Sunday, March 27, 2016

English Muffins

Living in Belize is an adventure in every way and cooking is no different.  I love to cook and so do a whole lot of other wonderful people who spend time reviewing recipes on line.  WOW, there is a lot of advice out there; in a sea of wonderful chefs it can be intimidating.  But, I am proud to announce that when it comes to English Muffins, I am not doing too badly.

We had some guests checking in to celebrate their anniversary and I wanted to make the menu for them anniversary-worthy.  I was busy working out how to make pumpkin pancake hearts and flambéed cherries jubilee and I decided to put Eggs Benedict on the menu.  It is such a wonderful presentation and great on a lazy morning.  How wonderful to have Eggs Benedict with fresh squeezed orange juice while listening to the sound of the ocean and the birds, sipping on coffee…..

Buying ingredients to cook with in Boulder, Colorado where we used to live is a breeze.  Need some coriander and you can find it whole, ground and even fresh as cilantro.  You can get canola, walnut, peanut, sesame, dark-sesame, olive, virgin olive, extra-virgin olive, almond, cashew oils anytime you like – even at 1:00 a.m.!  But Belize is different. 

Unfortunately English Muffins, a key ingredient to the perfect Eggs Benedict, are not readily available in Belize.  I did find some sad looking frozen English Muffins at a store in Belize City called Brodie’s which does occasionally come through for me.  These English Muffins looked as though they had traveled far and were pretty exhausted from the trip.  That was not going to work for my quality expectations.

As I artist I know that constraint is a great breeding ground for creativity so I fall to that thought when I cannot find the ingredients I want.  I also fall to the internet.  So, I took to the internet to figure out how to make English Muffins.  Ken worried that we would be up all night long working out how to make the little line around the edge that allows you to easily cut them open.  He once stayed up with me all night long to make homemade tortellini for 12 people.  Despite that night we are still together.

I found a recipe at this link that did not look too difficult.   http://allrecipes.com/recipe/6947/english-muffins/
I started to read the reviews, which I soon remembered is a mistake, and then wondered if my Eggs Benedict were going to suffer with only “yeast-raised buns” at the end of this trial.  But I plowed forward and only changed the instructions twice:  1.) instead of corn meal (I did not have any) I used flaxseed meal and 2.) I rolled the dough into a log and then used a knife to cut the rolls, which after being sliced resembled flat tires.  So I sorta formed them back into circles and then gave them their final raise time.  

English Muffins are not baked, which was a surprise to me.  They are cooked a lot like flour tortillas.  So there was a bit of a marathon late at night to get them all cooked up.  Sorry Ken.  Ken did stay up with me and even mixed us a fresh Papaya and Rum drink.  I think we will call it an “Early Sunrise” and put it on the menu at Leaning Palm Resort’s Wild Canes Bar & Grill.  Delicious!  Thanks Ken!
The griddle method of cooking the English Muffins worked great and we soon had 36 English Muffins.  I made them a bit smaller than the recipe said to so my yield was higher.  The eggs I buy in the Gales Point Manatee village are small, so my English Muffins were sized to fit. 

The next morning we finished up the Eggs Benedict process.  First step was to make the hollandaise, which I have to now admit I had never made from scratch.  I used to use a packet as it was quick and easy and no one ever knew the difference.  At least they never said anything, but we do have great friends and family over often and they likely would lie to me to make sure my feelings were spared.  I appreciate this!

The recipe I used for the Hollandaise is here:  http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/04/foolproof-2-minute-hollandaise-recipe.html
I found it a little too buttery when I tasted it, but the flavors blended nicely with the other Eggs Benedict ingredients.  Still, I think next time I will either look for a different recipe or reduce the amount of butter in this recipe.  I also used two egg yolks, as the eggs I buy are small (she said again).

I toasted up the English Muffins and the results were great!  I think Mr. Thomas is going to have to start worrying about English Muffin sales in Belize real soon. 

I prepped the eggs and added fried ham, tomatoes and fresh basil
.  WOW!  The whole thing came together beautifully and when seasoned with a little Marie Sharps…..well you better BELIZE IT!  Eggs Benedict at Wild Canes Bar & Grill is pretty darn good! 


As for the English Muffins I doubt I would ever go back to store bought as the homemade version is so much better.  Of course if I ever have to go back to that desk job in the concrete jungle I may have to eat my words.  But for now, I am eating my English Muffins and loving every bite!



3 comments:

  1. Debbie & I took a bread making class several years ago, and one of the things we made were english muffins. We agree, once you've had home-made it's difficult to go back to store-bought! You better Belize it (that made me laugh!).

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    1. I should have known that you and Debbie would have this down. You both are pretty darn creative chefs!!! And gardeners.....wish I had your gardening skills here in Belize. I am still working out how to get the lizards to stop eating all of my seedlings.

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