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A flippin’ good time

By Staff | May 20, 2011

After cooking through the omelet’s first side, chef Paul Seaman flips the omelet over for a thorough cooking. He guards against using the ever-popular olive oil saying it has a low-heat point, which causes the oil to burn and congeal. “Olive oil has its place, but usually as a condiment and only under low heat,” Seaman said.

SIOUX?CITY – From the moment that one walks into his kitchen, it becomes obvious that chef Paul Seaman is an artist.

Hues of orange, red, yellow, white, brown and other colors stand out on his counter in the cream, peppers, onions, parsley, cheese, asparagus and eggs.

The many colors of food are the basis for his work. This day, however, the brown eggs are the center of what’s on this artist’s pallet.

“Breakfast is my favorite meal,” he said, amongst the banter that makes his chef persona, which includes a healthy dose of instruction for those that find themselves his pupils.

“The egg is a complete meal in a simple capsule,” Seaman said. “Eggs are nutrient dense and energy dense with lots of vitamins, protein and fats.

“Colors make eating more pleasant,” Seaman said. “Only a small percentage of eating enjoyment has to do with taste.”

“Egg yolks have lecithin to help break fats down and an emulsifier that helps bind an omelet together.”

Chef Seaman has been creating artwork in omelets at the Sioux City Farmers Market for several years, making over 100 of the complete breakfast masterpieces with each market that passes. “The artwork starts with the chickens themselves and how an egg’s color coincides with the chickens that lay them,” said Seaman.

“I grew up on a small acreage south of San Francisco. I would enter 10 to 30 items in San Mateo County,” Seaman said, while cutting onions and peppers with a ceramic knife. “I was always pushing the envelope when it came to my entries.”

Laura Kuennen, an Extension foods coordinator for Woodbury, Plymouth, and Monona counties, who recommended Seaman as a cook profile, is also a customer.

“The first omelet that I ever tasted of Chef Paul’s,” Kuennen said, “had small pieces of sweet potatoes in it. I had never thought about adding sweet potatoes to my omelet before.

RIGHT — Seaman uses only organic ingredients in the omelets he cooks for farmers market customers, like the cheese he is grating. "I like to support farmers who make locally grown organic food," Seaman said.

“It really gave me the feeling that he strolled down the market, chose a few new things to add to the omelet and then cooked it up nice and fresh right there.”

Seaman is the executive chef at North Park Place Senior Living Community and also caters on the side. Seaman earned his culinary arts degree from the California Culinary Academy, which is now part of the Cordon Bleu. He has cooked in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. He has studied with various famous cooks including President Kennedy’s chef.

From the ingredients on the table, it’s easy to note that he emphasizes local and organic.

“When I make an omelet or any meal,” Seaman said, “I try to cook with organic food from local farmers.

In Sioux City, he has prepared cuisine at the five-star restaurant Plums and the Gardner’s Cafe.

Seaman prefers to whisk his three-egg omelets with cream to make them fluffy and even more filling. “It’s also very important to produce a beautiful plate,” Seaman said, finalizing the dish with flat Italian parsley and strawberries – organically grown of course.

“Organic food not only has the promise of being good for you, it’s healthy for the small farmer, as well,” Seaman said. “Demand for locally grown, organic food offers sustainability for the small farmer. It’s something that allows for long-term business for the smaller producer.”

Denver omelet

(Makes four)

Equipment: Egg pan, bowl, whisk, cheese grater, knife, cutting board, plates and forks.

12 eggs, cracked and whipped

2 tablespoons shortening

1/2 cup cream (optional)

1/4 cup filtered water

1/2 cup diced ham

1/4 cup diced red peppers

1/4 cup diced green peppers

1/4 cup diced red onions

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Heat pan and add shortening

Add ham, peppers and onions and cook for a few minutes at low to medium heat

Add 1/4 of the egg mixture.

Let the mixture cook till there is a 1/8-inch layer of cooked egg, Lift up cooked egg and allow liquid egg to slide under. Flip egg when it sets. Add cheese to flipped side. Let cook for 30 seconds on medium heat. Fold in half on plate. Serve immediately.

Quiche

(Four servings)

Equipment: Cooking spray, 13-by-9-inch Pyrex pan, bowl, whisk, cheese grater, knife, cutting board, 2 smaller bowls

12 eggs, six cracked into bowl a six separated)

1 pound cooked bacon chopped

1/2 cup ham

2 cups shredded cheddar

1 quart cream

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Nutmeg, white pepper and Kosher salt to taste.

Crack six eggs into a bowl. Separate the other six eggs into yolks and whites. Add the yolks to the mixture.

Spray oil on Pyrex pan. Add all the cheese evenly. Pour diced bacon and ham over the top.

Whip the egg whites till medium stiff. Whip the eggs with the yolks. Fold the egg whites in. Pour mixture over the cheese. Top with Parmesan cheese. Put in 375-degree oven for 22 minutes until firm.

Serve Immediately.

Eggs strata

(Serves 12)

12 slices slightly stale multi-grain wheat bread

1/4 pound butter, softened

3 cups raw milk cheddar cheese, shredded

10 eggs, slightly beaten

4 cups whole milk, 1/2 & 1/2, or cream

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Butter bread; cut in small cubes. Alternate layers of bread cubes and cheese in buttered 4-quart casserole dish.

Blend eggs, milk and seasonings, pour over bread and cheese mixture. Cover. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 70 minutes or until golden brown.

Contact Doug Clough at douglasclough@gmail.com.

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