Thursday, January 28, 2010

Latin week 2


Ok maybe not so holy, but it was Chicken Molè instead.
What a night…the menu consisted of Tortilla Soup, Chicken with Mole Poblano, Enslada de napoles (Cactus salad), Frijoles refritos (refried beans), Shrimp Guatape, Churros and White Rice.

The tortilla soup is very FAST to make! It could have been one of the last things I did…however, I went directly at it and I’m glad I did. The patilla chilies are very temperamental when you fry them. The first chili I fried it burned; the next one was perfect! It literally takes 3-4 seconds in HOT oil. What I noticed that I did differently than the other teams was the way I prepared the tomato, onion, garlic mix. Most roasted their tomatoes and then peeled them; I blanched/shocked them removed the skin and then roasted them with the onions/garlic. The flavor was perfect; and Chef George felt that it was the best Soup of the night. After I boiled the pureed tomato/onion mix I added the chicken stock and brought to a simmer. I then added the two sprigs of epazote and skimmed the fat lipids on the surface. When the soup was done we ladled it into a bowl with the epazote. I then served from the bowl into smaller bowls; which had tortilla strips at the bottom. I topped the soup with a dollop of crème fraiche, avocado & patilla chili rings. Of course we can not forget a slice of lime on the side and a spoon.

Everything else came out great! Our rice was the only thing we needed to add more salt too; otherwise everything was beautifully seasoned. I also made the refried beans and they came out good but I didn’t need to make them as concentrated. Loida’s Shrimp Guatape was very tasty and almost hinged on over cooked, but it was perfect. Henry made the Chicken Mole and it was very flavorful; however there was a little discrepancy about how to plate. Henry was very creative with the small 4oz cup portion, but the 9in. plate was a little too big. Instead we packed a soup cup to make a volcano topped with toasted sesame seeds and tortilla strips. It looked great! The Sauce for the Mole was a PROCESS!!! Henry sautéed ancho, pasilla, chipotle & mulatto peppers in 2Tbsp of oil. He then soaked the peppers in hot water for 20 minutes, drained the water and reserved it. Henry then roasted, peeled and seeded the tomatoes; blended the tomatoes along with the peppers. He used the oil where the peppers were sautéed to sauté the onion and garlic, and transferred the mix to a blender. Using the same oil again Henry sautéed almonds and peanuts; transferring the mix to the blender with the rest of the ingredients. With the same oil again he sautéed for 3 minutes cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, aniseed; transferring this mix to the same blender along with raisins. In a large saucepan with a cup of hot oil; Henry cooked all the purees for 5 minutes stirring and degreasing constantly! When the started to boil he added 1 qt of the chicken stock, covered the sauce and cooked for another 20 minutes. It never got too thick so we didn’t need to add any more stock; but we did have to degrease the sauce. We then added the shredded chicken, covered and cooked another 10 minutes... PHEW!!!

Maria made a very tasty cactus salad which tasted a lot like ceviche…and Mike made the rice along with the Churros. WOW, the churros were awesome; however, they were a little too doughy.

Overall the night was a big success with a few miscommunication missteps. Otherwise great night and great food! I have started a part time job at Mex Café in Sunrise and will contribute the Tortilla soup recipe to the kitchen. Hey I finally get something I make put on a menu!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fancy Food Show 2010

These are some of the new exciting trends from the Fancy Food Show courtesy of Andrew Whitman,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Baking week 1

The first week in baking was a good one but very tough. We had a lot to make in a short amount of time and did a good job overall. We made Peanut Butter Cookies, Chocolate Jumble Cookies, Blueberry Muffins, and soft yeast rolls. We learned three different methods of baking; muffin method, straight dough method and creaming method. You would only make bread using the straight dough method; like the yeast rolls. As for the muffin method we used it to make the blueberry muffins and the creaming method was used to make the cookies.

Our Blueberry muffins turned out great and there was no tunneling. Which is caused by over mixing the muffin mix. You combine the dry ingredients (including the fruit) and the wet ingredients separate. Then you combine the two mixes together loosely and scoop into greased muffin tins.

As for our cookies we needed some work. One of them was dry and the other was too cakey. The creaming method consists of creaming the butter and sugar with a paddle in the mixer until creamy. Then you mix in the other ingredients being careful not too over work the batter.

Our Yeast rolls were much so that chef wanted to use them for the restaurant. Our grade that evening was a flying success and we were the first team finished. If only we can do this every night.

Below are our photos from week one...hopefully we can duplicate our success; with the use of the four flours...cake, pastry, all purpose & bread.

These photos are from baking week 1

Peanut butter cookies

Soft Yeast Rolls

Blueberry Muffins

Chocolate Jumble Cookies

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Week 1 Latin Cuisine

PICTURE: Chicken Pibil, Sopa de Lima, Panucho, Pickled Red Onion, Tamulada Sauce, Arroz con Verduras, Jericayas

First week in Latin class was full of information. We began to learn about all of the nuances of Mexico & Latin America. How the Mayans would barter with other tribes and were responsible for sending cacao throughout the Americas. Latin America was responsible for introducing beans, cacao, maize to the rest of the world.

When European influences weren't introduced to Latin America yet they relied on what was around them. Instead of goats and cattle the natives would eat turkeys, other birds, grasshoppers and hairless dogs such as the xoloitzcuintli.

We also discussed how the Europeans such as Christopher Columbus influenced the Latin American people; which at the time weren't Latin at all and had no Religion. The natives such as the Mayans, Aztecs & Incas relied on the food around them and worshiped the sun, moon, etc.

In our first class we made dishes relative to Southern Mexico...the menu consisted of chicken baked in banana leaves (Chicken Pibil); Lime Soup (Sopa de Lima); Pickled Red Onion; Tamulada Sauce (Habanero & Sour Orange juice); Corn Tortillas; Panuchos (tortillas filled with beans and fish mixture); Jericayas (vanilla custard).

Our chicken was good but needed a little more salt; something I need to work on...I am always too worried about over salting my food. I remade the chicken at home and it came out beautifully. In fact the leftovers were shredded and pan fried to be used as tacos with queso blanco and pickled red onion.

Mike did a great job with the corn tortillas and Maria as usual made great rice. Our vanilla custard was a hit and everyone in the class including chef loved the way it tasted; it also had the perfect consistency.
Mike did another home run with the Panuchos and the fish was perfect. Henry made a great soup and it was the right color, consistency & taste. However, chef felt we needed again more salt. We will work on the salting of food but I hate to over salt my food.

I made the Pickled Red Onion and Tamulada Sauce...they both came out great! The tamulada sauce was however made with scotch bonnet peppers instead of habaneros. The taste was great, peppers were finely diced perfectly and seasoned properly with salt and sour orange juice.
The Pickled Red Onion could have sat in the Sour Orange juice a little longer and it would have been perfect!!! A picture of our work is posted above...

Overall a great success in the first week of class and next week we are focusing on Central Mexico...although I don't think we are cooking any hairless dogs...

Penne Tomato Basil

Catering event for 50 people for my cousins 18th bday...this was Casey's 18th birthday party and I catered the event.

I cooked the dish above - Tomato Basil Penne; Creamy Mac & Cheese; Baked Chicken; Salad...

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Random pics from my last class...

Pics from my last culinary class (Fundamentals)

Coq Au Vin

Grilling beans/rice, shrimp skewers, apricot bourbon chicken

Poached seafood

Yankee Pot Roast as Beef Stew...

Homemade Potato Latkes

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