Monday, July 9, 2007

Entertaining with Kathi Newspaper Food Column ~ July 5, 2007

Hollandaise Dresses Up Everyday Dishes
By Kathi Dameron

“Kathi, this is Rhea Chiles,” the caller said.

It was not every day that the First Lady of the state of Florida telephoned me to ask me to cater an important dinner at the Governor’s Mansion.

My heart went from skipping a beat to drumming and fifing under my chef’s coat. I felt like somersaulting through the aisles of the Eastwood Pharmacy, where the pint-sized Canopy Rose Café and Catering kitchen was tucked in a space tinier than a tea loaf.

I couldn’t wait to call my dad to tell him. Even though I was nearing the cusp of forty years old at the time, I still hungered for his approval.

"But are you making any money?” was my financially savvy dad’s response to my high-pitched animation on the other end of the phone. For my dad knew all too well how often I had volunteered my talents through the years.

“Yes Dad! The Governor’s Mansion is always good about paying,” I assured him. Now naturally, I didn’t let on to him that I would have catered the dinner for free. I was not in the mood for another one of my dad’s “save your money” and “pay yourself first” sermons. The bottom line for me as a chef was that I found grand strokes of creative radiance from catering high profile events in places where state history was being made.

Un-intimidated, I completely thrived on the challenge to feed Florida’s top decision makers.

Memories have a way of returning to me at the oddest of times. This remembrance met a happy homecoming last week following a demonstration I did on how to make Hollandaise sauce.

Even though I had whisked many of my own creative interpretations on Hollandaise sauce during my tenure as a caterer and the years preceding my professional culinary calling, Hollandaise sauce is about the last thing that would ever blanket my plate today.

The words ”to die for” literally define Hollandaise Sauce in my opinion. But if fat and calories are not a big concern for you, the rich velvet texture, kissed with a lemony splash of Florida citrus makes Hollandaise Sauce one of the most classic and delicious ways to dress up your vegetables, meats, fish and of course the exquisite and famous Eggs Benedict for a special celebration.

For this particular dinner at the Governor’s Mansion I prepared a Champagne Dijon Sauce that was born from a classic European Hollandaise Sauce. It was ladled over Beef Tenderloin and served by mansion staff in the dining room. There was not a drop of sauce or a morsel of food left on the returning plates!

How To Make A Classic Hollandaise Sauce ~ Basic Recipe

Don’t let the making of a Hollandaise Sauce intimidate you. It is really not all that difficult to whip up if you know the steps. With the basics under your belt, it is a cinch to launch off with your own unique versions. Play, have fun! If you have any left over, just freeze it in individual portions for another sumptuous rich to-die-for meal.

This is a typical ratio. Adapt it according to the number of servings needed. The Internet offers many different How To Make Hollandaise Sauce videos that are helpful to watch and they are free!

1 egg yolk
3 Tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons butter, give or take an ounce or two depending on size of egg yolk
Salt, pepper, & cayenne to taste

1. Clarify the butter. Set aside

2. Prepare the eggs in a mixing bowl over very low controlled heat. Set the mixing bowl over simmering water and whisk vigorously with the 3 Tablespoons of water until the eggs are at a ribbon stage and the consistency of semi-thick cream. Do not boil or the eggs will scramble.

3. Beat in the lemon juice.

4. Drizzle in the butter very slowly.

5. Season and serve as quickly as possible.

Kathi Dameron teaches private cooking classes and is a personal chef. She owns Kathi Dameron and Associates.

Photo Credit: Marcello U. & SXC

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