My first Daring Cooks challenge

For those who are not aware, I shall first give a little background on what the title means. I shall quote from the website about it’s history:

In November 2006, Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice decided to challenge themselves to bake pretzels for the very first time using the same recipe. They each went ahead and posted about it on November 18, 2006.

Having enjoyed that experience tremendously, they decided to try it again the next month, this time choosing to bake biscotti. And to make matters even better, they were joined by a few more food bloggers.

As the months went by, their baking group continued to grow, until it was finally decided that this “little baking group” had to have a name and The Daring Bakers were born!

The Daring Cooks were formed in 2009 as a way to learn how to become better home cooks. The idea spread like wildfire with 1000’s of people who also wished to learn more joined in on the monthly challenges.

Today, The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks span the world as bakers/cooks of all nationalities come together once a month to try something new in the kitchen!

The website hosts monthly challenges for both those who are interested in baking and cooking. I decided to be adventurous and join both. I registered at the website a few days before my PhD qualifiers were to start. That was a big mistake!!! I ended up not being able to complete the first challenge because I was too busy. I really do have bad timing. And then today I realized that I was already past the date when you are supposed to post the challenge (14th Dec). But luckily I was still in the grace period but the very last day.

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn the perfect technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anna Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato and Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

I decided on the Eggs Benedict as it was a quick recipe and I was really really hungry this evening. So it ended up being our dinner. Well being a graduate student, you don’t really demarcate between what you can have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It basically depends on the amount of time you have and how hungry you are. So I rushed to the grocery store to get some eggs and chives cause I had all the other ingredients at home for completing the challenge for Dec 2010 – Eggs Benedict.

Amit and I were not in a mood to have bacon so I decided to substitute the bacon in the original recipe with some hot italian sausages (chopped and broiled). I also had some biscuit mix which I have been wanting to try from some days now. So I substituted the English Muffins (called for in the original recipe) with some buttermilk biscuits. Other than that I pretty much followed the entire recipe for both the poached eggs and the hollandaise. It took about 15-20 minutes to mix and bake the biscuits. And about 20-25 minutes to make the hollandaise and the poached eggs. This recipe serves two.


  1. 2 eggs
  2. 3 biscuits (halved and toasted)
  3. 1 sausage (sliced)
  4. chives (for garnish)
  5. splash of vinegar and some salt (for poaching)

For the hollandaise

  1. 3 large egg yolks
  2. 1 tsp water
  3. 1/4 tsp sugar
  4. 12 tbl unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  5. 1/4 tsp salt
  6. 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  7. pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)


  • Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer.
  • Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and set aside.
  • Whisk egg yolks and 1 tsp. (5 ml) water in a mixing bowl large enough to sit on the saucepan without touching the water (or in top portion of a double boiler). Whisk for 1–2 minutes, until egg yolks lighten. Add the sugar and whisk 30 seconds more.
  • Place bowl on saucepan over simmering water and whisk steadily 3–5 minutes (it only took about 3 for me) until the yolks thicken to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Remove from heat (but let the water continue to simmer) and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Move the bowl to the pan again as needed to melt the butter, making sure to whisk constantly.
  • Once all the butter is incorporated, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper (if using).
  • Keep the hollandaise warm while you poach your eggs in a thermos, carafe, or bowl that you’ve preheated with warm water .
  • If the water simmering in your pan has gotten too low, add enough so that you have 2–3 inches of water and bring back to a simmer.
  • Add salt and a splash of vinegar (any kind will do). I added about a tablespoon of vinegar to my small saucepan (about 3 cups of water/720 ml of water), but you may need more if you’re using a larger pan with more water.
  • Crack eggs directly into the very gently simmering water (or crack first into a bowl and gently drop into the water), making sure they’re separated. Cook for 3 minutes for a viscous but still runny yolk.
  • While waiting for the eggs, broil the sausage in the oven and toast your biscuits.
  • Place 3 halves of the biscuits on each plate and top with about 6-7 slices of sausage. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place on top of the sausage pieces. Top with hollandaise and chopped chives, and enjoy!

This recipe serves two persons. I was really worried about the poaching of eggs as I have never done it before. But the recipe was so easy to follow and gave such detailed instructions on how to do it that there was no way I was going to go wrong. The end result was fabulous. This recipe is a keeper – it’s quick to make and almost all the ingredients are usually available at home. Those who have never poached an egg and want to, should try this recipe. You will definitely be successful and very happy with the end result. Thank you daring cooks, my first challenge was so much fun that I am already looking forward to the next one.

    • shilpamshinde says:

      Thanks Sonali…. Well sometimes it’s fun to mix up the caps :) I like switching from being an Industrial Engineer to a gourmet specialist at the end of the day…. It’s my way of relaxing after a long day in the lab….


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