Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas! (Redux)

So...how was your Christmas? Ours was low-key but very nice. We started our day with a late breakfast--brunch really--featuring the miraculous Christmas eggs. In fact, one of the Ameraucanas presented us with a special blessing on the very day, the first blue egg of the season (lower right in photo). To showcase our eggy bounty, I decided that Eggs Benedict would be just the ticket. Of course, I realized too late that we were lacking English muffins, so I used some Texas toast instead. And I also used honey ham instead of Canadian bacon. Actually, even more than Eggs Benedict, I love Eggs Copenhagen, which I first had at a charming bistro in the New York's Theatre District called Pigalle. Instead of ham or Canadian bacon, you swap out smoked salmon, and you have Eggs Copenhagen. DELISH! But whatever you pair your eggs with (it could be asparagus or artichoke hearts for you veggie folks out there), it's all about the Hollandaise. My favorite version comes from a cute little volume by Linda Kay Bristow called Bread & Breakfast, and the recipe is entitled Carol's Hollandaise Sauce. Carol Mickelsen is, apparently, the innkeeper of the San Benito House in Half Moon, California, and the following is her amazing Hollandaise recipe:

Carol's Hollandaise Sauce
(Source: Bread & Breakfast, Linda Kay Bristow)

4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or two!)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, cut into small chunks
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard (I prefer whole-grained...I like how it looks)
1/3 cup sour cream
dash salt (I would omit this...it's plenty salty without)
dash white pepper (I just use black as it already has the mustard grains in there)

In the top of a double boiler, whisk together egg yolks and lemon juice, gradually adding the butter. Continue stirring. When mixture has thickened, add the mustard, sour cream, salt (if using), and pepper. Serve over Eggs Benedict or your favorite vegetables.

*Note: I half this recipe, and it still makes enough sauce for 3 or 4 people!

After brunch, we snuggled in for an afternoon movie fest, waiting for neighbor Ken to get done with his barn chores before we opened presents. Then we played board games (Pictionary and Taboo) until it was time to consume the Christmas feast that I posted about yesterday. Fun! So what did you all get for Christmas? I think my friends and loved ones were sending me a strong message with my gifts. ;-) I got three new heavy-duty cake pans, The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion, one of those rabbit-ear pepper mills, and a fabulous pasta assortment from a company called Rossi Pasta. There were six pastas (angel hair, pumpkin spice fettucine, wild mushroom linguini, parsley garlic fettucine, leek and onion linguini, and Italian spice linguini) along with one jar of vodka sauce. Yum! I don't know much about this company out of Marietta, Ohio, but apparently, they make signature pastas for the likes of Harry & David and Williams-Sonoma. I will try them out and let you know. But the best present of all, from roomie Cyd and neighbor Ken, was this:
That's right. Try not to hate. It's the Rachael Ray knife set! I know that she can be saccharine and annoying, but I have always envied her for her orange Santoku knives from Furi. And now I think I am going to have to spring for the seven-inch, too, I think (on sale for $58 at Amazon!). Love them!

Once again, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that you got everything that you wanted. (If not, that's why God gave us the after-Christmas clearance sales!)

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