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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Save Ferris!!

A few weeks back I had a nigh-perfect whirlwind "weekend" in Chicago with Pete and Emily.
We dubbed it a Ferris Bueller's Day Off Occasion!
See?



We even saw a Ferrari driving down the street!
It was a sign!
=)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Get in My Belly

I was ridiculously honored to be asked by some MIT Grad Students to give them a Cooking Class.
I am a Union 26 cook at those hallowed halls of academia and I interact with Students, Faculty & Staff on a daily basis.  They know me as "Eric the Enthusiastic Cook".  And I love taking care of them all.

Now we come to last Saturday.
I was a little nervous at first but as soon as I saw my class of 22 Grad Students & Opened my Mouth...it was smooth sailing.
It really reminded me of one of my All-Time Favorite Batman phrases from INFINITE CRISIS #6...
"Booster.  You have no idea how to talk to kids."
But iDigress...

I had about an hour which spilled into two!
My mission was simple.  Show these brilliant young people how to cook a few favorites without relying on recipes.
I chose to use RATIO instead.
I've learned that simple Culinary Ratios will save you from being a slave to a recipe card.
And with a Ratio, you can make as many things as you need, to just fit the occasion whether it's for yourself or a 100.

As we say in the Kitchens, "K.I.S.S."
Keep It Simple, Silly.  Well, to be honest we usually say "stupid" yet that did not apply with this crowd.
My Demonstration Menu: Simple.  Three Things.
Crepes
Cookies &
Omelets.

What I knew would really "stick" with perhaps the brightest young people on the Planet was this.
Math!  Ratio!  And I had a lot of help...
This book forever changed my life as a professional linecook and added a few fathoms unto my Skill Set.
Ratio by Michael Ruhlman.
There are Simple Everyday Codes behind Cooking.  And to be able to share them...wow!

So I started with Crepes.  The crepe shell is a simple ratio I learned.
2:2:1
2 parts Liquid (it could be water, chicken stock or orange juice on however you feel yet we used water)
2 parts Whole Egg
and 1 part AP Flour.
I demonstrated how to use a kitchen blender to achieve an awesome crepe batter.
I then used another ratio for the crepe filling.  A simple sweet cheese filling
2:1.  2 parts Mascarpone cheese to 1 part Cream Cheese, add a little powdered sugar and a cap of vanilla extract.
I showed them how to make the crepe shells, fill then roll them.
Then had them make the shells & fill them as well.  Very hands-on.
Me flipping a crepe shell to show off. =)
We blew through the crepes.  That was a huge hit.

I then taught the "kids" how to make a basic foundation simple cookie dough using a Ratio:
3:1:2
3 parts AP Flour (sifted, of course)
1 part Sugar
2 parts Fat (we used unsalted butter, softened at room temperature)
We added some walnuts, raisins, a capfull of vanilla & chocolate chips with using only a mixing bowl & a wooden spoon.  I made about 2 dozen cookies in my demonstration yield.
They came out really decent.  Not the best yet elaboration comes after the brass tacks of technique.

I then shared the gift of the perfect One Egg Omelet with a little shredded cheddar cheese.
This is perhaps one of my favorite things to cook & to eat.  This was the Big Winner, even over the amazing crepes!  It was all technique too, not getting mired in recipes and cooking times.  They cook in literally a minute!

I then oversaw the knife skills demo where they learned the proper way to hold a Chef's Knife and to make julienne/batons to a consistent dice.  I'm happy to report there was no bloodshed =)
At the end, the "kids" gifted me with an apron that was embroidered with "Chef Eric"
Man...I'm so honored.

I'm very lucky & very blessed to have the confidence of my guests to be asked to perform such a class.
They offered to pay me too yet I refused.
It is truly my honor to have part of this.
Thanks "kids".

Station Ident

Hello and Welcome to CHANNEL OCHO!
My Contribution to Helping Write the Internet.
Image above: The "SuperOm" aka The Supermantra, a stylized Om within the iconic Superman diamond & a variation on the classic color combo.  
I drew it...then I put it on a Cafe Press tee-shirt but iDigress...

What do I do here? I blog.  Along with the help of my friends who occasionally chime in.
Why?  I'm into writing, sharing stories & experiences and also want to turn you on to something cool or delicious whether it be Music, Fiction, Hockey, Spirituality or a Well-Made Dinner.
Channel OCHO is the Magazine on the Coffeetable of my Life.  The Coffeetable was where my friends & I would gather, share stories, good meals & company.  Time & Geography have split a lot of the corps up, yet we hold it together with the glue of our love & interest in all things cool & fun.

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And much much more!
Joie De Vivre!  And write it down.  You'll never know who you could inspire next!
Namaste & Good Luck.

Eric O'Sullivan
Boston, MA USA
@revsully on Twitter