Friday, June 15, 2012

Carpool Wars: Battle Brunch!

"Hi. Is Susan Rice available?

Um, an old classmate of hers actually, but I'm not calling about her donation to the capital campaign.  She's clearly been very busy and I'm sure she'll get around to mailing that in soon.  This is a diplomatic emergency and I'd like some UN peacekeepers, please.

Yes, I'll hold.


Oh. Well, maybe you can help me. I'm afraid there've been some fairly serious voting irregularities here in Encino, and...

No, not Allepo.  Encino.  We've got a situation and it may be time to get Jimmy Carter involved.

Where do I even start? OK, first of all, there was this huge platter of bacon...

No, this wasn't a matter of cultural insensitivity to Muslims, it was a matter of bribing the electorate.

What's that? Oh, about five pounds.
Pecan wood smoked.

I know, right? Completely unfair tactics.
We were able to trace it back to an outside instigator from Maryland. She's a known bacon zealot, probably in your database there somewhere.

Ha! Of course there's none left that I can send you as documentation. The whole brunch was almost destabilized by fighting over the last few pieces.  Frankly, we were lucky there wasn't more bloodshed between these formerly friendly neighbors.

But that's not the big issue.
You see, the very integrity of Carpool Wars has been tarnished by a deliberate balloting miscount.  Somehow, everybody won again*.

Yes, I'll hold.

Mrs. Clinton?

So sorry to trouble you, but...
Ah ha. I see. More of diplomatic move, you say? Future in the state department?

You know, you could be right.
Thank you so much, Hillary. Good luck with Syria."

Battle Brunch really was one of the best Carpool Wars yet. Contestants each entered one savory and one sweet dish, without any further limitations.   Huge points for creativity, flavor and presentation all around.

But we still want someone impartial to count the votes next time**.

The savories:

Baked eggs with kale on Joe's Brick with Tom's Red Eye Gravy

Chicken Enchiladas

The sweets:

Banana Nut Muffins

Baked Eggs with Kale on Joe's Brick with Tom's Red Eye Gravy
My riff on an amazing dish I had at Etta's in Seattle.  I swapped in baked eggs with greens for the poached in the original dish, since I was making the dish for a crowd.  

Prepare Joe's Brick and Tom's Red Eye Gravy.  Reserve about 1/4 c. of the ham hock meat for the kale***. 

1 bunch of kale, trimmed of thick stems and roughly chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
Reserved ham hock meat, roughly chopped
kosher salt and red chili pepper flakes
fresh lemon juice

1 dozen eggs
a few Tbs. of whipping cream
shaved Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Get a large pot of water boiling.  Blanch the kale in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until bright green and slightly wilted.  Remove from the water and drain immediately.   Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, then add the ham meat and stir for about a minute.  Add the blanched kale and stir fry for 3-4 more minutes.  Season with salt, chili flakes, and a dash of lemon juice.


Spray a muffin tin lightly with olive oil cooking spray.  Divide kale among the 12 muffin cups.  Gently crack an egg into each one.  Drizzle a little whipping cream over each egg, then top with a little Parmesan cheese.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until set and to your liking.

While eggs are baking, fry up your brick, and place hot slice on each plate.  Place a baked egg on top of the grits, then spoon the tomato gravy on top.  Serve immediately.  

Click to print this recipe! Follow the links under the photos for the rest of this battle's recipes.

* After a recount, these were the results:
Savory Category: 
Taste - Baked Eggs & Grits
Creativity - Enchiladas
Presentation - Mediterranean Eggs
Sweet Category: 
Taste - Cinnamon Rolls
Creativity - Hazelnut Crepe Torte
Presentation - Tie: French Toast and Cinnamon Rolls
** Battle Tacos! Coming in September.
*** You can make the baked eggs stand alone, too.  Just sub in bacon, pancetta, or chopped ham for the ham hock meat.

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