Valentine’s Day at Chez Moi
Post by Alison Hein.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and you’ll be surprised that for once I will not advise you to enjoy a lazy breakfast in bed. Instead, I encourage you to get up and create your own pop-up restaurant, and offer your loved one a divine, romantic breakfast tasting menu.
My personal pop-up restaurant, lovingly named Chez Moi, appears in a quiet corner of our living room once a year. I use red tablecloths to create a lush fabric background, drag a small garden café table out of storage, and drape that in red as well.
To set the table, I arrange a few graduated cake plates to form a tower, then fill tiny dishes with delicious little bites of food. Page through prior posts for inspiration if you like. Fruit salad is a good choice – sweet and fresh – adding lovely color to the tasting array. And, mini-heart toast (cut from sliced bread with a cookie cutter) is a perfect holiday addition and silver dollar pancakes also never fail to delight:
My tasting menu this year will include Poached Eggs with Mornay Sauce – gently simmered eggs with a soft, molten center, topped with a light drizzle of cheese and garnished with fresh parsley. Perfect for heart-y toast dipping.
And after all this work, don’t be surprised if you soon receive a Valentine’s invitation for a future divine, romantic breakfast in bed.
Poached Eggs with Mornay Sauce
1 sprig fresh parsley (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons grated cheese (gruyère, cheddar, or Swiss)
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and dry parsley. Chop finely and set aside. To make cheese sauce, melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add grated cheese and stir until just melted. Set aside and keep warm.
Eggs should be as fresh as possible for perfect poaching. To poach eggs, fill a heavy saucepan with enough water to cover eggs (3 to 4 inches) and heat until very hot and simmering, but not boiling. Break eggs into individual small dishes. Or you can use an egg poacher. Carefully pour the first egg into the simmering water. Immediately use a wooden spoon to wrap the cooking white around the egg yolk to prevent the white from feathering. Repeat the process with the second egg, and cook for about four minutes, until the white is firm but the yolk is still soft. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain. Trim edges if necessary. Place each egg in a small dish. Top with cheese sauce and garnish with a little fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toast, if you like.
Makes 2 servings.