But then all of the sudden Match Day snuck up on us and it was here! Suddenly I was sitting next to Scott with an envelope in his hands watching him open it. He unfolded the eight and a half by eleven piece of paper and we scanned the page for the place where we would be spending the next three years of our life! “Duke . . .” I heard Scott say softly, “Really? Where? Did we get into Duke?!” I questioned taking the piece of paper so I could better examine it while our parents watched us waiting to hear us clearly announce where we were going. There it was, “Duke University Medical Center” printed three lines down, “I think we’re going to Duke” I announced still not sure that’s really where we were going and half wondering if Duke was only printed there to tell us we did not get our first choice. I checked the paper again, there were no other program names listed and I realized that we were indeed matched to Duke!!! “Ahh! It’s Duke!” I squealed, and hugged and kissed Scott who had been sitting quietly in shock. Our mom’s started crying and hugged us and our dads beamed proudly. It was such happy and wonderful moment and it proved to us that God totally knew what he was doing all along (you'll have to ask me for that story, it's too long to put here)! Praise Him!
We promptly went out and bought Scott some Duke gear!
Now I love to cook and entertain, so when my mom said she was sick of hotel breakfasts it was the perfect excuse for me to play in the kitchen and try to make some new delicious thing for our families. I daydreamed of flavor combinations for several days finally deciding what to make on Wednesday night. Recently I’ve noticed poached eggs topping everything, from salads to pizzas to soups and I’ve wanted to try poached eggs over a wilted arugula salad topped with prociutto and either something sour (like pickled shallots) or sweet (like candied pecans) to give a nice point of contrast to the egg and prociutto. Well, such a salad would not do for either one of our dads (they’re more conservative eaters) and it would not do for breakfast so I transformed it. I reduced the amount of lettuce, gave the dish a base with a white bean and thyme waffle, and added some sautéed veggies that one often finds in omelets or frittatas. I upped the flavor components by slow roasting roma tomatoes, adding bacon (hey, I can’t afford prociutto), sautéing mushrooms and a sweet red onion in the bacon juices until the mushrooms browned and the onion turned truly sweet. I deglazed the sauté pan with balsamic vinegar and then added maple syrup and olive oil to make a dressing to wilt the lettuce and further season the vegetables. The flavors were right on point. The different flavors of the earthy mushrooms and white bean waffles, rich bacon, tangy tomatoes, sweet onions and maple syrup (a nod to the traditional waffle topping), fresh asparagus, mellow egg, and pop of balsamic vinegar all gave the dish great depth, interest, and served to bring out contrasting flavors. Our families heartily gave the dish their approval saying, “This is so much better than anything we could have gotten in a restaurant” and “I don’t want this to end, ever! It is so good!” Ahh, music to my ears! I also served caramel rolls for something sweet and bready and strawberry sorbet with strawberries to finish the meal on a light, fresh note.
The empty plate is for my brother who is an extremely picky eater. He had a caramel roll and peanut butter toast. ;)
Match Day Breakfast
Ok, so a couple of quick notes. First, if you can’t make the waffles due to lack of food processor or waffle iron I would just use some good bread toasted up. Feel free to sub in other types of mushrooms or shallots for the red onion or broccoli for the asparagus depending on what is on sale when you make this. Also, if you’ve never poached eggs before doing a large number at a time can be overwhelming so just fry some up over easy and you’ll end up with a similar result. (I had to do this b/c we were out of vinegar and it was too hard for me to poach them without it.) Finally, I think that if you have white balsamic vinegar you should use that as the dark brown muted the color of my vegetables and it wasn’t quite as pretty.
1 15oz can of white beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. dried thyme or fresh
½ cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp sea salt or ¼ tsp table salt
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ quarts (6 cups) water
¼ cup white vinegar (You won’t taste this! It just helps the egg whites to coagulate!)
8 roma tomatoes
6 strips of bacon (not the small microwavable kind!) cut into ½ inch bits
8 oz. of fresh mushrooms (I used button)
1 medium red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
½ lb (8oz or ½ a bunch) of asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (see note above)
1 well-rounded tablespoon of pure maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
½ bag of arugula or spring greens mix lettuce, about 2.5 oz.
The night before make the waffles, roast the tomatoes, and sauté the bacon, mushrooms, and onions. Leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight and cover and refrigerate the waffles and sautéed mixture.
The morning of,
- Remove tomatoes from the oven, pull the peels off, and dice.
- Poach eggs one at a time, warm waffles in the oven, and warm the sautéed mixture in a large sauté pan and add the asparagus to quickly cook.
- Re-warm all the poached eggs in the hot poaching water. Put veggies on a plate and deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar and then add in the maple syrup and olive oil, mix, add the veggies back in.
- Plate ¼ of a waffle on each plate, put a small handful of salad greens on each waffle, place hot veggies on top, top with a poached egg, and grate large shards of Parmesan over everything to finish the dish.
Waffles: Preheat waffle pan. Add the drained and rinsed white beans to a small pot with the chicken stock and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium high heat for five minutes to release the thyme’s flavor. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of sea salt (1/4 tsp if using table salt). Add the beans and their cooking liquid to a food processor and pulse to puree. Add the eggs, milk, and olive oil to the bean mixture in the food processor and puree until smooth. Add in the flour mixture and pulse until just combined. When griddle is hot, add about ½ cup of batter to it and cook until the waffle is golden brown and crisp all over. Let cool on a cooling rack completely and then store in a zip lock bag in the fridge. If immediately continuing on keep these warm in the oven on a baking sheet.
Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 450F. Cut roma tomatoes into three wedges and remove the core, juice, and any seeds. Place tomatoes face up on a baking sheet, sprinkle generously with salt and the thyme, and lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Place tomatoes in the 450F degree oven for 10 minutes and then flip the oven off and leave the tomatoes in overnight to finish roasting. If not doing this the night before, roast the tomatoes in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 450F.
Vegetable mixture: Cut bacon into ½ inch pieces and add to a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Stir occasionally so both sides cook and then after about five minutes add the onions and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms have browned and onions are transparent and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. If continuing on add the asparagus and finish the dish as described below. Take mixture off the heat and transfer to a Tupperware to store in the fridge until morning.
Morning of: Fill a large stockpot with 1½ quarts of water and ¼ cup of vinegar over high heat. While water is heating, remove tomatoes from oven, peel, dice, and add to mushroom and onion mixture. Add this mixture to a large sauté pan over medium heat. When water for poaching is almost simmering, (when the bottom of the pan is covered with bubbles) crack and egg into a small dish, stir the water to make a mini funnel in the middle of the pan, and get the egg as close as you can to the water and gently slip the egg into the “funnel.” Let cook for about four minutes and don’t worry if some of the egg whites turned into wispy threads—it’s ok! Once egg is cooked remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and dip it into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking and rinse off any vinegar. Place egg on a plate and poach the other eggs in the same manner.
While poaching eggs, turn oven to 200F and reheat the waffles on a baking sheet. Add asparagus to the vegetable mixture to cook and stir occasionally. Once all of the eggs are cooked, turn off the heat of the poaching liquid and place the eggs back into the pot to warm them (you will not taste any vinegar if you do this). Remove vegetable mixture from the pan and place on the plate that had the poached eggs. Place pan back onto the heat and add 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and scrap up any of the pan bits. Then add a round tablespoon of maple syrup and two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Mix together and add the vegetables back into the pan and toss to coat.
Plate ¼ of a waffle on each plate, put a small handful of salad greens on each waffle, spoon hot veggies on top, top with a poached egg, and grate large shards of Parmesan over everything to finish the dish. Serve and eat slowly—you won’t want it to end! ;)