Pancetta Benedict

September 7, 1983.

Stu lovingly made his very pregnant wife, Amy, a disgusting meal of tomatoes stuffed with hot dogs, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Yeshe did love her. See, his mother was a terrible cook, so he didn't know any better. They had a baby on the way and he was simply trying to help.

Five hours later Amy became violently ill. And while it was really easy to blame the illness on the meal prepared by her husband, it turned out she was actually in labor.

The next morning Erica (hey, that's me!) was born.

This is perhaps my first food story. We all have them. Sometimes they're about the place where we were traveling, the person who prepared it... how it made your eyes roll back in your head. We all have them because food is common to all of us. It's tradition, it's celebratory, hell, at the very least it's habitual. 

I hope this blog is a place to share these food stories—the good, the fun, and the beautiful—along with my photography, which is a work in progress.

I love baking, cooking, working with flowers, and flours. And Flours in my Hair has been swirling around in my head for quite some time so it's nice to finally get something on "paper".

I hope you'll stick around to read and come back for more.

Most mornings breakfast is quick. And honestly, sometimes it's nonexistent. 

But on weekends breakfast reigns supreme. There's time to wake up slowly. There's time to take note of what's in the fridge, poach your eggs, make a really good cup of coffee.

My husband is Mr. Breakfast. It doesn't matter what time of day it is, he's jonesing for eggs. So, few things make him happier than slow weekend breakfasts.

This recipe for Pancetta Benedicts is a twist on the Croque Madame—the baked ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg and Béchamel sauce. God bless the French.

We use a crusty sourdough from our local bakery, but you can use any hearty white bread you like, or even English muffins.

To Make this recipe you will need:

4 slices sourdough bread, toasted
4 eggs
4 ounces sliced pancetta
4 teaspoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
1/2 cup Gruyere, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
chives for garnish, chopped

Make the sauce: In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine, letting mixture cook for about a minute (don't let it brown). Slowly whisk in the milk and then add the salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon stir sauce gently until it thickens, about 4-6 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese until melted.

Poach your eggs: I have been terrible at poaching eggs until recently. I now use Alton Brown's method and they come out perfect every time. Bring 2-3 inches of water to a simmer with a one teaspoon of salt in a small sauce pan. Crack one very cold egg into a small bowl or ramekin. Once the water is simmering, use the handle of a wooden spoon to create a whirlpool, spinning the water in the pan. Drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool, turn off the heat, and cover for five minutes. Marvel at the magic. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Crisp the pancetta: In a skillet over medium-high heat, place pancetta slices in a single layer, like you would bacon. Let cook until desired crispness.

Assemble: Spread a teaspoon of mustard onto each slice of toast. Top with pancetta slices and one poached egg. Ladle about 1/2 cup of sauce over the egg and sprinkle with chives.

Let's eat.