I used to watch Emeril Live every night when it was on. It’s always been a dream of mine to do a cooking demo in front of a group of people. Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to live out that dream (in an awesome black chef’s coat with red accents).
And it was hard as hell!
Don’t get me wrong, I had an awesome time, but it really gave me an appreciation for what the people who cook on TV actually do.
I designed my menu around one ingredient, the egg, and came up with a handful of preparations that I thought would barely fill 150 minutes. I ended up going over a little. Of all of the people who took the class (including, interestingly, a vegan who wanted to expand his egg cooking skills so he could cook for others), all of them stayed to see and taste the end of the last recipe.
I started with a simple corned beef hash with either poached or fried eggs. It’s something I make for myself at least twice a week, so I figured it would be a slam dunk. As it turns out, I struggled the most with this recipe, as I had some difficulty adjusting to an induction cooktop and also had trouble getting the eggs at the place to poach properly (I’m saying they were trick eggs! – haha).
At one point, I think I even tried casting a magic spell on the pot to get the eggs poached. I figured out the trick, which was to try a different dozen.
The class seemed to be captivated by my use of Irish butter to fry the eggs and make slowly scrambled eggs. With recipes as simple as I provided, I wanted a take home message to be that quality of ingredients with the right technique will govern how the final product turns out.
I showed the class how to go about slowly scrambling eggs. Starting with a cold pot of eggs and butter and stirring slowly over low heat until curdled, then cooling the mixture down with sour cream of creme fraîche. I showed the example of serving that on toast with simply sauteed mushrooms. I spiked the mushrooms with fresh thyme at the end, and the everyone was astonished by how such a simple addition lifted the flavors of the dish.
Then, I put on some eggs to boil and showed the class the simple technique of making fritatta. I prepared plain spaghetti and roasted sausages ahead to demonstrate that you can make fritatta with all types of leftovers. I added roasted peppers for color and some brightness.
I showed the class how to make a simple balsamic dijon vinaigrette, and how a lightly dressed salad is the perfect accompaniment to a hard boiled egg.
Last, I demonstrated the technique of making rich molten chocolate cakes. Even though I was rushing by this point, most of the class was following along.
Once we turned out the ramekins (I dropped one, oops!), most of the cakes deflated a little, indicating they could have used an extra minute or two to set, but people gobbled them up as they were.
I included some scientific explanations. I broke the egg down, explaining its dual components and tried to instill the value that it’s important think about how you want your final product to turn out and how each technique will get you to that point on a molecular level. I also dug out an academic journal article that shed light on the fact that 100% of the protein in an egg can be metabolized and utilized by the human body, and how most animal muscle sources barely provide 70%. One compliment I got during the class was that people loved these fun facts.
Like I said, it was fairly difficult, but I had an awesome time. It was most fun interacting with the class and getting to know what other people do and how some of the things I showed them had never occurred to them. Seriously, that was so fulfilling.
I loved it so much that I’m back on the schedule at Different Drummers Kitchen for another class. This time, I’m doing something totally different. If you’re the type who likes to save the date, mark your calendar for August 5. I’ll provide more details when I have them.
Here are most of the images from the eggs basics class.