'Emeril Green' Comes Out of the Oven
Now the show is ready for prime time, and it's coming out of the oven Monday, July 14, at 8 p.m. Emeril has cooked up a batch of 80 shows, each of which profiles a "cooking-challenged" home cook from the Washington area, including a handful of Mighty Appetite blog readers. Deepening the Washington connection is the Whole Foods in Fair Lakes, Va., where the entire first season has been taped, according to producer Marie Ostrosky.
Typically, the show will air Monday through Friday at 8 p.m., but the debut will be a "mini-marathon running six shows back-to-back, " says Ostrosky. "Then it's two shows a night for the first two weeks."
Two MA readers are part of Monday's lineup, including 39-year-old Laura MacLean of Capitol Hill and 29-year-old Bren Herrera, who divides her time between Falls Church, Va., and Atlanta, Ga. The following week, 29-year-old Samantha Cummings, of Arlington, Va., is the star of the July 23 show.
I asked this trio a handful of questions about their on-air experiences working with Lagasse. MacLean and Cummings responded via e-mail; Herrera spoke with me by phone from St. Maarten earlier this week.
What was your dilemma?
Laura MacLean: I am so busy with work (I have a full-time job, I teach spin classes at the Marine Barracks and I write a blog for Trek Bicycles) AND I train for different athletic events/races at night that by the time I get home around 9:30 pm, I'm ready to eat the paint off the walls.
I also lost over 100 lbs (you'll see me holding up my big pants on the show no doubt) so it's important for me to eat healthy and fresh food that's low fat and high fiber (and fast to cook). I asked Emeril to help me liven up my menu choices with some new ideas.
Bren Herrera: Pork. Anything and everything pork. I grew up Seventh Day Adventist, and we didn't eat it, we didn't cook it, even though I'm Cuban, and our cuisine is nothing but pork. Now I've got a catering company and I'm a personal chef, and I've got clients who want pork and I didn't have the first idea about working with it.
Samantha Cummings: My pizza was never pizza parlor quality pizza. It was mediocre "homemade pizza" that was a bit floppy, the center never cooked well, etc.
Did you learn what you wanted to learn? Did you learn something you wouldn't have expected?
LM: It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn from Emeril and cook with him. I'm probably going to sound like a broken record on the show -- 'I've never tried that before" -- because he introduced me to some new veggies and legumes. At the end of the day, the best part is that I had FUN.
My dish was layered with sauteed Swiss chard on the bottom (a new veggie for me); then topped with French green lentils (I love lentils but hadn't tried this kind) that we cooked in broth with sauteed carrots/onions/celery; added some roasted corn; all that topped with an egg Emeril fried in olive oil. There may have been a little Parmigiano shaved on top, I can't remember. I'm not a big egg fan, but the dish felt like it was something I'd get in a French bistro.
BH: I learned much more than what I wanted to learn. We went to the butcher, who described every cut of the pig. I learned how to use pork as a flavoring rather than using it as a centerpiece. I must admit, I really did enjoy the ham hock in the beans he made, and I learned how long pork barbecue takes.
SC: I just wanted to learn how to make good pizzeria-style pizza. I think my biggest revelation were the toppings. I was usually pretty traditional sticking with cheese pizza (or maybe olives and capers), but the variety of cheeses and toppings we used wowed me. Having to heat a stone for about an hour also was revealing
How did Emeril incorporate "green" in helping you with your dilemma?
LM: The "green" of my show is the health aspect of the food. There's also the component of food as fuel for my active life -- how will what I'm eating keep me going. We also made "energy bars" that he named NOLA Bars I can take with me when I do long bicycle rides instead of buying packaged/processed ones.
BH: We talked about the benefits of free-range pork (versus conventional) and the differences in the way pigs are fed.
SC: Not a whole lot of "green" in my episode.
Overall, was it a worthwhile experience? And have you made your dish since the taping?
LM: I have made my dish several times since the taping, modified slightly, without the egg. The dish doesn't suffer without it.
BH: I'd do it 10 times over. I got to teach him a little about Latin cooking as well, which he seemed open to. I've cooked pork loins, I've done the pork chop marinated in citrus and bay leaf. Now cooking pork won't be a problem.
[As for eating pork, Bren says she's curious, but is still practicing her religion and staying clear of the stuff.]
SC: Yes, it was. I make pizza all the time now. My husband thinks it is the best thing I make and requests it probably a couple times a week now. I definitely try to incorporate a few different types of cheeses into my pizza now.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Emeril Fan | July 11, 2008 9:37 AM
Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | July 11, 2008 9:51 AM
Posted by: Curious | July 11, 2008 10:27 AM
Posted by: Luddite | July 11, 2008 10:42 AM
Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | July 11, 2008 10:42 AM
Posted by: Dave | July 11, 2008 12:16 PM
Posted by: Pat | July 11, 2008 12:44 PM
Posted by: Julia | July 11, 2008 2:50 PM
Posted by: No Essence | July 11, 2008 7:49 PM
Posted by: Dave | July 12, 2008 7:46 AM
Posted by: Sylvania | July 13, 2008 8:47 AM
The comments to this entry are closed.