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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Food Prep 1 Lab: Salads and Sandwiches


Geez, I really have been slacking, haven’t I? The semester is almost over and not one post about this class is up! So I really should change that now. Last night in Food Prep we covered salads and sandwiches. My team had to make tabbouleh, spinach salad with bacon vinagrette, and club sandwiches. Should be easy, right? Don't worry, it wasn't bad. None of the bean fiasco like last class.

My station. I got to class early because I wanted to get things moving so we could leave early. Yeah, shouldn't hurry... but it's a night class. If I can help speed things along I will. With the help of one of my classmates I sharpened my chef knife on the stone and got my station in order. I grabbed a pot and filled it with enough water for the bulgur. Set that on medium heat like I grabbed a cutting board, bowls, and containers for my ingredients. Mise en place people!
After helping check in the foodstuffs, my partner and I grabbed what ingredients we needed for our recipes. I weighed out 12 ounces of bulgur and set that aside. My partner cut out the stem and scored the bottom of a tomato and set that aside to be blanched and peeled later. Tomato concasse... we have to do that for the final. Peeled and diced the cucumbers, washed and finely chopped the parsley. Poured the boiling water over the bulgur and covered it, and kept it in the oven to get out of the way. Partner cooked up the bacon and set it aside, washed and cut up the mushrooms. Another team was boiling eggs for their salad, so we threw a few in there as well. After prepping everything, making the actual dishes was quick. As it should be since it's just salads and sandwiches.
This was supposed to be a traditional spinach salad with hard boiled egg, bacon crumbles, and mushrooms. Topped with a bacon vinagrette which chef was supposed to demo. Well, didn't happen. The spinach was old and it was hard to pick through and find enough good leaves. So I added arugula and watercress. Chef did not realize there was a dressing demo and someone threw out the bacon fat I had been saving for it. Oh well. Made a vinagrette with some dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil and a little salt and white pepper. Washed and spun dry the greens and tossed with just a bit of the dressing... enough to coat the leaves. Added the bacon, eggs and mushrooms and gave it a quick toss.
I thought the dressing went well with the salad. Slightly acidic which worked with the peppery arugula. Most people that tried the salad liked it, including chef.

I've made tabbouleh so many times before (and I'm sure I've written about it) that I don't think I have to say too much about this dish. I let the bulur sit for about 30 minutes before I dumped it into a china cap and let it drain for another 30 minutes or so. I mixed the olive oil and lemon juice in a seperate bowl and set it aside. After draining, I mixed the bulur with the diced tomatoes, cucumber and parsley. Poured the dressing and gave it a good toss to help evenly distribute. Seasoned with salt and white pepper. Kept it on ice while waiting for serving. For presentation, I took two raddichio leaves to make a bowl and placed a scoop of tabbouleh in the center


My partner did almost all the work for the club sandwich. I helped with slicing some tomatoes and getting the bread ready for toasting. There is no toaster in the kitchen, so we had to use the broiler. She even used the slicer to cut the turkey. I made a few slices, but I'm squeemish with a fast moving round blade near me. I'm not really a big sandwich person, so I had no idea a club sandwich is a turkey sandwich and blt put together. It was pretty good! I'll have to make these for myself. Or order it.
Next week is our written final, followed by our lab final. Wish me luck!

I Should be Proud, But I’m Not

And a happy early Wednesday to you. It’s one of those rare times I’m up this early and I don’t feel exhausted. But I have to get moving, so I’ll keep this brief.

First off, my stint as a juror is over… without me having to ever step in court. Guess the caseload is light this week. So I don’t have to worry about it for another six years.

Second, what caused the title of this post was an article I saw on Twitter. I don’t have the link on hand, but it’s on the Washington Post website. Another piece about how Filipino food has finally arrived; noted some Filipino restaurants and those that are starting to cook Filipino food in the DC/Northern Virginia/maybe Maryland region; and snippets from Nicole Ponseca, the poster child/darling of the Filipino food movement.

I should be all rah rah about this and be happy. I am to a certain extent… but come on. Filipino cuisine hasn’t finally arrived. It’s been here. For a LONG time. If you live anywhere with a Filipno polulation you've most likely come across our stuff. But it takes some Fear Factor and Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern before people start to get curious… outside of areas that have large Filipino populations (aka the coasts and major US cities. Anywhere there's a hospital... but that's stereotyping, even if it is true). We’ve been spouting how great our food is for years.

Hiya… shame. Could you call my negativity that? Perhaps. I think many of the older generation have it, but it was ingrained in them to be that way. To be modest. To not boast. Bait... good. The younger generations are not like that. If you have to call it anything, they are “OA” – overacting. But I guess you have to be so absurdly OA for people to take notice. Balut eating contests? Pass. But it does get people wondering what’s going on.

And why does Filipino food have to be fancy? Something that was mentioned in the article. Fine dining or something. Why does it need to dressed up to be accepted? If you wanted to do that to say, “yeah, we can be fancy too!” Go ahead, do it. Do you. But I will be happy going to my mom & pop to get my Filipino food fix. Or just go home and eat. Probably better that way, those mom & pops have varied quality.

Blah. Proud and negative. Embarassed, but always with good intentions. Whatever. It’s early, I’m out of time. There still is no Filipino restaurant in the Capital Region. There is Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese. No Filipino. There are people who “cater” in the area. I don’t know who they are, but they do it. But no actual brick and mortar place. I think it would be kind of cool to open one up. Or do a pop-up. Food truck. Something. I’ve been taking these cooking classes for a reason… maybe for that.

But you need money for that. And time. And a whole lot of confidence. I lack just about all of that. So for now I guess I’ll just cook it and give it away to friends and co-workers. Because I can’t eat it all.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Even Turning the Faucet On Costs Money

So I'm here at work, doing the work thing when a co-worker started talking about her most recent visit to Clinton's Ditch in Schenectady. She was out with friends for a meal, and they asked for just water. Not all of them, one also asked for a soda. So four waters and a soda to be exact. When they got the bill, they were shocked that CD had charged $1.50 for water. Fifty cents each for the three that just had water. The person who ordered the soda along with their water was not charged. They talked to the manager/person in charge and he took it off their bill, but told them that the restaurant's policy was to charge for water. Something to do with people buying a small item with water and sitting there for hours. Whatever, it's sounds silly to me. But it's their business, they can run it however they want.

One of co-workers friends e-mailed CD about the incident and the response was... not very business like. I'm waiting for her to send me a copy of the response but basically the writer had said something along the lines of "lemons cost money... straws cost money... we have to pay Schenectady for water... washing glasses costs money." It infuriated my co-worker enough to respond to that response and I believe that e-mail may be circulating on facebook. Or Yelp. Hey, I mentioned it here... not that anyone is reading this.

I doubt they will be going back soon. If ever.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter!

I'm downstate once again. But thought I would drop a line and hope you are all doing well and enjoying the day. It's a bit overcast here, but temperature wise it's been decent. Not that I've really enjoyed it - I've been catching up on my television watching. 

The Easter ham is done and ready for carving... once people show up.

I think they're running on Filipino time.

And... here they are.

False alarm. Just my sister.

Damn Filipino time.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

No Fooling Here

How are you doing?

Me? Not bad. But my hip hurts. Could be from CrossFit. Could be from getting old. But it hurts and I am very close to having it checked out.

CANstruction 2015 starts today. This year's theme is heroes. Check it out if you can... it runs until the 16th at the New York State Museum.

There's a Yelp event tonight at Sliding Dirty. I haven't been there since they opened. I hope they fixed the brioche bun issue. And I really would like some avocado fries.

If you haven't been there yet, stop in over at O'Briens in Troy. M and I are slowly becoming regulars. And I do very much like that Terry (Terri?) knows my drink order. Bloody Mary, spicy.

And... that's all I have now.