Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On a Saturday morning...

We made eggs benedict on Saturday.

Actually, it was Paden's project, not mine; and to be honest there was a lot more 'trying' than actual 'doing.'

Since The Chef Cafe is a thing of the past, we are both at home Saturday mornings for the first time. So Friday Paden checked the pantry for ingredients and I stopped by the store on the way home from work . Little did we know what we were in for.

When making Eggs Benedict, one of the most important things is getting the thickness right. The melting of the butter went smoothly. (You really don't want to know how much butter is in that stuff!) I assume the mixing of the other ingredients went well also, but I was busy over the coffee pot so I missed that part. The first tricky part came pouring the butter into the other mixture. This is where reading ahead would have helped us out a little and perhaps have even saved the dish. (Although I must say it is a great improvement on following a recipe from Paden's first attempt at making cookies a month or so ago. He wasn't aware you had read the directions and just mixed all the ingredients for fudge filled cookies together all at once and baked them. They tasted alright... but they weren't cookies.) Back to the Eggs Benedict. The butter must be poured in as slowly as possible. So I poured a tiny little itsy bitsy teeny weeny little stream into the butter while Paden whisked and whisked and I poured and poured. Once all the butter was poured and the mixture was whisked very thoroughly, it came to our attention that it was much too soupy. I grabbed for my coffee. I was needing it by now. Then I read the recipe and saw that you were supposed to watch as you poured in the butter in case it got too thin.

So Paden got ready to cook some more egg yolk to thicken the mixture. This is where things went really wrong. I'm pretty sure it happened somewhere around the time I was holding the bowl with my left over the boiling water to keep it hot while Paden separated the egg yolks and whites. I made the horrible mistake of stopping the whisk for about three seconds. The butter was separated.

It ought to have looked like this.


Instead it looked a lot more like this. Except waaaay worse. Imagine those little chunks are much bigger and that there are a lot more of them.
 


The recipe assured us that if we were newbies, a quick whiz through the blender would solve our problems. It didn't. But we had the ham prepared and the English Muffins toasted and the eggs poached and I was about to pass out from hunger, so we sat down at the table and cautiously put the "Hollandaise sauce" on top.

Yeah. It didn't taste so great. Too much lemon for one. And the recipe wasn't exaggerating when it said separating was a chef's worst nightmare. It just meant we had to drink more coffee.


But it was a great learning experience on so many levels. If you know me when I'm hungry, you can probably guess that patience wasn't in surplus. So there we were. Struggling through a recipe that wasn't working. Desperately rushing back and forth trying to save the sauce, meanwhile the clock ticking the hour away, and our tummies, which are not used to waiting more than fifteen minutes to eat, are getting hollower.


 I'd like to say the lesson I learned was about patience and how to get over how hungry I am while helping my amazing husband make this new breakfast he's wanted to try for quite sometime. But I'm afraid it only reinforced an old, dear and ever-true lesson I learnt four years ago: in a tight spot that caffeinated, warm, appetite suppressing, comforting drink will always be there to keep out chaos.

Coffee.

4 comments:

  1. Hahahaha, this was great. I could definitely picture the two of you as this happened. Miss you guys.

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  2. If you guys can bring yourselves to try it again, Jasmine, I heartily recommend the recipe on page 105 of Supper of the Lamb. You melt the butter into the thickened egg yolk, instead of separately, which seriously helps. And Father Capon spends a lot of time discussing exactly what to do. If you had done it that way to start with, though, this blog post would never have come to be and that would just be sad. ;)
    ~ Laura R.

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  3. I've been wanting to make Eggs Benedict for forever. I'll have to cautiously try it at some point. Thanks for the warning.

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  4. Re Laura: We may have to try that recipe next time.

    Re Kara: We're going to perfect the recipe, so when you come to visit we will make it for you. :)

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