January has been a pretty fantastic month for Kramer and I, and it only seems to get better. Friday night was especially good. We met straight after work and went to an adorable little sushi place in Williamsburg called Bozu. We’ve been trying to branch out and go to new places, and we really enjoyed this restaurant in particular. The fish was fresh and well prepared, and we also had some absolutely delicious pork belly. Kramer ordered sake, of course, so we started off the night right. Afterward, we met up with a friend for a few drinks before a stand-up show that we were going to. We decided to go to The Roebling Tea Room, where we met none other than Sam Talbot from Season 2 of Top Chef! Kramer is actually the one who spotted him, and by this point, I have enough liquid courage in me to run up to him and ask for a picture. Of course, Kramer took what is maybe the worst picture that has ever been taken of me in my entire life, but here is an edited version so you can see how insanely tall he is. That makes my fourth Top Chef sighting since we moved here. The others were Ashley Merriman from Season 6, Zac Young from Top Chef Just Desserts, and Gail Simmons. Nothing makes me happier than to spot anyone from Top Chef – I was definitely beaming after meeting Sam! After drinks, we headed over to UCB for a “secret” show, meaning that they hadn’t announced who was going to be doing stand-up that night. We almost didn’t go, because it was 15-20 degrees outside, but we sucked it up and stood in line. I’m glad that we did, because the performer was none other than Aziz Ansari! We had passed up a chance to see him late last year at Carnegie Hall, so I was absolutely blown away that we got to see him for $10 at UCB. He was hilarious and it was definitely worth standing outside in the cold for 25 minutes.
This dish is inspired by one we had for brunch one weekend at a restaurant called Back Forty. It might seem complicated, but it is actually really simple – it just has a few components. It’s really a sort of deconstructed huevos rancheros; instead of frying our eggs, we poached them, we used a baguette instead of a tortilla, and used a black bean puree instead of refried beans. The result? Breakfast heaven. Kramer and I are both huge egg fans. We not only have some kind of egg dish for breakfast every weekend, at home or out to brunch (our favorite meal to go out for), but we often eat “breakfast for dinner,” or “brinner”. I love having breakfast for dinner because it’s often much easier to make than a big dinner, and Kramer and I just love poached eggs. Egg yolk is nature’s most perfect sauce. I’ll eat almost anything if it has a poached or fried egg on top of it. The black bean puree, though, is truly the star in this dish. The shallot and garlic give the puree a wonderfully savory flavor, pairing beautifully with the egg and the salsa fresca. Kramer even made French baguettes for the meal, if you can believe it! This recipe is only for bread machines, but I’m sure a little online research will help you to find a recipe that is to be made by hand – I just didn’t do it myself, so I don’t want to recommend any other way. We’re certainly going to be trying our hand at a bit more complicated baguette recipes, but for now, this is a great beginner’s way to do it. I think we might have finished off all of the bread in under 24 hours, but it was so delicious that we just couldn’t resist. All in all, this is an impressive weekend breakfast or a satisfying weeknight meal.
The ingredients for the baguettes. Place them all into your bread machine and set to the dough cycle.
Lightly oil a bowl.
Add in the bread and roll around to coat the bread.
Cover tightly, place in a warm spot, and allow to sit in a warm spot for 30 minutes, until the dough has about doubled in size.
Roll the dough out and cut it into 2 equal rectangles.
Roll up each half of the dough tightly, beginning at the 12 inch side, pressing out any air bubbles as you roll.
Now, start to roll your dough, tapering it through the ends.
Place the dough onto a baking sheet.
Cut diagonal slits into the dough.
Cover and allow to double in size.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, until golden.
Slice and enjoy while you prepare everything else.
Now, start your black beans.
Rinse your beans.
Bring them to a boil, then cook them for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 1 hour.
Mince your shallots and garlic.
Bring the beans, shallots, garlic, and vegetable broth to a simmer, then cook for 1 hour or so, until the beans are soft.
Strain the beans and reserve the broth for adding to the beans later.
Puree your beans, garlic, and shallots, adding in the reserved stock as you go. You will probably not need all of it.
Press the puree through a mesh sieve to make smooth. Place back in the pot and heat up when ready to use again.
Now chop up your tomatoes for the salsa.
Puree your tomatoes, tomato paste, cilantro, garlic, shallots, and jalapeno pepper.
Add the lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to use.
Toast your slice of baguette and spread some black bean puree on top of it (you can first spread some butter on top, if you like). Place the poached egg (directions below) on top, then place some extra puree and salsa on the side. Crack some fresh pepper over the top and enjoy!
Nature’s perfect sauce: egg yolk. Am I right?
- 1 cup water (heated to about 110 degrees F)
- 2½ cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (for greasing the bowl)
- 1 cup dried black beans, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped and seeds removed
- 1 large handful of cilantro
- juice of ½ a lime
- 4 eggs (for 2 people - you can easily make more)
- 2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
- Place 1 cup of warm water (about 110 degrees F), bread flour, sugar, salt, and yeast into your bread machine according to manufacturer's directions. Set to the "dough" cycle, then press start.
- When the bread machine's cycle has finished, place the dough into a lightly greased non-reactive bowl, turning it over to coat the ball of dough. Cover tightly, place in a warm spot, and let sit for 30 minutes or so, until it has doubled in size. You know that it's ready when you push your finger lightly into the dough and the indentation from your finger stays in the dough.
- Punch down the dough, then place it onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 16x12 inch rectangle, then cut it in half to form 2 8x12 inch rectangles. Roll up each half of the dough tightly, beginning at the 12 inch side, pressing out any air bubbles as you roll. Roll the dough back and forth to taper it and place the two rolls about 3 inches apart on a greased and/or lined baking sheet. Using a knife, make deep diagonal slashes across the loaves every 2 inches down the bread.
- Cover the dough and allow it to rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes, or until doubled in size. Bake the baguettes for 20-25 minutes in a 375 degree F oven until just slightly golden. Allow to cool, then cut into slices about 2 inches thick. Toast, if you like, then top with some of the black bean puree, salsa, and a poached egg (recipes all follow).
- Place the beans in a small pot and add in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and allow the beans to sit in the hot water for 1 hour.
- After an hour, drain the beans. Place them back into a small pot with the shallot, garlic, and vegetable broth. Add more water if you need to, just to cover the beans (or use vegetable stock, if you like). Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour or so, until the beans are soft. Strain the beans, shallot, and garlic from the broth, but save the cooking liquid to add to the puree later.
- Puree the beans, shallots, and garlic with a food processor or immersion blender. Add a bit of the cooking liquid as needed, until smooth. It should have about the same consistency as sour cream, only slightly thinner. Taste, and add salt and/or pepper as necessary. Push through a mesh sieve to smooth out. Place back into the small pot and set aside; it can be heated back up quickly when you are ready to use it.
- Puree all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Taste and add salt or pepper to taste. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Bring 3 inches of water, vinegar, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Make sure that the temperature remains within 160-180 degrees F.
- Crack your eggs into a small dish, one at a time, and submerge the the lip of the dish into the simmering water, letting the water into the dish. Gently slip the egg out into the water. Let the egg sit for 3 minutes. Pull the eggs out with a slotted spoon and VERY GENTLY dry them off on a paper towel. Place on top of a piece of baguette that has already been smothered in the black bean puree.
- pieces of sliced bread (baguette from above or any other bread)
- Unsalted Butter (for spreading on the bread)
- Black Bean Puree (recipe above)
- Salsa Fresca (recipe above)
- Poached Eggs (recipe above)
- ground black pepper
- Toast 2 slices of baguette and top with unsalted butter. Top each with a dollop of black bean puree and spread. Top that with your poached eggs, then place some extra black bean puree and salsa fresca on the side. Crack some fresh pepper over the top and serve.