Saturday, October 1, 2011

100 day challenge on a recipe blog?

Sure, why not? As a writer, I can relate writing to cooking...and as a cook, I can relate cooking to writing. Actually, it's pretty easy.

Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg and butter. The end result of making hollandaise is to incorporate two things that really don't mix--the proverbial oil (or fat) and water.  Done over a water bath, melted butter is slowly added to a thick mixture of beaten egg yolks and lemon juice, while whipping furiously. Add the butter too quickly or whip too slowly, ah, you end up with a broken sauce. (Just let me add here, that there are numerous way to create a tasty hollandaise, this is simply my example for today. If you're interested. use your fave search engine and you'll find a wealth of recipes and techniques)

My sauce is broken--what does that mean? It means instead of being thick and creamy, your sauce is grainy looking. Liquid rises to the top. It looks---ugly.

So, my sauce is what? You can throw it away and start over, but that's time consuming and expensive. A simple fix is to find a clean bowl. Add a splash of warm water to it. Add a few tablespoons of your broken sauce and beat until the sauce is emulsified. Then add a little more. This is a slow process, but the end result is a fully emulsified, thick and creamy hollandaise.

I have a craving for eggs benedict now!

Okay, I have a lovely hollandaise. What does that have to do with writing? This is easy. How often do we put our characters into places, situations, relationships, where there is a meeting of oil and water? We slowly add more conflict, stirring the characters around in the mess until a solution comes together--then we do it again. (Don't you love to torture your characters?--You should!) Sometimes we have our conflicted characters, but they just don't come together--so we add a little something extra to the mix or put them in a new situation. Ta da! A saucy tale to delight our readers.

And then there's other ways of making hollandaise. Alton Brown uses cold butter...some folks use a blender. My thoughts...whatever works. Just bring on the hollandaise!

What? Now you want a recipe? Well... I guess this is a recipe blog after all.

This is Tyler Florence's recipe from Food Network. He uses a classic method.


4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
Pinch cayenne
Pinch salt


Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

Yummm. Asparagus. So, what's your favorite thing to put hollandaise on?