Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Alaska versus Australia part zero

Before I get started with similarities and differences betwixt Alaska and Oz ('stralia), let me make something pretty darned clear:

Oz is the Aussie abbreviation for 'stralia. See, they like to shorten everything down here, and Oz works great! It has NOTHING to do with Dorothy, the wizard, or some damn munchkins. It also certainly has NOTHING to do with a tv show I just saw advertised about Oz being some thug type jail! Sheesh. Anyways, when I sign off of emails or posts as "cheers from Oz" it means Australia! Not a land of munchkins and certainly not a US tv show jail.

Alrighty, on with the fun:

Alaska and Australia both start with the letter "A"! Hey, I stayed up late thinking that one up.

They both have some seriously long coastlines (seriously).

Alaskan moose taste pretty damned good! Austalian roos taste pretty damned good!

Alaska has snow... SO DOES AUSTRALIA!

Australia has deserts... SO DOES ALASKA!

There's a helluva lot more similarities, but I think (actually, I WILL) save them for another time and post.

So, like, what's so different??

It's seriously fucking cold in Alaska. On a personal note, the coldest I've ever experienced was -62 F ( -52 C) and that's WITHOUT a windchill. The coldest I've experienced for any length of time was -58 F for an hour on a bicycle (many many many more dumb cycling stories to come, STAY TUNED!). Hmmm, windchill... Let's me see the charts... Well, gosh darned, the charts don't even go down that low for the actual temp... Good thing I know the conversion formula, eh? So, with a windchill of 13 MPH (that's how far I went in the hour) that means it felt like... MINUS. 92. DEGREES. FARHENHEIT!! FOR. AN. HOUR!! As I wrote, it's seriously fucking cold in Alaska. Stay tuned as I dredge my memories of Alaska stories (but not today).

It's seriously fucking hot in Oz. An hour riding at +47 C ( +116 F) --Oh, that's SHADE TEMP-- can make you pretty loopy... No shade, temp on the road of +56 C (+132 F) for an hour... I thought my lungs were on fire every time I had to go up a hill (or down a hill, or coasting, or doing nothing). As I wrote, it's seriously fucking hot in Australia.

Lots of wild Dall Sheep in Alaska.

Lots of lamb in Oz (not very tasty, if you ask me).

Roos are very cute and friendly, Moose aren't.

Alaska has former commies living right next door (you know, Siberia).

Australia has current muslims (about 100 million of them) living right next door (you know, Indonesia).

Alaskans don't abbreviate or truncate words.

Aussies shorten loads of words... Ok, here we go: Those of you in the US may or may not have heard of Aussie Rules Football. Well, now, imagine my surprise when I arrived and I found out what it's really called... Footy! Nothing is funnier than hearing 200+ pound blokes talk about "footy"... The weekly highlight show is called (no lie here) The Footy Show! Ummm, I guess if you are as tough as an Aussie footy player you can call it anything you want, eh? Personally, I prefer watching Rugby and I think Rugby players make Footy players look like sissies and they all make US footballers look like sissies. But hey, that's just my opinion and you are welcome to disagree.


Yes, I know, silly use of an exclamation point... Isn't that the point though?

Have you ever had a rich, yellow, creamy, smooth, buttery sauce at a restaurant and wondered, "how in the hell do I make that?" Or you may have wondered, "what the heck is this wonderful sauce?"

It's that yellow sauce on Eggs Benedict; it's that yellow sauce on asparagus; it's that yellow sauce served with some types of fish... Yes, you've guessed right:


But, alas, you've heard that hollandaise sauce is hard to make and it doesn't always come out 'right'. So off you go to the grocery store and buy a little packet of hollandaise sauce mix --you know the kind! Yup, the one with a paragraph of fine print ingredients that aren't fit to serve to your worst enemy (for those of you that gots em).

So you despair... You love the taste, but the pre-packaged crap will kill you and you don't know how to make the sauce from scratch. Never fear cus it's EASY!!! It takes all of about 3 MINUTES --no wait, it really only takes 45 seconds! No, I'm not doing a 'cheating' Hollandaise Sauce (hey, I can type Hollandaise in my sleep now), this is the real deal.

In fact, it's sooooo easy, I'm going to give you a few variations --of the recipe, get your mind out of the gutter, this is not Penthouse!

Here we go:

What you need:

1/3 cup (75 ml or 2 1/2 oz) of real butter (DO NOT USE MARGARINE!!!! More about that crap in a few posts...)
a pinch of salt (non-iodised sea salt Ah, more about the salt you all have to put up with in the US soon)
1 tbspn (15 mls) lemon juice Have I mentioned I have my own lemon tree out front? No I haven't? Well I have now.
2 egg yolks eggs from chooks, not emus (An emu is a very cool bird, I'll try to upload a pic for y'all)

What you do:

In a small saucepan (Don't use a coated saucepan, BLECK!), heat everything except the egg yolks until the butter is melted but not bubbling. Then: TURN THE HEAT OFF.

Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl (ten seconds perhaps).

Pour egg yolks into saucepan while whisking like a lunatic (I can relate to that).

Use immediately

There now, wasn't that quick and easy? You can make the sauce in about 45 seconds with some practice getting the egg yolks out without the egg whites (I know three different ways, I'll pass them along to you eventually). BTW Always save the egg whites. If you aren't going to use them soon (more soon) then they freeze well, just make sure you put them in a container before tossing them in the freezer.

Now for some variations on a theme...

Use half lemon juice and half lime juice. Or all lime juice, they are both tasty.

Use some tarragon (great herb). Put the tarragon in the melted butter and let it sit for a bit before whisking in the egg yolks --you may need to SLIGHTLY heat the butter mixture back up. You can use either fresh or dried, no worries.

So cheers from "Oz" and thanks for reading,


Remember guys: shake, don't wring.

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