One day before my final at Le Cordon Bleu and I have a bad case of the I-don-wanna’s. Bad, bad, bad. I keep doing everything there is to do but, study. I should not be blogging right now. Okay, this will be the last thing I do and then I will study.
We have been given ten recipes to memorize and they are all delicious. Except for the braised choux which is a molded cabbage leaf stuffed with ground fat back (lard), pork fat (uh, lard, I think), and some ground pork and onions. Then it’s draped in caul, weblike fat from the neck of a cow, and braised – ball o’ fat with cabbage.
However, the trout with morrel stuffing, steak with truffle sauce, and lamb tien are off the hook. The chicken Basquaise and dorade wrapped in lettuce leaves are also deliceux, but tricky. And then there’s this one recipe that I can’t find in my notebook which is worrying me. Knowing my luck, I will propably get that one. I can’t remember making it either and I have no pictures of it. Perhpas that was the day the aliens came down and abducted me from class.
I have been good about studying for the technical aspect: hollandaise sauce. I went out and bought a flat of eggs and stacks of butter last night with my cooking partner, Jamie, and we whisked away. I’ve never had trouble with hollandaise which is worrying me a little. Sometimes it’s better to mess things up–especially delicate sauces–so that you know exactly how not to do it next time. Like the time I made a meat sauce with bones and mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) and I caramelized it too much. When I deglazed the pan and tasted the sauce it was bitter. The color was gorgeous, the taste horrible!. Now I know just how brown you can caramelize bones/mirepoix before deglazing. Not too sure about hollandaise…
Mine turned out awesome last night (and Jamie’s did too) despite the bottle of bourgogne we polished off beforehand. Who knows, maybe I’ve just got the hollandaise touch!?!? Maybe I will be to hollandaise what Mrs. Fields is to cookies or what Nancy is to quiches? I know, I’ll make up for the recipe I can’t recall with my gorgeous sauce! The judges will be so in awe of my delicate buttery hollandaise sauce that they won’t even notice the un-identifiable mess beside it.
Here’s my recipe and tips. I should say beforehand, that hollandaise sauce is not difficult or time consuming if you follow the precautions. The real trick is keeping it warm before serving because you cannot reheat or it splits. Bad hollandaise sauce looks like mayonnaise. It should be light in color, airy, and melt in your mouth – not gloopy, glossy, or bright yellow. Serve over eggs, or fish, or eat it right out of the bowl.
Keep your fingers crossed for me on the exam!!!! I’ll let you know how it goes on Monday.
1. 4 egg yolks
2. 1 Tablespoon water for every egg yolk (4)
3. 1 stick of clarified butter or 200g
4. Salt to taste
5. 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste.
1. Prepare a double boiler by filling a large wide sauté pan half way with water. Make sure it is not the type with one pot sitting snuggly onto another filled with water. You want the steam to escape around the sides of the mixing bowl. Simmer water GENTLY.
2. Make clarified butter by gently melting it in a double boiler (whichever kind you want). Once the butter melts and the whey falls to the bottom, skim off the oil. Put back into the double boiler and keep warm– very important! To test it, put your finger in. Too hot or cold to the touch and it will ruin the sauce.
3. In a stainless steel mixing bowl, that is smaller than the base of the double boiler, whisk the egg yolks and water together until frothy. Holding the bowl with one hand float it in water of the double boiler and start whisking. Whip it good! The eggs should turn a light yellow color and start to double and triple in size. Once you can begin to see the bottom of your mixing bowl while whisking then take off the heat and place on the counter with a towel around the bottom to keep it steady.
4. Drizzle warm clarified butter into the eggs while stirring rapidly with a whisk (stirring, not whipping here).
5. Add salt and lemon to taste.
6. To keep warm: place sauce in a bowl and put on a small circular roasting rack that sits just above warm water. You could use the water from the double boiler. Cover with saran wrap. Viola!