Friday, 17 August 2007
Eggs, Blenders and Julia Child
I was rather surprised at the beginning of the month to get an e-mail from Sainsbury's Magazine, telling me that a letter I had written to the magazine several months ago had been picked as the Star Letter for their September issue. I like to write letters to magazines, especially food magazines, and I have had several published at different times, but this was the first time one of my letters had been picked as the *star* letter, and as a result, I won a rather beautiful prize! Well, beautiful to me at any rate. I won a Kitchen Aid Blender, in a lovely yellow colour. I was thrilled to say the least! It's an honour just to have your letter published, and I am always dead chuffed when that happens, but to have one singled out in this way, was really special! My blender arrived yesterday. It was waiting for me when I got home from work, and I could hardly contain my excitement as I took it out of the box and set it out on the table to have a look.
Today I was able to use it for the first time and it worked perfectly. I had wanted to make Eggs Benedict, in honor of Julia Child's upcoming birthday bash, for a few weeks now and with the arrival of the blender I had the perfect excuse. I know it's quite easy to make Hollandaise sauce without the aid of a blender, but I just had to try this new gadget of mine out, just to make sure it was in good working order. (You know how it is.)
It worked perfectly. I had to fiddle with it a little bit to figure out what all the buttons on the front are for, but in no time at all I had it all sorted. It's really a wonderful tool. Instead of having a whole line of buttons numbered from one to ten, it has five distinct buttons, all in a row, with various symbols on them, and a further three below . . . on, off and pulse. I think I'm really going to like this new toy! (Apparently you can mix cement with one of these blenders, although I am quite sure I'm not going to exactly be doing anything like that with mine!) It's sitting on the counter now, in a place of honor, having been freshly washed after it's first use. I think it can stay. I could get quite used to this ...
*Blender Hollandaise Sauce*
Makes about 1 cup
Mmmm... deliciously buttery hollandaise sauce, made in just a few minutes, with all the ease of pushing a few buttons. Turns out perfect every time.
2 large free range organic egg yolks (Save the whites to make some meringues at a later date. They freeze very well)
2 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
4 ounces butter
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the vinegar and the lemon juice in a small measuring cup in the microwave for about 30 seconds or so, just until the mixture starts to bubble and simmer. In the meantime, place the egg yolks into your blender and season with a smidge of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Blend for one minute. Turning the blender on, add the lemon juice/vinegar mixture to the egg yolks in a thin stream, very slowly. (You can do this through the hole left in the lid after you remove the little plastic cap) Turn the blender off and melt the butter in the same measuring cup you used to heat the vinegar and lemon juice in until it is slightly foaming. Turn the blender back on and very slowly add the hot butter in a thin stream to the beaten egg yolks, once again through the little hole in the top of the lid. The slower you add it, the better. Turn the blender off and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula, then put the lid on and blend again for a few seconds. Set aside.
*Heavenly Eggs Benedict*
Eggs Benedict is really a delicious breakfast or light lunch. History has it that it was created at the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 for a customer hoping to find a cure for a morning after the night before hangover. It turned out to be a blessing for all of us, because we now can enjoy the results of his agony. What better way could you start your day than with a lightly toasted English muffin topped with a perfectly poached egg, napped in butterly gorgeous hollandaise . . . this is heaven.
6 large free range organic eggs (if you are going to have an egg as the star of the meal, it only makes sense to use the best eggs possible)
12 slices of pancetta, grilled until crisp
6 slices of baked ham
3 english muffins, split in half
1 quantity of Hollandaise sauce
Have all your eggs at room temperature and break each into a small bowl before you start. Bring a pot of water, to which you have added 1 tsp of vinegar, to a slow simmer over gentle heat. Once you can see tiny bubbles on the bottom of the pan, carefully add the eggs, one at a time. Simmer, without covering for exactly 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for exactly ten minutes. (a timer is incredibly useful here) At the end of the time you should have a perfect poached egg, with a beautifully translucent and pefectly set white and a soft and creamy yolk. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, one at a time onto some paper kitchen toweling to drain.
Lightly toast the english muffin haves and butter them. Place them on a baking tray. Top each half with two slices of pancetta and 1 slice of the ham. Put a poached egg on top of each and spoon over an equal amount of the hollandaise, covering the egg. Place the eggs under a hot grill for about 30 seconds. (This shouldn't take long, you don't want them to brown. The surface of the Hollandaise should just be glazed) Remove to hot plates and serve.
I think Julia would be proud of me . . . As she would say . . . "Bon Appetit!"