Ravioli of Cod

ravioli (on flickr)

This is the first thing I've been allowed to actually
cook during service.

It's a bacalao (cod) and veggie mixture (a sort of pisto) that's wrapped in long slices of cucumber, dipped in tempura and deep fried. The circle of stuff on the plate is the same stuff that's in the raviolis. There's a streak of a red sauce on the place and a dusting of fresh parsley flakes.

I'm quite happy about being allowed anywhere near the stove during service; it's a step up from salads and deserts. Feels somewhat more chef-like. Next step... something in a frying pan maybe?

Looking at the plating of this dish I'm not all that excited about it. The raviolis are nicely browned, fried but not greasy; crisp. But the ravioli on top of the swirl of sauce doesn't look "right" to me and the sprinkling of parsley isn't visually appealing. It needs some thought.

Zucchini Dust

On Sunday I was experimenting in the restaurant's kitchen by making dehydrated zucchini in the microwave. The idea was to make zucchini dust, zucchini powder, zucchini flakes - - or whatever you want to call them. Real fine, lightly flavored, green, mini flakes of vegetable.

I'll do it again this weekend a make a foto.

The process:

  • Peel strips of zucchini skin (mostly the green part, minimized the white) using a potato peeler (maybe a microplane ribbonizer would be good here)
  • Lay on paper towels
  • Zap in microwave for 1 minute (the time was pretty arbitrary)
  • Open microwave to let steam escape
  • Lay paper towel on top and turn over to the other side
  • Zap for another minute; open door to de-steam
  • Repeat until the strips are crisp (I did it 3 times)
  • Crumble strips to crumbs by hand
  • Chop the crumbs up some with a sharp knife.
Worked like a charm; and much faster than the electric dehydration machine.

They have quite a bit of flavor - not neutral at all. It sprinkles well. I don't know what the tendency to rehydrate will be when it's lying around the kitchen.
I think it would be a good highlight, dressing, to a dish that includes zucchini anyway. Also maybe good on certain flavors of ice cream.

Baguette Attempts

Baguette Attempts
Originally uploaded by willsong.

Back in May/June I did a Boulangerie course at Le Cordon Bleu - Paris.
The chef (JC) was not too happy about this attempt. These 4 baguettes, from 4 different people, are supposed to be rather more smilar than they appear to be in this picture.
Better luck next time - maybe.

Food in Art

Today I made an excursion into Madrid to visit the Prado museum. It's a holiday today; the Feast Day of Nuestra Señora de la Almudena: Madrid's patroness.

In keeping with the food theme I went to find paintings about cooking. There were so few (¿none?) that I modified the investigation to search simply for paintings involving food. In this I did have some success.

The bird picture is by Goya; it's dead pigeons (presumably in a kitchen someplace).

The other one is by Bosch, it was painted about 1500 and is called "De Jardin des Délices" (The Garden of Delights). It's kind of weird freaky 1970's sort of painting - but done 450 years or so before its time. Psychedelic. There's lots of food in it. The theme is debauchery (and, one assumes, the evil thereof). And it doesn't seem fair to me that debauchery is being associated with food.

Busy Weekend at the Shop

The exec "bought" all the staff a drink after the service. This is my Cardhu.

My 'stage' continues (unpaid work in an actual restaurant kitchen [training is what you would call it]). I work Thurs-Sun-day in a small, stylish, restaurant as 3rd cook in a two cook kitchen.

Usually the place runs at a nice even pace but this weekend (it's only open Friday to Sunday [Thursday's for prep]) we were very busy for both Saturday's & Sunday's lunches. Not overwhelmed but quite a bit of a peak in the middle part of each service for the main and at the end for the desserts.

The difference now is that during prior "rushes" I was shuffled to one side and my role was to stay out of the way. Now, I'm actually expected to contribute! So instead of being relegated to appetizers, petit-fours and runner I'm now plating certain salads from start to finish and doing parts of some desserts. And, in turn, having the chef yell at me for being too damn slow - which is true. But after making this same salad 8 times I've developed something of a rhythm and am fairly productive. Naturally I'm not allowed to touch any protein yet - that's still the sole purview of the head & the sous.

Fiesta Food

Was a a little birthday fiesta on Monday. This was the main table of food. (Warning telephone camera)

There was dancing (music of the 70s & 80s prevailed).

And a lovely discovery from the Ribera de Duero region of Spain: Torres de Anguix (shockwave link). There are so many good wines in Spain it can be hard to locate a specific one in the local shop so talking to the bodega directly is usually most effective.

In keeping with the Spanish habit we arrived (¿fashionably late?) at about 10:30pm; which was, of course, prior to the start of the dinner buffet. Things start later and end ... later; often much later.

Adding a RSS / XML / ATOM Feed

For those who are into that sort of thing I am adding a link to the RSS feed to the sidebar (the links over on the right). It looks like this .
It's not there right at the moment; but should show up in an hour or so.