Sunday, June 12, 2011

GirlyEgg on the Road: Georgia Mountain Eggfest!

Note:  If you're here for my Mountain Eggfest recipes, sorry for the delay!

Let me just get this out…. I’m afraid of fire!  In the days before my Egg, I had gas grills.  One after the other, the ignite switch would stop working and the heating element would rust.  The only way to light it would be to turn on the gas and light from below – while shielding my face, hoping that the flame wouldn’t fly up and catch my hair on fire… still a scary thought!  So, because I dreaded the whole igniting routine, I avoided it…

This "Egg-thing" started out quite innocently.  I had passed the Big Green Egg store (then located on Clairmont Road, off of Buford Highway in Atlanta) and was always curious at the funky name in big block letters… I was thoroughly disgusted because I needed a new grill again.  Through the “miracle of the internet”, I found myself on the Big Green Egg website ( I admit it was a vulnerable time for me… I had just bought chicken breasts and was weighing the thought of firing (literally!) up the gas grill.  I read through the site with wide eyes.  I watched in wonder as Chef Kevin Rathbun demonstrated the versatility of the egg with the incredible foods he was cooking!  I could hear the sizzle and almost smell the sweet smell of grill ecstasy!  I was hooked…well, rather, EGGED!

Soon after purchasing my Egg, I discovered the Egghead Forum ( …stay with me!)… this was a place where I could learn and mingle with people – just like me!  Sidenote:  I’m really not a “discussion group” type of gal…. I have a personal Facebook page, but really only to see what other folks are doing – I don’t actually post myself… I really don’t understand why anyone would want to “tweet”… I’ve got better things to do – like cook on my Big Green Egg!  But, I digress… so the forum is an interesting cross-section of the BBQ nation – which is an international group… We all have “handles”… I’m GirlyEgg – of course!  The forum runs 24/7 at sometimes lightning speed!  Anything you want to know about cooking or accessorizing the Big Green Egg can be found on the Forum… It’s a community like no other!  Eggfests provide an opportunity for the folks on the Forum, as well as, other Big Green Egg enthusiasts to  come together to share food , fun and the Egg!   The Eggest “season” runs from about March through October – with the Atlanta-based, Eggtoberfest being the season finale!  Folks travel from near and far to attend the fests, so there’s always something to learn…

It was exciting to attend the Georgia Mountain Eggfest in Hiawassee, GA – just over yonder from my cousin’s cabin in Blairsville, GA.  We missed the “meet-n-greet” on Friday evening since we drove up from Atlanta, but I hear that John Hall and the folks at Hiawassee Hardware put on a great gathering… next time, I’ll take the whole day off and drive up the night before!

The day of the fest started with the traditional “Lighting of the Eggs” at 9:00 a.m. And so it started with breakfast entries, then lunch/dinner, then snacks and dessert!  This was a great location, and though it was hot, the shaded booths and walk-ways were a welcome change to most fests that are based in a parking lot under tents!  At the fests, there are cooks and tasters… the cooks provide the food and demonstrate their skills on the egg – and while it’s not a competition (let’s face it… we’re a competitive bunch!) – you’ll find a good mix of grill items (pork tenderloins, beef, veggies) to the more unusual… homemade alligator sausage, funnel cakes, paella… and not to be outdone, I usually choose a non-meat selection – usually involving beets!  Tasters walk through the booths and get to taste and talk to the cooks to learn about the Egg and grab a few recipes to try on their own eggs when they get home!  We love to talk about the Egg and our food – and we have fun doing it! 
p.s. I’m still afraid of fire!

On the Menu - Georgia Mountain Eggfest 5/21/2011:

Balsamic Glazed Beets
I made these at the Atlanta Underground Market - and as a bonus,  you'll find my recipe for Golden Beets with a Ginger-Citrus dressing… find the recipes HERE!

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes (Bon Appetit, November 2000)
I’d love to take credit for this recipe, but it’s important to give credit where due! I changed it only to indicate a cast iron skillet for the Egg and using butter instead of vegetable oil to brush skillet.

Servings: 12 medium sized pancakes

1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.       Preheat Egg to 350° or medium heat and set up for indirect cooking (platesetter legs up).
2.    Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend.
3.      Whisk milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla in medium bowl to blend well.
4.      Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just until smooth (batter will be thick).
5.      Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry.
6.      Fold whites into batter in 2 additions.
7.      Brush large cast iron skillet with butter
8.      Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls into skillet.
9.      Cook until bubbles form on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
10.   Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with butter between batches.

  • Serve with a flavored honey, such as Braswell's Ginger Honey, Amaretto Honey or Cinnamon Honey (see recipe for Balsamic Glazed beets for more information about finding this product).
Grilled Gingerbread S’mores Cake (Everyday with Rachel Ray, June/July 2010)

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
8 ounces chocolate bars, such as Hershey's, broken into pieces
2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

1.      Preheat Egg to 350° or medium heat and set up for indirect cooking (platesetter legs up).
2.      In a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the butter, then pour into a medium bowl; let cool slightly. Reserve the skillet.
3.      In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.
4.      In the bowl with the butter, add the brown sugar, eggs, molasses and 1/2 cup water; whisk until smooth.
5.      Whisk the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until just combined; scrape the batter into the reserved skillet.
6.      Place the skillet on the Egg, cover with foil and bake until springy to the touch in the center, about 25 minutes. Remove the skillet from the Egg and increase the heat to 400° or medium-high heat.
7.      Top the gingerbread with the chocolate and marshmallows.
8.      Place an inverted 2 1/2-inch-high cake pan, such as a springform pan, on the Egg.
9.      Place the skillet on top of the pan, bake until the marshmallows are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

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