Day 20 – Practical Exam and more recipes!

27 Jul

I don’t have any pictures from today, as it was test day. Thanks to everyone for their encouragement and for their faith in my test taking abilities. The written part was too easy (Chef – you need to make them harder to separate the girls from the boys – go girls!). The first practical, “time trial” of three different time trials of the day threw me a bit. I barely finished and it showed in the quality of my taillage (uniform cuts of vegetables – jardiniere turnips, diamond-shaped potatoes, and julienne carrots). However, looking at my marks, it turned out better than I thought. Yes, I passed!

So, onto Level 2!  But before that, I’ll post one lamb recipe from yesterday at the request of Mom2.  Bee Leng, I’ll post the lamb stew either later tonight or tomorrow.

Lamb Chops/Lollipops with vegetable ragout and roasted garlic butter.

This recipe will take you a bit of time if you’re the only one prepping all of the vegetables.  So, I suggest opening a bottle of pinot noir and inviting a friend who has some quick knife skills to join you for the prep and dinner. Make sure to prep ALL ingredients, first, starting with getting the garlic in the oven. Then, work on the vegetables and finally the lamb, as that will be the fastest to cook.

Ingredients:

I. For Vegetable Ragout: 1) 1/2 onion, diced; 2) 2 chopped tomatoes (seeded, first), 3) 2 garlic cloves, minced; 4) 1 zucchini, diced; 5) 1/2 purple eggplant, diced, and sprinkled with salt to bleed the water out of it for 15 minutes or so; 6) 1/2 red bell pepper and 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced; 7) any fresh herbs, minced; 8) olive oil for sauteeing and salt and pepper to taste.

II. For Chops: 1) 8-10 lamb chops, frenched (this will be enough for 3 people – I would do approximately 3 chops per person); 2) 2 T oil; 3) dry spice rub made of the following, 2 teaspoons each of: paprika, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper. You can actually use whatever spice mix you like. I’m fond of heat, so I would add a bit of some spicy pepper like cayenne and I also like garlic, so I’d probably add granulated garlic.

III. For Roasted Garlic butter: 1) 1 head of garlic; 2) a little olive oil to rub on garlic head; 3) a few Nicoise olives, diced; 4) 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves finely diced; 5) butter; and 6) salt and pepper.

Directions:

I. For Roasted Garlic, compound butter: This should be made first, if you want to pipe it out in cute medallions and refrigerate to set up (see picture on Day 19). 1) Remove the top 1/3 of the head of garlic; 2) Rub with olive oil and wrap loosely in aluminum foil, including just a splash of water in with the oil (you want it to steam a bit); 3) Roast in 350 degree F oven for approximately 45 minutes or until soft; 4) When garlic is tender, puree it and then whip it in with the butter and the rest of the ingredients until smooth; 5) Fill in pastry bag or a baggie with one corner cut off, and pipe out little rosettes (or whatever design you like) on parchment paper; 6) Put in freezer or refrigerator to cool and set quickly.

II. For Vegetable Ragout: This is basically a stove-top ratatouille that is finished in the oven. For presentation, you want everything diced (except for garlic) uniformly.  1) Sweat the onion in some olive oil; 2) When soft, add garlic; 3) Next add the bell pepper, then the zucchini, then the eggplant, developing each a bit before adding in the following ingredient; 4) make sure to season with salt at this point, as anything in the zucchini/cucumber family definitely needs a hit of salt (yes, even though the eggplant has salt on it – that’s minimal unless you overdid it); 5) Add in the tomatoes and fresh herbs and keep stirring a bit so that all flavors meld together, but are still done “al dente” – about 3-5 minutes more; 6) Get out a ring mold or put in a good looking oven-proof dish and finish in 300 degrees F oven for 10-15 minutes.

II. For the Chops: While your ragout is finishing in the oven, prepare and cook the chops.  1) Make sure you have a preheated grill on high – 400-425 degrees F (although I might have it a bit lower, as I think the chops are delicate and I don’t want to burn them; 2) Rub the chops with the spice mix on both sides and put a little oil on each side over the spices to seal them in; 3) Grill chops for 1-2 minutes each side, making sure to get the lovely looking diamond grill marks (quadrillage) and then place on an oiled sheet pan to finish in the oven for approximately 3 minutes, if you want your lamb rare. The chops are usually pretty small and the meat is best awesome rare-ish, so really watch these babies so you don’t overcook them. If you want them medium rare, leave them in another minute. Remember, they will continue to cook as you let them rest, so a little underdone than you want will likely be just right when you plate and finally bite into them; 4) Take the ragout out of oven, place on a warm plate, put 3 lamb shops on top, and mount the butter rosettes on each chop, if you like. Or, serve the butter in the middle of one, depending upon how much better (and bread) you want with them. See picture on Day 19 if you’re looking for presentation ideas. E voila!

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One Response to “Day 20 – Practical Exam and more recipes!”

  1. Bev July 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Of course you aced your test! Congratulations – and looking forward to section 2 recipes. Amazing that you come home after your long days and then take the time to share with us. Thanks!

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