How to Tell if an Egg is Fresh

How to Tell if an Egg is Fresh |

Here’s an easy way to see if your eggs are fresh: Fill a bowl with water, and carefully drop in the eggs. If they sink, they are fresh and still just fine to eat. (Congratulations! You should make a Tortilla Espanola.) If your eggs float and bob at the surface, they should be tossed. (Sad times.)

Very fresh eggs have less air in them, causing them to sink in water, and making them harder to peel when hard boiled. The eggs that bob at the bottom of your bowl of water, not sinking completely but not floating at the top, are actually perfect for hard boiling (and turning into Deviled Eggs). That little bit of air just inside the shell will make the task of peeling a heck of a lot easier.

Take 5: Tori Ritchie

Q&A with Tori Ritchie |
Not all of our students follow the path of restaurant life after graduating, and that is part of the beauty of living in the place where there is a wide breadth of career opportunities in food.

Tori Ritchie spoke with our students about a career in food media. She has over 25 years of experience as a cookbook author, magazine editor, free-lance writer, and occasional TV host. She teaches cooking classes right here at SF Cooking School and food writing classes at Stanford Continuing Studies. She also writes a blog called Tuesday Recipes.

Here’s our Take 5 with Tori:

1. You’re in your kitchen doing recipe development-what music is playing in the background?
Lucio Battisti. He was sort of the Italian Bob Dylan and it reminds me of eating and studying in Florence when I was 19.

2. You’re having friends over for dinner, what do you make them?
Korean “Bo Salmon” in lettuce leaves. It’s my variation on Momofuku’s Bo Ssam.

3. I secretly love to eat _______________.
Hot Tamales candies

4. Your last supper – what’s on the menu?
A trip to Rome for Bucatini all’Amatriciana with a glass of Le Terrazze Rosso Conero from Le Marche.

5. Desert island cookbooks — you get three, what are they?
Zuni Café Cookbook, by Judy Rodgers
Classic Home Desserts, by Richard Sax
Braises & Stews: Everyday Slow-Cooked Recipes, by me

Tortilla Espanola (Onion and Potato “Omelet”)

Tortilla Espanola | blog.sfcooking.comTortilla Espanola is a humble dish that requires few ingredients, but in this case, the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts. Essentially, it is a Spanish omelet, but unlike a traditional French-style omelet it’s not folded over so there is no filling. Instead, caramelized onions and potatoes get mixed into the eggs to create a hearty and superbly satisfying meal.

A few things make this tortilla remarkably good. One is the amount of good olive oil that’s used – a whopping ¾ cup’s worth. The second thing is salt. We like to season our tortilla pretty aggressively. The right amount of salt makes the difference between “It’s so good, I can’t believe there are so few ingredients” and “Yeah, that’s pretty good.”
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Stone Fruit and Summer Berry Crisp

Stone Fruit and Summer Berry Crisp |

Are you going insane over the amazing stone fruit in season right now? Yup. So are we. The peaches and nectarines are sweet and juicy as can be. And plump raspberries or blackberries are the perfect tart counterpart to that syrupy sweetness. With these powers combined, we bring you this essential summer dessert: Stone Fruit and Summer Berry Crisp.

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Take 5: Shawn Gawle, Saison

Q&A with Pastry Chef Shawn Gawle,  Saison |

Our pro pastry students have been working on their plated dessert compositions, so we arranged for a special guest chef to show them a few tricks of the trade. Shawn Gawle, the pastry chef at Saison, creates desserts that are veritable works of art. He introduced our students to some modern techniques and ingredients, and added a few new tricks to tuck up their sleeves, no doubt.

Here’s our Take 5 with Shawn:

1. What treat always satisfies your sweet tooth?
Generally a Snickers bar or some type of Reese’s to give me my peanut butter fix.

2. You’re having friends over for dinner, what do you make for them?
Socca nicoise, ribeye w/mashed potato and a big side of roasted mushrooms (maitake or morels preferably)

3. I secretly love to eat _______.

4. What seasonal ingredient are you currently having the most fun with?
Loving peaches! When fully ripe I simply dice them and add a little syrup and freeze into a sorbet that is full in peach pulp flavor.

5. Dining out: Where do you love to go and what are the dishes you have to get?
Almost every week I go to Shanghai Dumpling King and get their soup dumplings. Truly addicting!! I also get the spicy chive dumplings and tendon salad.
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Zucchini and Feta Pancakes with Herbed Crème Fraiche

Zucchini and Feta Pancakes with Herbed Creme Fraiche |

Zucchini is all over the markets right now and we can’t get enough of this versatile veg! We’ve been slicing them thin and turning them into vegetarian “carpaccio” salads, baking them into loaves of zucchini bread, and even getting into this whole “zoodle” trend. But hands down, our favorite way to eat zucchini these days is this Zucchini and Feta Pancakes with Herbed Crème Fraiche recipe.

These crispy pancakes are the summery cousins to potato pancakes. The process of making them is very similar. Start by coarsely grating the zucchini. Salt it and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Then squeeeeeeze it good. Real good. If you’ve ever made potato pancakes, you know that the dryer the mix is, the better the pancake.

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Tempura Green Beans with Citrus-Miso Mayonnaise

Tempura Green Beans with Citrus-Miso Mayonnaise |

Our Cooking Fundamentals students whipped up these dangerously good Tempura Fried Green Beans complete with a Citrus-Miso Mayonnaise dipping sauce. We couldn’t get enough of these!

The green beans end up perfectly tender crisp with a light-as-air tempura crust. The secret to that delicate tempura batter? Ice cold seltzer water – all those bubbles and effervescence keeps things airy.

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Take 5: Sara Deseran, San Francisco Magazine

Q&A with Sara Deseran |

Sara Deseran, San Francisco Magazine’s editor-at-large and author of the new Tacolicious cookbook, came in to talk to our students about a career in food media. Here’s our Take 5 with Sara:

1. What influential/inspirational piece of food writing do you recommend aspiring food writers to read?
The chapter on catering in Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton takes the grotesque and mundane side of the food industry and makes it riveting.

2. You’re having friends over for dinner, what do you make for them?
I mix it up but I do love to make Indian curries. I love Jamie Oliver’s roasted carrots and avocado salad too. Honestly, I rarely make the same thing.

3. I secretly love to eat _______.
French Onion Sun Chips

4. What descriptive food words make you cringe?
Nom nom.

5. Dining out: Where are you a regular, and what are the dishes you have to get?
I’m a regular at Contigo – their squid! Their everything!

(Photo Credit: Williams-Sonoma)