Friday, February 19, 2010

Bookcases and pillows

This is a short one. Got some cheap ($17) bookshelves at Fleet Farm. The backs are of course just thick cardboard, and unfortunately were visible (and ugly) behind the couch. I got some fabric from the decorator fabric remnants pile at JoAnn's and upholstery tacks (silver for the green fabric, brass for brown, and black for red) and covered the ugly backs, and then used the leftover fabric to make matching throw pillows. Here are the results - bookshelves are behind the couch, pillows are on it.

For those wondering, I made the pillow patterns by measuring some pillows that were literally falling apart at the seams, then taking the resulting paper square and folding it, diagonally for the one kind, horizontally and vertically for the other. Just sewed 'em up, then ripped the stuffing out of the old pillows and put it in the new ones. Ta-da!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Easy Hollandaise Sauce

As I was looking for a recipe for Bearnaise sauce for dinner tonight, i was struck by the difficulty of the recipes I found. As Bearnaise is just a derivative of Hollandaise, I thought I'd share how I make Hollandaise. Its never failed or broken when I make it this way, however more professional chefs may scoff at it.

1 stick butter (don't worry if its salted and don't bother clarifying)
2-3 egg yolks depending on size (2 very large or 3 somewhat small)
2-3 tbs lemon juice (usually about the amount in a small lemon, without trying too hard, and depending on how lemony you like your hollandaise)
a little bit of hot sauce (how much is sorta up to your taste)
pot of simmering water about 3/4"-1" deep, and stainless steel bowl that fits on it without touching the water
microwave safe bowl
heat safe tablespoon (I just use a regular large dinner spoon. Doens't have to be totally accurate)

First, stick the butter into a microwave safe container and melt it. Now, put the egg yolks in the stainless steel bowl on your counter (don't put it over the simmering water yet). While whisking the egg yolks, use the tablespoon to spoon about 4 tbs of simmering water into them. That tempers the yolks and keeps them from scrambling. Now put the bowl over the pot of water, making sure to turn the heat low enough that it keeps simmering, NOT boiling. Now, dump in the lemon juice and melted butter. Whisk until the whole thing thickens - between 5-10 min usually. At this point if you didn't use salted butter, add salt to your taste, and add hot sauce to your taste. That's it, you're done.

For the Bearnaise I made a red wine, balsamic vinegar, shallot and tarragon reduction - 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup red wine, 2 shallots, teaspoon of tarragon reduced to about 3-4 tbls of liquid and whatever of shallots (the whole thing was about a half cup of stuff). I used 4 egg yolks and two sticks of butter, and made it the same way as the hollandaise above, minus the hot sauce of course.