NORTADA-ON THE COAST IN PORTUGAL

FISH FOR YOU, FISH FOR ME!!

MOQUEQA-YUMMY

ASORDA–WOWSERS, THE TEXTURE WAS A BIT MUCH, IT WAS LIKE SHRIMP PORRIDGE–HMM, THE JURY IS STILL OUT ON THAT ONE. NO PICS ON THAT-THE SHOCK, FROZE OUR FINGERS.

THE VIEWS-AMAZING-YOU COULD SEE THE OCEAN , BOTH THE CALMNESS AND THE WAVES. SOME KIDS WERE PRETENDING TO DO PARKOUR, HOPPING FROM STUB TO STUB–THE STUBS LOOKED LIKE THE STUBS ON A DOCK, WHERE YOU TIE THE BOATS.

MY FRIEND WHO LIVED THERE HAD THE DUCK.

Duck breast in a citrus sauce
I WAS JEALOUS.
THE DUCK WITH SWEET CITRUS SAUCE-OH THAT SAVORY, TOASTED, WARM, RIGHTLY COOKED MEAT AND SALTED POTATOES, MADE MY MOUTH WATER AND I ORDERED SHRIMP SO YOU SEE-THERE WERE MANY GOOD THINGS ON THE MENU.

YUMMY BUMMY TUMMY.

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PICTURES-ALSO NOTE THE LEMON SORBET SHOT AND THE CHOCOLATE MOUSE–MORE LIKE CHOCOLATE BAR MELTED DOWN–THOSE OF YOU THAT HAVE TRAVELLED THROUGH EUROPE KNOW WHAT I MEAN–IS IT NOT THE SAME AS JELLO MOUSE–IT IS HARD CORE CHOCOLATE-WARMED. IT COULD BRING ON A GAG FEELING IF THE CHOCOLATE IS RICH.

ANYWAY, ENJOY FOOD, LIVE LIFE AND BE WELL!

ENJOY.

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Pre Memorial Day Cookout 2 (Class 30)

So today was the last bit of France. We were supposed to have our Quiz on this day but the chef said when we come back–the first thing. I was sought of disappointed as I was to go on vacation and that would mean taking my book–that sucks big time. So I had to drag my notes–not to mention my recipes to prepare them in my book–glue, scissors,–tools of the trade. My recipes go in a little pocket sized book for easy reference (or first time reading-sometimes there is no time to read through all 12 plus recipes through out the week) in class.

So we did the famous Beef Bourguignon, some shrimp w/ a rich sauce, some cheese spread and a salad with frisee, poached eggs, and bacon.

I got the shrimp with the rich sauce. That was a hoot. I read the recipe and knew all the parts I would need. At some point, after the teacher rehashed the recipe, I got totally confused. The point in class is not to look like a lost cat but, sometimes that is what happens. I got to a critical step and was like–what am I doing. I had to call the Chef over. His philosophy is that you should not be unfamiliar, as you have time to read the recipe (so they think) and he goes over in class “again”. You should only ask a question that is like a confirmation of the procedure and then the part that is wrong, he will tell you. So essentially he will not explain from the top. TOUGH CROWD I TELL YOU.

In the evening, we busted into ITRALIA–what I used to joking call Italy..DO not worry, each place has a nick name so no place has escaped. Germany was the Germs. French were–Oh La La, We We.

We made ravioli filled with butter nut squash n tossed in a buttery sage sauce (doesn’t that make you hungry, if not excite your sense of smell), trenette with pesto, and my favorite, gnocchi with cherry tomatoes n thyme. Can we say–party over here. I had fun, so much in fact that I signed up to take a recreation class just to make variations of gnocchi, along with my mate. What crazy fun we shall have! LOL LOL
No pasta pics–:(
Oh, no class next week for Memorial Day. It is a little vacation for my hands, brains, and legs. Yay.

So enjoy life, enjoy making pasta and live well. You should always be excited by food.

Pre Memorial Day Cook Out 1 (Class 29)

So what happens when I get to school–where are my pants–yeah, where the hec are my pants. I was about to purchase a pair of pants for 30 bucks from the school. A girl who I saw all the time offered to lend me her pants. I was soooo happy.

On this class day, we started off with Cassoulet, some funky chicken -Poulet a la Basquaise), a potato pie with truffles layered in between, and then a salad with water chestnuts, toasted almonds and duck on top.

Cassoulet is for all you bean and beef lovers–seriously. Such a long process. The end product was eh, I thought it was a little dry. I think one other person agreed. When you have breadcrumbs soaking up all the liquid and then beef and beans, the chance of one bean slipping through and getting stuck is there.
We used a layered approach, of navy beans, and stewed beef. At the end of our layering, the other guy and I realized we needed to add the duck. Since there was a mixing process that went on ( ever so often, the top gets broken (traditional French way) and pushed into the bottom and new breadcrumbs are added, so we figured no one would every know where we actually added the duck. The duck “confit” but the way, was really good. I cannot say the same for the Cassoulet. The potato pies were yet another take on our potato dishes. Who knew we could make 12 different potatoes and there is still time to learn more.

In the evening we made a Fish something. The exact name is a Bourride. It like everything but the kitchen sink. (fennel, celery, tomato, garlic, clams, red snapper, mussels, etc etc etc. Check out the photo attached. We also did a Tarte aux Blettes–basically Swiss Chard pie-well that took my teammate a while to make and we did not attack it when it was sampling time. I packed up a piece but at the end I gave it to the stewarding service. I tasted a little piece of the chard and was like–No (in your best French imitation)!! For all you Sardine fans–we did fresh sardines with a large ass sprig of some herb and then we wrapped it in leek leaves. It was something you would see on your ISLAND vacation-as they tried to impress you with local food. I took some home.

My assignment was the Provencal Vegetables (Petis Farcis a la Farcon du Vieux Nice) all that is right! So basically I hollowed out some veggies and cooked their insides with some other ingredients and then stuffed them back up. A little surgery, you can say. LOL LOL, literally. These are great for parties, small, easy to prepare and different. Your guests will adore you.

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in order of appearance: Bourride, Cassoulet (tell me if that is appetizing-in the silver pot), Stuffed Veggies, Chix al la Basquaise, the Truffle pie and then the Sardines. If you want any of the recipes, let me know. BTW the Bourride was okay, and the stuffed veggies.

So as always, enjoy your food, and seek out different ingredients.

New Mates, New Regions (Class 28)

Well this was the start of our French Regions. We started in Alsace Lorraine and Brittany regions.
We made a French tart with Bacon, Onions, and Creme Fraiche. It came out like a little pizza.
We tackled Charcroute Garni which is essentially with sausage and sauerkraut. We also did cheese souffle with a mushrooms duxelle, and a rice ring made with lobster sauce.

The pizza was fun as we all got to do our own. We used the past maker and just let it cook and bubble in the oven. The charcroute Garni is your favorite sauerkraut and sausage. If you love and kind of “wurst” this is the dish for you. I was able to make work on this and it is lengthy to make so only make this if you have time.

We also made a potato pie, first the dough into a tart pan, then layers of potatoes, covered by a layer of boiled eggs, then a layer of bacon, creme fraiche, then a layer of potatoes and finally the pie covering. This is the ideal breakfast–all packed together in one. Let me know if you want the recipe–I can scan it to you.

The lobster sauce was mine. I got to handle the lobster from start to end–from selecting one from the pack to serving it on a plate in the middle of a rice ring. The rice ring, though beautiful, was somewhat parboiled. I was so excited to taste the combination but my taste buds did not get its fill. I had some of another team’s rice but decided to just look for something else to eat like bread dipped in the sauce. um um good

We also did trout and spaetlze. The spaetztle was fun as it looked like a pancake batter at the beginning. Then we put little drops of the batter into a pot of boiling water. After, we shocked it in cold water so it did not stick together into one large piece of dough. Later on we cooked the spaetzle in a saute pan and flavored it with reisling. Before I put the reisling in the dish, I have to admit I took a shot in a small cup. I had to see what it tasted like–not too sweet like the others I tasted–a tad bit dry, this one. None the less is was nice a sparkly. 🙂

Try new things. Do as I say not as I do–sometimes I have the face and I don’t want to try somethings. In time that will change. You only have to do it once and know how it is supposed to be cooked and that is all you need.
Enjoy life, try a new food, and eat well!

Saturday Class Fun with shapes (class 27)

So this was the last day to be with our old table mates. It was a warm day. We spent a while cooking risotto and if you have experience with Risotto, you know that you cannot walk away and take any kind of “break” or you will find a break in your dish.

Our next dish was roasted top round of lamb, with spaghetti squash and fondant potatoes. I did the fondant potatoes, which is really glazes potatoes–shiny but not from oil. The squash pancakes, really looked like pancakes-I wont tell if you don’t. 🙂

We also made timbales of Spring veggies. It has layers and filled with goat cheese, then squash, zucchini, eggplant and plum tomatoes. It was so pretty to look at. I took two home. I went to my parent’s house so I decided I would leave it there for them to have a taste.

The next dish was beef with beans and a garlic potato pie. The garlic potato pie looked like a pastry and so delicate. I had fun with this dish. Plating is fun. Mr. Smart Chef said that it looked a bit weird–meaning no one will want touch it. Well I say to the restaurant manager overprice it and then push it–the person that orders it will surely eat it–. They will be so thrown by the price and then they will see it and decide they must try it–it will be fun to watch them try to eat it and keep the pretty thought out shape.

I had fun here. It is rare that you are able to play with food.
Pics(lamb w squash pancakes, beef in garlic potato pie, and timbales of veggies)

Take care, enjoy life and always eat well!

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day two of the Master J (Class 26)

I felt that the day was not filled for some reason.
Maybe we were just jelling for some reason, or rather rocking and a rolling.
We even fitted in a halibut dish–yello. I was proactive and asked the chef when we would do it.

The run down in the morning:
Artic Char with a citrus vinaigrette, salad and some herbs. Of course, as usual, we edit the recipe. I have to get used to writing in the margin, crossing out and highlighting. This is what drove me to photocopy my recipes so there is more space to write, besides the fact that I no longer have to copy recipes daily–like 4 hours or writing for the week–just writing. I like practicing my letters and capital letters.

The fish sat on a bed of frisee and fruits, like lemon, lime and orange pieces. I had the joy of cutting out the little shapes–you want to keep a dodo head busy–give them this task. It amazingly is good practice in doing something right-after you butcher the tenth slice and have sticky hands, you quickly learn how to be better at that.

So far for the classes- all the groups prepped one set of things and shared with the other tables, and we also did it by table where one person prepped each part and then we shared to make individual dishes. It allowed us cooking practice.

We also tackled Sauteed quail with sweetbreads, cranberry sauce and foie gras bread pudding. Well lets see, which one of these is your favorite? I got to stuff the quail with the sweatbreads. We plated this. Pretty!!

Lastly-we did the Venison with Chestnut sauce, Butternut squash and pine nut relish and wild mushroom gratin. We seared the venison and someone else made the squash. Another table made the mushroom pie.

After lunch we did Sea Scallops with grapefruit vinaigrette baby mizuna and tobiko. So what was fun about this dish–well the little roe. They looked like little pink marbles–super tiny-the kind you don’t kids to play with. Then we made a classic mash potato (Mousseline Potatoes/Pommes Mousseline) with grilled poussin and vichy carrots. Chef J, though it would be boring to just put some carrot glazed on a dish–so what did we have to do: we took a melon scoop/Parisian scoop and scooped out carrots. That is right and I have the picture to prove–fun. When we glazed those carrots–it was like heaven in the mouth–not too sweet but the natural sweetness of carrots and a nice medium texture.

The next dish was Beef Short Ribs, Creamy Polenta with garlic and sweet n sour turnips. I made the polenta. This dish was nice and hearty, well at least the meat was. The polenta was like a soft accompaniment but it had color. We added some Kale for green.

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In the evening some of us stayed to assist at the graduation ceremonies–tame affair where you get to see form whence these people came from (Marilyn Manson woman look alike, typical country club dad, proud as can be parents, spouses not ready to give up the free food, children not ready to reconnect with a parent, pocket books alleviated, proud siblings, hungry jacks, and busy folk.)

We took some things home but we had just left class and there was only so much we could take further.

Well we certainly ate well, and enjoyed life today! What about you? Email for any of the recipes.

welcome to the yonger generation of chefs (class 25)

This was a taste of what I consider the real deal–aside from our previous chef.
take instruction, digest, plan, execute
What a difference a day makes!

So our new Chef was younger and had his own attitude. So we just have to wait and see what his deal is.

Before class we went to a resume class. In there we did the 30 second pitch. Go ahead and try the 15 second spiel about yourself (yeah, even shorter). We looked at crazy resumes, tips to get your point across in a super short time and get a call back, etc. It was a college course that some of us needed a refresher in.

So finally to class. Here was the line up for rest of the day:
Tuna Carpaccio–fresh tuna rolled in ground fennel, black pepper and coriander-then seared-it is quite pretty when cut. We did not get to make this. Hot Shot Chef made it, so I only got a glance while he was doing in on the side as we worked. We made a vinaigrette to go along with and plated that and some micro-greens. I like tuna but not really the raw kind–the all fish taste has some getting used to.

Sauteed Scallops–this was an awesome dish. I love scallops seared. It has sea salt in it–the natural kind so at times was interesting to eat. We made a Pomme Maxine. It was thin potatoes slices cut into 1″ circles and layered into an oval shape, then fried. This was fun as we put it on top of our scallops. It added a starch but very interesting design to the plate.

Parsnip Sauce–pretty good. I watched someone else make it. We put that around the scallops.

There was also Braised Cabbage–I did not partake here.
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The last dish was the Sauteed Halibut with a warm vinaigrette. We did not have enough time to cook it so we prepped it for Sunday class. Well the funny thing was that when I wrote out the recipe I left out part and so I wrote sideways later on in my book, and this was the day that other people wanted to share. Good luck to them .. LOL Then they asked me questions–what could I say.

So the new chapter has begun. Faster, stronger, higher–that seems to be the theme.

Eat well–not too much, but always enjoy life!!