Eggs Benedict on Rusk

Ooh, what’s rusk? You may have seen it in the grocery store, or used it for a teething baby. It’s a dry, twice-baked bread or biscuit. I’d read about it in books that featured sailors eating it; since it is dry, it travels well and doesn’t spoil the way a loaf of bread might.

Before our bucket list cruise to Alaska we traveled to Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, before the start of the cruise. We had a delicious breakfast in Vancouver at De Dutch Pannekoek House. It was serendipity that this delightful restaurant was next to our hotel.

My husband ordered the Eggs Benedict, which used rusk as the base instead of English Muffins. The rusk held up to the heat and sauce, never losing its integrity as an ingredient. I bought a package from the restaurant, and carried it successfully home 10 days later with all rusks intact.

Sunday morning I made Eggs Benedict on Rusk. This was my first foray into making it myself; it is usually something I order out. It was easier than I expected because I bought a packaged Hollandaise sauce mix (gasp!). Just add water; that’s the ticket 🙂

I also have an egg poacher, a pan with an insert holding six cups above the simmering water. If you don’t have such a pan, in gently simmering water use a spoon to swirl the water before dropping the egg in. This should help keep the white close to the yolk.

Eggs Benedict on Rusk

4 eggs, poached

4 pieces of rusk

6 pieces of Canadian bacon (the package I had said 3 per serving)

Hollandaise sauce

Place two rusks on each plate. Top with Canadian bacon, poached egg, and nap the Hollandaise sauce over the top. I sprinkled some pink Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper over the Hollandaise sauce. The rusk was light and crispy to the end. Now that I know how easy it can be, I’ll make this again.

Happy Homicides 6: Cookin’ Up Crime will be released on Friday, October 20. I’ll tell you more about my story and the recipe for it soon.

Chocolate Cream-Filled Graham Shells

Last week I shared a recipe for a dish I took to a friend’s golf tournament stuffing party. As most of our gatherings do, we ended up dancing and singing along to songs Alexa provided. How crazy is technology in our time that we can tell an inanimate object (she is, right?) to play and song and it happens!

I usually take at least two desserts, since not everyone likes the same thing. I took two gallons of ice cream (French vanilla and Chocolate) and hot fudge and caramel sauces. Easy peasy, something for everyone 🙂

I don’t mean to be flip about this, but dancing and celebrating life are important even, or maybe especially, when you’re fighting a life-threatening disease. How can it be anything but beneficial to have fun with friends and family who love you, to know that you are surrounded by people who want you to kick cancer’s ass?

I write this, talking about desserts for a friend who has breast cancer, the day after an extended family member lost her battle with lung cancer. Cancer is a disease that touches everyone, in one way or another. If you can, please consider donating to an organization that does cancer research. It is heart breaking to lose a life so young (52), for parents to outlive a child, and children to lose a parent before they are fully grown themselves.

Having a support system with people ready and willing to do what needs to be done is key. I hope everyone has such support and love in their lives.

Making dessert won’t save a life, but sharing food and camaraderie, dancing and singing, are a deposit in the memory bank to hold onto when times are tough and chemo is making you feel less than your best.

And now, the recipe.

Chocolate Cream-Filled Graham Shells (Makes 12)

2 packages of Graham Cracker shells, 6 shells per package

2 tubs of frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 3.4 oz package of instant pudding mix (I used vanilla, but you can use any flavor you like)

2 T hot fudge sauce

3 biscotti, crushed into crumbs

Mix the pudding mix into the whipped topping; divide the mixture into two tubs. Add the hot fudge sauce to one and stir to combine; reserve the other tub for a different use (Toasted Pound Cake with Caramel Cream – recipe posted 10/2/17). Refrigerate overnight.

Fill the graham cracker shells with chocolate cream. Top with crushed biscotti.

Refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.


Toasted Pound Cake with Caramel Cream

The aftermath of Hurricane Irma left us without power for five days, without internet for a week, but with only yard debris to pick up. I pulled my back out getting ready to come back to our house once the hurricane passed, and spent the next ten days or so healing it while tending to the house.

Hurricane Maria devastated areas in the Caribbean before declining in strength. Portions of the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, among other areas, were hit by the double whammy of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and are in desperate straits. My heart aches for those in those ravaged areas, and for friends who have friends and family there who are in a tough situation. I hope all those who were awaiting word about them have heard how they fared.

There are many organizations on the ground, providing support, and trying to get aid to those who need it. If you can, please consider donating to the worthy organizations that are helping.

October is the recognition month for two causes near to my heart: Domestic Violence Awareness and Breast Cancer.

I have a friend currently going through treatment for breast cancer, and friends put together a fundraising golf tournament to help with treatment costs. She’s gotten through the first stage of treatment, with two more to go.

Friday night we had a party to put together goodies for the golfers (pink golf balls, a pink coozie, and a pink Team Melissa wrist band). People brought food for a potluck buffet, and I brought dessert. The dinner ended up with dancing and a singalong, and a lot of fun. The best times are often spent with friends and family, when a casual plan turns into a night we’ll remember.

Toasted Pound Cake with Caramel Cream

1 pound cake (I bought one from Publix, but a frozen one would be fine – no frosting either way)

2 tubs of frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 3.4 oz package of instant pudding mix (I used vanilla, but you can use any flavor you like)

2 T caramel sauce

3 biscotti, crushed into crumbs

Mix the pudding mix into the whipped topping; divide the mixture into two tubs. Add the caramel sauce to one and stir to combine; reserve the other tub for a different use (Chocolate Cream-Filled Graham Cracker Shells – recipe to come). Refrigerate overnight.

Slice the pound cake into 1/2″ thick slices, or to fit into your toaster. Cool the toasted pound cake and then cut into 1/2″ cubes.

To assemble: I used plastic drink cups to make individual servings, but this could also be used to make a trifle. If making a trifle, several layers of cake/cream/biscotti would look lovely against the glass sides.

Put toasted pound cake cubes in the bottom of a small container. Top with a large dollop of caramel cream, and top with crushed biscotti. You can make several layers if you are making six servings or less; for more servings, one layer will be enough.

Chill for an hour, then serve.

I like to bake my own treats, but sometimes there isn’t enough time. In that case, I like to take store-bought ingredients and put them together in new ways. This recipe can have endless variations, and the method can be used for other desserts as well.

Casarecce with Sautéed Tomatoes and Green Beans

A couple of weeks ago I bought a pint of various small heirloom tomatoes. I thought they would make a tasty sauce, and decided to sauté shrimp with the tomatoes and serve with rice and green beans. I only needed the shrimp and planned to buy it on my way home from work.

Enter torrential rain, just after work when I got into my car. Good news: I was dry in the car. Bad news: I had no intention of getting soaking wet to buy the shrimp. I thought about what I had at home and decided I could get by without stopping at the grocery store.

I scored in the pantry with a box of Barilla Collezione Casarecce pasta. It’s a long, twisted tube of pasta, and I thought it would echo the shape of the green beans. Since I already had the tomatoes and green beans. I could make this work.

Casarecce with Sautéed Tomatoes and Green Beans

1 box Barilla Collezione Casarecce (or other long tube pasta); Cook according to package directions; drain and dress with butter, salt and pepper; set aside and keep warm
1 pint tomatoes, cut into quarters lengthwise and seeded
1 bag Publix frozen steam-in bag green beans
1 1/2 t Garlic to taste (I used Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic)
1 T Parsley (I used Gourmet Garden lightly dried)
1 T Basil (I used Gourmet Garden lightly dried)
1 T Extra virgin olive oil
1 T Butter
2 T Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/4-1/2 cup pasta water

Cook pasta according to package direction; reserve up to 1 cup pasta water, depending on how loose you like your sauce.

While the pasta water is coming up to boil, heat extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan. Put the frozen green beans into the warmed oil, with salt and pepper. After the green beans are warmed through, add tomatoes. Heat through, and add pasta water in 1/4 cup increments. You want just enough water to keep the beans and tomatoes from sticking to the pan.

Add in garlic, parsley, and basil. Add butter, and toss all together. Add balsamic vinegar. Heat everything through, and add salt and pepper if needed.

To serve, plate the casarecce pasta. Put the green beans and tomatoes over the pasta.

This meal is easily rounded out with salad and bread; we had King’s Original Hawaiian sweet rolls on hand, and they were delicious with this dish.

Let me know what you think about this recipe!