On the afternoon of March 1st, Noelle Kan and Angelo Gabriel de Asis of the UW Cooking Club held a cooking class at the Sobeys on Columbia/Fischer-Hallman. The cost of this event was a mere $10, to cover the use of the room, ingredients, equipment, and of course, the end result (which was delicious).
The featured ingredient was — you guessed it — eggs! There were around eight of us who showed up to the event, so we were split into two groups of four to concoct our masterpieces: devilled eggs, eggs Benedict, and meringue cookies.
Here’s a little tidbit about my inspiration to come to this class. In my first year in residence at Waterloo (UWP), I was watching my roommate cook an omelette. But she added another crazy ingredient to the mix: mashed banana! It sounded bizarre to me, but I eventually tried it. The omelette had this amazing sweet flavour when cooked. Ever since then, I have loved experimenting with eggs. When I saw the Facebook post about this particular cooking class, I jumped at the chance to learn more ways to use eggs in a variety of dishes.
The first dish our group focused on was the meringue cookie, as the mixture was the easiest to prepare. I had no idea that there were only three main ingredients in this recipe: egg whites, cream of tartar, and finely-ground granulated sugar (almost looks like icing sugar). Noelle and Angelo then taught us how to hand mix the egg whites until they formed a really light but firm mixture that, when touched with the beaters, made a “stiff peak.”
When we turned the bowl upside down, nothing started sliding out of the bowl — that’s how firm the mixture was. This process took about 10 minutes.
Once the egg whites and sugar were thoroughly mixed, Angelo had us use a piping bag (plastic bag with the corner tip cut off) to make the cookies look like little Hershey kisses on a baking sheet. Once all of the mixture was used up, we placed the cookies in the oven for about 1 hour at 200 degrees F. The cookie itself was crispy on the outside, but once broken, its center had a soft texture.
The thing I find funny about the meringue cookies… they look awfully similar to this intriguing specimen on the right (look familiar anyone?)
For the devilled eggs, our group filled a saucepan with cold water, completely submerged four eggs into the water, and waited for the water to come to a rolling boil. Afterwards, we turned the heat back down to let it simmer for one minute. We then took the saucepan off the heat and allowed the eggs to cool for 14 minutes.
As you can probably tell, a lot of this recipe involved waiting! Finally, we took the eggs out of the saucepan, cracked them against a hard surface, and carefully peeled them under running cold water. Unfortunately, my egg was beginning to break as I was peeling off the shell, but it managed to hold its form! Once peeled, we cut our eggs in half lengthwise, scooped out the yolk, and mashed it with several ingredients: mustard, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. We then put the mixture back into the egg whites. Note: sprinkling a bit of paprika on top also gives the egg an extra kick of flavour!
The final dish we made was eggs Benedict with Hollandaise sauce. This dish took the least amount of waiting, which was a bonus for all of us. Our group filled a saucepan with water, brought it to a boil for a minute or so, then reduced it to a simmer and added vinegar, which helps the egg cook faster. We then cracked an egg into a separate glass bowl. Here’s the tricky part: we used a slotted spoon and had to create a swirling ‘vortex’ motion with the water, and then carefully slip the egg into the saucepan. While the egg was being ‘poached’, we used a small pan to fry up the ham and toast the English muffins. After only 4 minutes, the egg was ready to be taken out of the water.
The Hollandaise Sauce was definitely a highlight of this dish: all you need are four egg yolks, 1/2 a cup of unsalted butter, melted, lemon juice, and salt/pepper to taste. In a small mixing bowl, we combined all of these ingredients together and placed the bowl on top of the heated saucepan (you can also use an actual double boiler). The trick here is to keep working the mixture, placing it on-and-off the heat multiple times. The mixture should have a thick, creamy consistency, but not enough that it will look like scrambled eggs.
Rating: 8 ‘eggs’ out of 10
Thank you UW Cooking Club for organizing this. I look forward to some more surprises throughout the term!