Sunday, June 27, 2010
Eggland's Best Cooking Event at ICE Culinary
I was fortunate to be invited to a fun blogger's event at ICE Culinary, which was sponsored by Eggland's Best. I've heard of their eggs before and was excited at the prospect of cooking with them, together with my fellow bloggers.
In addition to meeting some old friends, I met many new interesting ones that I felt like I already knew through their musings in the blogosphere.
The evening started with a fun meet and greet, throughout which I met other bloggers such as Christine from Fresh Local and Best (I was so happy to finally meet her, as Margot has been telling me so many wonderful things about this woman), Heather from The Single Dish, Simon from Plate of the Day and Megan from Runner's Kitchen (pictured above). It felt wonderful to be in the same room with like-minded individuals who all obsessed about food. I felt right at home with the constant picture taking, video, Tweeting, Facebooking - it was great.
After we got acquainted with our peers, we were introduced to our ring leader/Chef Instructor, Erica Wides, who walked us through the egg-a-licious menu of the evening. Take a look at this video to get a sense of the feast we prepared (with Erica's help of course).
From the beginning, I was really impressed by Chef Erica, who I later found out has been on the popular Food Network show Chopped. Not only was she a confident speaker, but we later observed that she was also excellent in the kitchen. Her instruction couldn't be clearer and she taught Kim from the Kimberly Belle blog and me how to poach eggs in a mixture of water and white wine.
By the end of our egg shift, we poached about 36 of them, some of which came out quite beautiful, if I do say so myself. I think I got a bit over-confident at the end, which spurred me to give an impromptu poaching lesson. See video here - and feel free to make fun of me.
After we finished cooking our 3-course meal, we sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labor. More conversations were had, during which we learned about Eggland's products including their nutritional value (25% less saturated fat and 19% less cholesterol than other eggs). And...I also got to meet another wonderful blogger, Cindy from Chubby's New York Food Diary. Cindy doesn't take herself too seriously and calls herself the Chubby Chinese Girl (which she's so NOT! Well she is Chinese but chubby she isn't). We had fun chatting about the NY restaurant scene, taking pictures of food, eggs and what not.
The food we made turned out quite delicious and while everything was tasty, I preferred the first dish, a warm salad of spring veggies, duck prosciutto and a poached egg on top. It could've been because Kim and I poached all those eggs, but I had a real soft spot (pun intended) for this starter.
Not only was it flavorful and hearty (also containing morel mushrooms) but once the poached egg was broken and released all that wonderful gooeyness, I was in heaven. The fresh, seasonal veggies such as radishes, carrots, sugar snap peas and asparagus added a wonderful earthiness and so much texture, lending an exciting experience for your palate. The recipe is below - please enjoy.
Warm Salad of Spring Veggies, Duck Prosciutto, Toasted Walnuts and a White Wine Poached Eggland's Best Egg with Champagne Vinaigrette
Ingredients (Serves 4)
White Wine Poached Eggs
2 cups of white wine
2 cups of water
8 radishes, trimmed
8 morel mushrooms, trimmed (or other wild mushroom)
12 spears of asparagus, bottom ends trimmed
12 baby carrots, peeled and trimmed
12 sugar snap peas, trimmed
4 large leaves of Boston or buttercrunch lettuce
4 thin slices of duck prosciutto, julienned
12 walnut halves, toasted
1 tsp, minced shallot
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbs champagne vinegar
6 tbs of olive oil
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
Place wine and water in a large shallow saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, but not a boil. Have an ice bath ready, a pair of tongs and a slotted spoon.
Place 4 poaching rings in the simmering water (if you don't have poaching rings, you can use cleaned tuna cans by removing their top and bottom). Make sure the water isn't boiling; it should just have a few bubbles breaking on the surface. Gently crack each egg into a ring, and allow them to poach for 3 minutes.
Carefully remove the poaching rings, using tongs, and then remove the eggs using the slotted spoon. Place the eggs in the ice bath and reserve. Turn off the heat under the poaching water, but leave it on the stove for reheating the eggs later.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the morels and radishes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place them on a sheet pan, and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the mushrooms have exuded all their water and the radishes are tender. Remove from oven and reserve.
Meanwhile heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Have an ice bath ready and a pair of tongs. Blanch the asparagus, baby carrots and sugar snap peas until they are tender, and then remove to the ice bath. Start with the baby carrots, as they take the longest. As soon as the vegetables are cooled in the water, remove them and leave at room temperature.
Make the champagne vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients for it in a small bowl.
Reheat the egg poaching water. While it reheats, lay out 4 salad plates and place a leaf of lettuce on each. Divide the radishes and morels among the plates, then toss the asparagus, carrots and sugar snap peas in the vinaigrette and divide among plates.
When the egg water returns to a gentle simmer, carefully place the eggs back in the water for 1 minute to reheat, remove and blot on a towel, then place one egg on each salad plate.
Garnish each salad with duck prosciutto and walnuts, and drizzle with any remaining vinaigrette. Serve immediately.