Thursday, October 11, 2007

Little Miss Muffett...

We had a full day of dairy planned today starting with an extremely early cheese and wine tasting with John, an afternoon of eggs and an evening of more cheese. Too bad I missed most of it because I had to go to the emergency room and convince doctors and nurses that I really did injure myself making a souffle.

At least I made it though the morning. John gave an interesting lecture about cheese, the different ways they are made and how to conduct tastings and choose wine pairings. It was an a very eye-opening morning and I had another moment of simple clarity. Before this morning, it had never occurred to me that cheeses can be matched with wines from the same region. It seems like an obvious statement and a logical conclusion, but my it never occurred to me to do so. But, this morning was great fun, particularly trying to differentiate between the subtle changes in the cheeses and the hidden flavors, like dried cherries or walnuts. It helped slightly when we ate the foods with the cheese, like we did with the actual dried cherries and the pear slices, but some were harder to distinguish.

Some of the wines also matched better than others, but I particularly enjoyed the sparkling muscato with the blue cheese. The sharpness of the cheese was nicely complimented by the sweet, fizzy muscat.


I love eggs. I think they are the most perfect meal addition, affordable, dependable, easy to use and very versatile. John did mention that there has been a change in size classification over the years, because eggs are getting gradually smaller. A jumbo today is not the same jumbo size of ten years ago. I wonder why that is - is it because we are using different chickens? is it because of what they're being fed? or the conditions they are living under?

I'd certainly like to learn more about that in the future.

Anyway, it was great fun seeing all the various cooking methods of eggs - I love it! The incredible, edible egg indeed. John demoed a bunch of different egg options, including an omelet confiture, an omelet filled with jam or jelly and dusted with confectioner's sugar. The idea was definitely kind of weird, but when he explained that it should be like a crepe, it did make a bu more sense. I tasted it and it was good but a little weird, the savoy egg feeling didn't seem to match the jelly that well.

He also explained the difference between a French and American omelet - an American omelet is cooked entirely dry in the center, while the French omelet had no color was was generally runny in the middle. I'd never been the biggest omelet person growing up, even though my dad loves them. I've started eating them more lately because they serve as an extremely satisfying meal any time of the day (of course, I'm making American omelets, my skills don't yet extend to the French yet).

I also had no idea that properly cooked breakfast eggs (over easy, etc) weren't supposed to get any color on them. I find that a little weird because don't see why it makes that much of a difference, but I'm glad to know the correct way they should be done. I wonder if the breakfast places I've always gone to know this and I just never bothered to notice or if they are just as clueless as I was. Interesting!

Flipping the eggs in the pan without breaking the yolks was one of the harder techniques we've had to try. Having to make breakfast for friends for years now, I've become pretty good at flipping eggs, although I also have a few casualties.

But, it all fell apart somewhere around the souffle making part of the afternoon. I was whisking the yolks together in the pan to make the base of the souffle, and suddenly my hand was throbbing and very painful. When I looked, the area was extremely swollen to really disturbing proportions.

I think it was from the excessive whisking over the past few days. The potato mousseline on Tuesday and making and whisking Morimoto's white miso sauce for forty minutes on Wednesday pushed my hand too far and put too much strain on my hand. So, it gave up and needed medical attention.