Let's Scramble Some Eggs...

If you think you can't cook, think again. Cooking is all about being fearless. Acknowledge when something doesn't work, identify the problem, and try it again. That's what I do, and this is a showcase of the results!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Death of a Hollandaise

It is with great sadness that I write my first post back from my hiatus.  Tonight dinner was perfect.  The asparagus was perfectly blanched, I nursed the sauce for the chicken into perfection, the chicken itself was perfectly juicy, even the bread was delicious.  But it was not a happy meal, for I killed the hollandaise.

And what a perfect hollandaise it was!  Butter-y and lemon-y and delicious.  I needed to heat it a little because I made it ahead.  As I tried to heat it up, I was excruciatingly careful: microwave at half-power, fifteen second increments stirring in between.  Unfortunately, Hazel was talking about the new Harry Potter amusement park and I got distracted for SIX SECONDS!  Fail.  Complete and utter fail.  the eggs curdled, the butter separated, all my efforts were destroyed.  I almost cried. Quite literally because it's that time of the month and all I wanted was hollandaise.

So maybe I'm making this a bigger deal than I should, but it was traumatic.  Thankfully, the rest of dinner was in fact perfect and I got to meet our landlord's new infant.

But here is a delightful recipe that I got from Michelle Roy Kelly and Andrea Norville's "Love at First Bite: the complete vampire lover's cookbook."

Chicken Victoria
-1/4 c. flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp marjoram (dried)
-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1/4 cup butter
-1 c. chicken stock
-1/2 c. white grape juice
-1 c. red grapes

"On a shallow plate, combine flour, salt, pepper, and marjoram.  Coat chicken breasts in this mixture.  In a heavy skillet over medium heat, melt butter.  Add chicken breasts and cook for 4 minutes.  Turn chicken over and cook 3 to 6 minutes longer, until chicken is just done.  Remove chicken from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add stock and grape juice to pan and bring to boil, scraping up pan drippings.  Boil over high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, until sauce is reduced and thickened.  Return chicken to pan along with red grapes, and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until grapes are hot and chicken is tender."

My alterations:
-I had to cook the chicken for significantly longer than the 7-10 minutes total, but this could have been avoided if I had pounded the chicken breasts out a little bit.
-I added garlic to the juice/stock step.  Mostly because I love garlic.  One clove worked for me.
-I used 3 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs butter because I used all the butter on the hollandaise :(

Changes I would make in the future:
-I would add more liquid because the sauce was DELICIOUS and I wanted more.
-I would add a few sprigs of fresh marjoram or extra dried because I wanted more flavor.

Overall, this recipe was really good.  We served it with crusty bread and asparagus, but it would also be yummy over rice.