20 September 2008

Saturday, Restaurants, and Hollandaise Sauce

Saturday morning. Thinking I needed a bit of exercise. So I talk Steve into taking a walk. There was this restaurant/coffee house around the corner (well, 5 blocks away, really) that we'd been meaning to try. Seemed like a good time to try it. Sadly, no, it was no longer there. It had been a coffee shop cum internet cafe cum bistro cum copy center. Now maybe they were just trying to be too much too too many, or maybe this is not the neighborhood for anything that eclectic. (The Krispy Kreme donut shop does fine two blocks in the other direction, but that is another animal entirely.) In any case they had gone out of business.

So we walked up to Market Street. There is a cute little "family restaurant" that we go to from time to time about an 8 block walk from here. They have great French toast (with a hint of cinnamon in the batter), always do the eggs and the hash browns just right, sounded like a plan for a hungry Saturday morning!

Unfortunately this morning I noticed they had Eggs Benedict on the menu. Now ordinarily I get the standard 2 eggs, hash browns, bacon, and toast and it's all good, standard fare. And they do fine at that. But the sound of EB-- Hollandaise over poached eggs and Canadian bacon or maybe even thin-sliced honey ham like I make it at home--got my tastebuds going. It was not what I got, however. LOL! Hollandaise must have been beyond their short order cook (notice that I do not call him/her a chef!) The muffins were fine, the eggs were nicely poached, the ham was "chip-chop" and the Hollandaise sauce was something I can only describe as "cheez-whiz-oid." Steve warned me I was expecting too much of this place. After scraping off the "cheese" (and I use that word loosely) I had muffins and eggs, with hash browns and bacon on the side it was my standard breakfast there. Live and learn.

So for your edification, and because perhaps the cook from the Akron Family Restaurant twill someday look this way, here is the recipe that I was expecting:

Classic Hollandaise Sauce from GourmetSleuth.com
[HOL-uhn-dayz] A rich egg based sauce flavored with a bit of lemon or vinegar, butter and a hint of cayenne pepper. The sauce is served over vegetables, fish, or Eggs Benedict.

The most important aspect of a successful sauce is to use a double boiler and make sure not to allow the water in the bottom of the double boiler to boil, just remain, hot and lightly simmering. You can add a tablespoon of cold water if needed to reduce the heat of the water if it starts to boil.

The sauce should be served immediately upon completion. Makes: 1 cup

2 tablespoons white-wine or tarragon vinegar or fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons boiling water
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon salt


Melt the butter and keep it warm.

Heat the vinegar or lemon juice until just warmed. Have small saucepan with boiling water and a measuring tablespoon ready.

Place the top of a double boiler over (not in) hot water. (This means the bottom of the top of the double boiler should not make contact with the water heating in the bottom half of the double boiler.)

Place the egg yolks in the top of a double boiler and whisk until they begin to thicken. Now add 1 tablespoon of the boiling water. Continue to beat the sauce until it begins to thicken. Repeat with the remaining water, one tablespoon at a time, beating the mixture after each addition.

Now add the warmed vinegar or lemon juice. Remove the double boiler from the heat. Beat the sauce briskly with a wire whisk. Continue to beat the mixture as you slowly pour in the melted butter. Add the salt and cayenne and beat the sauce until it is thick. Serve immediately.

And if you are in Akron Ohio, and want a nice inexpensive breakfast, do try the Akron Family Restaurant on Market Street--just don't order the Eggs Benedict! I recommend the French Toast.