Archive for the ‘Eggs’ Category
No, that’s not a pizza, although I certainly don’t mind the occasional leftover pizza for breakfast. The frittata is just one more out of a thousand things you can do with some eggs and a few leftovers. Have a bunch of mushrooms that are about to turn? A sausage link you don’t know what to do with? Any assortment of leftover veggie and you my friend can make yourself an tasty breakfast that can easily be split into slices to serve company.
Unlike the omelette the frittata doesn’t require a lot of technique. The only thing you’re really worried about is getting the added ingredients cooked just through and then setting the egg base. Another item that is key is a pan that can go into the oven without the handle melting or catching on fire. A small cast iron skillet is best, or any pan with rounded edges will work well. This may not be the most traditional frittata, but it’s great in a pinch or when you’re too hung over to leave the house to pick up breakfast.
I really shouldn’t call anything Jacque Pepin recommends a cheat. I mean, if he does something in the kitchen, it may as well be a law because you know there’s a sound rationale behind it and he’s going to do it right. Lately I’ve been reading his autobiography, The Apprentice, and I stumbled upon the souffle recipe that his mother used to make. I’ve been getting into making souffles lately partially because I enjoy the challenge and partially because a well made souffle is fucking delicious. What really attracted me to the recipe was that Pepin’s mother didn’t actually make her souffle the traditional way. Instead of separating the yolks and whites and recombining after changing the composition of both, she just mixed everything together with a white sauce and popped it in the oven. WTF?
And there I was, scratching my head wondering if this was a real thing or not. Had my cookbooks been lying to me? Is it really possible to make a tasty, delicate souffle without the multiple, messy steps I had become accustomed? Well, turns out Pepin wins yet again (no surprise). Not only was the souffle a great meal, but it rose beautifully. Simple, relatively fast, and much less sensitive to the normal restraints of throwing a souffle together. Future Top Chef contestants, you are welcome.
I’m a bipolar cook. When I’m putting something together in the kitchen I either want it to be something that’s is really challenging and involves multiple steps and stages or I want something earth shatteringly easy and beautifully simplistic. Now I say easy, but not Rachel Dogfood Ray easy. I mean learning how to cook things efficiently and perfectly easily. Eggs, pasta dough, soup, these are all things that tend to be pretty easy and really difficult at the same time. For me, the omelet has always been a sticking point. Sure I could bust out a pan of properly cooked eggs and drop in a few ingredients, fold the eggs over and serve. Problem was, the bottom would always be overcooked and leathery, or the insides wouldn’t be cooked enough, or the whole thing would taste like styrofoam. Any number of issues would arise to make a intuitively simple breakfast into a god damn lackluster meal.
So deciding that I had had enough of trying to figure out this egg dish on my own, I turned to who everyone should turn to when they can’t figure something out in the kitchen, Ms. Childs. Within a minute of opening Julia Childs’ The Way to Cook I found the technique for 20 second omelets. Brilliant. About 5 minutes after reading the method I was on my way to pick up fresh eggs despite the fact it was almost 10:00 at night.
Who ever said that making a hollandaise sauce was easy is full of shit. I don’t know anyone that actually said that, but if anyone ever does, I want to be there to tell them to fuck off. I’m exaggerating obviously, but I will caution that rolling out of bed one Saturday morning and deciding to surprise the BF/GF with the genuine article hollandaise, you may be be biting off more than you can chew. I’m not saying don’t learn this sauce. It’s one of the five mother sauces after all, but I’m just saying be prepared and if possible practice getting the yolks the right consistency. It took me three attempts to get this sauce right and I’ve learned there are a few things you really, really need.
If I was going to be on Top Chef (which I’m well aware is never going to happen), one thing I would master before at some point and time before the contest starts would be making a perfect souffle. I’ve been watching Top Chef for five seasons now and time and time again this dish has caused nothing but heartache and frustration. Anthony Bourdain talked about how it was without question the most difficult station to manage while in culinary school. It’s a dish few restaurants will serve and even when they do they usually specify that the dish will take an unusual amount of time. So I decided I wanted to see how difficult putting together this fragile dish would be expecting to fail miserably. What can I say? I like a challenge.
Surprisingly, I was pretty happy with the result. Trying to put this dish together gave me a pretty good understanding of the importance of each step. Making a souffle isn’t really that hard, but like most baking, it’s a goddamn science in that each step needs to be done just right … and I usually hate science.