Monday, May 6, 2013

Brunch In The Backyard

Just when I thought things couldn't get crazier with husband's right foot out of work, it did get crazier. The past week zoomed by with a lot of work in the office and home, and a few events planned for the weekend. I didn't mind the exhaustion <and some failures> because I was immersed in my two favorite activities - cooking and dancing!

I had been planning for the annual salsa cook-off in the office hosted around Cinco De Mayo. My prior recipe for a sweet 'n' savory mango salsa had bagged me two prizes. I went for a much simpler fruit salsa this year. Another sweet and spicy combination of grilled pineapple (used canned sliced pineapple to grill), tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, a little bit of pineapple juice, lime juice, cilantro and salt & sugar to taste. I loved the salsa, even if I say so myself. The competition was quite stiff this year though, and my recipe didn't win. However, I didn't mind losing a bit to other amazing recipes which I got to gorge myself with.

Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Saturday was supposed to be a big day - I had committed to participate in the San Diego Food Bloggers Bake Sale. I knew exactly what I was going to make - Orange and Cranberry bars - perfect for the warm weather. However, the craziness of the week just got to me. I got home on Friday night after dance practice and my legs just refused to move. So like a total loser, I pulled out of the Bake Sale the night before <totally embarrassed> and made a donation to No Kid Hungry, the charity we were raising donations for, instead. Husband consoled me saying it was not worth stretching myself and that the ultimate goal was to raise money anyway. After some reassurance, I decided to take Saturday morning off and slept like a baby.

In all this madness, I had totally forgotten that it was one year since we moved into our beautiful house. Husband wished me early on Saturday morning. Oh boy, time really does fly! We are still not done decorating the entire place and we were celebrating one year anniversary already! This called for a celebration (and my being home with the husband after a long long time). I cooked us a nice brunch and enjoyed it out in the yard appreciating our 'home'. And what did I decide to tackle? Eggs with Hollandaise sauce - my idea of a perfectly comforting brunch. If not done right, Hollandaise sauce can turn into a curdled egg mess. But it was worth the risk given the occasion, so I went ahead with the experiment. The sauce turned out perfect on my very first try. It was enough to undo the prior failures. The basic recipe I read on AllRecipes app barely had any details on the method. But thanks to excessive viewing of paying attention to Food Network, I was able to make some modifications, add a couple of ingredients, and work through the sauce.

Sunny-side up egg on a croissant with made from scratch Hollandaise sauce
Hollandaise Sauce 

3 Egg yolks
1/4 Cup melted butter
1 Tablespoon hot water
2 Teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
Paprika to taste
Salt to taste
Cilantro for garnishing - chopped finely.

  • Simmer water in a double boiler. The water shouldn't be boiling vigorously, you want to cook the eggs very slowly. Make the water doesn't touch the pot above. 
  • Whisk egg yolks in the top pot. Keep whisking vigorously without stopping throughout the process else you'll end up with scrambled eggs. Keep a hot pan holder on the side in case you need to lift the pot from heat. 
  • Once the egg yolks thicken slightly and change color (all this happens very fast), take the pot off heat and add melted butter slowly whisking all the while. Put it back on the boiler and stir in hot water. 
  • Keep stirring the sauce, lifting the pot if the heat is too high, until the sauce thickens and becomes frothy and light (2-3 minutes). Take the sauce off the heat and whisk in lemon juice, garlic powder, paprika and salt. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro. 
  • The sauce thickens even more as it starts to cool off. Serve a poached or sunny-side egg on English muffin or croissant and drizzle the sauce generously on top. Enjoy!


  • Don't have a double boiler? No worries - I don't either. Use two pots from your kitchen that sit on top of each other leaving room for water in between. Use stainless steel for the top pot. 
  • If you end up with some lumps in the sauce even after all that whisking giving you cramps, just strain the sauce to remove them.
  • If the sauce gets too thick after it cools down, simply whisk in a little bit of hot water until you get the desired consistency. 

On the side, I pan roasted a colorful combination of baby potatoes with fresh rosemary (from the garden), lots of garlic, paprika and salt. Hubby's favorite recipe since I made it with the first sprig of rosemary.

Things could only get better after a brunch like that. I had a dance performance yesterday. I was nervous about this one - we learned the dance in exactly 3 sessions. The dance came out really well though, and it was one of the best experiences I had learning a piece. Here's a picture from the show - I'm the girl in the center :). All the rush came to an end with the show (until it starts all over again).


Deeps said...

Ummm! Eggs with hollandaise is my favorite! This is one classic dish where the richness of the egg is cut through with the equally rich sauce! Looks delish and truly mouth-watering! Congratulations on completing one year in the new home! You guys have a lovely house! And as usual you look fab in the dance costume and a really great performance! :)

Snehal said...

Thanks :). After making hollandaise at home, I don't think I'll be visiting my favorite brunch places as often.

Nupur said...

Good heavens, you are one multi-talented gal to pull off that beautiful hollandaise sauce, and to be a gorgeous dancer on top of that!

Kalyan said...

that's enticing and so simple to prepare...looks delicious!

Sharan said...

We bought a grill! I grilled some pineapple for desert but I will surly try the salsa recipe sometime during the summer! Hope you both are doing well!

Sharan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharan said...

Lol, i.e. if you post the recipe of the salsa ;)

Snehal said...

@Sharanya: Congrats on the new grill! It's going to be a good summer :).
The salsa was very simple. You can make it without any specific measurements. I used one large can of tomatoes, ~15 slices of pineapple, and one large onion. Chop them all finely and add in lime juice, jalapeno, salt per your liking (lots of jalapeno for you ;). I added some pineapple juice for sweetness. Toss in a bunch of finely chopped cilantro. This was made for a big crowd of course.


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