While the crepes were heating in the oven, once the squash was almost done, we watched as Emily added eggs and a minced garlic to a frying pan for carbonara. The fresh pasta takes only a very few minutes to cook, watching for the water to turn white in colour indicates when the pasta was ready. The pasta was added to the frying pan without being drained adding a small amount of pasta water to the mix. The pan never returns to the stove so the egg evenly coats the pasta and cooks slowly just from the warmth of the pasta.I couldn’t resist the invitation to join three other foodie types to head over to the Dunbar neighbourhood to experience an evening with Emily Lycopolus. Lycopolus is a chemist turned chef, recipe curator, cookbook author, cooking teacher and olive oil sommelier.
The invitation originated with In My Kitchen known for Intimate cooking experiences where passionate and knowledgeable home cooks invite you into their home to share their recipes and culture.
During the evening, which began at 4:30, with a cup of Spiced Apple Hot Toddy and conversation. The home owner, Paula Mohammed, explained a bit about the evening and also shared some fascinating personal family history with us. Paula is a descendant of a Māori chef and the child of Pakistani Canadian parents. With a diverse background she has always enjoyed a love of cooking. Her family traditionally cooks together and this love of cooking with family and friends inspired In My Kitchen.
A true culinary adventure awaited us but not before we were put to work! While enjoying an apple brandy liver paté made by Emily we started the prep portion of the evening.
FYI the guests do a lot of the work. We donned aprons and took up knives to prepare the Delicata squash. Each of us with our own cutting board. There were also pears to peel, core and slice. Dark chocolate bars to be chopped for the dessert. Once the chocolate was melted (during the process vegetable shortening was added to the dark chocolate) it was spread onto nori seaweed and topped with Tamari almonds. Into the refrigerator to harden this became a sweet and savoury dessert.
Some things were pre-prepped like the crepe batter. I was surprised and intrigued by not only the use of olive oil but how much oil was in the frying pan for the crepes. Much different than when done on a commercial griddle. These were savoury crepes later filled with prosciutto slices, fresh mozzarella and pear slices.
Meantime the slices of Delicata squash, which were not peeled because the skin is tender after cooking, were mixed with unsalted butter, chopped rosemary, drizzled with maple syrup and baked in the oven.
I think one of the most interested chores of the evening was making pasta. I had never made pasta before but thankfully it’s quite forgiving. With just a hand cranked pasta maker it is also a bit of a workout. Two of the guests did all the pasta for us which included several double turns through the pasta maker until the dough was thin enough for slicing.
While the crepes were heating in the oven, once the squash was almost done, we watched as Emily added eggs and a minced garlic to a frying pan for carbonara. The fresh pasta takes only a very few minutes to cook, watching for the water to turn white in colour indicates when the pasta was ready. The pasta was added to the frying pan without being drained adding a small amount of pasta water to the mix. The pan never returns to the stove so the egg evenly coats the pasta and cooks slowly just from the warmth of the pasta.
Following dinner we had an olive oil tasting. I was a bit hesitant because I often find tasting olive oil alone causes a harsh cough. Turns out it is supposed to! A good quality virgin olive oil will burn like pepper and will create an almost choking cough. Who knew? Now I do. Lots to learn about this well used and adaptable cooking ingredient.
Dinner was delightful with good company and great food. This was a unique experience and I look forward to next opportunity to cook with friends.
The next culinary cooking adventure will be Neopolitan cooking with Patrizia from Naples on December 21 and a few seats are still available.
For details and the full upcoming schedule visit the In My Kitchen website.
Bios and “about” feature courtesy of the In My Kitchen website. Images, except as noted, MyVanCity. Feature image: Oldmermaid, Pixabay. I received the culinary experience complimentary. All opinions are my own.