Tea labelJust gotta say "that tea rocks". I finally got some of what Jen and Sean have. It's a shiny red (almost candy apple red; a bit darker, though) bag of bulk tea from "Top Tea Co". I haven't seen it in any major stores or even World Market, but it was in a small international store that had lots of Indian and Mediterranean foods. I can't find it on the internet, either. It is an Indian tea sold by a California company. I was skeptical that two tablespoons of it was enough for a gallon of iced tea, but it sure was, and the stuff expands at least 4 times in size while steeping. Actually I used just under two tablespoons and added two Bigelow Earl Grey tea bags.

Sean and I made Hollandaise together last night. He says it's very hard to make sabayon (the cooked egg yolk mixture starting the Hollandaise) well over direct heat even for experienced chefs. So as far as I can tell I did a decent job of it, but I guess I'll defer to experience and use the ban marie (cook over boiling water). Of course Sean's Hollandaise was better than mine in taste and texture, but what I made Wednesday night was quite decent and I'm happy with it as my first successful Hollandaise; it certainly beat anything I've ever had at a diner or pancake house. I'll get better. I learned I need to add water to the egg yolks before beating and beat until very frothy before cooking. This will make a much lighter, fluffier and thicker sauce, but it can be thinned with water (or more conveniently some of the butter solids left over from clarifying the butter). Also I learned I need regular pepper in addition to the cayenne. And I picked up several tips on better whisking and clarifying butter and such.