The Food Groupie Club

Hi my name is Sarah and I'm addicted to food. I have been a chef professionally for about 12 years now and am currently teaching cooking classes at a culinary school. I seriously love to cook and eat good food. The problem with cooking and eating like the professionals though is that it can be kind of intimidating for a home food enthusiast. My goal is to bring good food into every-day homes. Anyone can make healthy, good quality, good tasting, and good looking food with the right know-how. So here you made easy by a professional!

I will be featuring some of my favorite chef's recipes in my posts and will note in the post what book was used. Their books that I use will be listed in my must have cookbooks tab.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hollandaise & Broccolini

Remember I mentioned that I was just using TK as cooking inspiration? Last week I went on vacation and didn't have time to make any actual TK recipes, but he loves himself some hollandaise sauce...... So I made some to go on the broccolini I made for my Sunday dinner. YUM! So I did still cook at least 2 things last week! This post is just going to be about how amazing hollandaise is and also I want to show the proper way to cook green vegetables.  Hollandaise is considered one of the "mother sauces". Mother sauces are just sauce bases that get turned into more flavorful smaller sauces. For example a bechamel is a mother sauce where in its simple form is just milk thickened with a roux (fat and flour equal parts by weight). Kind of plain and boring. However, add aromatics: onion, and spices.... kicks it up a little. Or add cheddar, dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, and you have a pretty rockin cheese sauce (small sauce) you can serve with potatoes, use for your mac n cheese sauce, or with vegetables. Or see the Mornay sauce in my chicken crepes post....also based off a bechamel.  Hollandaise is the sauce served over eggs Benedict. (Another YUM! I will for sure make that sometime and post on here about it) In its basic form its just egg yolk with melted butter. You can keep it simple and just add lemon to it to give it a nice tang for your Benedict, or go a step further and add tarragon, white wine/wine vinegar,  and shallots and you have a Bearnaise sauce that you can serve with a steak. See how awesome Mamma sauces are? Simple things end up being amazing with just a few ingredients! There are so many possibilities you can play with when dealing with sauces. They are all very versatile.  Hollandaise is an emulsion, which I already talked about in a previous post. Its in the section where I talk about the sauce.  If you have ever bought a powder mix for this sauce, learn how to make it so you will never have to buy one again. There is a powdered mix for everything. Yes its easy to just mix in water and bring to a boil and stir. However, that is never a quality product worthy of being served to anyone who eats with their taste buds. I'm all about quality. If you are going to get the calories, it might as well be worth it. Here is all you need for hollandaise:

TK recommends using 2 sticks of melted butter (8 oz) per 3 egg yolks. I didn't want to make that much so I cut the recipe in 1/2, which would give me 1 stick of butter for 1 1/2 egg yolks. Seriously 1/2 an egg yolk is nothing so I just used 2 full eggs and a stick of butter and it was perfect. My husband and I also seriously heart hollandaise, so we really poured it on. However, the 1/2 recipe will comfortably serve 3-4 people who just want a normal persons amount. If you heart it also, 1/2 recipe will feed 2.  

Most recipes call for clarified butter. Butter consists of water, fat, and milk solids. When you clarify it, all you do is cut the butter into small pieces and melt it in a sauce pot over medium to low heat. Once it melts you will notice the milk solids float to the top. You can't tell by looking at it, but the water and fat have also separated and the water sinks to the bottom and the fat floats on top of it. Skim off and discard the milk solids (this is actually what causes butter to burn when you try to saute with it because milk solids have sugar, and sugar burns). Now just put the butter in the fridge and the fat will solidify on top of the water and you can just lift the solid disk of butter fat off, and discard the water. I personally don't clarify my butter when I make hollandaise because I like the milk solids in this sauce and the water helps to slightly thin the sauce so its more saucy and not so thick. If you want it to be nice and thick and not saucy, clarify it. 

Here are the steps to making this:

#1- You will need a small sauce pot with just a little water and a metal bowl slightly larger than your pot. (you will be doing a hot water bath)  Bring the water to a simmer. Put your egg yolks into the metal bowl and wisk them over the hot water bath until thick and pale yellow like the picture below. (I like dijon mustard in my hollandaise. If you do too, whisk it into your egg yolks in this step. Just a squirt, not too much.)

Its very important that you don't actually scramble the eggs. If the bowl starts getting too hot (the yolks will start cooking on the sides) remove the bowl away from the water bath and continue whisking.  This also applies to when you are adding your butter. If it looks too hot, remove it from the heat.

#2-  SLOWLY, seriously, SLOWLY add the melted butter into the egg yolks, otherwise it will not emulsify. The butter will separate from the yolks and you will have an oil slick on top of the yolks. It should look like mayonnaise. See how thin the stream is in the picture?  Keep a thin stream! You must be whisking the entire time. If your biceps are not up to this, use an electric mixer with your whisk or beater attachments. If it does separate, just get a new bowl with another egg yolk and slowly (slower then you did before when you broke your sauce) add the broken egg and butter mix, then continue SLOWLY adding your remaining butter. Have you gotten the hint yet that you can't pour too fast otherwise you'll mess this up?

 Keep whisking in the butter until you have used all the butter. It should look like this when done:

#3-  Whisk in a little lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. The lemon juice will also thin it out a little more. Also, slowly incorporate the lemon. Don't just dump it in.
Final product:

Now lets move on to the broccolini. Broccolini is not baby broccoli, and its not a broccoli/asparagus hybrid. You can read more about it on the food mayhem website.  I'm not the hugest broccoli fan because its just so strong and so easy to over cook. Broccolini is completely different. You should give it a try. (If it has a few yellow spots on the florettes, that's ok. They're not old or bad) I wanted to use this as a way to show the benefits of using the blanch/chill method for cooking green vegetables. If you have ever made green beans, broccoli, or asparagus you probably noticed how easily they can turn that u-g-l-y (you ain't got no alibi) drab olive green. That does not lead to an appealing "I want to eat that" color.  Green color compounds are very sensitive to heat and acid. Both will turn the vegetable olive green. Properly cooked green vegetables should be a bright vibrant green. This is where blanch/chill comes in. This is actually how restaurants cook most of their vegetables during prep time to speed up cooking time at service. But I do this even at home when I will be immediately consuming them. 

All you do is bring a pot of salted water to a boil and just cook the vegetable for 1-2 minutes to just PARTIALLY cook the vegetable. You do not want to cook it all the way. It should still be mostly hard. Then skim it out of the boiling water and immediately dunk into a bowl filled with ice water. This is called "shocking" the vegetable.
Have you ever gone hot tubbing in the winter time and get double dared to jump in the pool? You know that feeling when you hit the cold water after being in the hot jacuzzi water? Where your breath kindof gets knocked out? That's what happens to your vegetable. The "shock" really makes the green pop.  Just leave it in the water for a couple seconds. You don't want them to soak because they can water log.

Here is the before and after of raw to blanched:
See how much greener the after is compared to the raw? Bright and vibrant. Perfect.

To reheat you have a couple options. If you want the healthier option: Just put your chilled vegetable back into the boiling water and cook until Al Dente. (firm to the tooth) It should still have some snap to it. If its mushy ala grandma style, it is over cooked. Remove from the water and season with some salt and pepper and it is good to go.

Not so healthy option: Melt some butter in a saute pan over medium heat and warm the vegetable in the butter until Al Dente. Season with salt and pepper. 

Done. Oh wait, not done.... now you eat.