I picked up some excellent tips on cooking and the fine art of French flirting during our recent trip to Paris.
The tres beaux Chef Erich taught me the former; my own two daughters taught me the latter.
It happened like this:
Katherine, who can whip up a perfect triple chocolate marshmallow cookie faster than you can say “oui!” took one look at our handsome instructor and forgot how to crack an egg.
“Kat-reen,” Chef Eric said. “You must hit the egg firmly on the table.”
“Like this?” Katherine, who had been successfully cracking eggs since the Bush administration (the George H.W. Bush administration), giggled a little.
I rolled my eyes and turned to Molly, my partner in sarcasm.
But, she was otherwise engaged.
“I’m trying to think of a whisking pun right now,” said Louie, a tall, precocious California teen-ager.
“Well, I’ve been whisking you had one,” a laughing Molly responded.
Mon Dieu! We’d only been in Paris a few short hours and already I hardly recognized my own kin.
I busied myself taking pictures while the two girls, the sweet teen, a mother/daughter duo from Pittsburgh and a Parisian couple helped Chef Erich whip up a cheese soufflé, a très délicieuse vinaigrette salad, and, best of all, a chocolate soufflé.
“Kat-reen will you help me serve dessert?”
“I’d be delighted, Chef Erich.”
I did pick up a few excellent soufflé cooking tips I’m happy to share.
1) Steam makes soufflés rise and crust traps the steam. That’s why you may want to add a layer of grated cheese to the top.
2) To avoid lumps, start whisking in the center of your bowl and work your way out.
3) Butter the ramekin in the direction you want your soufflé to rise.
4) Determine your whisk size based on the amount of air you want to add to your dish. Big speed equals big bubbles. Small speed equals little bubbles.
We all had a great time, ate some delicious food and shared a few laughs. We highly recommend La Cuisine, a cooking school located right on the banks of the Seine in Paris. And tell Chef Erich Kat-reen sent you.