Category Archives: Sauces and condiments

Hollandaise and happiness

Hollandaise never lasts long in our household. Honestly, it takes about ten minutes to make, and half that amount of time had (barely) passed by the time we’d licked up the last stray flecks of this creamy, golden, buttery sauce.

I’d never actually had hollandaise until long after I’d met M…I tried it for the first time and could barely keep myself from making a second batch, and a third. If you’ve never had this sauce, it’s a creamy, buttery, smooth sauce with rich hints of egg, lemon and cayenne. The perfect hollandaise, in my opinion, strikes a balance where the acid of the lemon cuts through but doesn’t hide the smooth, full-bodied flavor that comes from egg yolks and butter.

There are a lot of things people like to do with hollandaise:

  • drizzle it over steamed asparagus
  • use it over poached salmon for an extra layer of flavor
  • on the infamous eggs Benedict

I, however, prefer it rather simply: with a piece of toast cut into soldiers* and a spoon. A cold winter afternoon with a small pot of hollandaise and a good book can really only be heightened with tea. Enjoy!

M’s favorite hollandaise

2 egg yolks

4-6 tbsp butter, softened

1 tbsp lemon juice (add more to taste if you like)

1/8 tsp cayenne

salt to taste

In a small, small pot (I use a sauce warmer) place the egg yolks, one tablespoon of butter, and the lemon juice. Whisk it all together and place it over low. Whisk continually, watching the butter. Once it’s melted, add another tablespoon and keep whisking.

As you can see, the sauce is very yellow when it starts out. The color will fade slightly as it cooks.

What you’re looking for in the sauce is a thick, almost mayonnaise-like consistency. I know some people like a thinner hollandaise, but M and I prefer it rich and thick like sour cream, or aioli. As the sauce begins to thicken, keep stirring. You will know that the sauce is done once you lift the whisk, letting some sauce drip back into the pot, and don’t see a slightly darker yellow ring around the droplet.

Once the sauce is done, take it off the heat and whisk in the remaining butter.

Taste it and correct for seasonings. Then, serve it up! This recipe makes enough for two hollandaise-loving people.

*Note: “toast soldiers” is a way of saying, toast cut into thin sticks for dipping.



Filed under All things eggs, Sauces and condiments

Roasted garlic oil

A few weeks ago, my mom dropped by with probably the best gift M has ever received: a bottle of homemade roasted garlic oil. She’d never had it before, so I took the opportunity to serve it up the best way I know how: with a lot of crunchy, thinly-sliced crostini and small sprinkles of sea salt. M went mad. She consumed about half a loaf of bread herself before she caught me giving her that look. It was, however, officially decided that roasted garlic oil needs to be a main staple in our kitchen.

My mother’s garlic oil was given to us in the sweetest little pouring bottle, stoppered in glass. It’s quite beautiful. The golden oil is something like magic, the color of fairy dust and Cinderella’s golden slippers. It tastes and smells as good as it gets, too: lightly perfumed, with just the right amount of sweetness to make a soft sigh imperative.

Unfortunately, our oil as run low of late…we balefully watched as I poured the last bits of oil from our reserve bottle (also thoughtfully provided by my mom) into the little pouring bottle. We sighed with sorrow. I love it lightly drizzled over toast in the morning with a small dash of sea salt…served up with an egg, it’s about the nicest breakfast you can have on a cold day. Or any day, really.

Well, once I’d decided that I needed roasted garlic for those delicious sandwiches I made, I knew that I could put it off no longer: it was officially time to bring out the peanut oil I had in my pantry and get down to business.

But, my little Pheasant bleated, What if it isn’t as good as your mom’s? Oh no. No, nay, never, no nay never, no more…this oil will be the best. Ever. Just as good as mom’s, I said firmly. I nodded and set off to make the greatest garlic oil I’ve ever tasted.

There are SO many ways to use this oil, and it’s really only limited by your imagination. Here are some ways M and I like to use our garlic oil:

  • Drizzled into mashed potatoes for a more subtle garlic kick (paired with mashed roasted garlic, it’s always a winner!)
  • Use it to sauté onions and mushrooms before tossing with pasta
  • Open up a hot baked potato and spoon a bit inside before salting and continuing with your usual toppings (skip the butter.) It adds a great, subtle garlic flavor that kicks everything up a level.
  • Use it in place of olive oil for aioli…come to think of it, sub the roasted garlic for plain in aioli and you’ve got yourself a winner!
  • Use it on little crostini with sea salt…it’s by far our favorite thing to do!

Roasted garlic oil

1-2 large, tight heads of garlic (depending on whether you want just oil, or garlic mash too)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 c peanut, olive or corn oil

 Using the directions for my best-ever roasted garlic, roast your one or two heads. 

Once they are cooked and cooled, pour the 2 cups of your oil of choice into a non-reactive saucepan or small soup pot. Carefully peel every clove of roasted garlic from one head and drop it into the oil. Set the pot on low heat and let it go for 2 to 3 hours, checking every so often to make sure it isn’t simmering. A few small bubbles here and there are fine, but nothing big. Once done, take it off the heat and leave it to cool.

If you’re making two heads for garlic mash, take the cloves from the second head and smash them all in a small jar. Cover and place it in the fridge.

Garlic mash made easy!

After you’ve let the oil cool, scoop out all the garlic from it and place them into the small jar along with your garlic mash. Place oil in the jar just until it covers all the garlic; replace in the fridge.

In a small glass jar with a lid, or some kind of cap (ours is just like a tiny doorknob with a silicone cap on the bottom for a seal) pour your oil. Pour any excess into a glass bottle (either recycled or new, it doesn’t matter as long as it seals.)

Both bottles will keep in the pantry for about three months. Granted, ours never lasts so long. Keep the garlic mash refrigerated well, and use it for antipasto, in garlic mash potatoes, as a flavoring in tomato and cream sauces, or anything else you like!


Filed under Sauces and condiments, Seasonal, Summer


I think that hollandaise has to be one of my most favorite sauces. Ever. Her sister aioli is pretty attractive too, though, come to think of it…

The last time I had aioli was at a great place in the U District named Varlamos. They served it up alongside some of the best calamari I’ve ever had the honor to put in my mouth. And that calamari was beautiful, but the aioli…¡ay, caramba! It was like nothing, I tell you, nothing I’d ever put in my mouth before. It was beautiful. Creamy, garlicky (has anyone noticed how often I put those two adjectives together? It’s because they work!) and just pungent enough to tickle your taste buds; it was gorgeous.

As I said, tonight is going to be my first romp with stuffed sole. I wanted it to be good, so I got cocky with it and decided to add “with aioli” to the end of my title. Ohhhh yeahhhh. So, I set out to make aioli.

Let me tell you: the first batch was sad. It broke, there was oil everywhere. I got oil everywhere, pheasants. Even on the walls. My second attempt was better. It came out thick and creamy, like souped-up mayonnaise. I don’t even like mayo, and this was amazing. Now, I did also make a Skinny Pheasant aioli that’s quite nice (much whiter, and has approximately a third the calories of the Pheasant aioli.) It’s good, too, but when you want something really special…go with the Pheasant aioli, okay?

Pheasant Aioli

1 egg yolk

1 clove garlic

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/3 c. oil (I used a garlic and olive mix, but you can do any kind you like)

cayenne pepper to taste

So, you’ll want to start out by mincing that garlic up fine, and I mean fine. We don’t want any huge clumps of garlic making an entrance into your beautiful, sleek aioli. Then, sprinkle a little salt over the minced garlic and, turning your knife on its broad side, press it down and bring it back across the garlic. Do this a few times, making sure to scrape up the garlic and pile it back up again after each press. It should begin to work itself into a chunky paste.

Once that’s done, take a mixing bowl and put your egg yolk into it, along with the garlic. Whisk that until it’s creamy and everything is all mixed together. Now comes the fun part: add a small, small bit of the oil to the egg, and whisk like your life depends on it. It needs to set up into a thick, creamy mayonnaise-like consistency. Once it’s thickened and the oil is all combined, add in another little bit. Keep doing this, whisking like no other after each addition of oil, until the entire 1/3 cup of oil is mixed in. Once it’s set, add the cayenne and correct for salt. The finished product should be yellow (or greenish, if you used a heavy olive oil) and thick like butter or mayo. It will keep in the refrigerator for a long time, so enjoy it!

Servings: 8 ~ Calories: 133 ~ Fat: 14.5g ~Protein: .5g ~ Sodium: 31mg

And, for those of you who want the lower-calorie version:

Skinny Pheasant Aioli

1 garlic clove

1/8 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp mayonnaise

1 1/2 tbsp reduced fat sour cream

cayenne pepper to taste

You’re going to do with the garlic clove the same as you do in the regular Pheasant Aioli, working it down into a paste after mincing it. Once that’s done, add the mayo, sour cream and cayenne pepper. Mix it up, taste it and correct. Then, let it sit for about half an hour so the flavors can blend.

Servings: 2 ~ Calories: 50 ~ Fat: 5g ~ Carbs: 1.5g ~Protein: .5g ~ Sodium: 46mg

Questionable content: 

What’s your favorite type of sauce or condiment? Why?

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Filed under Sauces and condiments