Thursday, January 6, 2011

My own Throwdown: Alton vs. P-Dubs

First, a very happy birthday to the man who actually ate (and claims to have enjoyed) the Hollandaise sauce I made this morning, only after I woke him up with a smoke alarm. Happy birthday, Hubs and thank you for stopping the smoke alarm. You are the wind beneath my wings. And I mean that.

I believe you can see where this story, a recap of my grandiose plans to make a simple egg dish, is heading.

It all started yesterday, when I made a quick lunch time run to a small grocery store to grab what I needed: eggs, butter, English muffins and spinach. Much to my dismay, there were no English muffins to be had. So, I got my geek on and pulled up Alton Brown's English muffin recipe on my phone. The recipe didn't seem that difficult, but it did call for powdered milk, which said tiny grocery store also did not have.

Off I dashed to a bigger store, where I purchased the last remaining box of powdered milk. It weighed four pounds and seemed to have been packaged in the mid to late 80s.

Regardless, I was determined to make amazing English muffins.

Which I did.

Point: Alton

There is a learning curve, though. Less batter in the ring leads to fluffier, airy muffins, FYI.

So, with the muffins made, I went to bed for a brief rest before my early morning wake up call to prepare an amazing birthday breakfast for Hubs.

I used the Pioneer Woman eggs Benedict recipe. Now, I must saw that PW has never, ever steered me wrong before. Between her and Alton, I assumed my plan was foolproof. Not. So. Fast.

Her recipe asked me to poach and egg. "Just swirl the water and crack in an egg!" she wrote. Like it was nothing.

Four eggs, two pots of boiling water and one slightly scalded appendage later, I did indeed have poached eggs. But I'm not sure it was really worth it.

Meanwhile, I was supposed to be melting butter and preparing the Hollandaise (which! In case you aren't aware is just egg yolks and butter). An unfortunate series of events led to black, burning butter, a smoke alarm fiasco and a last-minute realization that I'd forgotten lemons - apparently a key ingredient.

And so, my Hollandaise was a watery mess of yolks, properly melted butter and bottled lime juice. It was way too rich for me and not at all the magical sauce I'd imagined when I learned that I'd be combining butter and egg yolks.

Negative point: Pioneer Woman

(Note: There exist no photos of the breakfast-making portion of this event due to the fact that I was frazzled, barely awake and burning everything that could be burned)

Hubs, however, rated the dish a 5 (on a scale of 1-10 of all foods, not just foods I've made) and is either a better liar than I thought, has a cold, rendering his taste buds useless or is way more enthusiastic about butter than I realized.

Winner: Alton, who has never given me directions that caused my smoke alarm to go off before 7:00 a.m.

Oh well. Tonight we're celebrating at Baru 66, a proper French restaurant, where I'm sure everything will be delightful and I can finally get this yolk-y taste out of my mouth.


Where are your favorite restaurant eggs Benedict? I'm sure they are lovely when made by wide-awake pros.

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