Tom PapoutsisTom Papoutsis is a “Firehouse Chef” that currently holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Tom’s experience in the Fire Service spans over 29 years, 19 of which have been with Fairfax County. The bulk of his firehouse culinary expertise has been practiced during his tenure there. He was a national finalist in the 2004 Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition finishing in the top 10 of the nations Firehouse Chef’s, and traveled to New York City to compete in a cook off with his peers. He has also been placed on the “charity” auction block several times to prepare meals for the highest bidder. Tom likes to specialize in Italian and Greek cuisine being of the same heritage, but also enjoys preparing Asian and of course “Good Ole American” foods as well. He concentrates on entrées but also has a few hors d’oeuvres and dessert specialties as well, such as his versions of Bruschetta and Amaretto Cheesecake. For the past year he has been studying the practice of making homemade Italian deli meats and sausages. Tom’s motto: “It’s just cooking, not rocket science, take a chance…..you might like it!” Residing in Chambersburg, PA with his wife JoAnn, twins Jonathan & Katie and “Buddy” their Golden Retriever. Tom enjoys cycling, hunting, fishing, woodworking, raising his children and helping form today’s youth while volunteering with son Jonathan’s Cub Scout pack. Tom can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]
Tom Popatis: Hi! My name is Tom Popatis. I have been a Firehouse Chef for a number of years and actually I was 2004 finalist for the Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition, a national cooking competition for firefighters.
Today, we are in my kitchen and we are going to do some basic eggs. Lets do scrambled eggs. We are going to show how to break an egg, how to separate an egg, how to fry an egg. So, today we are going to be in the kitchen and remember when you are in a kitchen, were working around hot stuff and sharp knives. So, lets think safety every time were in the kitchen, safety is number one; just watch your fingers, where we put our fingers and where how we use our knives. So, lets get started.
What we are going to do first? Some people wonder, how do I break an egg without getting the shells in? Very simple, first thing I am going to do, I am going to take a bowl that I can -- there is a couple different ways we can do it. First way is, dont smack on your head or anything like that, take the thing, just very carefully, I kind of hold it like this, give a little wrap on the side of the side bowl, it will crack it and what you want to do is take your thumbs, just very carefully, just take your thumbs, put them together and spread them and you can see how the egg just kind of falls out, just like that. Thats it, its that simple, its that easy.
Now, some people can take the egg and what they do is, if you dont have a bowl or you got a knife whatever what you do, you can take the back of a knife. Now, typically I have this knife here because this is my cooking knife, this is what Id like to use, a lot of times you can use a butter knife, but like a knife like this or any knife use the back side of the knife like this and just very carefully hold it, just give the tiny wrap, just like that, I am going to put our knife down same thing, put your thumbs together like this, just give it a pull, there you go. No shells, everything stays there, we are going to take this, we are going to throw it away.
Now, the other thing that we can do and one thing I want to point out first before we go any further is, if you are making a cake batter or something like that, go ahead take your eggs and do not take and break them into your batter. What you should do is actually take them in a bowl like this, break them into the bowl like this, so that you can see if there are any bad eggs or any shells or anything like that, you can pull them out before you put them into your batter. So, be sure to do that, dont break them right into batter or into anything that you are adding or egg into, break them into a separate bowl, check them and them put them in there. So, one more bowl to wash, but who cares, thats why we have dishwashers.
Nonetheless, the other thing that we want to cover today, real quick is how to separate an egg. A lot of people were like, How you can do this thing? Its very easy. The easiest way to separate an egg, I am going to do the same thing, but as I do this, I am going to take and I am going to keep the yolk in one half like that, you can see a lot of it actually fell through. We are going to discard that half.
Now, with clean hands, I washed my hand, before we did this, but what am I going to do to separate my yolk, is taking just go like this and just very simply shake that out like that and throw that away, here we go. Now, we have a nice yolk, there it is, no white and what well do is put these in a separate bowl. Now, for today we are not using anything separate egg, whites and yolks, so guess what, it goes back in there and we go on. Let me wash my hands, I will be right back and we are going to step into the next thing. Thanks.