The list of my culinary heroes is long. There is good old Nitza Villapol, who, in spite of her embrace of communism, is still the definitive Cuban cook. Her Cocina Al Minuto is a must-have in every Cuban kitchen.
And my good friend, cookbook author and now the newest Real Housewife of Miami (who will undoubtedly add some class to that show, but that's not important right now), Ana Quincoces. Her fabulous, ¡Sabor! A Passion for Cuban Cuisine should be in everyone's cookbook library.
My list of favorites however, begins and ends with Julia. *stands and applauds*
Julia Child - Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We had a dog-eared copy in the kitchen for as long as I can remember. My older sisters being the ones who discovered how amazingly simple Julia's kitchen techniques really were.
I realize it was the film, Julie & Julia that brought Julia Child back into popularity. (I may or may not have cried when Julie finds out her blog has become famous. I know. Shut up.) But it's Julia's delicious and simple recipes that will forever keep her at the top of everyone's Best Chef Ever list.
Today she would have been 100 years old. Google had this beautiful graphic commemorating the event, which made me totally happy.
In honor of Julia's birthday, permit me to share one of my favorite super simple and awesomely delicious go-to sauces, lifted directly from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 50th Anniversary Edition.
Blender Hollandaise Sauce
- 1/2 lb. unsalted butter
- 6 egg yolks
- 4–6 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until it begins to foam, 15–20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, put egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into the jar of an electric blender. Cover, and blend on high speed for 2 seconds; then, with the motor still running, gradually add melted butter in a slow, steady stream through hole in blender lid, leaving milky solids behind. Adjust seasonings.
It will totally make your asparagus sing. This Hollandaise Sauce (in a blender, people!) will also add the Wow-factor in your Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise. Trust me on this.
Can I just tell you that I love how she takes an incredibly difficult careful-or-you-will-surely-mess-this-up-so-easily sauce and makes it completely idiot-proof? That was her gift. And this cook, in particular, is grateful for her genius.
Thank you, Julia. You still rock.