Be Still My Heart

I thought I was a decent cook, but each unit in this cooking course makes me realize how little I actually knew–not in a bad way, more of an inspiring way. It makes me realize that there is so much out there–in terms of food–that I have yet to experience. I relish the opportunity! More…
I thought I was a decent cook, but each unit in this cooking course makes me realize how little I actually knew–not in a bad way, more of an inspiring way. It makes me realize that there is so much out there–in terms of food–that I have yet to experience. I relish the opportunity!

The frittata is a perfect example of this. One of the practice assignments in Unit Six involves making a ham and leek frittata. After my success with the omelet, I decided to give it a try in earnest. What do you suppose happened? You guessed it! I loved the final result. On a sidenote: With few exceptions, the Rouxbe recipes are spot-on and worth the effort. But back to the frittata, it took all of 20 minutes to make, and thinking aloud, if you added a nice green salad, you would have a satisfying supper that in no way brakes the bank.

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I was so excited to eat this frittata, that I forgot to take a picture BEFORE starting to eat it!

I have really tried to refrain from making any “egg” puns, but I am growing weak. The fact of the matter is that this unit was “egg”ceptionally insightful and has opened up a whole new protein source to “eggs”plore. Forgive me!

The Humble Egg

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I thought I had a love/hate relationship with eggs. I love scramble eggs; so much so that we have four chickens of our own. And I love using eggs in baking. But beyond that, I really have not taken to them, I might have even said that I hate them. I won’t eat eggs out at restaurants; they have always smelled and tasted to “eggy” BUT it turns out that the problem isn’t with the eggs, it is with the cook. More…
I thought I had a love/hate relationship with eggs. I love scramble eggs; so much so that we have four chickens of our own. And I love using eggs in baking. But beyond that, I really have not taken to them, I might have even said that I hate them. I won’t eat eggs out at restaurants; they have always smelled and tasted to “eggy” BUT it turns out that the problem isn’t with the eggs, it is with the cook.

Unit Six delves into the egg–from its anatomy, boiling, and scrambling to frying, basting and poaching. And then it delves deeper to show how to make an omelet, a frittata, and even how to steam eggs.While my claim to fame is making the best scrambled eggs, I never really thought about why they were so good. I just assumed that it was the generous amount of butter that I used. And since having fresh eggs from our own chickens, I assumed that they provided the creamier texture. While I do think that fresh eggs do offer a better final result, I also happen to take more care when making eggs my own chickens produce–simply out of respect. It’s hard not to when you see (and hear) the effort it takes to supply us with organic eggs. But one thing is for sure, the color of fresh eggs can not be beat as you can see from the final product of my poached egg assignment…

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I found the graded omelet assignment to be an eye-opener. It turns out that the real taste of an egg gently cooked to a creamy perfection, folded gently, and dressed with nothing but salt and pepper is nothing short of amazing.

Here’s how I did it. I started by heating my fry pan to medium low. While the pan was getting up to temp, I blended two eggs in a bowl until egg whites and yellow were fully incorporated. I then seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper. I added a pat of butter to the pan and added the egg mixture once the butter had fully melted. At this point, I started stirring the eggs much like I would when scrambling eggs; making sure to break up any larger pieces. Very quickly, I started to stir more vigorously while shaking the pan to distribute any uncooked egg. Once the omelet was wet, but not runny, I turned off the heat, smoothed the surface, and let the omelet rest for about 30 seconds.

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Once the omelet had rested for that 30 seconds, using a spatula, I folded over one side over 1/3 of the way. I then made sure that the omelet was loose in the pan and took it to the plate. Using the spatula, I directed the omelet onto the plate while simultaneously folding over the omelet on it self. The result was that the under side of the middle 1/3 of the omelet was now the display side. I then repeated this process for the second omelet.

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To finish my dish, I went simple in order to understand the ingredient and technique fully, so I added some finishing salt, freshly ground pepper, and flat leaf parsley—nothing more. The interior of the omelet was creamy, not raw tasting, but rather slightly custard-like. I was surprised how the residual heat had helped to complete the cooking process so delicately. I now understand that my experience with omelets in the past had been less than stellar at restaurants because they had been cooked too long at too high of heat without care for the ingredient. I am now very excited to explore all the options for cooking omelets at home—from simply sprinkling with fine herbs to adding sautéed mushrooms and smoked Gouda.

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