I love asparagus season….

summary: Eggs Fauxrentine with Asparagus revisited; New (for us) Copper Bowl; tips for cleaning copper WITHOUT commercial cleaners; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

copper bowl edit 15 June 2011: I was just googling about copper bowls and how to clean them and came across some excellent tips.

wall of pots and pans On Sunday morning, we went out for a little bike ride early in the morning. It was a stunningly beautiful morning full of sun and promise. On the way home, we stopped at our favourite vegetable store and saw that Ontario asparagus is still priced at 2 bunches for $3.

And then we rode home to have a late breakfast. We were putting the asparagus away and suddenly out of the fridge came ham, butter and lemons and eggs. Beautiful brown farm eggs (thank you thank you thank you, Josephine!!)

eggs fauxrentine And then the round bottomed stainless steel pot came off its hook on the wall.

Yup. It was the perfect time for Eggs Benedict. And with two big bunches of brand new asparagus, it suddenly seemed imperative to have Eggs Fauxrentine.

I should have cut a few violas when I went into the garden to get the chives but I was so excited about Hollandaise sauce and asparagus that I forgot. In spite of the missing violas (they have zero flavour and are just pretty), breakfast was perfect!

T is brilliant. He is not even cooking Hollandaise sauce over a double boiler any more and still his Hollandaise sauce is stunning. And so velvety. I don’t know what I have done to deserve such pampering!

But all that butter has to be cancelled out somehow so we headed out on our bikes to ride some of it off.

We meandered from street to street and found ourselves at the St. Lawrence Market Sunday Antique stalls.

T was asking everyone for carbon steel paring knives (as if we need any more knives!) And there at one of the tables were a number of good quality nesting copper bowls. We waffled a little about buying one. And then because money was burning holes in our pockets, we decided to splurge.

copper bowl We really should have taken a photo of the bowl as it looked when we got it home. It was QUITE tarnished. But it was quickly cleaned up with a little elbow grease and a solution of white vinegar and salt.

What a great day!!

So. What DOES one whisk in a copper bowl besides egg whites?



edit 15 June 2011: I was just googling about copper bowls and how to clean them and came across Katharine Shilcutt’s post on the wonders of copper bowls for beating eggwhites. She also linked to two other sites containing handy tips for cleaning copper.

It’s not an old wives’ tale: Using a copper bowl really does produce superior egg whites for your meringues and macarons. Trust the French. They’ve been using copper bowls for centuries. […] you should never put your copper bowl in a dishwasher. Clean it with a little soap and water, then hand dry it. Don’t let the copper dry on its own unless you really enjoy vigorously polishing bowls for some reason. […]
[D]o not ever use copper cleaner on the inside of the bowl – it will ruin its reactive surface, and the entire reason for purchasing the bowl. You can also use a combination of white vinegar and flour or baking soda and lemon juice to form inexpensive pastes instead of pricey, chemical-laden copper polish.

-Katharine Shilcutt, blogs.houstonpress.com – Eating Our Words, How To On the Cleaning and Care of Copper

You may have heard of a technique for cleaning and shining copper involving a paste made of lemon juice and salt. This has the same effect as using a powdered cleanser – it will leave tiny scratches on your copper finish. Baking soda does a better job of cleaning and doesn’t scratch when applied with a soft cloth. Lemon juice isn’t necessary – it smells nice but has little cleaning value aside from cutting grease.

-The Copper Shop, Copper Care

Residues from food and many common cleaning agents can lessen the quality of your meringue. So the next time you clean your copper bowl, put away the dish soap and look into your pantry. […]

  1. Add 1 tbsp. of salt to 1 cup of white vinegar. If the bowl isn’t too dirty, you can mix the solution directly in it.
  2. Dip a clean cloth into the solution.
  3. Rub the bowl thoroughly with the rag. Dampen the rag with more solution as necessary.
  4. Rinse the bowl with hot water.
  5. Dry the bowl with a clean cloth.

-Sophie Levant, ehow.com, How to Clean a Copper Bowl

  1. Combine the [¼ cup] sea salt and [¼ cup] flour.
  2. Add white vinegar a little bit a time while stirring until you’ve made a thick paste.
  3. Rub the paste onto the pot or pan using a cloth (or sock) until it shines.
  4. Rinse, dry, and display!

-re-nest, How To Eco-Polish Your Copper Pots With Flour & Vinegar

The Copper Shop has a list of various home-made cleaning solutions, including Vinegar and Salt (with instructions to boil the copper bowl in water with 1 Tbsp salt and 1 c white vinegar for several hours and follow by hand-washing with soap in hot water, rinsing and hand-drying. There are others: Salt, Vinegar, and Flour Paste; Lemon and Salt or Baking Soda Paste; slice of lemon sprinkled with baking soda; Vinegar and Salt and Lemon Juice and Tartaric Acid Paste. (Please see Copper Care for more details)

I used Sophie Levant’s method but next time, I think I’ll try using a baking soda and vinegar paste.

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