Tuesday, November 17, 2009

trust a skinny chef.

whoever said, "never trust a skinny chef," was wrong.  i've come to realize in the last couple weeks (having school full time and working two jobs) that the ones that work the hardest are in fact, the ones you should trust.  among the cooks and chefs that i have been working with, the majority (including myself), are deteriorating and emaciated bodies (sure maybe some of them are dabbling in other vices...). but i found that working long shifts, day after day, exhausts the body so much, you either forget (or service is so busy) to eat a full meal, or you get too tired to eat and all you want to do is sleep. the last thing i want to do is cook a meal at midnight at home after working 10 hours. ya know?

of course, i taste the food as i cook. but what's in a few tablespoons of cream? don't get me wrong. i love to eat. but i think i'd rather sleep sometimes...

that being said, i am enjoying my life in the kitchen. biwa is always fun and jake's catering is eye-opening (500 plates in 12 minutes!). it's fast-paced, creative, thrilling, exciting and challenging, all at once.

to follow up on my whine-fest, i should add that hardly, if any, cooking has been going on at home. i promise, more recipes will come soon.  but don't worry mom, i went out and bought some broccolli and fruit yesterday!

to appease you all, i have posed in this photo with a stalk of brussel sprouts in my shnazy school uniform.

oci oyster wave.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

bacon latticed kabocha squash pie.

yes. i made a pie. with a bacon lattice. why not?

well, actually, the hollywood farmer's market was having a pumpkin pie contest. i have never made a pie from scratch (i.e. crust and all) so i thought, "why not go all out (and add bacon)?" so i did, and...

...i got third place!

i was given a goodie bag full of fun things (including another squash) so i was pretty happy with the results. without further ado, here is the recipe...

kabocha squash pie with bacon lattice:

4lb kabocha (from Sweet Leaf Farms), (you will need 2 ½ cups pureed)
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
2 eggs

10 slices of thick hickory smoked bacon

(makes 2, 9” crusts)
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled/frozen butter cut into small cubes
6 tbsp cold (ice water)

For the crust:
Combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter (being careful not to over knead). Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until you get a crumbly texture. Split the dough in two and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
For the pie:
Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Cut kabocha into large chunks, removing seeds/pulp (you can leave the skin on) and steam for 20 minutes or until tender. Scoop flesh away from the skin and puree. You will need 2 ½ cups.
Add cream cheese, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, vanilla extract and salt to kabocha puree Combine well.

Add eggs one at a time and combine well.

Roll out pie dough to fit into a 9” pie pan. Place into pie pan, making sure to secure dough along the whole surface of pan. Add pie filling and bake in the oven for 1 hr*

In the meantime, take bacon slices and render fat out. Under low heat, place bacon slices in the pan, not more than 30 seconds per side. It should still be soft (not crispy).
*After 30 mins, take pie out of the oven and quickly create a bacon lattice on top of the pie. Place the pie tin on a baking sheet (in case there are hanging edges because more fat will render out) and place back in the oven for the remaining 30 mins.
If you feel motivated, I quickly pan fried fresh sage leaves in olive oil to create a garnish.
Pull pie out of the oven, making sure the bacon has crisped up. You can turn the broiler on for the last few minutes of baking time if it still needs more cooking.
Garnish with fried sage leaves and serve!

have fun with this one guys! it was awesome!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


so, surprisingly, i think i kind of killed it on my finals. i recieved a 97% on my knife skills and a 93% on my written test. woot!  in addition, i did a catering event yesterday in which i had to heat up costco food items in an oven and get paid 10 bucks an hour to do it. with combined excitement and new fundualation, i bought food! i have been eating pretty crappy lately at home (as you can see) so i decided to treat myself to a few vegetables and some freshly made sausage for dinner tonight. i call this celebration dish, the ole!

serves (2)

half red bell pepper, large chunks
half yellow onion, large chunks
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut in to 1" pieces
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
pinch salt and pepper

1 spicy chorizo sausage (i bought mine from laurelhurst market butchery)
2 eggs

saute veggies in some olive oil and add seasonings. when slightly carmelized, remove from pan and reserve. add chorizo to  same pan, breaking it apart, as it's removed from the casing. when browned, remove from pan and set aside. in the same pan (using the chorizo fat), scramble the 2 eggs ( i added a little milk). when done, assemble vegetables first, then eggs, then chorizo on top. olé!

it's nice to have food.

Monday, November 2, 2009

leftovers: sunny side up fall roasted vegetables.

well, vegetable cookery is over for the week and i'm already onto my first finals. i have a knife skills test, "black box" challenge (cook what you can with whatever they give you) and a vegetable/equipment ID test this week. yippeeeee.

 as soon as that's done, we start up immediately working with the "dirty bird"-chicken.  i've been breaking down a huge load of chickens every week at the restaurant, so it will be nice to finally be able to work with an actual protein at school!

but i digress.

i don't normally take leftovers home from school because i'd rather not ride my bike with a plastic bag of clam chowder swishing around in my bag. but, seeing how today was the last of vegetable cookery and i cooked up a tasty batch of fall roasted vegetables, i thought i could make an exception.  also, i'm getting low on cash so i should probably take advantage of any free food that comes my way. ( i ate ten leftover biscotti from the pastry program for breakfast this morning with the free coffee that's provided by the school for breakfast. sad, i know.)

that being said, i used the leftover vegetables from today and cooked it up with some sausage and topped it with a fried egg for dinner. (i know i just put up a posting of something similar, but give me a break. all i have are eggs and sausage to my name.)

sunny side up fall roasted vegetables:

roasted vegetables:
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup turnip
1/2 cup rutabaga
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup purple potato
1/2 cup fingerling/yukon potato
1/2 cup golden beets
olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
salt and pepper

preheat oven 350 degrees. chop all vegetable roughly the same size (large dice/chunks) and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. DISCLAIMER: we roasted everything together but in separate pie tins because they roast at different rates. if you have limited oven space, you can probably put all the potatoes in one pan, the turnips and rutabega in one, onion and celery in one, and the carrots and beets in another. pie tins are helpful because you can just pull the finished vegetables out when their done. you are probably thinking, "jane, why not just add them at different times to the same pan?" well, you can, but when you open the oven, pull hot veggies out and then add more and then throw it back in, you loose time and heat from the oven, everytime you open the oven. when you are dealing with this many veggies, it's easier to just pull em out and be done with it.
it will take at least an hour for most of those vegetables. the celery and onion will only take a half hour max. i like to pull them out when they have color but not mushy.

moving on, as those are roasting, heat up a pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and sweat the garlic, thyme and oregano so that you infuse the oil with herby goodness. give it a few minutes under low heat, making sure not to burn the garlic and herbs.

when all the veggies are done, toss all of them into one giant bowl along with your garlic/herb oil mix. season with salt and pepper.

of course you can eat it as is. my continuing recipe is for leftovers, people.

with the leftovers:
throw some sausage in a pan and when it's about 75% cooked, throw in the leftover vegetables and saute so they get warm and cook with the sausage juices. in a separate pan, fry your egg sunny side up (or over easy). plate the sausage vegetable mix and then slide the egg on top. season with salt and pepper.

voila, now you have two meals.

good luck...eat well!