Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cooking with Eva

Last weekend, while my mom was in town, we headed out near a little town in east Texas called Daingerfield to take a cooking class at the Greer Farm from Chef Eva (pronounced Eh-Veh) Greer.

I found out about this place from my co-worker and friend Margaret, once when we were having a conversation about buying locally and sustainable food and buying meat that is grass fed or hormone and antibiotic-free. Anyhoo, Margaret knew about this farm and received their e-newsletters. So, I checked it out, too. It was sort of something I wanted to do - go take a class at this farm - so mom and I set out to take it in.

Now, the topic of the class was probably not something I would have jumped at driving two hours to take had it not been the date my mom was in town and we could go. The topic was - cooking with "aphrodisiacs". I actually wrote Eva to see if it was a class for couples or something, and would it be appropriate for my mom and I to attend. She said she doubted if any men would be there at all, and to come on ahead. She was right about that - no men, except her husband and assistant Sid.

Eva had done quite a bit of research into foods that are known as aphrodisiacs, and had incorporated several of those into the recipes. There were oysters, cardamom, arugula, honey, asparagus, figs, chocolate, strawberries and anise, just to name a few. So, if you're looking for a recipe to make for Valentine's Day, find some with those ingredients, if you know what I mean. Ahem.

This is Eva.

And, there's Sid, her husband and able helper.

She went right to work on these pork loins.

The recipe called for the loins to be split open, butterflied, and then flattened. She flattened it with a mallet, while the raw pork was between two layers of plastic wrap. Then, after liberally salting and peppering the meat, she layered prosciutto, canned figs and Gorgonzola cheese all over the flattened loin.

Then, she rolled that bad boy up.

And she showed us how to tie a stuffed pork loin up with twine.

Kelly gave it a try...

...and so did mom...

...she was an old pro in no time.

Once it was all tied up, it was ready to go in the pan.

Sid and Eva salted and peppered once again and sent it to the oven.

Here it was after about 25 minutes.

Eva basted it with fig sauce...

...and Sid put it back in the oven for a few minutes.

It browned up nicely. was good.

We also made an oyster bisque soup.

Eva, showing the watercress - and Regina, her assistant, in the background.

Slicing garlic.

The soup included onions, celery, watercress, garlic, spinach - it was sort of like a cream of spinach soup, but with oysters in it. Oysters and clam juice. I wasn't so sure I'd like that. Too fishy. But, I figured, the technique would be the same - change the clam juice to chicken broth, you've got something I'll eat.

Eva with the Pernod.

Eva also put some Pernod in the soup - Pernod is an anise-flavored liqueur. You know, because of the theme.

This has nothing to do with the food - I just thought it was cute - in this fancy kitchen, a fly swatter at the ready is still very important.

Cooking the vegetables.

The oysters...ewwwwwwww.

She showed us how you could use an immersion blender to create the "bisque" nature of the soup.

Or, you can pour it into a blender and return it to the pan.

To plate this soup, garnish with Parmesan and bacon.

Next up, asparagus with cardamom seeds.

Eva demonstrated how you should snap off the end of the asparagus, so you don't leave any of the tough, stalky, unappealing part on for the cooking. Then, she browned some cardamom seeds in a skillet, and melted some butter and oil together and put the seeds in that melted sauce. Then, she steamed the asparagus until it got bright green.

The asparagus was then covered in the sauce and liberally salted.
Very tasty.

The salad was full of aphrodesiacs as well.

Pine nuts cooked in honey until they just turn brown...

...and honey in the dressing, as well as strawberries and arugula.
(Well, this was spinach, but pretend it's arugula.)

To plate, toss with the dressing and add some goat cheese.

Last but not least - chocolate anise pots de creme.

This is a chocolate custard based dessert with a little anise flavor added in for good measure.

Once the pots were filled, they bake in a warm water bath so they stay creamy.

Then, you whip the cream up until almost firm and then add in the flavoring - this time, Pernod.

Then, when the chocolate pots come out of the oven, you top with the whipped cream.

Eva taught us how to make little parchment cones that you could fill with chocolate.

You can use that chocolate to draw out some hearts, like the one above, for garnish.

After all that work, we sat down at this lovely table to eat.

A heart-shaped napkin - how sweet.

A cheddar bisquit with chipotle-garlic butter. Divine.

It was all belly-smilin' good.
Made you want to go toes up.

I definitely want to return to the farm for another class - maybe the one on fresh berries in June - sound good to you? Thanks Mom, for taking the drive over with me and checking out this wonderful class.

Tomorrow, I'll chronicle some of the animals we met while at Greer Farm. See you then.

1 comment:

  1. Wondering why you are thanking me? I am happy you suggested it... was fun and I learned some new recipes to try. I agree the berry one should be splendid.

    Thank you,


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