Whisk Wednesday...what, you ask is that? Well, something special. Something exciting. For me anyway...and my family who will hopefully enjoy the flavors of such whisking efforts.
Through the Tuesdays with Dorie bake-along-blog, I met a fellow baker whose name is Shari. Shari has a food blog that interested me very much because she had set for herself the goal of cooking through a cookbook entitled Le Cordon Bleu at Home and was sorta kinda following their school curriculum, inviting others to join her. I knew then and there that I would be one of those joiners as finally, here was someone who wanted to cook with the old methods, no fake ingredients, learning the basics from the beginning in the French manner of cooking, and with a sense of excitement that I knew I could definitely get on board with in a split second.
So, Shari and I cooked up an agenda over the past week (actually I did very little of it as Shari had already thought it all through and it sounded just great to me, but we sort of cheered each other on to get this up and running THIS WEEK.) This week? Really...this very week? This very week when I was out of town for some of it, crazy busy for some of it, and just plain uncertain that I could get my act together by Wednesday, let alone cook and post. BUT, I did not want to miss Hollandaise week, so we are off and running. (Shelley is joining us...she always says she doesn't know how to cook, but she really does...and she has at least made homemade mayonnaise before, not so myself.) Shari is actually on Week 12 of this curriculum, so I am going to go back to her first week and work forward throughout the summer, hoping to have done the first 11 weeks by the end of summer and then be current from then on.
So, Shari, Shelley, and I are going to post our Whisking bits on Wednesdays. You can tune out if you aren't interested, or you can hop over to Shari and Shelley's blogs (and anyone else opting to join us...how about you???) and see what their efforts netted each week. Shari has a very nice write up about the history of the Hollandaise sauce, etc. because Shari is a cooking/writing/photographing/posting genius! So, hop on over to Shari's blog and check it out (on the left bar of this blog you can click on Shari's Whisk: A Food Blog site; and for Shelley's blog, click on the Insomnimom site).
Here's what went on in my kitchen (besides cooking for 5 priests and another family of 3 today, that is...whew!). Hollandaise to me is Eggs Benedict. A definite splurge in the calorie department...possibly another of those cholesterol poster child's nightmare dishes, but maybe sorta kinda okay if eaten only occasionally. Like today...probably okay since the last time I had it was at Christmas time...the year before this past one. I have never made it before...always just ordered it at a restaurant every other year or so, at a holiday time, as I figured it was much too fussy for me to "try this at home." I had English muffins...I had some really nice Tuscan bread...I really wanted to use that Tuscan bread toasted instead of that English muffin, but I didn't want to get kicked out the first week, so I toasted the muffin and thought "next time, the Tuscan bread!" Canadian bacon...well, the best that could be had at the market today as I was on the run and running out of time, fresh eggs...good on that one. Poach the egg...fun...love poaching eggs and watching all those swirling bits solidify (takes very little to entertain me on a daily basis).
I made the Hollandaise pretty much like the recipe Shari posts at her site (for copyright respect, only Shari will post the recipe ingredients with proper credits, etc. each week and you will want to check out her blog because her photos, etc. are wonderful...don't hold me to anything like that, please). If you want the recipe directions, they are on pages 274-275, so you will need to BUY THE BOOK, as it is copyrighted and we are trying to stay on the right side of the law here. I didn't use clarified butter, however, as I didn't have time to mess with that and I like a creamier sauce, whereas the one with clarified butter is more oily because the milk solids are removed. I like milk solids and it produces a creamier looking sauce. I also did mine in a double boiler as I am just not that trustworthy when it comes to watching eggs over direct heat, unless of course you like them sunny side up or scrambled. The double boiler had the added benefit of being able to turn the burner down very low and keep the water at a just-barely-simmering level which keeps the sauce together while say you are putting together the little muffin/c.bacon/poached egg assembly. Delicious. Fairly easy. A keeper.
The next recipe, well, if you want to call it that, was just drizzling it over steamed asparagus, which is very decadent and can turn a perfectly healthy calorie-friendly veggie into one of pure sin. Delicious. Extremely easy. A keeper. I did notice that the sauce thickened a bit, which was good, when I was working between the recipes. Normally I would not make all three recipes at once, but this week I did not have time to spread it out, so Mark had a very interesting meal this evening...he's usually willing to roll with the punches of whatever is going on around here. (Note on these plate sizes: they are small...I am big on small plates, so the food may look huge, but actually it is the plate that is small.)
The last recipe is making the Hollandaise into a Moutarde (mustard) sauce by adding Dijon to taste. (And taste, and taste...) This sauce was delicious, and we served it over a small steak. Delicious. Fairly easy. A keeper.
Go ahead, try it...easier than you think and you can bandy about words like Hollandaise and Moutarde like you can't imagine not knowing how to make these.
So far, so good...week one. Let's just wander over and visit Shari and Shelley and see how they did today....
Next week from Le Cordon Bleu Cooks at Home is Sauce Béarnaise (Warm emulsified sauce derived from Hollandaise sauce) on page 250, Coeur de Filet Henri IV (Filet mignons with artichokes and Béarnaise sauce)...come and join us!