Thursday, October 28, 2010

EatingInABox meets a The Flying Carpet

Just a short blurb telling everyone that I'll be down on South Congress next Thursday as the featured Chef over at the Flying Carpet! I'm both very excited and slightly nervous. I'll be taking over the trailer for the evening to execute my Moroccan menu. In keeping with the theme of the blog I've chosen two traditional dishes but am adding two more dishes that are my concepts. It's all part of the First Thursday event that happens every month down on South Congress.

Details here.
Nov 4 7pm – 9pm
Gibson Street and Congress (next to Perla’s)
Austin, TX, 78704

Please tell your friends and come and visit it should be a fun time!

Oh you want to know what I'm making? well. ok just this once diners will know my menu instead of just being surprised :)

Moroccan bento style
  • Moroccan take on egg’s benedict: Toast, topped with Kefta Patty, Sous Vide Poached egg and finished with a Tomato Harrisa Sauce
  • Traditional Moroccan Beet Salad
  • Japan meets Morocco: Tempura Fried Sushi roll with Saffron rice and Moroccan spiced chicken breast served with a dynamite sauce
  • Seffa: Traditional couscous with almond milk served with Honey and cinnamon.
All that for Eight bucks!

Post and pictures to follow of course.

UPDATE: Hey we're trying to get an idea of who all is showing up via the events page. If you're coming by it'd be awesome if you hit the like button (it's the only way I've seen to RSVP.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Simple Light Bento

It's been a tough schedule around here lately. Work's crazy and personal life is even crazier. But I did find time to pull off a bento this week. I had scheduled a pumpkin theme but decided that I needed to bust out something nice and easy since I had visitors in town. So Simple and Light was the theme, it's really the theme for this blog so I'm cheating a bit. Well lets just get down to business shall we?

First our main dish, I went with this Hoisin Dijon glazed salmon that I saw from Friendly Kitchen. Salmon is one of the few fish that reheats well without stinking up the office and it's always an easy dish to prepare. The recipe called for grilling but I opted for oven baking instead, the grill would have provided nice carmelization of the somewhat sweet Hoisin sauce, but oven baking had greater advantage in my mad dash in the kitchen. It was an interesting glaze, definitely an interesting idea to combine Hoisin and Dijon mustard, you had hints of sour and sweet.

First side dish is a Mushroom and Farfalle in a light cream sauce finished with white truffle oil. This was a no brainer, pasta is always an easy addition to a bento. I think I could have been a little more heavy handed with the truffle oil. I wanted to bring out the earthy qualities of the more plain crimini and white button mushrooms I was using. I'm overall pretty happy with the dish I eased up on the sauce to save a few calories and fat.

Next I replicated the oven roasted tomatoes I did with my friend Paula at the dinner party. Let me say, the tomatos roast down a lot faster in her convection oven then they did in my oven. Yeah, you just heard some gear envy in there. Anyhow, beautiful and delicious and so simple to make. Just cut a roma tomato in half sprinkle on your choice of herbs and top it off with minced garlic in olive oil. When you've got them all roasted down top them with a bit of cheese (I used parmesan) and hit it in the broiler till it's melty and delicious.

Finally Dessert: good old fashion Snicker doodle cookies. These and sugar cookies are one of my few dessert weaknesses. These came out a bit crunchier than I usually like. I think I needed to use a thinner dough.

Box Contents:
  • Dijon-Hoisin glazed Salmon
  • Mushroom and Farfalle pasta in a light cream sauce
  • Oven Roasted Tomatos
  • Snicker Doodle cookies

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cooking with/for friends

Sorry for the long time between posts. Work's been really busy and I've been traveling a lot so it makes it hard to post about a lunch. My last trip was to visit one of my teams in Denver, I was whining about not being able to do lunch when my friend reminded me he had a full kitchen and if I wanted I could easily do a bento remotely. I plan on taking him up on that offer the next time I, it visit should be a fun experience. I've also been invited to a special event/project that I won't share just yet.

Anyhow, last week I was invited to work with a good friend of mine to cook for a dinner party for bunch of our development leads visiting from Europe. You can see us in hustle mode up there on the title photo. I even was wearing an official chef jacket, pants and had my thermapen nicely tucked away in my shoulder pocket. My friend Paula did a lot of prep the night before and we got an early start. We ended up working for about 14 hours and churned out six courses for about 30 people. Everyone seemed quite content so we must have done a pretty good job. I didn't get a chance to take photos of every course but here's what I did get.

We started with a nice pea soup shooter with a touch of cream and some crispy pancetta. Prepping and cooking in stages is one of those skills that I've had to learn out of self preservation. If I didn't break out my bentos over a weekend, I would be seriously wiped every Sunday. This was no different, we par boiled and sauteed most of the ingredients leaving the final whizzing and plating to be the last step. Ultimately, we should have made sure we knew where the stick blender was as we ended up doing stuff in batches in a blender. Anyhow lovely flavors and a good way to kick off dinner.

The salad course was Gorgonzola Apple salad in Red wine vinaigrette and candied pecans. We served this family style which gave us plenty of time to move into our first main dish. (all about stall tactics)

Our first "main" dish was pan seared scallops with risi bisi (risotto with peas) and garlic chives. I think the downsides of pre-prepping stuff bit me on the risotto, the rice came out a bit softer than I would have preferred, but most everyone put this dish as a favorite for the evening. The scallops were all slightly different sizes so we had to cook them by feel. We were snickering through the whole dinner thinking about all the "mistakes" we made that didn't get noticed by our diners. I completely forgot to put in the crisped pancetta into the risotto, which let me tell you makes a huge difference in taste.

Our second "main" was Chicken roulade stuffed with spinach wrapped in proscuitto. I brought my sous vide supreme down with me and we sous vide the chicken. The texture quality was very silky smooth and by poaching the chicken this way we maintained a nice juicy dish. I finished the roulades off under a broiler. It took a few pouches before we figured out how to not lose the proscuitto cover while bagging. At one point I had dubbed our perfect wrapping as a "proscuitto baby", I think you had to be there to get it. We served this with a roasted tomato with a basil infused olive oil. The tomatoes by themselves were very delicious and so easy to do. We just topped them with a bit of minced garlic, basil and oregano, roasted them in an oven and topped them with a bit of cheese. I'll have to remember this for a future bento.

Our final main was seared lamb chops served with asparagus and a gorgonzola sweet potato. We piped out the sweet potato and re-heated them under the broiler and recruited someone to help us with searing off the chops in a Big green egg. The lamb was simply dressed with a bit of salt and pepper. The egg did a marvelous job of searing the meat. Everyone must have really loved the lamb as there were calls for 2nds 3rds and 4ths.

Dessert consisted of a pumpkin bread pudding, unfortuneatly by that time I was so beat I didn't manage to get a picture. Paula used Challah bread which was a good choice and eased up on the cream to prevent a french toast effect. Very delicious.

I had a *fabulous* time cooking with and for my friends. It was a bit tough walking around the next day after being on your feet for so long. Definitely squashed any aspirations for cooking for a living :) but as a once and again dinner party I'd be up for it anytime! Thanks to my friends Ross and Paula for hosting and letting play in their shiny new kitchen. Ok I promise a bento next week so please stay tuned!