I got back from a long trip home for the holidays and my friend Alma and I wasted no time planning our next adventure in the kitchen together. We had a late morning business meeting on that Sunday, so we decided to ease into it by first making a decadent, delicious breakfast.
Now both of us love a good eggs benedict (who doesn't?) but Alma rarely is afforded the opportunity to order one with real hollandaise because she will not touch dairy with a ten foot straw. Neither of us eat meat, so there goes your traditional slice of ham, and the thrill of substituting spinach or avocado just wasn't doing it for us this particular morning. The benes of our pasts called for a real spicing up and we were prepared to take on the task.
Now if there is one place to get fresh, local, colorful vegetables whenever the moment calls, it is certainly San Francisco. We decided to show our appreciation for the abundant resources in our beloved city and give San Francisco its own signature benedict using a vegetable for every color in the rainbow. (Because what screams the streets of San Francisco more than a rainbow?)
We sauteed purple cabbage with onions for the base veggie layer to cover purple (obviously), spinach for the green, boiled beets for red, orange bell peppers for..well, orange, and saved the yolk in the egg for yellow. We skipped blue because there's nothing natural in blue foods besides blueberries and clearly that was not going to work for this dish (although the culinary crazy in me did try to an suggest a blueberry sauce that was promptly turned down by Alma!)
Alma headed the task of cooking and flavoring each veggie with a different combination of olive oil, herbs, lemon and spices. I've described often enough what I typically use to spice with (cayenne, paprika, curry, etc) so this is a great chance to do into your spice cabinet and experiment with your favorite flavors for each layer.
When trying to get a creamy, cheese-like flavor for a vegan sauce, you can start be soaking cashews and blending them up (this is how people often make vegan alfredo sauce). We had no time to soak them, but I decided to try making our hollandaise anyway with roasted, salted cashews. I put them in the food processor with tahini, garlic, basil, lemon, salt, cayenne and a bit of earth balance and it was amazing! It was a bit thicker than hollandaise sauce but the flavor was surprisingly similar and indulgently delicious.
We layered each of our prepared hue on top of freshly toasted olive bread (no surprise in the choice of bread) and prepared our top layers:
Even if they looked nothing like a recognizable rainbow in the end, they were painfully good.I think San Francisco would be proud to see its bene on the breakfast menu...