I have a confession to make: I've never made Hollandaise or Béarnaise sauce the conventional old-fashioned way. With the Vita-Mix blender here, it's just too fast, easy, and fool-proof not to make it in the blender.
Tomorrow begins a 2-3 week stretch in which I'm going to be very busy – so busy that meals will probably consist of pizza slid under the office door by my Sweet Lady Wife. Today would be my last chance to sooth the inner chef in me for a while.
It's been a long time since I've prepared Mussels au Vert – so long that my wife doesn't even remember it. My son – who is away for another week – would hate this dish, so this was my chance.
1.5 lb Prince Edward Island Mussels
3 tblsp butter
1 tblsp finely chopped shallots
1 tblsp finely chopped garlic
1 cup white wine
1 teasp chopped fresh thyme
1 teasp chopped fresh oregano
1 teasp chopped fresh parsley
Clean and de-beard the mussels. Remove barnacles by scraping with the back of an old table knife. The shells should be tightly closed. When you find one open, tap it with a spoon or rap in against the counter. If it does not close discard it.
Sautee the garlic and shallots in olive oil until tender and translucent but not yet starting to brown. Add the white wine and the mussels. Cover and let steam for about 5 minutes. Take the mussels out and place them into a serving bowl. Discard any that are not open.
Add butter and the herbs to the liquid in the pan, let simmer for a minute or two. Pour liquid over mussels.
Sear-roasting is my favorite way to prepare almost any thick cut of meat. Basically all you do is to brown the outside in a pan on the stovetop. Then put them in the oven – pan and all – at 350F until the desired level of done-ness is reached.
I was talking to another local (more famous than I) foodie blogger yesterday and I mentioned my fondness for the French cuisine and the sauces. She made the usual noises about the sauces being so difficult. I didn't tell her the dirty little secret that there is a method for making Hollandaise and Béarnaise that is fast, easy, and foolproof: in your blender.
3-4 egg yolks
1 tblsp hot water
1 cup melted salted butter
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 shallot, finely chopped
Put the blender's container under the kitchen faucet and let it fill with hot water. Let the hot water run for 2-3 minutes. Your objective is to warm the container and the blades. Turn off the water and immediately dry the container. Reassemble the blender. Add the egg yolks and turn the bender on low (1-2 on my Vita-Mix). Let it run for a few seconds. Drizzle in the hot water and increase the blender's speed a bit (3-4 on my VitaMix). Let it run for about 10 seconds until the liquid begins to froth.
Reduce to the original speed and SLOWLY drizzle in the melted butter. Add the vinegar, tarragon, and shallot. Let it run for 3-5 seconds. You're done.
6-8 cups vegetable broth
3 tablesp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 leek (white part only)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
tips from 1 lb asparagus
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Heat the broth in a saucepan, set it aside but keep it warm. Cut the leek in half lengthwise, then cut it again crosswise into 1/4-inch wide pieces.
Heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, leek, and garlic. Sauté until wilted and almost tender, about 6 minutes.
Add rice. Stir until rice is translucent at the edges but still opaque in the center, about 3 minutes. Add the wine. (If you've made risotto before you know that you are now at T-18 minutes and counting) Stir often. When almost all the wine has been absorbed, add a cup of the hot broth.
Stir frequently, each time the liquid has been almost completely absorbed, ad another cup. Repeat. Don't forget to stir frequently.
When the rice is about half done (8-10 minutes to go) stir in the asparagus and parsley
When you think you are maybe one cup of broth away from the rice being tender, add the peas.
When the rice is tender, remove form the heat and add the parmesan and 2 tablespoons of butter.