A Living Social Brunch

When a girlfriend suggested a cooking class, I laughed knowingly. It is common knowledge that I am an atrocious cook. I consider dining out my forte, not dining in. My specialty is a chicken curry that goes like this: bake chicken breasts, pour contents of curry can over chicken, eat. If it gets more involved than that, I am at a loss.

But the Brunch Cooking Class at Living Social’s 918 F Headquarters was promising the secrets to poaching eggs, whipping up Hollandaise, and other kitchen mysteries that I have taken for granted for years as the dishes have been presented to me at a brunch table by a server.

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The truth is, poaching eggs is an art. And Hollandaise? That stuff is like eating a stick of butter! I was sort of shocked.

Chef Erik “Egg” Berlin expertly guided the class through both the poaching and the Hollandaising, and more. He was energetic, funny, and moved around the classroom quickly, helping us fools as we bravely attempted to keep up.

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The result was three dishes that I was proud to call my own. Maybe I can do this cooking stuff.

Spicy Chiliquiles 

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Yields 2 servings

Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- ½ Onion, Chopped
- ½ tablespoon
- Jalapeño, Minced
- 2 Corn Tortillas, Sliced
- 4 Eggs
- 3 tablespoons
- Water
- ¼ cup Cojita Cheese
- 1 Tomato, Diced
- ¼ cup Cilantro, Chopped
- 1 Lime, Juiced

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Instructions:
1. Place the olive oil in a large skillet, when it smokes, add the onions an d jalapeños and cook for two minutes or until soft.
2. Place the tortillas in the pan and toss to brown.
3. While that is cooking whisk the eggs and water together, season with salt and pepper and pour over the tortillas.
4. Toss around to scramble the eggs until soft but firm.
5. Toss the tomato, cilantro and lime in a bowl.
6. Top the chiliquillas with the salsa and garnish with crumbled cojita cheese.

Poached Eggs

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Yields 2 servings

Ingredients:
- 4 Eggs
- 1/3 cup White Vinegar

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Instructions:
1. Pour water into a wide saucepan 2/3 of the way to the top. Bring the water to a simmer.
2. Pour in the vinegar and stir. Keep the water between 160-180°F.
3. Drop the eggs into small cups and then slowly drop them into the water.
4. Cover the pot and cook for 8 minutes. The white should be set and the yolk still jiggles.
5. Remove the egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and dry on a tea towel. You may shock the eggs in cold water to for advanced preparation and re -heat in simmering water for 30 seconds.

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Spiced Pork Maple Sausage Hash

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Yields 2 servings

Ingredients:
- 6 oz Pork Maple Sausage
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- ½ Red Onion, Diced
- 1 Bell Pepper, Diced
- 1 Apple, Diced
- 2 Sweet Potatoes, Diced
- 2 tablespoons
- Maple Syrup
- 1 teaspoon
- Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg

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Instructions:
1. Place a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter and brown the sausage.
2. Add the onion, pepper, apple and sweet potato to the pan and sauté until soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
3. Season the dish with syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Hollandaise Sauce

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Yields 2 servings

Ingredients:
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 4 tablespoons Butter
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 2 tablespoons Water
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

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Instructions:
1. Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat.
2. Place the egg, water and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk together.
3. Whisk the egg until it is light of frothy.
4. Slowly add the hot butter to the eggs one drop at a time and whisk until an emulsion has formed. The sauce should be thick. If it starts to get too thick or begins to break, simply add a tablespoon of warm water to thin the sauce out.
5. Season the finished sauce with a pinch of salt and old bay seasoning.

Peach Bellini

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:
- 2 Peaches, Peeled and Chopped
- 1 teaspoon
- Tarragon Leaf
- ¼ cup Sugar
- ½ cup Water
- 16 oz Champagne, Prosecco or Cava, Chilled

Instructions:
1. Place the peaches, tarragon, sugar and water in a small pan or pot. Simmer until the fruit is soft and sugar has dissolved.
2. Blend the peach mixture until smooth then strain and cool completely.
3. Place 3 tbsp of the peach mixture into a champagne fluke, pour the champagne on top, stir and enjoy.

Maryland Bloody Mary

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Yields 2 servings

Ingredients:
- 1 pint High Quality Tomato Juice
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Prepared Horseradish
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Tobasco Sauce
- ½ Lemon Juiced
- 4 oz Top Shelf Vodka

Instructions:
1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large pitcher and season further to taste.
2. Rub a lemon on the rim of a pint glass and dip in Old Bay, fill with ice, place 2 oz of vodka in the glass, top with drink mix, stir well and garnish to your taste.
3. Optional Garnish: Pickled Vegetables (Cucumbers, Asparagus, Okra, Carrots), Lemon, Lime, Jumbo Lump Crab, Celery

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