Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Accendi una luna

Local egg benedict

Sometimes I make homemade hollandaise. It is among my many talents, and not one acquired lightly. It started at one point, after s/v Secret, if I recall—when I decided to eat for breakfast what I really wanted most. Which is, always, always, always eggs benedict.

The world's most perfect eggs benedict is made by Ann Sather, in Chicago. Or maybe I only remember it as such because it was my first—with ham off the bone and cinnamon rolls as a first course. Cinnamon rolls you could eat with a spoon. A spoon! That's how gooey they were. Chicago. Good times.

So I decided I'd learn, and I started with a packet of McCormick powder, and then I broke out Joy of Cooking, and now the only thing keeping me from eggs benedict is the stick of butter and three egg yolks hollandaise needs. It also takes a fair amount of time, although not the time you'd expect: it's time of assembly, and getting everything to come out hot at the same time. The hollandaise will sit in a bath of warm water for a fair bit, but to get a perfectly poached egg at the same time as seared ham and a toasted english muffin is no mean feat. It's a skill I've glad I've learned now that I live someplace where there is no Ann Sather.

I did some fun cooking in Chicago. I learned how to bake and how to make homemade yogurt and mayonnaise and dehydrated a year's worth of food for the Appalachian Trail. But with the amount of amazing cuisine there was around, the surrounding milieu of culinary genius (in the Ravenswood area where my apartment was, there were restaurants of twelve different ethnicities within walking distance) it was almost a crime to cook for myself. Now here in the woods there is no takeout—no decent pizza—no delivery—no Thai—and I have learned, of necessity, how to cook these things. If I want eggs benedict, I must make it myself.

Luckily, sometimes, the neighbors across the street give us eggs, from their chickens. Now I am surrounded on two sides by neighbors with chickens, and I am unable to commit. Quelle surprise. But I get their cast-off eggs, and them I poach, and whisk, and photograph.

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