Butternut Squash & Leek Latke Benedict

with poached eggs

Daylight savings time is the absolutely worst! It’s unbelievable how one single hour can totally screw up your entire day. We are not an agricultural country anymore, and you know what? As a lone woman walking to the subway at 6:45 in the morning, I’d much prefer for it to be light during that time where there are fewer people out than at 7 PM when I’m heading home and the streets and subways are packed with people. The only bonus that comes along with living in Arizona is that they don’t mess with changing the clocks out there; every day is the same and you don’t have to worry about it. Crankiness aside, I had a pretty jam-packed weekend. Friday night we met up with Morgan and Joel for some Korean BBQ at Dokebi in Williamsburg. The hot pot was alright; I had never done it before, so it was fun to cook the meat in the sizzling water before creating a tasty broth to enjoy once you’re done, but the spicy octopus and spicy pork were incredibly delicious, so next time I go, I’ll just be stuffing my face with those dishes. After eating an crazy amount of food (honestly, we really went to down that night), we stopped off at a few bars before calling it a night, although I’ll be honest, I was hurting the next morning!

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Game night at our apartment with an awesomely creepy mannequin hand, the handsome Ryan, the even handsomer foot of Ryan, Morgan, and Matt, and of course, crock potting it up on the Sunday after a late night because there’s nothing like setting it and forgetting it.
Thankfully, Kramer had bought some smoked pastrami salmon from Zucker’s on Friday, so we ate those on bagels with cream cheese for breakfast, even though we were going to the Brooklyn Flea immediately after. I was starving and couldn’t wait! After scarfing those down with plenty of hot coffee, we met up with our friends JK and Emily to walk around, check out old toys, and, of course, eat. We had life-changing uni miso ramen from Yuji Ramen, pupusas and tamales from Solber Pupusas, spicy tuna tacos with wonton chips from Tatukumi Taco alongside a real Mexican coke. I was so stuffed that my stomach hurt a bit, but it was completely worth it. I hadn’t been to the indoor market before this, and I absolutely loved it. It’s a good thing that I only brought enough cash for food, otherwise I would have blown a lot of change on Star Wars toys and old baking sets. Later that day, after a food-induced nap, we popped over to Nitehawk to see Dead Man Down, which I loved. Plenty of action with great dialogue; if you’re a fan of well-done shoot-em-ups with beautiful cinematography, then go check it out! Plus, Colin Farrel and Noomi Rapace aren’t too hard to look it for two hours. We are apparently robots who need no rest, after the movie, we headed over to Noormans Kil to have drinks and grilled cheese with Morgan, Matt, Amanda, Ryan, and our friends Elise and Sam. The party finished the night up at our place, with old fashioneds, beers, cookies, and Cards Against Humanity. The most painful part was that as we were hanging out, suddenly it went from 1 AM to 2 AM as the time changed, and we really needed to get to bed! Poor Kramer ended up with almost no sleep that night, as he had to wake up at 7:30 to go to an Excel modeling class. I woke up with him, ate a hangover breakfast of beef jerky (don’t ask, it really hit the spot at the time) then slept for two more hours before waking up, vacuuming, and cooking up a storm. When Kramer finally came home, it was his turn to nap, then we ate and watched the previous night’s SNL – Justin Timberlake killed it, and seeing Steve Martin, Dan Akroyd, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase all on the same stage together again was unbelievably awesome. Alec Baldwin, Candace Bergen, and Tom Hanks were just the icing on the cake. I think that Martin Short stole the show, though. That guy just wants to entertain.

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This is the good stuff.
Speaking of entertainment, that’s basically what I’m here for, right? We all know that food can be some of the best entertainment out there…trying new things, discovering new ingredients, and enjoying a favorite meal with someone you can stand being in the same room with for more than five minutes. Well, I’m back with more entertaining tips along with McCormick, and this time we’re all about brunch! I’ve loved working with McCormick in the past because they give me a lot of freedom in what I am creating for them. They were looking for Easter recipes, but seeing as how I don’t really celebrate Easter and Kramer’s family in Westchester has had us up for Passover since we moved out here, I figured a brunch recipe in that vein would be perfect. I love latkes, but then again, who doesn’t? Crispy potatoes are always a good thing, but seeing as how it’s still pretty chilly out there, I wanted to take it another step and make something hearty and warming with ingredients we don’t have much more time to play with, like butternut squash and leeks – they’ll be gone before you know it, folks! I shredded them together with some McCormick cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and just a hint of ground cinnamon to pair with the squash, and let me say, these crispy little root vegetable pancakes were just what we needed after a long day without having had much sleep. I added the same spices to the creamy hollandaise, which was excellent alongside the perfectly poached eggs. The latkes were crispy and thick enough to mop up all of the deliciousness, and I’ll be honest, I think Kramer and I eat had more than the recommended serving size…surprise, right? Check out McCormick’s Pinterest board for more Easter and Passover (or, really, any occasion…do you really need a religious holiday as an excuse for brunch? No way!) brunch ideas, and let me ask you: what special-occasion brunch dishes do you and your family whip up when a gathering occurs? I think that these latkes benedict are going to go on my permanent “special breakfast day” list for sure.


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My crazy commute last week, some light snow, the Brooklyn Flea, Korean bbq in Williamsburg, and uni miso ramen (maybe the best thing e-v-e-r).
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Me lounging and watching Community last week in full winter gear.

Ingredients_LB
So, to start, first make your hollandaise sauce. Whisk the eggs over a double boiler, makeshift or otherwise, until creamy, then add in your butter very slowly, followed by lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika.

Ingredients_LB_2
Using a lot of elbow grease, grate your butternut squash into a bowl, followed by your leeks. Toss it all together with two egg yolks, flour, cornstarch, paprika, cayenne powder, salt, pepper, sugar, and a dash of cinnamon. Scoop ‘em onto a hot cast iron pan, allow them to caramelize a bit, then flip them, smash them down a bit, and let them finish cooking.

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Dig in!

 

Butternut Squash & Leek Latke Benedict
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4 servings
 

Crispy butternut squash and leek latkes topped with poached eggs and a creamy hollandaise sauce.
Ingredients
For the Hollandaise Sauce:
  • 1 cup of water, for the double boiler
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • pinch of sugar
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon McCormick smoked paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon McCormick cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon McCormick ground mustard
For the Butternut Squash & Leek Latkes:
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and grated
  • 2 large leeks, cleaned and grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons flour (or matzoh flour)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon McCormick cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon McCormick smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • tiny pinch of McCormick cinnamon
For the Poached Eggs:
  • 1 pot with almost-boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 eggs (at a time; if you are really good at this, then go for as many as you can, but I am a novice and therefore won’t push it so I only do 2 at a time)

Instructions
  1. First, because hollandaise can burn so easily, you need to either use a double boiler for this or make one yourself. I don’t have one, so I made one. Pour a cup of water (more or less, depending on your pot, just enough to cover the bottom for about an inch). Make sure your second pot will fit inside of the pot with water in it and that you will be able to whisk inside of it without worrying about spilling water inside of it.
  2. Add your egg yolks to a small bowl and whisk them together with 1 teaspoon of water and a pinch of sugar. Add them the pot you’ve chosen to go inside of the pot with water in it. Make sure that the water is simmering, then add it to the top (see photo above for clarification). Whisk the eggs over medium heat (the water should just be simmering) for about 7 minutes, until the eggs look glossy and slightly thickened. Remove the pot from the pot with water in it and whisk in one tablespoon of butter at a time. You may have to add the pot back to the simmering water so it stays warm enough to melt the butter.
  3. Keep whisking in additional tablespoons of butter until you have incorporated all of it. Whisk in the lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and ground mustard. Taste and add more seasonings as needed. Turn off the heat, but keep the hollandaise in its pan sitting on top of the pot with the warm water in it to keep warm while you make the other components of this dish. You may have to add a teaspoon of milk or so if it thickens too much while you work (I did).
  4. If you are poaching your eggs, this is the point at which you should start heating your water to a simmer in a separate pot. Alright, now the latkes. Peel and grate your squash. You can cut it up and use the proper food processor blades to do this, but I didn’t feel like getting yet another appliance out, so I just used a bit of elbow grease and grated it on a box grater, along with the cleaned leeks. Toss together, then squeeze as much liquid out of the mixture as possible by pressing down on it with paper towels. You won’t get much, so don’t spend too long on this.
  5. Add in the eggs, cornstarch, flour, and spices. Heat a heavy bottomed cast iron pan with about 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Use a 2-tablespoon sized cookie scoop (or just scoop with a large spoon) and scoop the squash and leek mixture onto the skillet. The scoops should sizzle immediately. If they don’t, your pan isn’t hot enough. Allow the latkes to cool on one side for about 3-4 minutes as they are, them flip them and smash them down with your spatula. Allow them to go for another 3-4 minutes, until they are crispy and golden on both sides. Make sure your remove them from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate for at least a minute before serving so the oil can drain from them.
  6. Bring a large pot of water to almost-boiling, but not quite as this will overcook the eggs. Add just a splash of vinegar to the water (this is supposed to help. I’ve heard it’s an old wives tale but it works for me so I keep doing it) and stir to combine.
  7. It is best to crack the eggs you will be using first into ramekins or those neat little silicone cups before your start poaching. This way, you aren’t fumbling trying to crack eggs and delicately add them to the water.
  8. When your eggs are ready to go, take your utensil of choice (mine is a mesh covered scooping spatula usually used for frying) and start vigorously swirling the hot water. It should look like a whirlpool. Take your first ramekin with an egg in it, then dip it quickly and ever so slight in the swirling water, so that the water kind of scoops the egg out and takes it away (I will be honest; this just takes practice. Be prepared to screw up your first few eggs; it’s okay!).
  9. Allow the eggs to swirl and cook (you can swirl the top of the water a bit if you need to keep the momentum going). The idea is that the swirling water will swirl the white around the yolk and cook while the yolk remains nice and runny. They should cook in the water for about 3 minutes, then pull them out gently and place them on a paper towel to drain any excess water, then gently use a utensil, your hands, or, what I find works best, which is to pick up the paper towel and carefully roll the egg out onto your latke. You can leave them on the towels, though, for 5 minutes or so while you finish everything up.
  10. Just as a recap, I recommend making the sauce first, then heating your water while you prep your latkes, then while your latkes cook, poach your eggs.
  11. When you’re ready to eat, place your latkes on your plate, top with a poached egg, and drizzle with a spoonful of hollandaise. Crack a little black pepper on top for garnish and serve warm. The latkes recipe make about 12 good sized latkes, so you will technically have enough food for 4 people, depending on how hungry you are.

 

23 Responses

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Daylight savings totally took a tole on me!! I’m getting back into the swing of things now but If I had a plate of this I would have woken up TWO hours earlier!! Yum!

  2. This looks absolutely stunning, Sydney! Your photographs continue to amazing me :)

  3. I love Eggs Benedict and am always on the lookout for inventive vegetarian versions. This looks delicious!

  4. haha! I am the only one around that LOVES daylight savings. Yay for longer evenings! I totally want to dig into this Benedict right now!

  5. Kimberley says:

    For poaching eggs, I use a poaching pan. It has little cups for the eggs to sit in so I don’t have to mess with swirling water and trying to keep the egg from spreading out.

    :)

  6. You are a goddess of all things breakfast (and otherwise)

  7. This is a really timely post for me because I have been having quite an obsession with leeks lately. I am going to need to post a recipes with leeks as soon as possible because I can’t stop using it in everything. “Mom: Whats for dinner?” Me: “I don’t know but it’s gonna have leeks in it.” I thought after all my recipe testing with it that I had tried it with almost everything by now. But butternut squash I didn’t even think of. Thank you. This looks astoundingly delicious and your photography is breathtaking as usual.

  8. Oh yum. This looks like the ideal comfort food after a night of too much fun. I almost never make eggs benedict at home but that might have to change.

  9. Sarah says:

    Hollandaise sauce For The Win! This looks awesome. I love pumpkin latkes/fritters too, so yeah. Nailed it.

  10. [...] is surely my answer. I think that they sell beef jerky, too, which as I explained in my last post, is something that I adore and have been known to eat for breakfast as the salt and protein make it [...]

  11. Lynna says:

    I LOVE these set of pictures! What a gorgeous dish. :)

    I feel you about daylight savings. I was up and all of a sudden it was 3am and I forced myself to go to bed. LOL

  12. I kind of love daylight savings time. It’s so nice to eat dinner with it still light out. I’m tired just reading about your weekend. These latkes sound so yummy and creative!

  13. You are one busy lady. I can’t believe you manage to do and photograph all of those things :P I love this dish. Perfectly poached eggs!

  14. Lunar says:

    I found the juice of one whole lemon to be entirely too much for the hollandaise. I would probably dial it back to about 1 or 2 TSP. Aside from that, good recipe.

  15. [...] brunch and breakfast recipes, and I’m thankful for the inspiration! I already showed you my Butternut Squash and Leek Latke Benedict, but I figured that scrambled instead of poached eggs were in order this time around. I made [...]

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  22. […] Recipe & Photo credit to crepesofwrath.net […]

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