Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good Grains...

This past week we made a lot of carbohydrates...!
I also cooked for my Step-Mom's 50th bday party (Mike High)...

During class we made alot of potatoes, rice and corn. We made polenta, risotto, potatoes au gratin, garlic smashed potatoes, twice baked potatoes, styrofoam potatoes, potato gnocchi, potato croquettes, rice pilaf, homemade pasta & ravioli...

The rice pilaf was of course very easy...we used parboiled Uncle Ben's rice and sauteed it in sweated onions in a sauce pot. Then covered it with 2/3 liquid and simmered until it was almost all absorbed.

As for the risotto; Maria and I made a smooth cheesy risotto while standing by it making sure it wouldn't burn. We used about 7 (4oz) ladles of chicken stock and 1 cup of risotto...alot of Parmesan cheese and drizzled truffle oil over the top. As for the didn't think I could finish a whole plat of risotto...of course I did!

On to potatoes...we baked some russets in the oven for a while and then split them in half dug out the potato and mixed it with some creme fresh, salt, white pepper, cheese, and piped it back into the shell. Then topped them with Parmesan cheese and baked them once more for twice baked. The extra skins were fried and baked with topped cheese and bacon for potato skins.

We boiled red bliss potatoes and garlic cloves next...mashed the softened mix with salt, pepper, olive oil and made smashed garlic potatoes.

The potato gnocchi was awesome...almost same recipe as the potato croquettes. I made the gnocchi and Maria made the croquettes. The gnocchi came out great and I topped it with a quick sauce I whipped up. The sauce was sauteed shallots, garlic and clarified butter/olive oil mix with white wine. Then I add diced tomatoes and cook them with chiffon basil and drizzle over the gnocchi...of course season the sauce with salt & pepper to taste.

The polenta was very easy...saute some shallots with butter or oil...then add in the milk to boil...after the milk boils and the corn meal and stir in. We made the firm type so we poured it out onto a sheet pan, smoothed it out and then pan fried them into shapes...topped it with Queso Blanco and my quick red sauce.

The fresh pasta was FUN! We made the dough first and let it rest before anything else. We then rolled it out through the pasta roller and made raviolis with Chef Bills ravioli shells. The filling was from James (It was Killer!)...and we made a quick garlic red sauce for the pasta. All Together it was an awesome CARB week...

As for the party Mike & I made our own menu of small meals featuring the following:
Canapes: Smoked Salmon/Manouri Cream Cheese; Red Wine Cream cheese pom; Greek Yogurt/Goat Cheese & Chive...
Roasted Eggplant Turin
Endive Boats (topped with diced pear, pom seeds & Gorgonzola)
Hen Pops (Cornish hen drumsticks with sugar, red wine & salt...topped with manouri)
Thunder Thighs (Cornish hen thighs with coarse sea salt, cayenne, black & white pepper...roasted in the oven)
Meatballs in Gravy (family recipe...shhhh)
Corny Beef (mushroom/cheese polenta topped with a piece of filet, drizzled with mushroom sauce & drop of truffle oil)
Roasted Stuffed Umami Hen (Cornish hen breast filled with cornbread/sage stuffing, spinach, onion, garlic, with pate and white truffle oil)

The night was an overall success and a lot of people left happy! Especially the birthday girl!
Thanks for all the awesome comments keeps us cooking great food!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Attack of the Giant Eggplant!

It was a humid evening in South Florida and the AI campus was buzzing with students eager to get to the next class; and of course the overly crowded parking garage doesn't help the situation...

Down stairs in the Fundamentals kitchen the groups of infantile chefs await their fate for the next two days...

Chef Bill saunters across the room and opens his attendance book; as he begins to call everyones name out and they flash their recipe cards...Bill selectively finds his next victim...!

Bill says today & tomorrow you will swim in vegetables...we will make Cauliflower Au Gratin, Grilled vegetables, tempura vegetables...
Vegetables! yes folks not shrimp or lobster but VEGETABLES!
Bill continues...we'll make Rata-ta-ta-ta-ta-touille (not the movie folks; no rats in this recipe), steamed broccoli & green beans, glazed carrots and (lightning/thunder sound) glazed beets...

Little did we know we'd be making one more thing...
THE GIANT EGGPLANT...(lightning/thunder sound)! muahahahahah ahahahha hahaha!

Ok enough of the scary crazy sound effect although they were a great change of direction. This week was all about veggies...and yes the Eggplants we used for the eggplant parm were HUGE!

We made all the above dishes...the cauliflower au gratin was basically blanched cauliflower with bechamel sauce, topped with parmesean cheese. The tempura batter was ice water, egg yolk and flour mixed's light (internal joke of a video on our eclassonline).

Grilling the vegetables were awesome...I helped make the marinade which consisted of minced garlic, minced ginger, soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes and (shhhh) honey...we tossed cherry tomatoes, summer squash, zuchinni, onion, and mushrooms in the marinade and Delmig made perfect grill marks. I of course practiced this at home last Thursday and grilled them up the same way...but I added green onion and Eggplant.

Steaming the broccoli and green beans were easy...blanch them in boiling salted water and then shock them in ice case any of you wanted to make perfect steamed veggies...

As for the Rata ta ta tat at at at ta touille it was yummy! We basically let some yummy veggetables meld together with some tomato and added herbs...a slow cooking process but yummy none the less.

I almost forgot...I made AWESOME collard mother thought I bought them from a soul food
In a pot a made the "liquor" by simmering a ham hock with red pepper flakes...added the sliced collard greens into the liquor and added onion, brown sugar...the collards simmered until very soft and I added salt, white pepper to taste...

The Eggplant parm was not intimidating at Eggplants were big...we filled a whole sheet pan (lined with paper towels) with them and sprinkled salt on them to drain the water.
We then did standard breading procedure and pan fried them. Served them with some Rata ta ta ta ta ta touille and of course I can't forget we made tostones too (twice fried green plantains).

Good week overall and the next week we are working with grains, potatoes and STARCHES...muhahahahahh ahaha hhahahaha...!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Egg-celent Week...

This week we prepared eggs over easy, sunny side up, scrambled, rolled , hard, soft, boiled, poached and frittata'd!

I also had my practical exam (midterm)...this included knife cuts, sauces & soups.

It was definitely not my cup of tea; but I stuck through the egg day. Most of you know I hate eggs...but I will tell you this: the scrambled eggs I made in the puff pastry with burnoise tomatoes, chives & parsley...drizzled with truffle oil is awesome!

I was able to make a perfect sunny side up egg and flipped it perfectly to make over easy. The key with this egg is using clarified butter it won't burn the egg white like oil or whole butter will.

We also made Hard & Soft boiled eggs...the soft ones were gooey and runny like an over easy egg with a hard white. Timing these eggs is what makes them perfect....the only egg I really ate was the hard boiled egg that wasn't like golden yellow.

The poached eggs were always so hard to make at home but now I know what I've been doing wrong.

When you poach and egg you need to make sure you do not have too much water; not boiling (simmer) and vinegar to help cook the egg whites faster (protein). Then you have to slide the egg into the water (at water level) with either a tea cup or ramekin. Sliding in the egg will literally let the white wrap around the yolk and make a pocket. Then of course make sure you don't over cook these bad boys. Shock them in cool water to stop the cooking and BAM poached eggs...!

The rolled omelet is gooey! You have to make it that's 2 eggs whipped with a little cream and then placed in the pan sliding back and forth to set the sides...then you roll it up towards the edge of the pan and fill in what you want as a filling. Underhand the pan and roll the sucker onto a plate; fix it with a clean paper towel and top with garnish...after you shine it up with a little glaze (melted butter).

The frittata was easy...placed whipped eggs into a mix of onions, peppers, etc that was sauteed in oil ready to go...lift it to get all the egg cooked...brown slightly and then slide onto a plate. Place the pan over the top of the plate and flip it back into the pan on the opposite side. Brown this side and top with garnish.

The scrambled eggs in puff pastry...mmmmmm....the key is scrambled eggs with 2/3 egg 1/3 cream...then salt and pepper. Must break up all the lumps in the egg mixture on the pan and don't let it overcook...let the carry over heat finish it off and place inside a puff pastry bowl which is easy to make. You need a square of puff pastry and cook till done...then punch in the middle and fill. Add the garnish on top and the cou de ta was the truffle oil...BAM!

As for the practical man that was was like running your kitchen...

We had a pot of Bechamel going; while our Espagnole was simmering and we whipped mayonnaise into shape. Together with Maria we created a roasted red pepper soup for our chef's choice soup...and of course my damn knife cuts...

Overall I got an 89...missed the A by one point because we screwed up on the Espagnole sauce. We didn't brown the mirepoix long enough or add enough tomato paste to pince. The part where I need to practice more is in the julienne carrots and 1/4 dice...

The Roasted Red Pepper soup recipe was posted last week and I urge you all to try it's awesome!

The next update will be veggie week...!

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