Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Peas, Carrots, and Potatoes.

Ok. So this is how this is going to work. Sometimes a girl just doesn't have it in her to sit down and blog every day. (blog used as a verb.... very strange.) So even though vegetables, grains, and potatoes are EXHILARATING culinary masterpieces, they are about to be clumped into one entry. Yep. I am doing it and that is how this is going to be. Day 13-16.... here we go. 

Day 13
Tabbouleh, polenta, and wheat berries.
I love polenta. I had absolutely no idea what wheat berries were before today. (Yes, I am in school and paying for knowledge.) 

Wheat Berry:  refers to the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), comprising the brangerm, and endosperm. Wheatberries have a tan to reddish brown color and are available as either a hard or soft processed grain. They are often added to salads or baked into bread to add a crunchy texture; as a whole grain, they also provide nutritional benefits since they are an excellent source of dietary fiber.

wheat berry salad with poblano peppers and pecans.

Whole wheat berries (cooked)
Poblana chile pepper (roasted)
Pecans (chopped)
Olive oil or butter
Salt and pepper

Cook wheat berries in boiling water. They will take about an hour and you will have to add water throughout cooking. They are done when they are tender, but still have a bite to them.
Toast pecans over medium heat using olive oil or butter. They toast in less than two minutes. Make sure they do not burn. Roast poblano pepper until blackened. Peel and chop. Toss everything together and season with salt and pepper. 

soft polenta finished with parmesan cheese.

Polenta is a dish made from boiled cornmeal. 
It is pretty much the same as grits. Both delicious.
Polenta is better than grits and way more delicious.(Happy, Marco?) 

Polenta (ground cornmeal)
Parmesan Cheese
Parsley (to garnish)

To make soft polenta the ratio of polenta to water is 5:1. Always. Bring water to a boil. Add polenta slowly to keep from clumping. Whisk or stir continuously until it begins to thicken. Season with salt.
Finish with butter and parmesan cheese (optional.)

I love polenta by itself. However, saute some mushrooms and throw some blue cheese on top and you have a to die for dish in 10 minutes. 

I am ALWAYS hungry. 

Day 14


Potatoes 4 ways. I (am very humble and never brag) got 100% on all of my potato dishes. I also left class very full.

Today we produced: 
Pommes Ana- thinly sliced potatoes fried until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. 
Pommes Rosti- kind of like a hybrid latke/hash brown. 
Pommes Duchess- mashed potatoes with eggs and nutmeg that are piped from a pastry bag and then baked until golden. These reminded me of a tacky wedding reception.
Pommes Dauphinois- similar to potatoes au gratin or scalloped potatoes. Thinly sliced and baked with cream and cheese.


Pommes Dauphinoise:
Bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme, parsley)
Garlic clove 
Gruyere cheese
Salt and white pepper

This recipe is fat free and has negative calories.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Steep cream and milk with bouquet garni and garlic for about 10 minutes. Do not boil. Add nutmeg. Grease a small pan or oven safe skillet. 
Slice potatoes very thin. About 1/8 of an inch thick. 
Layer potatoes in pan. Season in between layers with salt and pepper. The more layers, the better.
Remove bouquet and garlic from cream mixture and pour over layered potatoes. Top with cheese. Bake about 45 minutes until tender and cheese is golden. I did not cover mine, but if it is browning too quickly, you can cover with a lid or foil. 

pommes dauphinoise.

Day 15
Exams. 1 hour. Carrots vichy, Green beans with peppers and bacon, pommes anna, and rice pilaf.  I got an A. Ok, thanks. 

Day 16
Today we covered  two classic French salads. Leeks with vinaigrette and Salade Nicoise. We also learned how to perfectly boil an egg (in boiling water for exactly 12 minutes) and continued mastering the technique of blanching vegetables. 

leeks with vinaigrette.

Coarse salt
Vinaigrette: red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, shallots, garlic, tarragon, chives, parsley, olive oil, salt.
Hard boiled egg (chopped)

Blanch leeks in salted boiling water for about 7 minutes. They should be tender all the way through without being mushy. 
Make vinaigrette and boil egg. Drizzle leeks with vinaigrette and top with egg. Yes, that simple and SO tasty.

this is why french women are skinny, I guess.

This is a very classic French salad which I am really not a fan of. My favorite part of making this today was taking the tuna off the top after my presentation, turning it into tuna salad, and making a tuna melt when I got home from school. Best tuna melt ever, by the way. 

Tuna Melt:  this has nothing to do with school, but is delicious.
Tuna (we used canned)
Vinaigrette: red wine vinegar, olive oil, shallots, garlic, dijon or mustard powder (as an emulsifier) fresh herbs (chives, parsley, chervil, tarragon....)
Whole wheat bread
Gruyere cheese

Toss tuna with vinaigrette. Yes, this is a mayo-free way to eat tuna. Thank God. 
Put tuna mixture on bread. Top with gruyere. Broil in oven for about 10 minutes. 

Note: When pulling the tuna melt (or anything else, really) out of the oven, remember to use oven mitts. My fingers are burnt and my oven now needs to be scrubbed from me spilling everything inside of it after I burnt myself by pretending I am some weird super human who does not need oven mitts. Julia, you are starting to rub off on me. 

K.... back to school. 

Salade Nicoise:
Waxy potatoes 
Green beans 
Mixed salad greens
Anchovy fillets
Black olives
Hard boiled egg
Vinaigrette: same vinaigrette as above.

Boil eggs. Blanch beans and tomato. Cook potatoes. 
Toss salad greens in dressing. 
Garnish with all ingredients cut into quarters.
This is a cold salad and everything should be cooled from cooking and served on a chilled plate.
This is very easy to assemble.... most of the time needed to make this is all in the prep work. 

Now on to real food....

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