Hollandaise Sauce in a Blender

Hollandaise Sauce in a Blender

Hollandaise Sauce in a Blender!

Hollandaise was once the most temperamental of sauces…but that was before blenders made it quick, easy, AND delicious!

Makes

8-12 servings

Prep time:

5 minutes

Total Time:

10 minutes

Good For:

Dinner, Breakfast, Side

Inroduction

About this Recipe

I’ll be honest. I hadn’t had Hollandaise sauce until a couple years ago…when I was inspired by my own writing to try it out, LOL. In The Lost Heiress, Brook is facing down a moody chef at Whitby Park, and he chides her for interrupting him when he’s making Hollandaise, the most temperamental of sauces. Which I chose by looking up “most temperamental dishes” or something like that. Back in the day, one whisked this sauce by hand, and you literally couldn’t stop or it would separate.

Well, thank heavens for blenders! Seriously. You can now make this “most temperamental of sauces” in half a blink, just by tossing it into a blender instead of using a whisk. Woot!

The recipe I first tried called for a tablespoon of lemon juice, and I found that to be WAY to sour for my family’s taste. I dialed it back to a teaspoon, and my husband said, “Yeah, little more than that, please.” So my instructions say to start with 2 teaspoons, but add more to taste. (I liked it with only 1 teaspoon, LOL.)

It’s also very important to note that the temperamental soul of the sauce is still there. You MUST drizzle–don’t pour all at once!–that melted butter into the egg base WHILE the blender is running! If you don’t, you’ll end up with a mess. (Ask me how I know.)

Serve over eggs benedict, aspargus, chicken, pork, or anything else that needs a jolt of salty, rich deliciousness! This recipe makes A LOT, so you’ll have plenty to try on a variety of things. 😉

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 10 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons – 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Dash of cayenne
  1. Melt the butter in a spouted measuring cup.
    .
  2. Put egg yolks and lemon juice in a blender. If using unsalted butter, add ½ teaspoon salt to it. Blend on medium high speed until the egg yolks lighten, about 30 seconds.
    .
  3. Turn blender to lowest setting. While running, slowly dribble in the butter. After butter is added, taste for salt and lemon juice, adding more of either if needed.
    .
  4. Transfer to a container you can pour it from and keep it warm (not hot) until you’re ready to use.

From the Books

Hollandaise Sauce is specifically mentioned in The Lost Heiress, when the Brook interrupts the chef while he’s making it and he’s none too happy about it.

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Word of the Week – Lullaby

Word of the Week – Lullaby

When we think about a lullaby, we immediately remember soft, soothing music meant to encourage rest and sleep. But…why that word?

My husband and I were wondering about this at bedtime one night, and as I pondered it, I said, “Surely it’s related to lull.” But was I right?

As a matter of fact, I was. 😉 Lull dates from the early 1300s, from the previous form of lullen, which means “to calm or hush to sleep.” It’s thought to be a bit of an onomatopoeia word, based on the wordless lu-lu-lu (or as we spell it now, la-la-la) song that a parent would sing or hum to their child to soothe and calm and put to sleep. Swedish, Dutch, German, and Sanskrit all have similar words!

Lullaby had developed as a noun to describe this singing by around 1580, a combination of lullen + by. But…where did that “by” come in? That’s a little less certain. Some etymologists suggest it might be borrowed from goodbye, but others think it’s just a meaningless extension, tacked on because it sounded good.

As I was musing on the word at bedtime, I observed that rock-a-bye sounds very similar as is a lullaby. This is from the 1800s and combines the act of rocking a baby to sleep with that -by ending of lullaby.

Anyone else ready for a nap??

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Life-Giving and True

Life-Giving and True

 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself but must remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that passage from John 15. Countless. Dozens. Lots. 😉 It’s one of those that I’ve contemplated before, and I had my takeaway that I always recall when I read it.

For me, the emphasis was always on how we must be pruned by the Father to bear fruit in the Son. That we have to let Him cut away not just what’s dead–sins, bad habits, flaws–but also what will detract from the fruit He wants us to bear. In pruning, perfectly healthy branches are trimmed and cut back, because that’s how the branch can bear bigger, healthier fruit–by focusing all the goodness into a few places instead of many.

That’s a valid lesson, and one I’m dwelling on even now as I contemplate it anew. Because you know, sometimes it feels like God cuts us back to the quick. Sometimes it feels like He’s gone a little overboard on the pruning, right? And regardless, it hurts. Not an easy process! At least, not when it’s in process. No one likes to have something cut from their lives or from their person or from their heart.

But when the fruit begins to grow, we can see how it was necessary. We can rejoice in what we bear for Him. We can appreciate the careful work He’s done.

All that’s just bonus insight today. Because today, I want to focus instead on another side of the passage. It isn’t just about how we are made into healthy branches–it’s about the miracle and archetype of being grafted into Christ. Through our relationship with Him, we not only gain access to, come under the care of the Vinedresser, let’s say…we receive LIFE.

What is a branch before it’s grafted onto the vine? That’s an interesting question. We, as Christians, tend to say, “It’s dead wood! Useless! Worthless! Without the vine, you’re nothing!” Which is sort of true…but not totally. Because you don’t graft a dead branch onto a vine. You graft a healthy, living one FROM ANOTHER VINE. That is what happens when we become Christians–we cut our branch off from the world, which is its own vine, though I’ll go ahead and say an inferior one, and graft it into Christ. This is how we become reborn. Re. We were already born. We existed. We were alive. But if we want to live forever, we need the vine that is eternal. That’s Christ.

And then…He nourishes us. That’s pretty amazing, right? Honestly, it’s amazing just in a horticultural sense. How in the world does it work to take a branch from one vine or tree, attach it to another one, and have it GROW? How does that work?

Interesting question. I’m not an expert, but I know it involves cutting the host tree/vine too, so that all the life inside it can get into the new graft.

We feel only our own pain when God takes the pruners to us. But Jesus was cut so that He could receive us. He bled. He died. So that His precious lifeblood could become our own. We partake of Communion so that His flesh and blood can become our flesh and blood. Because that’s how a graft works–the branch must take on the “blood” (obviously not blood in a plant, but the equivalent) of the vine. If it doesn’t, it dies. It’s pruned away. It’s cast off, into the fire. Jesus feeds us the good things we need to sustain us, and that’s how we flourish. That’s how we grow. That’s how we bear fruit. Through Him and with Him and in Him. He literally gives us life.

This sort of relationship should be pretty natural for us to understand–because it’s also what defines the best earthly ones. Think of your parents…your children…your best friends. The people dearest to us aren’t just there. There aren’t just pleasant. They’re life-giving. Sometimes literally, when you consider parents and children. Sometime spiritually. Emotionally. Mentally.

My family gives me life. They sustain me, body and soul. They give me a reason to be. My best friend does the same. I know that when I need support, encouragement, advice, I can go to her, and she’ll have it. That’s what the Patrons & Peers group has become, and why we all love it so much.

I also know that these Most Important People in my life aren’t just letting me grow wild. They’re checking me. Pruning me. Letting me know when I’m taking on more than I can handle, when I’m losing my focus on what God has really called me to, when I need to cut back on even good things to make room for the Best Things.

In a way, we’re all part of many vines. Our families, our communities. We give life to them, we take it in return. That’s the beauty of the plant analogy. Each branch is working not just to produce fruit, but to return its portion of sunlight and rain to the vine, the trunk, the roots. A tree can survive without any one branch, but not without any. We all play a role, we TOGETHER play a role, in making healthy that to which we belong. This is true in our families, our groups of friends, and the Church itself.

That ought to make us stop and think. What vines are we part of? From what do we take our nourishment and give back to it? Are we planted where we should be, or are we partaking of things that aren’t ultimately good for us? And of course, the truest test:

Are all our little vines rooted in Christ, the True Vine? Because apart from Him, we can do nothing that counts for eternity…and in eternity, that’s all that counts.

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Word of the Week – Tawdry

Word of the Week – Tawdry

Tawdry.

It isn’t a word we use all that often these days, but if we’re familiar with it all, it’s evocative. It brings to mind images of risque women, perhaps, or what we today might call “trashy.” And that isn’t all that far off.

The definition of tawdry has been, since the 1670s, “a cheap imitation of something elegant, worn as if it were costly.” Costume jewelry, costumes themselves could often be called tawdry.

But the fascinating bit here is the history of the word!

Tawdry is a shortening of Tawdry Lace—a silk necktie or ribbon for women, usually sold at an annual fair celebrating St. Audrey, a queen of Northumbria (now part of England) who died in 679. That’s in fact where the were word comes from. Audrey’s Lace became Tawdry Lace.

But why is this queen famous for it?

In her youth, Queen Audrey was famous for her extravagant and trend-setting fashions. She reputedly wore necklace upon necklace. Flashy, gold, ostentatious—that was Audrey!

In her later years, she became a Christian and became much more reserved in her dress. When she contracted a throat tumor that eventually killed her, she said it was a gift from God to absolve her of the sin of frivolity in her youth—that since once she bore the vain weight of necklaces, now she bears the weight of a tumor to remind her not to focus on those passing things. She bound her neck with a silk bandage until she eventually died.

Her people carried on the tradition of that silk necktie—something to wear instead of riches or decoration—to honor her memory.

And so, St. Audrey’s Lace, Tawdry Lace, tawdry became something worn in place of costly adornments…and then something worn as if a costly adornment when it wasn’t.

Funny how the reminder to avoid vanity turned into a kind of cheapened vanity! Just goes to show how deep vanity is instilled in humanity!

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Lessons Learned from My Gamer Son

Lessons Learned from My Gamer Son

My son is a gamer.

The sort who wears brightly colored headphones that match his blue-and-black patterned desk chair. The kind whose computer keyboard flashes colorful lights. Whose mouse does the same. He has a “gamer tag” light with his gamer name etched on it, which can change its LED colors. He could spend all day, every day in front of his computer playing and be perfectly happy.

You know the type. And chances are, unless you are the type, you then judge the type.

We roll our eyes. We sigh. We grumble. We growl. We mutter about bad habits and bad lessons and how socially awkward they’re likely to be, how they’re wasting their time and ruining their eyesight and compromising their moral structure and rotting their brains.

I’ve probably done or thought all those at some point. Then…my perspective changed.

In The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis observes that humanity is incapable of noting a difference without making a judgment. Comparison, by our very nature, turns into preference, and preference soon takes on moral implications in our mind.

Which is to say, if you note that this shirt is red and that one is blue, the next step is to decide which you prefer. And once you decide you prefer red, soon you’re claiming it’s because the red is simply superior. And if red is superior, that means blue is inferior. Which means it’s bad. (Which is a moral judgment.) We then start looking down our noses at anyone who chose the blue shirt instead. We start looking for reasons to dismiss them. To judge their other stances. To decide they are Wrong because we are Right.

Okay, so that’s a super-simplified example, but it illustrates the point. This is a well documented quirk of the human, tribal mind. There’s no point in arguing with it or saying we don’t do that—we do. We simply do. It’s fact.

But once we understand it, once we accept that the human condition does mean making decisions emotionally and then justifying them with logic after the fact—another very well documented quirk of being a person—then we can start to understand ourselves, and our reactions, a little better.

When it comes to my gamer son, I can tell you the exact moment my perspective began to change: when Someone Else judged him.

This was years ago at this point. My son was already pretty obsessed with Minecraft. I indulged it to an extent, and I complained about it after that extent. He’d show me what he built, and I’d say what a great job he did and then mutter under my breath that if he spent half that amount of effort on his school work, he’d be two years ahead. He’d watch YouTube and I’d tell him he should be reading a book or playing outside instead.

Then one day, someone else dared to say the same thing about my son. They said he was wasting his time. Rotting his brain. How she just wished he would get away from that stupid screen, and how he’d regret spending his childhood there someday.

Cue all the Mama Bear instincts. First came the lashing out in my mind: Do you really think watching YouTube is any worse than all the horrible shows you watch on TV all day long? Is his playing games any worse than how you spend YOUR day? What a hypocrite!

Aloud, I reigned myself in and gave some less emotional arguments (though totally fueled from that immediate gut reaction): “Actually, he spends his days building—just like he used to do with Lego, only they don’t break apart if you shift wrong. He’s learning about computers, which is crucial in this day and age. Playing with others online has forced him to learn how to spell and read quickly and efficiently. He often recreates historical landmarks in Minecraft with nothing but a single picture of a thing. You should see his Arc de Triumph! And half of what he watches on YouTube are educational videos. He watches science experiments. Stuff about physics and animals. Every time we open our science book in school, he already knows everything because of the videos he has CHOSEN to watch. On YouTube, you can pick what you see from a virtually endless library, unlike traditional television.”

Did I convince his critic? Probably not. But I convinced me.

And ever since then, I’ve been seeing him and his gaming from a very different perspective. And I’ve learned a lot of life lessons…some taken from the gaming itself, and a whole lot about how our perspectives inform our judgments, and how dangerous that can be.

What do you do for fun? What hobbies can you pursue for endless hours when you have the hours to spare?

For me, as a kid it was reading and playing make believe with my friends. As someone who now supports her family writing novels, I can say, “This was a great thing!” To other people, it might not look that way.

I remember reading L. M. Montgomery’s Emily Series as a kid and being horrified at how Emily’s aunt viewed reading and writing fiction as morally dubious and a waste of time. What?? I cried inside. How can she be so shortsighted and cruel?? I knew that fiction reading was the Best Thing Ever. I knew it because that was what I loved.

In the years since, I’ve learned enough that I could give you Real Reasons—like the fact that reading fiction is scientifically proven to increase empathy and sympathy in the reader, and that following the thread of a novel requires so much cognitive function that it’s one of the top recommendations for maintaining good brain health as we age and fending off dementia. FICTION IS AWESOME!

But detractors will always say otherwise—because they don’t like it. They’ll say it’s a waste of time. That it’s filled with lies. That we could be reading better things. Or better still, be outside. Be in nature. Be talking to people. They might claim that reading is by nature solitary and prohibits good interaction, that we’re not building relationships with the people around us if our noses are stuck in books. That we let our health suffer through lack of activity. That we ruin our eyes.

Those are all arguments I’ve heard. I dismiss them, because I love reading. But you know what? Their points are all valid. It’s just that I’ve decided that those things aren’t what matter to me.

Criticizing gamers or “computer geeks” is easy too, and Hollywood has helped us out with that. We have an image of 40-year-olds still living in their mothers’ basements, a dark cave with only the glow of their nine monitors lighting their sickly, pale face. Discarded chip bags and empty pizza boxes around them. Okay, sure, maybe those people end up hacking a key system for the action hero and helping to save the day, but no one wants to be them. Ew.

We can say it kills their eyes, it rots their brain, it teaches them or at least desensitizes them to violence, it hinders relationship building, negatively impacts health, and so on.

The thing is…the science doesn’t actually bear that out. Sure, backlit screens can be hard on your eyes…but so is reading. Sure, there’s plenty of mindless entertainment and even questionable content on YouTube…but there’s plenty of that on television too, and in their friends’ houses, and in everything else we come across—because there’s plenty of it in our own minds. Violence? Anyone who’s read the Old Testament or classic literature can tell you that humanity has been teaching and desensitizing itself to violence since the dawn of time. We are a violent race. We always will be. That doesn’t mean we should glory in it or approve it…but we do.  Those violent games? They’re used in military training. And we call those who do it in real life heroes.

Interestingly, recent studies also show that online gaming promotes relationship building, even when they’re not talking to each other. Making decisions with other gamers creates neural pathways in the brain that exactly match playground play. When they’re interacting vocally as well, that only grows. Kids who play games with other kids build friendships—doesn’t matter if that’s in a park or on a server. They learn how to problem solve, they learn conflict resolution, they learn how to work together.

And here’s something I’ve learned just watching my son. He’s passionate about what he creates in those imaginary worlds, in the same way that I’m passionate about what I write in my own. He’ll spend hours, days, weeks crafting one building, brick by brick. He builds castles and cathedrals and libraries. He builds ships and airplanes and houses. Brick by brick. He crafts landscapes and cities and worlds and universes and multiverses. Brick by brick.

You know what that is? Dedication. Perseverance. Passion. The same things that make a successful businessman, a successful professional, a successful writer, a successful creative. We don’t apply that dedication to everything. But we apply it to what fascinates us. What we love. And we chase that into our own futures. My son does the same thing. He chases what he loves until he knows it inside out, until he can build it from the ground up, until he can solve problems and rewrite solutions and innovate.

That’s going to serve him well someday. Just as my habit of daydreaming and storytelling and reading has served me.

Here’s the thing—we’re all different. From our families, from our friends, and certainly from other generations. The pastimes you grew up with likely won’t appeal to kids today. And what they grew up with won’t appeal to their own in the future. This is just life in our ever-changing world. And that’s good. That means each generation will adapt and grow from the foundation we’ve built already. That means progress will continue. Understanding will deepen. New things will be discovered and developed. It means medicine, science, literature, leisure, and art will continue to progress at lightning speed as it has for the past couple hundred years.

Maybe, instead of immediately judging the “other” as “bad,” we should instead stop and wonder…what can we learn from them? And how are they more like us than we might first think?

For me, it started from an instinct to defend the boy I love. But from that, it’s grown to a new understanding, a new appreciation…and an excitement to see where this passion and dedication takes him in life, and how I can apply the same lessons to my own.

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