WE ARE GOING TO DISCREETLY PAN-FRY THESE IN AN INDECENT AMOUNT OF BUTTER, UNTIL THEY ARE PRACTICALLY SOAKED ON THE INSIDES, AND DELICIOUSLY CRISPY AND GOLDEN ON THE OUTSIDES.
YOU KNOW, THE BUTTER-EXUDING CRUNCH?
Have you seen Ben Stiller’s movie, While We’re Young? Well, if you haven’t, there’s no need to really. Given that it has its moments here and there, all in all, it’s not entirely spectacular. But the reason that I’m bringing it up is because – well, equally as unspectacular and unrelating to the majority demographic – I’m kind of in the same pickle.
I’m 36 years old, and very early on in life, I have made a very conscious decision not to have children. I’m happy married, stable, as far as I know, reproductively unchallenged and relatively speaking, mentally healthy, and I consider myself an affectionate if not responsible dog-parent. So as I said, the decision is a very deliberate one and the reasons for which, well lets just say, don’t quite belong in this post. Uh, ok whatever, might you add, but where’s my fucking pickle? Well, this is where the movie might be more articulate, not to say much more entertaining, in illustrating my quandary. Thing is, most of our friends, with all due respect and our best wishes, have buckled together on the baby-train and exited through the other side of the crossroad in life in sort of a Groupon strategy, leaving us, a bit unprepared, in a social limbo.
That’s correct. We are them, the friends without children. The awkward pre-middle-aged couple who didn’t get the memo that, at this point in life, a dinner party that ends at 10 pm on a Saturday night, however frisky with all the right signals to assume more, is the end of the program. Where to next? Theirs kids’ swimming lesson at 8 am the next morning, and our party equivalent of blue balls that night iced with yet another Netflix binging. But listen, I get it. People’s priorities change as life evolves, and as their friends, we shall respect that. Which is exactly why it’s ok that the number of friends to call for a drink and their level of energy to participate is together in a fierce race to hit the bottom. And the rule that there are things that just shouldn’t be placed in close proximity, such as fire and curtains, me and donuts, and in this instance, conversations and this thing called the baby monitors, are more frequently being broken. Which is why, I’m not filing a complaint, but to simply say, oops.
But why now?
It may seem totally self-absorbed and obnoxious to bring this up at a baby shower. Yes, this is a baby shower!, for my friend Cynthia who just gave birth to their baby boy Luke! And seriously, earnestly, for Cynthia who has been one of the most amazing human beings I know of (She’s a full-time lawyer/woman/wife/daughter-in-law/blogger/then pregnant/now mother, I mean do you feel me!), I wish them all the exuberating enthusiasms and my best positivism at this special moment in their lives. Reading her unpackaged words of tenderness and content, as a dog-mom, whether anybody disputes it or not, I can relate. So I am happy, for her. Even though it means that soon after, I will have to hang outside a 24/7 convenience store, asking strangers if they want to break a donut with me.
To celebrate Two Red Bowl’s baby birthday and our social demise, I have prepared, in the theme of bowls, egg florentine in pullman “bowls” with burnt butter hollandaise. Well, more box than bowl but you know what I mean, and let’s not forget that this is a very cute and kid-friendly idea, no?… (or that I’m more out of sync with the other side of the world than I realize). The original inspiration comes from a Taiwanese street-food where they deep-fry a cutout box of pullman bread then fill it with seafood chowder. But that’d be just wrong for moms and kids, right?, totally irresponsible. So for the sake of the health of our next generation of pillars of the world, we are only going to discreetly pan-fry these in an indecent amount of butter until they are practically soaked inside and deliciously crispy and golden on the outside. You know, the butter-exuding crunch? And with the next point, don’t say that I don’t understand raising children, because we are going to cut out a hole on top, and hide a healthy pile of garlic spinach with a bed of creamy Laughing Cow’s spreadable cheese. Bribery. Yeah. I know all about that. Then finally, we top each bowls – or what I would like to imagine as little boxed presents from Yummy Town – with bursting soft-boiled eggs and a lava-waterfall of my foolproof, burnt butter hollandaise sauce.
Each bite is a fluent, harmonic dance of crispy and runny, crunchy and creamy, buttery and buttery yet there’s spinach. Big “bowls” for parents, small bowls for children, and baby Luke gets to suck the runny yolks. I’ve got all grounds covered. So. Next weekend. Can we exploit the only benefit of the in-laws, and let’s hit bar?
Hey it’s a party! And here are the rest of the bowls:
I am a Food Blog | Mac and Kimcheese Dolsot Bibimbap
Fix Feast Flair | Dishoom’s Chicken Ruby Murray
The Fauxmartha | Mom Lunches
A Cozy Kitchen | Cornbread Chicken + Dumplings
Cake Over Steak | Salted Caramel Chocolate Crackles
The Pancake Princess | Stovetop Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Snixy Kitchen | Chicken Pot Pie with Chestnut Biscuits
Betty Liu | Honeynut Squash Congee
Style Sweet CA | Date Bourbon Cinnamon Rolls
Warm Vanilla Sugar | Broccoli Quinoa Bowl with Avocado Sauce
A Beautiful Plate | Coconut Cauliflower Soup
Girl Versus Dough | Tomato Grilled Cheese Soup
Fork to Belly | A Big Hawaiian Fruit Bowl
Donny Tsang | Chawanmushi
Wit & Vinegar | Jerk Chicken Chili
Constellation Inspiration | Salted Egg Yolk Custard Mochi
twigg studios | Katsu Udon Soup wth Popcorn Chicken Croutons
Edible Perspective | Acorn Squash Bowls with Pears, Pecans, and Vanilla Bean Cream
Coco Cake Land | Asian Bowl Cut Sugar Cookies
Southern Souffle | Sorghum Apple Biscuits In A Bowl
The Bojon Gourmet | Smoky Sweet Potato & Lentil Tortilla Soup
Flourishing Foodie | Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup
What should I eat for breakfast today | Little Bowl with Creamy Polenta, Cheese, Onions and Mushrooms
Top with Cinnamon | Squash & Crispy Kale Bowls with Pomegranate and Miso-Ginger Dressing
the broken bread | Roasted Celeriac + Fennel Soup
Fig+Bleu | Cauliflower Harissa Soup
my name is yeh | Corn Dog In A Bowl
Crepes of Wrath | Mini Scallion Pancake Challah Buns
O&O Eats | Persimmon Cobbler
Chocolate + Marrow | Parsnip + Potato Soup with Crispy Pancetta
With Food + Love | Caramelized Golden Beet Soup with Fall Roots + Garlicky Yogurt
- 1 whole loaf of pullman toast
- 4~5 tbsp unsalted butter, or more
- 5 large eggs
- 2 cups (290 grams) blanched/squeezed spinach
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 5~6 tbsp Laughing Cow spreadable cheese, or other soft cheese you prefer
- 1 batch of burnt butter hollandaise sauce
- We are going to start with soft-boiled eggs and garlic spinach because both can be prepared before hand. If I'm preparing more than a couple eggs for brunch, I like to do soft-boiled instead of poached. It's much easier to manage, tastes just as great and frankly, I even prefer how it looks. My tested (and blessed with superstitions) way of making easy-to-peel soft-boiled eggs is this:
- MAKE SOFT-BOILED EGGS: Bring a deep pot of water plus a tsp of salt to boil, NOT SIMMER, but like a full boil (do not start with eggs in cold water). Gently lower your eggs into the boiling water, which will immediately cool it down to a simmer. Lower the heat down just enough to keep it at a gentle bubbling, then cook for 5 min. Then immediately transfer the eggs into cold water until cooled down completely. You can now peel them and keep them plastic wrapped, or you can peel right before use. Either way, submerge them in hot tap water for 1 min to warm up before using.
- MAKE GARLIC SPINACH: After you blanch and shock the spinach, make sure it is completely squeezed dry, then chopped them coarsely and set aside. In a skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat, then add the garlics. Move the garlics around with a tongs until the edges are slightly browned, then add the spinach, salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Toss everything together with a tongs until evenly incorporated. Set aside. Reheat over medium-high heat before using.
- MAKE A BATCH OF BURNT BUTTER HOLLANDAISE SAUCE: The only difference I made with this recipe this time, is that I add a few drops of tabasco sauce at the ed. Make this right before you start with the pullman bowls.
- MAKE PULLMAN BOWLS: Cut the pullman bread into large 3 1/2" (12 cm) square boxes for adults, or small 2 1/2" (9 cm) square boxes for kids. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt enough butter to generously coat each sides of the boxes, then turn and toast until golden browned and crispy on all sides. Each time you turn the boxes, you'll need to add more butter to coat. About 1~2 tsp of butter for each sides (goes without saying that the more butter you use, the crispier nuttier and decadent the boxes will be).
- TO ASSEMBLE: Use a serrated knife to cut a hole out of each boxes. Add a couple tbsp of Laughing Cow spreadable cheese (or other soft cheeses like brie or sweet creamy blue cheese) on the bottom, then fill the hole with garlic spinach. Top with 2 soft-boiled eggs for adults and 1 for kids, then pour a good serving of burnt butter hollandaise sauce on top.