Days 48 and 49 – More time pressure in the kitchen and some delights at home

9 Sep

So, I don’t really have any “new” shots of food from school, as we’ve been rotating many of the items I’ve already posted pictures of in the past. This feature picture is Branzino with a sauce Americain. Sauce Americain is made by sauteeing lobster shells & legs, and shrimp shells; adding carrots, onions, and garlic; then, flambe-ing with brandy and white wine; and simmering for about an hour until flavors are fully developed. The sauce is strained & reduced, cream is added and the seasoning is adjusted (salt and a squeeze of lemon to brighten it up). The sauce in the picture should be a bit thicker.

At any rate, tomorrow, we add a few new dishes in the repetoire: 1) boeuf bourguignon with fresh egg noodles, and 2) profiteroles. Anne and I are partnering on the chicken and beef, which might be a bit of a challenge, considering we have about an hour less tomorrow in which to accomplish everything (since tomorrow is also Day 2 of Sous Vide) AND beef bourguignon should really be started the night before. But, who isn’t up for a challenge? We’ll see tomorrow after class. To give us our best chance, Anne and I are each going to come up with our own “order of operations” tonight and we’re going to compare notes tomorrow before start, so we don’t get the “OOPS” comment – “order of operations, stupid!” – if we’re late in delivering near-flawless food to Chef Tomm at the exact time.

In addition to trying to become faster and more efficient at juggling multiple dishes, I’m trying hard at being neat and clean in the kitchen, even though it wouldn’t appear so by looking at my chef jacket at the end of each day. I still can’t get over using almost every tool in my arsenal. Here’s a picture that made Tomas laugh. And, it makes me laugh, too, except that I need to get better with less tools and less space, as I’m pretty sure I’m not going to have the luxury of laying all my tools out in a restaurant kitchen.

Okay, onto some more tasty food at home. I was a bit tired after our fun weekend in Honolulu, so Carnet got stuck with dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. This was his beautiful and marvelously tasty creation on Tuesday night:

He made shrimp curry over cauliflower “rice”. He’s trying hard to stay on the paleo diet as much as possible, but clearly I blow it. But, last night, this was a great paleo meal. His cauliflower rice was to die for and I didn’t miss jasmine rice at all, hard to believe. His quick recipe for cauliflower rice (for those who are trying to stay away from carbs): Take the whole cauliflower head except for the leaves and put it in a food processor – yes everything but the leaves, 2) pulse until it looks like a grain, 3) saute some onions and garlic in a saute pan, 4) throw in the cauliflower “rice”, 5) add a bit of chicken stock, salt if your chicken stock is not already salted (taste before you add the salt), and whatever spices you’d like, and 6) simmer about 5 minutes or so. This is a very quick dish. Think about it like cooking fried rice, since the rice is already cooked, it’s not going to take long for it get done; you just need to jazz it up a bit with some spices. Since he made curry, he didn’t put too much spice it in, but it could be a side dish all on it’s own.

These are cute little cauliflowers we got in our CSA basket. They had a lovely light orange color to them.

Tonight, I’m back on dinner. We’re having BLTs, but no ordinary BLTs. Last night I started marinating (curing, really, with a salt and sugar rub) some pork belly. I’m modifying the pork belly ssam recipe in David Chang’s “Momofuku” book. I love that cookbook because I love his story; he seems genuinely honest about his mistakes as well as good fortune, and he swears a lot which I get a kick out of because I have that problem sometimes 😉 So, our BLTs will be made with pork belly, heirloom tomatoes, a miso mayo dressing with cucumbers, and some quick vinegar marinated sweet onions, all wrapped in lettuce leaves. Nope, no bread/carbs. However, I did take home some of the lemon tart I made today, which I am going to rip into after dinner. I just can’t stay away from desserts. I think it’s a genetic thing – it’s the “Must Have Sugar” gene. I’m going to use the fact that I got a 97% on my ServSafe exam as an excuse to eat more sugar. Oh happy day.

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One Response to “Days 48 and 49 – More time pressure in the kitchen and some delights at home”

  1. Bee Leng Chua September 9, 2011 at 6:01 am #

    I love the recipe for cauliflower rice and will plan to try it! Yes – am following a low carb diet. This is perfect.
    Keep them (recipes and blogs) coming!
    Best regards,
    Bee Leng

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