A Boozy Sunday Brunch Cooking Class

         The last Sunday of October was another sold out event by Brown Rice Meets the Pearl. 22 lucky participants were so keen to learn the art of making gravlax, a perfect poached egg and pumpkin macarons with me. With the help of HK liquor Store, 3 different tailor made beverage pairings were carefully selected for my dishes. I am so grateful for that! Again, I had the privilege to use Rachel’s Kitchen as a venue where there is a workshop full of gadgets, from bread proofers and sous vide machines to smoke guns, so I tried to utilize what was available to my advantage. 
        The first thing that I had my guests work on was the shaping of the multigrain bread rolls for the bottom of our eggs florentine for later. I already mixed the dough in advance and gave it a first rise. Each person had 2 rolls, one to take home and one for here. Adding multigrain flour to regular bread flour adds fiber, color and flavour to the bread and provides an added level of complexity. You can also try to substitute 1/3 of you regular white bread recipe with any multigrain flour to give it an extra boost the next time you make bread, but keep it mind that it may require a little more water and extra rising time. The key is to be patient. after a second rise, our bread was baked and ready to be served. 

    Next on the menu was a self-cured gravlax salmon with herbs. I made one before the guests arrive, which usually takes about 1-2 hours to finish curing and one with my guests to let them know how it’s done. I then gave the fish a generous rubbing of fine herbs and added some smoke by utilizing a sexy smoke gun I had on hand. 
    This first round of smoked gravlax salmon was served along side a mixed green salad with a vinaigrette that I created with apples as a sweetener instead of added sugar, which also added body to this dressing. There is no better way to add whole fruits to your diet than adding it to sauces and dressings. 

        After everyone had their share of appetizers and sparkling wine, I continued on with the main course, which was our Eggs Benedict Florentine. The most important factor to this dish is of course the poached egg. We made 2 different style of eggs, one with the traditional method and the other with a sous vide slow cooker that held the whole eggs at a constant temperature for about an hour. 

             Then onto the Hollandaise sauce, which I made with 1/2 the butter that the original recipe calls for with added olive oil to decrease the cholesterol content. To add more excitement to the dish, I bought sweet potato greens instead of spinach for the Benedict and it paired really well with everything. 
          Everyone had a chance to make their own poached egg as well as cracking another slow cooked one for their own dish. They all seemed to have fun creating their own plate starting with toasting the bread, picking up sautéed sweet potatoes greens, layering on the gravlax salmon, then poaching their own eggs and ladling on the Hollandaise sauce on top. They each enjoyed their own creation with a glass of refreshing Rosé at the table. 
              Once we had a little break, we gathered once again to create the much anticipated pumpkin macarons. I really wanted the Halloween theme to kick in as there was only a few days to go until the real celebration. Macarons are so popular now around the world, but little did some people know, it was also an easy and fun process to make. 
         Everyone had a chance to pipe their own macarons and once these babies were in the oven, I carried on with the toasted pumpkin cream cheese filling. 
         When the pumpkin cream cheese filling and almond cookies came together, a beautiful macaron was created. To add even more Halloween spirit, I provided melted chocolate for participants to decorate their creations with scary faces. The final beverage pairing was a cocktail made from cranberry juice and creamy vanilla vodka. It was quite the star of the day! 

          At the end of the day, everyone had a happy face to bring home and we all had loads of fun cooking, eating and drinking together. It was another successful cooking class with Brown a Rice Meets The Pearl and I hope to see everyone again sooner rather than later! 

                Thank you  Zach, Wai and Rick from HK Liquorstore and Cecilia for being such a great helper. Last but not least, thanks for those participants who came out to Rachel’s kitchen on a fine Sunday afternoon! 

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