Some of you may have noticed that in the header for this blog it says it’s about sports, pop culture and food (along with other things I want to talk about). Some of you may have also noticed, there hasn’t really been any food. And aside from talking about the food I ate during my woefully shortened “Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives” tour of America, (link here) those people are correct. Well get ready, because that’s about to change (at least for today). The problem with the food aspect of this blog is that despite loving to cook, (and eat) I’m really not a recipe person, which makes sharing food ideas difficult. There have been several times when I’ve made something I thought was delicious and thought “I should blog this,” only to remember I have no idea what the amounts were for virtually every ingredient I’ve used. The other problem is that I often get ideas from other cooks, and base my recipes off of theirs. In these situations I just imagine being sued by the Barefoot Contessa for stealing her recipes. (This would really be a bummer, at least after getting over the initial excitement of the Barefoot Contessa reading my blog). So those are all the reasons the food portion of this blog has been lacking, but I decided I would make a change by sharing my all time favorite food with you.
I’ve been eating artichokes with hollandaise sauce for my birthday for about 20 years (my birthday was this past weekend for anyone who would like to send belated gifts). Many times when I tell people what I eat on my birthday they give me weird looks or just have no idea what I’m talking about, those people are seriously missing out. So, in case you are one of those people who has been missing out, I’m going to share with you a general hollandaise sauce recipe (from Joy of Cooking) with some tips for added deliciousness from yours truly.
Step 1: Combine 3 eggs in a bowl with 4-5 teaspoons lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water and mix until throughly blended. (Notes on this step: I prefer the whole egg recipe, it doesn’t take away from the flavor any and you can pretend it’s healthier because you’re eating egg whites. Also I recommend WAY more lemon juice, but start with this amount and add more at the end when the sauce has cooked and come together).
Step 2: In a heavy nonstick skillet melt 6-7 tablespoons of butter. (Notes on this step: I highly recommend a double boiler for making hollandaise sauce, or failing that a heat safe glass bowl over boiling water in place of a nonstick skillet).
Step 3: Add the egg mixture slowly, stirring continuously until sauce has thickened. (Notes on this step: hollandaise sauce can break and turn into scrambled eggs very easily. I recommend removing the butter from the heat for a few minutes after it has melted and then whisking in eggs slowly before returning to the heat. After returning to heat DO NOT LEAVE FOR ANY REASON and stir continuously as this recipe says. I’ve learned from experience things can go wrong in an instant).
Step 4: Before serving add 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste. (Notes on this step: 1/2 teaspoon!?!? Personally I love salt and generally add a few tablespoons to this recipe, but this step should be entirely by taste. Once the sauce has thickened I add salt and lemon juice while tasting until it reaches the ideal level (which for me is much more salty/lemony than many people would enjoy)).
-Final note on this recipe before talking about the artichokes themselves: this recipe makes about 1 cup of sauce, I recommend doubling the recipe if there will be more than 2-3 people eating. Hollandaise generally isn’t something eaten every day, and you don’t want to have feelings of resentment towards your fellow diners if you run out.
Step 1: Cut off the stems. Despite what you might have seen on various cooking shows you don’t need to remove any other part of the artichoke.
Step 2: Place artichokes in stemming liquid and simmer for about 40 minutes (time will vary) or until knife inserted into base of vegetable goes in without any resistance.
Notes on picking out artichokes: Currently we are in prime artichoke season, so now would be an excellent time to try this recipe. Look for artichokes that are firm, bright green and have leaves that are tightly closed. (One time I found artichokes the size of softballs at Whole Foods, I couldn’t determine what type they were or find them again, but they were f*cking crazy and I recommend getting those if possible).
Notes on eating artichokes: After the artichokes are cooked, pull off the leaves and dip the non-pointy end into hollandaise sauce, then scrape off the end with your teeth. Once all leaves have been consumed you will be at the most daunting (but delicious) part of the artichoke, the heart. Remove any remaining small leaves, and use a spoon to scrape away the thistle fuzz that covers the heart. Once you have removed all inedible parts, enjoy, you have reached the meatiest and tastiest part of the artichoke. After completing I recommend eating more artichokes until you are full almost to the point of throwing up. (Ok, maybe not quite to this point, but I only eat this meal once a year so I tend to indulge a bit).