Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Learning to cook

Yes, I know how to cook. Lately, I've been trying to learn how to cook well. I've been making dinner around here for years, but I dunno, maybe it's all the exposure to Top Chef. Or not having to juggle work and cooking.

A few weekends ago, we went to breakfast in San Antonio, and I saw a bunch of articles cut out of the paper, and framed on the wall. They heralded places that served Eggs Benedict. All of them served it exclusively on the weekend, including the restaurant I was in. So I ordered it.

THAT was a mistake. I hate poached eggs. Yet today I was obsessed with creating a home version.

I found a recipe for hollandaise-

3 large egg yolks
1 TBsp fresh lemon juice
16 TBsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
Hot water
1/8 tsp. cayenne
Blend egg yolks and lemon juice in blender till frothy - 10 seconds +/-. With blender running, slowly drizzle in HALF of the butter until mixture is quite thick. Blend 2 tsp. of hot water. Continuing to blend, add remaining butter, about a minute. Blend additional water until sauce coats the back of a spoon. Stir in cayenne, salt and pepper. Use immediately. If you can't, set sauce in a pan, and then another pan of warm water, covered. Since it has raw egg yolks, try to use it quickly. Note: I added a little tarragon and ground mustard, and made 1/2 a recipe.

I thought that if the butter was hot enough, it would cook the eggs. Sounds reasonable, yes??

I discovered why Eggs Benedict is a weekend dish-it's not difficult, but there are so many steps and layers, it's a bit of a dash and a juggle. Here, I had to

  • Make Hollandaise
  • Slice and toast ciabatta (not burn, just toast-I was going to get English muffins, but got sidetracked at the grocery)
  • Scramble eggs
  • put together a little salad
  • Layer the whole thing properly-toasted bread, Canadian bacon, SCRAMBLED EGGS (because poached eggs are too fussy and I don't like them anyhow) top with sauce, and get the salad on the plate.


It's not hard, but with a dog in the middle of the kitchen floor praying for a delicious kitchen accident, and a man who can't work sideways, it's a bit of a struggle to get the timing down. My experience went to hell when the butter exploded in the microwave. And the bread smelled like it was going to burn. Gaaah!

My mock Eggs B were very good. Buying ciabatta, Canadian bacon, eggs and salad still had me far under the cost of one plate with leftovers galore. And I didn't have to wait until Saturday.

My recommendation? Learn how to do it, and delegate tasks. Next time, DH is going to get salads and toast.

1 comment:

Les said...

Sounds like supper to me! Just got back from holiday and I brought a bit of wild west coast salmon I had cooked last night. (Layed the flesh side down on some pure maple syrup for the day When ready to cook, smear with dijon mustard and shake thickly with chili powder. Broil til done. Delish!!
Will sub the Cdn Bacon with the salmon and use the Knorr Swiss Hollandaise as I have just downed a Cosmopolitan!!