Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 12

I just read through my class syllabus. (Yes I should have done that 3 weeks ago..... cool.)

Day 17- Fettucinne Alfredo. Tortellini with cheese filling and pesto sauce.
Day 25- Poached Salmon with Beurre Blanc, rice pilaf, and zucchini tourne. Filet of sole bonne femme.

There is definitely some wonderful food to come. Did it come today? Not so much.

Today in class we focussed on vegetables and grains. I love most of the recipes that we make in class, but the recipes today were just not my style. They were good and had great flavor, but my mother never yelled at me to finish my broccoli and I still don't need 17 ingredients to mask the taste of my greens. When I cook vegetables,  I usually go pretty basic.... mother nature provides most of the flavor and I go with it.

However, I do love that I am getting all of these new techniques under my belt. I guess one does go to school to learn new things.....

Lentil Salad

Lentils (cooked)
Cabbage (shredded)
Garlic (I made mine into a paste.... I hate big chunks of garlic in my food)
Olive oil

Vinaigrette: Red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil, garlic, shallots, parsley, salt and pepper.

Saute bacon lardons in water over medium heat to render fat. Remove bacon. Saute shredded cabbage in the same pan using the bacon fat. If needed, add a little oil. Add onion and shallots. Cook until soft. Add lentils. Remove pan from heat. Add bacon and toss in prepared vinaigrette. Season with salt. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve warm.

One thing that I have actually never really done is blanch my vegetables. I will definitely start. Blanching not only cuts cooking time and keeps vegetables firm, but it brightens the colors and makes them look so much better. It is also an incredibly easy technique.
BSD: Blanch. Schock. Drain.
Submerge raw vegetables in boiling water for about two minutes. Transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain. That's it. So simple.

We used this technique for Green Beans with Roasted Peppers and Bacon and for Cranberry Beans with Asparagus.

Cranberry Beans with Asparagus

Another great and super easy tip? Roasting bell peppers. Yes, you can buy them in a jar from Trader Joe's, but come on... everything is cooler if you do it yourself and this takes two minutes (or so.)
You do need a gas stove..... or another kind of open flame in your kitchen, but I in no way recommend that. 
Set gas stove to high. Set bell pepper directly on top of flame and wait for it to turn black. Yep. That's it.
After the pepper is completely charred. Set aside and cover to let the skin separate from the flesh of the vegetable. This will make it super easy to peel. Done. 

Roasted Red Bell Pepper.

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