally from Everybody Likes Sandwiches and you can find it here:
It was really easy to follow and make! All you need is:
1 packet of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 c warm water
2 1/2 c flour
1 t honey
1 t salt
2 T olive oil
2 T fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)
cornmeal (to sprinkle around the pan/stone)

We just mixed all the ingredients together and kneaded the dough until soft and smooth. The recipe says to break it apart into 4 equal globs, but we just split it in half. With that being said, this recipe is definitely enough for four calzones. Ours turned bigger than our heads. We filled them with sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, mushrooms, and pepperoni. Here are some photos of the finished product:

Overall, size is the only thing I would have changed. We could have easily divided the dough and made 4 normal calzones. Oh well, taste is what really matters!

Now, moving on to our brunch. I found a super easy to follow recipe for Eggs Benedict in one of the cook books my mom gave me. The only obstacle we ran into was finding an egg poacher. Even our trip to the Super Wal-Mart in Locust failed us. Andrew, however, saved the day! He did some research and found directions explaining how to poach eggs using a muffin pan in the oven. Basically, you set the oven to 400 and while it's pre-heating boil water in a tea pot on the stove. Once the water is boiling, pour 2-3 tablespoons into each muffin cup, and then carefully break an egg into each cup filled with hot water (Andrew actually broke the eggs into a small cup first, so that it was easier to gently pour them into the muffin cup of water without breaking). We then put them in the oven for about 7 minutes and kept an eye on them the whole time. Remember that eggs continue to cook even after they've been removed from heat, so don't wait until they look super done. When our eggs were looking good to go, we carefully scooped them out with a slotted spoon. I swear this is the best way to poach eggs! It really is simple, once you get the hang of the cooking time. Check it out!

This is the recipe I used for the Hollandaise Sauce (it was really easy and delicious):
3 egg yolks
1 T lemon juice
1/2 cup firm butter

Stir egg yolks and lemon juice vigorously in a small sauce pan. Add half the butter and start to heat stove on very low. Stir constantly with a wire whisk until the butter is melted, then slowly add remaining butter. Keep stirring and stirring until the sauce begins to thicken. Remember to keep stove on a low heat while the butter is melting to avoid curdling. Serve when the sauce reaches desired thickness.

Needless to say, we had a Christmas filled with good food and giant portions and I loved every minute of it. I am off to finish packing for our trip tomorrow, but I will be back with a Baltimore post as soon as possible!


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