Mod 2 Practical Exam

Friday, January 29, 2010

I survived the practical! As much as I tried to convince myself I wasn't nervous, I was actually very nervous.

I arrived to school extra early so that I could hopefully be one of the first to present. Apparently 12:15 wasn't early enough and I was 8th on the list (right in the middle). I was allowed to enter the kitchen at 1:15 and was given a 2:30 presentation time. I went through the motions in my head and knew that I had to start cooking my steak and potatoes by 2:10. In the meantime, I started my prep-work by medium-dicing my potatoes and trimming the haricot vert. I immediately got my potatoes on the stove to par-boil and blanched the haricot vert. When those were done, I minced some shallots, garlic, and parsley. Then, it was just a waiting game to start the real cooking. I got my steak out at around 2:00 and generously seasoned it with salt and a touch of pepper. I set up my stove so that everything was all set and within reach, then I got to cooking! Thankfully, I got a nice sear on the steak and then finished cooking it in the oven. The potatoes were well on their way to becoming nice and crispy. Once I thought the steak was done (simply by touching it because we weren't allowed to cut into it), I allowed it to rest while I made the pan sauce. The sauce was reducing nicely and my time was about to come up. I quickly reheated and refreshed my haricot vert and grabbed a hot plate. I perfectly plated my steak with a little sauce spooned below it and placed the potatoes and haricot vert above it.

At exactly 2:30 I was walking my plate down the hall to present to Chef Ana. She told me to "pick my poison" and I was pretty confident that my steak was on the medium side of medium-rare. I prayed I was right as she cut in the middle of my steak. I was right on point! I won't go into the grading part of the exam, but I was happy with the results.

I was so relieved when it was all over and spent the rest of class straightening up the kitchen and waiting until everybody else was done with their steak presentations. Everything was all said and done by 3:30 and I hustled to Penn Station to catch a train to Philadelphia to celebrate with my sister!

Lesson 47: Gourmet Sandwich Shop

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

After these past two days, our class is more than qualified to work at any sandwich or salad shop ;)    We all took our final written exam and began prepping our stations for sandwich day.  Each team made a hot sandwich, an open-faced sandwich, a tea sandwich, and a cold sandwich.

I was really excited to see that a Croque Monsieur was assigned to our group.  I have always wanted to make one and have even recently looked up recipes to try at home.  However, when I glanced over the recipe we were given I wasn't very impressed.  It seemed like a basic ham and cheese sandwich with dijon.  I always thought a Croque Monsieur had a bechamel sauce with gruyere cheese mixed in that is spread on top of the sandwiches and then broiled.  Chef told me that I could make the sandwich like that if I wanted, so I figured I'd experiment.

I followed the directions on the recipe and then made my bechamel sauce with 4 oz of roux and 40 oz of milk.  This made more than enough sauce!  I added in some grated gruyere and seasoned the sauce with salt, white pepper, and fresh nutmeg.  After the sandwiches were assembled (with dijon, sliced ham, gruyere, and meunster) and grilled in a saute pan, I added some of the sauce on top.  I placed it under the broiler until the sauce was bubbly.

The croque monsieur was very tasty, but I think I would make some changes the next time I make it.  The sauce on top made the sandwich hard to handle, so I think I would eliminate the sliced cheese inside the sandwich and add the sauce on top of the ham on the inside of the sandwich.  Then, I would press the sandwich so that it is thin and crispy.  

All of the other sandwiches turned out fantastic!  We used fun cookie cutters to make shapes out of the bread slices.  Everybody loves sandwich day so we had a lot of visitors in our class tasting all of our sandwich creations!

The other sandwiches we made included a turkey club:

Egg salad & Deviled Ham Tea Sandwiches:

Tuna salad:


Grilled Chicken Sandwich:

Open-faced Shrimp Sandwich:

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwich & Curried Chicken Sandwich:

Also not pictured was a chicken burger and salmon blt.  

Tomorrow is the dreaded practical exam!  I'm trying really really hard not to get nervous.  I know if I am nervous and start doubting myself, I will make silly mistakes.  If I have confidence and have a mindset that I am just cooking for my family, not for a grade, then I know I'll do fine.  So yea, not nervous at all... well.. maybe a little..    

Lesson 46: Saladworks

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nothing got in my way as I made my way to school today!  It was nice getting back into my normal routine-- sitting in the same spot on the train, having the same "good morning" exchanges to the ticket guy, watching the same crazy lady at Starbucks talk to herself while I sip on green ginger tea and have a light lunch, and walk the same route to school.

I stopped at the 6th floor before heading up to class so I can get my NJ transit forms stamped.  While I was there, I remembered to see if I could meet with the externship advisor (since I was supposed to meet with her yesterday).  Thankfully she was available and gave me some very helpful insight on externship possibilities.  After our meeting I realized I have a lot to think about and research so that I can make a good decision.

Today Chef Ana walked us through the steps that we should take for our practical exam on Thursday.  I really don't feel nervous at all anymore.  After practicing yesterday and getting more tips today, I feel like it should go smoothly (I hope!).  The hardest part is just cooking the steak perfectly, but I think I'll do okay!

We spent the rest of the day making a variety of salads.  Each group made a different salad to make.  At the end of class we had a salad feast!  

Our group prepared 3 salads; Tuna Nicoise Salad (which was plated beautifully by Al):

Walnut Lentil Salad:

And a Mediterranean Potato Salad:The other groups made the following salads: Parson's Garden Salad (with poached quail eggs and fried julienned carrots & celery root):American Potato Salad:

Tabbouleh Salad:

Mixed Bean & Grain Salad:Cobb Salad:

And Egg Salad:

We also had a variety of cheeses from Chef Ted's class to try and some sweet treats from the pastry class down the hall (of course we shared our salads too!)

I can't believe I only have two more days of Module 2 left!  I have my written exam tomorrow (followed by sandwich day) and then the practical exam on Thursday!  I better start studying!!!!

Crepes & Steak

Yesterday's awful weather caused some difficulties for me to get to school.  When I got to the train station the rain and wind was at its worst.  I ran to the parking meter and the second I took out a dollar bill it got soaked and wouldn't go into the machine.  I tried another bill and the same thing happened.  At this point I was already soaked and panicking because the train was about to arrive.  Before I knew it, all of my money was soaked and I didn't know what to do.  The last thing I wanted was to come back from school to find my car towed or an outrageous parking ticket.  I trudged back to my car as the train whipped by and broke down.   I hate missing class because I feel like I'm going to miss something important.

I figured I'd make the most out of my day and at least attempt to make crepes, one of the things we were supposed to make in class.  It was actually kind of fun to make.. I made some adjustments to the recipe based on the ingredients we had in the house.  Here's my adjusted recipe for crepes:

1 cup blended whole wheat and white flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups skim milk
2 T melted butter

I combined the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately and then whisked them together.  I let the mixture set while I assembled filling ingredients.  I decided to make savory crepes for a light lunch for my mom and I.  I filled the crepes with herbed goat cheese, quartered cherry tomatoes, and chopped spinach (I defrosted a frozen package and seasoned it with olive oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and a no-salt seasoning blend).

Right before making the crepes, I mixed in the melted butter.  I sprayed a saute pan with non-stick spray and added  a ladle of crepe batter.   I twirled the pan to get the batter to form a thin layer on the pan.  It was a little difficult to flip because the batter was very thin.  I'm thinking it would have been thicker if I used whole milk instead of skim (but it was all we had).  Then, I filled the crepes and heated them up so the cheese melted and the filling was warm (you can heat them under a broiler or use the microwave like I did).  I drizzled (or attempted to drizzle- the bottle made it kind of hard to lightly drizzle) balsamic syrup over the crepes and garnished with more tomatoes.

This made for a very light and satisfying lunch.  Well, it was a light lunch until I started eating the crepes that I messed up ;)

I also figured yesterday's day off would be a good day to practice making steak, pommes persaillade, and haricot vert since my practical exam is on THURSDAY!  The grocery store didn't have haricot vert, so I just made the steak and potatoes.

I stayed very organized with my mise en place perfect and ready to go:

My medium diced potatoes were par boiled and cooling before they were ready to be sauteed.

I made my steak and pan sauce and it turned out pretty good.  The flavor and consistency of the pan sauce was not the same as it will be when I make it in school because I used store-bought beef stock as opposed to the homemade veal stock at school.  I'm glad I got the practice though so I feel more confident for Thursday's exam!

The sun is finally out so I'm hoping for a smooth commute to school today!  Hopefully I didn't miss too much yesterday!

Lesson 44: Egg Cookery

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yesterday we cooked eggs in every way you could think of--fried, boiled (hard & soft), poached, etc.  I recently watched Julia Child make a perfect rolled French omelet and was intrigued by her technique.  I couldn't wait to learn how to make one in class.  While my omelets are always very tasty (and a favorite breakfast request from my dad), they sometimes brown on top and fall apart.  

Shown above is my very first french rolled omelet.  Not perfect, but at least it didn't fall apart and didn't brown.  It wasn't as smooth on top as I wanted it to be, but I tried to cover it up with some sauteed peppers and onions :)

To make a French omelet, the key is to have a very hot pan.  Once the [3] eggs go in (that were slightly scrambled with a fork and mixed with a drop of milk and some fine herbs), you can lower the heat a bit, but the pan must be very hot at first.  You must keep the pan in motion while using a fork or spatula to bring the raw eggs to the bottom of the pan.  

When the eggs are just beginning to set, but are still a little wet, you add your fillings (cheeses, vegetables, etc) in a line right in the center.  You fold half of the omelet over and get the eggs to the very edge of the pan.  Then, you roll the omelet on the plate and hope for the perfect fluffy French omelet.

We also learned how to perfectly poach an egg.  I love poached eggs, mostly because of its texture and because its not coated in grease and butter.  To be honest, I really stink at poaching eggs.  If I don't have my fancy william sonoma egg poacher, then my eggs fall apart in the simmer water.  However, in class we used simple metal rings to shape the eggs in the water.  These were the perfect device for making poached eggs because the whites stayed in tact with the yolks.  No fancy egg poacher needed!!  We held the poached eggs in ice water and simply heated them up in boiling water for a few seconds before plating them.  

To assemble our eggs benedict, we sauteed canadian bacon, toasted english muffin halves, and made our hollandaise.  Eggs benedict is a dish that has to be timed perfectly so that the hollandaise doesn't break and the other components are warm and ready to be served.  Unfortunately, our timing was not perfect and our hollandaise solidified.  Here is a picture of the eggs benedict without the hollandaise:

Still looks pretty tasty, huh?  

My favorite part of class was making the fried eggs.  We learned how to flip the eggs over easy using a slight flick of the wrist.  When Chef Karen demonstrated the flip, I immediately knew that it would not be as easy as it looks.  

I was nervous for my first flip and was not successful.  The yolk didn't break, but it didn't look like the perfect fried egg.  My second flip was definitely a success!  I was so excited when it flipped perfectly without the yolk breaking and creating a big mess in the pan.  Check out my glorious fried egg:My team also prepared a frittata.  Frittatas are great for a crowd because you can add a variety of fillings and just slice it into wedges.  For our frittata we just grabbed a bunch of fillings like sauteed peppers and onions, chopped sausage links, crumbled bacon, and sauteed potatoes.  We started the frittata on the stove and then covered it and placed it in the convection oven for about 10 minutes.  When the eggs were set, we flipped it over on a plate and sliced it up!
While cooking eggs was fun, I am even more excited for breakfast cookery part 2 on Monday.  We will be making waffles, pancakes, crepes, and breakfast cereals!

Lesson 43:Stuffing Peter Rabbit

Friday, January 22, 2010

Peter Rabbit made his second appearance in kitchen 1401 today (well, third if you count mod 1).  Allison and I decided to tackle the multiple-step Stuffed Saddle of Rabbit recipe.  I was very intrigued by this recipe because of its many parts (and the fact that I have never heard of a saddle of rabbit).

Chef Ana began the class by demonstrating how to fabricate the saddle.  We had to take the chain bone out carefully so that the two outer flaps did not separate.  I watched carefully, unsure of whether I could replicate her techniques.  

I was so afraid of messing up and ruining the saddle, but in the end I was successful!  I had minimal holes in my saddle and didn't make any mistakes (yahoo!).  Fabricating can get very frustrating to me so I was happy with this good start to the day.
Next, I cleaned and chopped up a variety of mushrooms in the robot coupe.  Allison sauteed them with shallots, garlic, white wine, parsley and thyme.  We let the stuffing cool and started prepping the rabbits for stuffing.

We laid out the caul fat and placed the fabricated rabbit saddles on top.  Next, we spread out some stuffing in the center of each saddle:

We wrapped it up like a burrito and tied the ends with string:

They were all set for searing!  I browned all sides of the rabbit in some canola oil.  While we were working on the rabbits, my other team members were working on the other dishes of the day.  Shown on the stove is the butternut squash and red peppers sauteing for the Israeli cous cous and the sauce simmering for the penne with chantarelle mushrooms and sundried tomatoes.  

On the other stove, a Mexican chicken stew was simmering (I never got a picture of it, but it was full of spicy, Mexican flavors).

Here is a picture of the penne plated up.  It was delicious as expected.  The sauce is made with heavy cream and mascarpone, so it's gotta be good!

I absolutely love Israeli cous cous, so I really liked this dish.  I really like the chewy texture of the small pearls of pasta.  The only thing this dish needed was some grated parmesan on top!  I also think roasting the vegetables would have added more flavor than just sauteing them, but it was still very good!

Finally, I took my rabbits out of the oven.  I learned my lesson from yesterday's undercooked fish and called Chef Ana over to check the doneness of the rabbit before I removed them from the pan.  She went through each rabbit with me, feeling it and showing me how to tell if it is done.  Luckily, they were all perfectly cooked through!  I let them rest on a rack while I made the veal reduction sauce.

I took out some of the excess fat that added up in the pan (there was a lot because all of the caul fat melted off of the rabbit).  Then, I added sliced mushrooms and let them brown.  I de-glazed the pan with brandy and white wine and let it reduce by 1/2.  Next, I added veal stock and let that reduce until it was nice and thick.  At the end, I added tomatoes, parsley, and a large pinch of salt.  Off the heat, I mounted the sauce with butter.  The sauce tasted really good when it was done.  Chef tasted it before it reduced and hated it because of the awful wine flavor (the wine we use isn't the greatest).  But, she tasted it at the end and said it was sooo much better.  I was very proud and satisfied with my performance in class today.

Tomorrow we begin breakfast cookery with a four hour class on cooking eggs!

The Blue Ribbon Experience

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I just had the most amazing culinary experience of my life.  I had the pleasure of dining with five of my classmates, along with another friend, at the Blue Ribbon Restaurant in Soho.  

Chef Karen recommended this restaurant to our class a couple of weeks ago because of its bone marrow & oxtail appetizer.  When we listened to her explanation of this dish we knew we had to plan a class trip!  Oh boy was she right!  This appetizer was an experience in itself.  BUT before we get to that, I must start at the beginning..

We arrived at the fairly empty restaurant (it was only 5:45) and were led to a cozy both.  We all reviewed the menus and were a little unsure of what to order.  We had to decide whether we just wanted to share appetizers and which ones we should get.  We also came right from school so we've been tasting foods all day and didn't want to go too crazy with the amount of food.  Our waiter was extremely helpful and gave us a few suggestions on the best appetizers and the order in which we will eat them so that the whole experience is perfect.  We finally made our decisions and placed our order.

Obviously, we had to start with a nice beverage to accompany this anticipated meal.  We couldn't have chosen a better wine, a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, to pair with the luscious, rich spread of food.

We were surprised when the first dishes arrived at our table because it was not what we ordered!  The server announced that he brought some extra appetizers for us on the house (he knew we were culinary arts students and were excited to try many of the menu options)!  Some of the complementary items included Foie Gras Terrine:

fried oysters:

and grilled octopus (I failed to get a picture of this because I dropped my camera under the table and couldn't reach it..woops).   The oysters were served on a creamy spinach, bacon, and apple sauce.  I splashed a bit of the "special hot sauce" on top.  It was out of this world!!  The octopus had a very distinct grilled flavor, which was extremely tasty.  The foie gras was served with toasted bread and shredded apples.  I loved making my own little "foie gras sandwich" with a little bit of everything in every bite.  The apples were a great addition for an extra bit of sweetness and crunch.  I made sure to taste the foie gras on its own (it was my first time trying it) and it was amazing!

Next, the first plates that we ordered arrived (and we already had so much food!).  Our spread included raw oysters on the half-shell, grilled shrimp remoulade with zucchini fries, and a warm goat cheese salad.  My favorite was the grilled shrimp--I loved the creamy remoulade sauce underneath each shrimp.

Our "transition" dish before the star of the show was a creamy 3-cheese & white wine fondue.  We were each given a long fondue fork and dipped a selection of cubed bread, sliced apple, and breadsticks into the gooey cheese mixture.  Towards the end, we added some bacon bits and scraped up the rest of the sauce!

Alright, now time for the part of the meal that changed my life (well at least my life as it pertains to food).  We received our bone marrow, which was served over an oxtail marmalade and surrounded by toasted challah bread.  This is how you eat this culinary creation:
You take the tiny fork they give you with the dish and scrape the inside of the bone.  The marrow pops out of the bone and you mix it in with the oxtail marmalade.  Then you take a piece of bread and spread the marrow/oxtail mixture on top and sprinkle it with a bit of sea salt.  I can't even explain the flavors in my mouth.  I was speechless.

Along with our 2 orders of bone marrow, we had an order of escargot.  This was sort of like a stew and had some vegetables mixed in with a super thick, rich sauce.  My favorite part was the strip of bread waiting at the bottom of the bowl that was just soaking up all of the flavors.  It was the perfect little surprise when you reach the end of the bowl!

When the waiter came back to take our dessert orders we all agreed that we were way too satisfied and wanted to end the food experience with the bone marrow.  

You've probably noticed I used the word "experience" a lot in this review, and that is because Blue Ribbon did turn eating dinner into an experience for me-- especially with the way the food was presented.  The waiter gave us suggestions/instructions on how to approach the dishes and from there we were able to interact with the food and create our own perfect bites.

I can't wait to return and try some of the other dishes on the menu.  We only tried appetizers, so I can only imagine what the main dishes entail!

Lesson 42: Holy Mackerel!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I am actually writing this on the train ride home from NYC.  I figured I would have more thoughts about my day if I wrote immediately after class instead of later at night when I'm burnt out and exhausted (and because it will pass the time on the hour long train ride!)

Our class got a stern lecture on cleaning today, which we definitely deserved and needed.  It is surely a challenge to remind yourself to clean up as you go when you have so many things on your mind.  I always thought I was pretty good about it and I really hope I'm not considered one of the "slackers" in class.  I know I am trying hard, but I always seem to worry if I am doing good enough.  I'm trying to keep my head up and continue to work hard, not be afraid to be challenged, and not to take criticism the wrong way.

Speaking of challenges, I was pretty proud of myself for filleting the mackerel today in my group (shown above).  I know that I am not the greatest at filleting and haven't filleted a round fish since mod 1. I figured this was my chance to get practice in and challenge myself.  I ended up not doing too bad!

While I was working on the fish, burgers were being formed and grilled.  Buffalo chili was also being mixed together so it could simmer for the rest of class.  We served our burgers on huge buns (they kind of looked like challah bread-- a shiny glazed top and a pale-yellow fluffy center).  The burgers were a simple ground patty served with the traditional burger toppings--onions, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and mustard.

Before enjoying our massive burgers, we finished up the teriyaki marinade for the hanger steak and a toasted spice marinade for the mackerel.  Hanger steak is a very tender meat that is only sold commercially.  It is cheaper than most steaks, but requires a lot of trimming which results in a a lot of waste.  We grilled the steak and served it with a separate teriyaki sauce made with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and maple syrup.

Allison and I sauteed the mackerel.  We were very hesitant about how long to cook them.  I was not sure how they should feel when they are cooked through or what they should even look like.  I think we were both afraid to burn or overcook them so we just used our best judgement (which ended up not being such good judgement!)

I plated the fish with confidence, thinking the filet's were cooked perfectly.  The plate looked beautiful:

I was bummed when Chef cut into it and saw it was not cooked all the way through.  I'm really hard on myself and mentally beat myself up over it, wondering why I didn't cut through one of them to check its doneness.  I have to keep reminding myself that I'm still learning and I'm going to be making a lot of mistakes that I can only learn from.  

The hanger steak turned out great--along with the teriyaki sauce that accompanied it.

The buffalo chili was also fantastic!  Al did a great job adding the right spices that complemented the array of flavors in the dish.

Tomorrow we are making saddle of rabbit.. Any idea what that is because I sure don't?!!!  Guess I will find out :)     Tomorrow night I will be heading to the famous Blue Ribbon Restaurant with some of my classmates.  I'll be posting a restaurant review soon!  I'm excited to try their oxtail with marrow (never thought I'd say that!)

Lesson 41: Sweetbreads & Baby Back Ribs

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Today started with a rather weird encounter with a lady on the elevator.  Everyone that was crowded in the tiny elevator got a blessing from this lady who assured us that we cannot be too sure if we'll be on this earth tomorrow and we should all live today as our last day (and continued with a prayer).  I guess it's not bad advice, since we should all realize how fortunate we are to have all of the simple things in life.  But, needless to say she exited the elevator on the psychiatric floor.

After that bizarre moment, I headed into kitchen 1401 to prep for the day's recipes.  Today was our first day of "Cooking Methods Review".  We went through all of the cooking techniques of the modules, so for the next 3 days we are simply reviewing these techniques with more in-depth recipes.

I was very excited (and kind of nervous) to work on the first recipe: Braised Sweetbreads.  The first time I ever heard of "sweet breads" was probably about 10 years ago at a French restaurant in NYC.  My sister was about to order them, thinking they were actually sweet breads (literally).  Thankfully, our waiter informed us what they actually were and she quickly refused them.  Since then, I forgot exactly what they were and thought they were cow's brains.  They are actually the thymus and pancreas of a calf or lamb.  Sounds yummy, right?

Preparing these sweetbreads is not all that glamorous.  They soaked in milk overnight and looked like a gloppy, slimy mess.  We blanched them in water with a little white wine vinegar. After we shocked them in ice water, Matt took charge and removed the outer membranes.  These seriously looked like brains..gross.

After dredging them in wondra flour, we browned them in a skillet with some mirepoix and added white wine and stock.  It simmered for about an hour and actually resembled a delicious-looking stew.  I was quite impressed.

As I told myself I was just eating chicken, I took a bite and could not get the brain image out of my head.  I have to admit that the flavor was good, but I really didn't like the texture all that much.  Maybe if I didn't see what it looked like before it was cooked or didn't know what it was then I would be less biased.  I don't think I'll be making sweetbreads for myself anytime soon, but maybe I would give it another try at a nice French restaurant.

Next on the menu: Chicken Supremes with a white wine port reduction.  We all took turns breaking down the chicken into supreme breasts (semi-boneless with the wing tip on).  Matt and I worked together browning the chicken in canola oil and finished cooking them in the oven.  In the meantime, mushrooms were being sauteed for the sauce.  When the chicken was done, we let them rest on a cooling rack and added some minced shallots to the pan.  We de-glazed the pan with the white port and added some chicken stock.  The mushrooms were added in and we let the sauce reduce down until it was nice and thick.  After mounting it with cold butter, we plated our supremes with the sauce.

The stuffed baked potatoes were very simple to make.  The recipe was kind of boring, so the class decided to add some extra ingredients to the potato mix to make it more interesting.  After putting the potato  "pulp" through a ricer, we added warm heavy cream, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chives.  We topped some of the potatoes with bacon bits.

We actually piped the potato mixture in the shells to make them look pretty and professional, but they ended up overflowing a bit in the oven.  Still tasted good though!! :)

The ribs cooked the entire time we were in class.  The first few people to get to class made the rub and got them right in the oven.  Allison and I worked on making the barbecue sauce, which included a ton of extra ingredients that were not in the recipe.  We added tomato sauce, ketchup, worsteshire, chipotles, some of the spice rub, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, chicken stock, and sauteed garlic and onions.  It tasted like it needed something (it was very tomato-y), so Al added some extra spices at the end (like cinnamon and some more salt).  The sauce turned out fantastic!

I brought home some leftovers and made up a gourmet dinner for my brother.  I'm such a good little sister!

I also made him try some sweetbreads and he loved them!  He agreed that the texture was weird, but once you got past that it was pretty good.  My family asked me if it was good for you nutritionally and I actually have no idea!  I told my brother (who's a personal trainer) that it has lots of protein--helps build muscle! ;)

MLK Day Dinner

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shown above is the delightful dinner that my family and I enjoyed tonight.  Last week, I learned how to make Fish En Papillote and have been dying to make it ever since.  Tonight I finally got my chance!

I decided to go to the grocery store and choose whichever fish looked best.  My mom and I agreed on the wild cod.  I eliminated the julienne vegetables in the papillote because they just weren't hearty enough for me.  I love vegetables and want a huge pile of them with my meal, not a few fine julienned strips.  Instead, I added sliced cherry tomatoes, minced shallots, a sprig of rosemary, and a sprig of thyme.  I drizzled the fish with a crisp white wine blend and some extra virgin olive oil.  After adding a twist of lemon and sealing up the parchment pouch, it steamed in a 425 degree oven for exactly 10 1/2 minutes :)    

It was cooked perfectly!  For my mom and I, I plated the fish with tomatoes over a bed of sauteed rainbow swiss chard and shallots.  I drizzled some balsamic glaze for an extra bit of sweetness.  

For my brother and dad's dishes, I placed the fish over some leftover risotto from Friday's class.  

I also roasted broccoli and my one true love, Kabocha Squash:

My mom thinks I may turn into a squash from the amount that I eat.  I love this squash as a snack, in a sandwich for lunch and as a side with dinner.. it's wonderful, so you should try it!

Sammy tried some extra fish and was asking if he could have more:

I think Lillie liked the fish, but when I asked her she just wanted to play:

My pugs are just too cute:

I also recreated another dish from school this weekend.  I made the Lima Bean Stew from Thursday's class.  I added some parmesan at the end and blended it with an immersion blender to make a lima bean soup.  It was very creamy and delicious.  I brought it over to my grandpa for lunch because I knew he would love it (he did!)

Can't wait to get back to school tomorrow and try out some new recipes!

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