Monday, February 12, 2007

Adventures in cooking...

I've recently become addicted to Eggs Benedict. I decided to try it a few weeks ago while out with my friends for breakfast. I can't believe I never ate eggs benedict before. I wasn't too impressed with it, but I was convinced it was the hollandaise sauce. Cheapo restaurant hollandaise comes frozen in a box and is thick and orange with very little flavor. Some people think hollandaise is a cheese sauce because the only exposure they've ever had was the thick orangey stuff. There is no cheese in hollandaise sauce. If you've never had it at an upscale restaurant or made it yourself, y'all are missing out.

I happen to make an awesome hollandaise sauce, despite the fact that I have so many cooking shortcomings. Recipes vary, but this is how I make mine:

8 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
dash red pepper flakes

Melt butter in a stainless steel saucepan. Add lemon juice and heat until steamy but not boiling. Remove from heat. Whisk in egg yolks in very small amounts, about a tablespoon or so at a time. Dump, whisk, dump, whisk, until all egg yolks are combined. Return to very low heat and whisk constantly until slightly thickened. You don't want it to clump because the egg yolk is what holds it all together. If the egg starts cooking and clumping, you'll end up with egg clumps and oil, instead of a smooth beautiful sauce. Serve immediately, garnished with a light sprinkling of red pepper flakes. This sauce is great on eggs of course, the traditional steamed asparagus, and just about any other vegetable.

Through my internet wanderings yesterday, I stumbled upon The Science of Cooking, where the process of emulsification is explained with this sauce. This website also has lots of other great experiments with food to explain other scientific concepts. I can see this being a great resource for us in the future.

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