So what a lovely mother’s day! The sun has finally decided to come out, and things are turning green outside. Winter is even starting to feel like a distant memory (knock on wood!) Gardening season is upon us, so the greenhouses are filled with lovely flowers and potted plants, ready to be purchased for our wonderful mothers for mother’s day (we got my mom a gerbera daisy!)
So as this is the weekend before May long weekend, in our family, this means it is cabin preparation weekend. My mom, Joce, Steven and I all headed out on Saturday. The boys started up the water and were busy in the yard. My mom was dusting and vacuuming and changing bed sheets. I, recovering from surgery, was unable to spend much time outside in the wind, and forbidden from exposing myself to dust and mouse poop. I attempted to BBQ some sausage and failed quite miserably (being poor at BBQ is a side effect of being the girlfriend of someone who happens to be quite superb at the craft.) So in the end, I spend the afternoon consolidating Monopoly games (we had about four in one box, including my dad’s old set from the sixties complete with wooden pieces, pretty cool.)
Okay enough about cleaning. This is not a cleaning email.
So with Steven living in Calgary, it was a special treat for the two of us to be able to spend mother’s day with our mom. We took advantage of the situation, and decided to plan her an extra-special mother’s day brunch. The menu included fruit salad, hash browns, and featured eggs Benedict, complete with smoked salmon, asparagus and hollendaise sauce from scratch.
Steven and I intended to let my mom sit and relax and enjoy herself while we cooked. Being a mom, she couldn’t sit and watch and got right in there and helped us cook. A lovely morning preparing breakfast with my brother and my mom.
So there were two main challenges with this meal. The first was poaching the eggs: we had not done this before. We got a pan of water heated, and added a splash of vinegar. Then it was time to crack the eggs. After some discussion, we elected my mom as the most likely to succeed at performing this critical task – Steve had cracked and egg into the sink in error earlier, and my ability to properly fit 4 eggs into one pan is questionable due to my compromised aim. Mom performed the task flawlessly, and we set the timer for about 3.5 minutes as recommended, before removing the eggs with a spoon. My mom’s tip for poaching eggs – if the egg floats to the top of the water and the top of the egg doesn’t cook, spoon some of the hot water onto the top of the egg! (See below for eggs being poached, they look like magical fluffy clouds!)
The second challenge was the hollandaise sauce, Steve set up the double boiler and separated 4 egg yolks into a bowl. Then he began vigorously whisking the egg yolks so they don’t harden in the heat. Unfortunately, disaster stuck: after adding the butter, Steven passed to reins to my mom and within moments, the sauce separated beyond repair. (we established this was not my mom’s fault!) Steven says this happened because of two factors: 1 – the heat was on too high, and 2 – we left the sauce on for too long.
– Bring extra eggs just in case a second attempt is required!
Anyways, the second attempt worked just great, and after adding a little extra lemon juice (Steve calls this the ‘citrus balance’) and a dash of cayenne pepper, we had some killer eggs benedict, topped with cold smoked salmon and oven roasted asparagus. Final verdict on the hollandaise sauce: to die for!
Spice/herb of the week:
Just a tiny pinch is a great way to add a kick to any dish
Today’s cooking term:
In your hollandaise sauce, it is important to add just the right amount of lemon juice. Too little, and your sauce will have an unfortunate buttery-eggy taste. Too much and the lemon will overwhelm the sauce!
So despite a few blips, we enjoyed a wonderful eggs Benedict with the family on mother’s day at the cabin. Special thanks to John for providing the smoked salmon, and to Joce for running to Darwell to buy more eggs!
Click here to view printable version of recipe
Hollandaise Sauce and Poached Eggs
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tbsp lemon juice – more to taste
Salt to taste
Pinch of c ayenne pepper
1. Heat water in pot on medium low, to be used as a double boiler.
2. Add egg yolks and lemon juice in bowl, not yet over heat. Whisk vigorourlsy until well combined.
3. Place bowl on pot as double boiler. Heat for approx. two minutes while whisking (you never stop whisking) Avoid too much heat or eggs will cook and scramble, ruining sauce.
4. Slowly add melted butter while continuing to whisk.
5. Continue to whisk until sauce thickens. Sauce should be able to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.
6. Whisk in salt, cayenne pepper and additional lemon juice if required.
7. Keep covered and serve warm
1. Fill a pan half-full of water and add 2 tsp of white vinegar. This makes the egg white cook faster so it doesn’t spread out and run.
2. Bring water to gentle boil.
3. Crack eggs into water and reduce heat to simmer.
4. Remove eggs after 3.5 minutes with a slotted spoon, which is about a medium-soft yolk.
5. If egg floats to top of water, the top of the egg may not cook. Resolve this by spoon boiling water over the top of the egg.