Friday, July 13, 2012

we grew this! eastern eggs florentine

I guess it was around Memorial Day that Ian and I planted our veggie garden, this nice 6x8 raised bed that the previous homeowners installed. We're using the Square-Foot Gardening technique in hopes that we'll be able to grow more types of produce than we otherwise would using the row technique. So far, it's working fabulously well, and even though we're experiencing severe drought (are you sick of hearing about this yet?), things are growing really well -- including our bok choi, an Asian cabbage that looks kind of like a mix of celery and chard, shown here in the center right soon after it was planted.

One day, right in the middle of the late-June heatwave, Ian called me while he was watering to announce that the bok choi had started blooming, and wasn't it great that something was defying these hellish conditions?! At first I agreed, but then read that once bok choi flowers (or bolts), it's past its prime and is likely going to be bitter and woody -- basically inedible. So, we picked all four of the plants, popped them in the fridge, and hoped we wouldn't get tired of eating them. Later, Ian mentioned that he had an idea for Saturday's brunch, and it starred none other than bok choi. Neither of us had any idea what would happen, but it was certainly worth a shot.

When we tucked in, we discovered that one of those dishes that you smirk all the way through. Despite their stand-alone flavors, the smoky baconiness and tangy goat cheese made the slightly tart bok choi sing, and a runny, rich egg yolk smoothed it all out. Now, we're patiently waiting for the next planting of bok choi to hurry up and grow, so we can indulge in it again.

eastern eggs florentine
serves 2 (with leftover biscuits)

(for Ian's buttermilk biscuits)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Generous pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
(for the toppings)
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic scapes, minced (or 1 clove garlic, minced)
3/4 cup torn bok choi leaves
3/4 cup torn baby spinach
Splash of white wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bacon fat
2 eggs
Herbed goat cheese

(for Ian's buttermilk biscuits) 
1) Heat oven to 425 F.
2) In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir. Cut in butter. Stir in buttermilk; mixture should form a ball, but shouldn't be sticky. Add a splash more buttermilk if necessary.
3) On a flat surface, roll out the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle. Quarter it for rectangular biscuits or use a biscuit cutter. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
(for the toppings)
1) In a nonstick skillet, saute shallot and garlic scapes until tender and slightly caramelized. Add bok choi, spinach and white wine. Saute until leaves wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Remove to a mesh strainer to press out liquid. Set aside; return skillet to burner.
2) Melt bacon fat in skillet; add eggs. Cook to your desired doneness (we recommend over-easy).
3) Meanwhile, slice two biscuits and spread cut sides with goat cheese. Arrange on two plates. Top with the bok choi mixture.
4) When eggs are to the desired consistency, place them on top.
5) EAT!

Try it, and let us know what you think!

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