The Only Happy Egg Producer (photo courtesy of EverythingEaster.com)
Is it a surprise that twice as many eggs are consumed Easter Week as compared to a normal week? Not here, but it turns out that we, the PChefs, are part of a trend. One we might have to rectify next year. What did we do? We neglected to color eggs this year, relying instead on the time saving, cheap plastic eggs that double as temporary candy safes. We were not alone. For the first time, Easter Demand for Eggs was flat. That is wrong on two or three levels.
Hardboiling and painting eggs is both cooking real food and a great family activity. Second, the new way, as opposed to the old way, involves more sugar and bad candy. Third, we are hurting local egg producers who are hard pressed to make money with rising fuel and commodity prices, in favor of plastic doodad makers.
We are resolving to do better next year and just bought an extra dozen to try and catch up in 2011. We will probably do some Hard Boiling and may get in some Poaching too.
We had a great time and Chef Eric did a great job with the recipe in 5 minutes on TV.
Getting into "Game Mode" SK Chef Prepares
Andi Barness & Chef Eric. She was a great host.
Chef Eric, Happy with his Appearance
Thanks to Sonoran Living's Production Crew
Thanks Camera Guys
Thanks Susie Timm of Girl Meats Fork
Hall of Fame Chef Dominic O'Neill A.K.A. "Teaching Chef" Lent Support (moral & culinary)
The whole trick to making restaurant-quality, Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops in under 10 minutes was using the “Four Levers of Cooking™.” Chef Eric, or SK Chef as we call him at Smart Kitchen, had thought about the First Lever, Organizing, and the Second Lever, Preparation, in advance so that he could focus on levers 3 & 4 (“Controlling the Cooking Processes and “Flair”) when he was with Andi. He pulled off a complex, but not complicated dish, in a few minutes by completing ahead of time all that could be completed early and focusing on only Finish Cooking on site the critical Lamb and Wilted Red Swiss Chard. TV magic made it look like 5 minutes but in actuality it was really all done in about 8 minutes.
One of the preparation tricks is getting the pistachio butter’s consistency down so that it bakes into a nice crust instead of a “melt.” Holding it on ice makes it easier to manipulate.
The Consistency of the Rolled Pistachio Butter, the Diameter of a Quarter, is Key.
Another is to Par Cookthe lamb before the TV appearance, though that is not necessary or recommended at home. We gained a few minutes for TV by pre-searing the final cooked lamb (the TV Magic portion) and Holding it out of The Food Danger Zoneuntil ready to go back into the TV Station’s oven. A last trick was using a very hot pan on High Heat for searing the raw lamb on television. SK Chef took a chance heating the pan dry and then used an Avocado Oil (with the highest Smoke Point) to quickly sear the meat.
In the run up to the appearance, we also had a lot of fun (and snacks) practicing cooking lamb TV Style.
Can't I Just use YouTube?
Practicing, Chef Eric explained, over and over again on our own cameras, “Why Smart Kitchen is Different than YouTube.” Essentially he said, “You can use YouTube, but you don’t always know what you will get. With Smart Kitchen you have a professionally designed curriculum that moves you, progressively, from hand washing (for beginners) all the way to carving ice sculptures (for the more advanced). Smart Kitchen is Culinary School in a box, with all the techniques, tricks and flavors of a $30-$40,000 Culinary School but self-paced for only $9.99/month. We must have gotten it by the 4th take. Smart Kitchen is “The Smartest Way to Learn to Cook.™” We hope you give it a try. By the way the new Free Trial is live on the homepage.
The Smart Kitchen Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops
We also got to eat about 4 racks of lamb done up with a nice pistachio crust over two weeks. We were driven by a variation of Richard Marchinko’s (former Seal Team 6 Commander) motto that “the more you bleed in training, the less you will bleed in combat.” Our codicil is ”the more you cook in practice, the better you will cook on TV (and eat in the weeks leading up to the appearance).”
"Searing Lamb Chops! Take 15 & 16"
Another trick is that American Racks of Lamb (and the resultant chops) are a bit larger than Australian/New Zealand Racks of Lamb. We’d rather eat the American Chop but cook the smaller Australian/New Zealand Chop on T.V. Note to reader, both can be tricky to find on short notice. It feels like we cleaned out our local zip code of rack of lamb prepping for the appearance. If planning to cook lamb make sure to shop ahead of time to ensure a good quality piece of meat.