Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Hello everybody. I've been busy with Skills II, but i wanted to make sure I got a few posts up during my first cooking class.

To start things off, a little follow up from some of the comments from before:

Crystal: For the clarified butter: keeping it in a plastic container works just fine. You don't want to heat the butter, just melt it, so it shouldn't be too hot when you ladle it off.

Derek: for the food in class: so far, we have made beef, chicken, veal, fish and vegetable stock. For these, we can save them for a few days, and we use them in recipes we make as we go along. Since we made all those stocks, we have made brown sauce and tomato sauce, which both incorporate the stocks. Later on, we made French onion soup, which uses the stock as well, and for all the soup we made, we just took it home so we can eat it at home. There is a lot of waste, but the school also has a farm, where they compost a lot of the waste we create.

Now, on to Hollandaise sauce.

I found out that Hollandaise is called what it is because originally, this sauce was made from butter from Normandy. But, during World war I, butter became limited in Normandy, so it was brought in from Holland.

To begin, for a one quart yield, you will need 18 oz clarified butter, 3 eggs, fresh lemon juice, salt, 1 oz cold water, 3 oz white wine vinegar, white pepper, cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp whole peppercorns, and a whisk.

Separate the eggs, you will only need the yolks. If you're good, and there's no yolk in the whites, you can save the whites for meringue, angelfood cake, etc.

Here, I am (clockwise from top left); heating a hot-water bath, steeping the peppercorns in the vinegar, and warming the butter.

Reduce the vinegar (which has the peppercorns in it) until it is almost dry. You will start with 3 oz vinegar, but reduce it to just a teaspoon.

Make sure not to breathe in too heavily when doing this, it is very strong.

When reduced, put it in a metal bowl, and add the egg yolks. Take the pot with the hot water, and put the bowl on top of it. You don't want to cook the eggs, but just thicken them as you do the next step, so that's what the heat is for.

Beat vigorously until the egg yolks become frothy and creamy.

You want to beat them until the impression from your whip will hold for a few seconds.

Next, add the melted clarified butter, just a small stream at a time, continuously beating so as to fully incorporate the fat into the eggs.

Egg yolks have great emulsifying properties, meaning they will blend the fat from the butter into the yolks.

It will be creamy, yet still smooth.

Next, add the lemon to taste. I'm squeezing the lemon through a strainer, so as not to get any pulp or seeds from the lemon into the sauce.

Also, season with the white pepper, salt and cayenne pepper.

We all know how good Hollandaise is with asparagus, so I might as well make that too.

I like to cut off the white bottoms of the asparagus, and peeling them near the base, to get rid of bitterness.

Here they are steaming in a steamer basket. You don't want the asparagus to be in the water, and the steamer basket sits about an inch from the bottom of the pan, so just a little water.

A really good variation of Hollandaise is Maltaise sauce. This is Hollandaise sauce with blood orange puree or blood orange juice added.

Just squeeze it in and mix.

This is really good on sauteed shrimp.

So here's the shrimp sauteeing with julienne of onion and bell pepper.

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