Monday, February 28, 2011

Sauwce.

Sauce day is pretty much what one would expect it to be. We made lots and lots of sauce. It was awesome. We had another sauce day before this one where we made some more classic sauces (Burre Blanc, Veloute, Beschemel, VEGAN BESCHEMEL(so fucking yums), etc) This day was for more modern sauces.

Instead of taking a picture of every sauce, I took a picture of my tasting plate.

 
 Starting from the top going clockwise there is vegan chimichurri, vegetables, red pepper coulis, a mushroom sauce, corn hollandaise (Lies. This was at best a corn puree), yellow pepper coulis, curry sauce (the runny yellow one) and parsnip puree. 
Then in the middle starting from the top is istanbul sauce(this was kind of nutty and tahini tasting. It was my favorite),  asparagus and beet carrot puree (this seriously looked and tasted like tomato sauce)
On the bottom rim are three different kinds of pesto. The one on the left is a pine nut and basil, the middle is a parsley, and the one on the right is a walnut basil. There was also a mint one which I didn't get a picture of, but if you imagine another dollop of sauce in a slightly different shade of green, that should do the trick. 


The afternoon was infusions.
 Basically just different oils and vinegars infused with ingredients to make them taste deliciouser.

Here are a few that were especially gorgeous
 Raspberry Vinegar

Lemon Dill Vinegar

Rosemary Garlic Vinegar

 Tarragon Vinegar

DELICIOUS


 I have reached the peak of deliciousness. I made lunch for Michele and me at school the other day. Let's just say, I win. At everything. Or at least at making amazing vegan lunches.


Seared tofu with avocado, tomato, and lemon juice on toasted whole grain bread (I initially typed and posted that saying "on whole grain brain"), topped with gomasio and olive oil. Every minute  I am not eating this is a minute wasted.

We (Michele) also made a salad.

A whole day of fish-vegetables.

Today was sneazeweed day. Or as it is commonly known to everyone except me, seaweed.

I have not wanted to write this post because of how unfun I found this day to be, but I am forcing myself to do it. Seaweed is actually probably one of the most beneficial foods you can consume. It has amazing healing and detoxifying properties. It also tastes like dirty fish. So, I don't know...your call.

I don't remember what half this shit is. I'll look it up next time I have my notes, but until then, here are some pictures of seaweed food. 

 Casserole of some kind.

 Cucumber and Citrus Salad

Cucumber Salad sans citrus.


Something with tofu sticks. 

Another dish containing seaweed


I believe this dish had the word "Caviar" in the title. 
I have no idea why.
Maybe I should be paying more attention.


Seaweed and other edible things.
 



This was the seaweed dessert. It didn't actually have seaweed in it, but it did have agar agar, which is a vegetarian gelatin substitute that is made from seaweed.
On the left is a coconut lime "panna cotta" and on the right, a coffee version.
They were not very delicious. They had an off texture and not a fantastic flavor. The agar agar was not to blame, just the dish itself seemed a little lackluster.


SUSHI!
This part I enjoyed.

Chef Elliot starting his demo. 
On the table are carrots, avocado, rice, scallions, nori sheets, an umeboshi (pickled Japanese plums) sauce, wasabi, and a dipping sauce.


Chef Elliot started by spreading rice on top of a nori sheet.
Then he added umeboshi sauce, wasabi, and the vegetables.


Next it was rolled up and cut.


Then we got a chance to try it on our own.
 This is my sushi roll pre-cut.


 
 And post cut. 


I am tops.



So, Stocks...

Not the most exciting day, but we did have one of my favorite chefs, Chef Alex:


We made a few different stocks:

Carrot Onion


 Brown Stock
I was told this imitates brown veal/beef stock, but is vegetarian.
False. 
What I should have been told is, "This is similar to a brown veal/beef stock in that it is brown. It is different from a brown veal/beef stock in that it tastes like vegetables."


 Porchini Mushroom 

Sarah and Pam not posing for my picture.
Sarah has two adorable nephews. 
That has nothing to do with cooking, but is necessary to mention.

We also made a quick mushroom stock which I apparently did not want to take a picture of. It was just dried shiitake mushrooms, kombu and water. 




Sunday, February 27, 2011

Someone ran 4.5 miles yesterday

 and I'm pretty sure it was me. And probably other people too. But definitely me, also.


I use the Nike + iPod whatever it's called thing to track my runs. This was my run from yesterday. In total it says I ran 5.12 miles in about an hour. I think it over estimates slightly and I walked for 5 minutes at the end to cool down, so I figure I only actually ran about 4.5 miles. But I was running for 50 minutes straight which is the longest I've ever run without stopping to walk, or breathe, or throw up.

Also, on my run today, which I didn't track, I saw Kerri Russel in Fort Greene Park. My plan is to think about how much I want to be her for the rest of the day.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Just in case...


So just in case anyone actually reads this before June:
Don't forget to give me your money!




Seriously, even if it's only a dollar, it's a great way to donate to an awesome cause and to make me happy.
You can go straight to the donation site by clicking here, or click here first if you have no idea what this post is about. 

If ever I find myself wondering why I am friends with Michele...

video


Get Excited...

You're about to experience...WHEAT MEAT!
Also known as seitan (Say-tan not satan as I seem to continue to pronounce it.) is the protein, or the gluten, derived from wheat. As disgusting as the idea of eating a clump of gluten may be, I have to say, this was the most delicious day we've had so far. 

The day started with Chef Jay demoing how to make seitan. First he mixed whole wheat flour and bread flour with water and kneaded it for 15-20 minutes. Using a bread flour rather than a pastry flour or regular all purpose flour will provide a higher yield at the end of the process because of the high protein content in bread flour. Then, this gigantic heap of dough had to rest in cold water for 30 minutes. On a side note, I want to be playing with dough at all times. It is squishy and makes me feel nice inside. 

After it came out of hibernation, the rinsing process began. This was essentially to get rid of everything in the dough other than the protein, or the gluten.
So, we were washing off the starch and the bran, hull and germ that had been incorporated from the whole wheat flour. 

It started off looking like this:


Then this:


Then finally after everything was rinsed and only the protein was left, it was shaped into a ball like mass and paraded around by Jay:
 That last part is a lie. Jay didn't parade the gluten ball around. He just wanted to caress it momentarily. But so did we all. 
I told Jay if he ever makes a dating profile to tell me because this will obviously be his profile picture.

After it's made into a ball like this, it is put into a pot and cooked in a flavored liquid. In this case it was water, shoyu and a few seasonings I think.
When it comes out, it can be made into a variety of different things.


In this case, the seitan was sliced thinly and used on a sandwich:

 This was my lonely soy version. The other sandwiches had real mayonnaise which is not vegan. 

It was pretty delicious.

Burgers: 

Some of these were made with egg and some were vegan. I've had my fair share of meatless burgers and this was..."far superior", as Chef Jay would say. 

Seriously, get in my mouth. 


 Seitan kebabs with mushroom, onion and tomato. 


These were another kind of kebab. I don't know what was on them, but they tasted like vomit. 
K. 
Moving on.

Probably my favorite dish of the day, Seitan Bordelaise. 
This actually tasted like meat. I mean, I haven't eaten meat for a long time, so maybe it didn't. But it definitely felt like I was eating meat.


Seitan Stew
I wasn't super into the stew.
I chose not to give it my full attention, so don't really remember anything about it other than that it tasted like liquid butternut squash.

Friday, February 11, 2011

One Who Flew Over 48 6th Avenue

Absolutely nothing happened at school today. It was lecture all day about nothing important. We bought these $7.50 kale chips during a break and they tasted like pure vomit. That is the news that I have to report. I also bought a papaya before class that I felt the need to both embrace and talk to several times during the day. If you've ever seen a papaya, you understand. They are sizable. Like a small animal. Anyway, during class, I'm petting my papaya and I look up to see...

 Lynnie staring into space with the pieces of kale still stuck to her lips

 and Michele sitting there sucking on a sippie bottle (She had readjusted by the time I got a chance to take the picture. Before she was hands free, bent over her binder just sipping away.) 
and all I can think of is that scene in One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest where they're all sitting around in that main room hanging out.

Micheallison is born....

We did something completely unexpected today. We cooked with beans and grains. 
As Brianna would say...weh woh.

We were divided into three groups. 
Each group made polenta two ways (so get ready for a shit ton of polenta pictures) and then another two dishes as well.

 
Here is Rodrigo cutting the asparagus for his brown rice risotto. Some of you ("you" being the 0 people who read this) may have noticed that Rodrigo's jacket not only fits him, but is also rather flattering. 
This is not the case with anyone else in my class.


One version of polenta with red peppers. 
After it was cooked it was spread on a sheet pan and cooled. This is right before it is going to be cut and grilled.


Some asparagus and polenta grilling.


Our instructor, Chef Cheryl, very effectively supervising the kitchen:




Alright, so, somehow, Michele and I wound up on the same team. 

I took a photo of her brushing our polenta with oil. 
This was after she removed a piece of her thumb while slicing some scallions. 

And then there was this:
The shaping of the Millet Croquettes. 
Basically, this meant Michele and I got to play with edible play-doh. 
Chef Cheryl let us make one into a star.
We named it Micheallison. Naturally.
This is her being pan fried:
She looks glorious, as is to be expected.

She shines. She really does. 


The final dishes came out really nicely.

 A navy bean stew


Baked Quinoa with Peas

Brown Rice Risotto with the Best Asparagus I've Ever Eaten. 


 
Baked Millet Croquettes with Red Pepper Coulis
We fried ours, these were the other teams. 
I don't have a picture of ours but they looked the same.


Corn Salsa
This was actually one of the most delicious things we had. 
Maybe it was the way Michele butchered the corn. 
But more likely it was the way I gently drizzled it with oil and vinegar and then seasoned it perfectly.

And then there was all the polenta.

Baked

 Fried
With Miso

 Grilled
With Red Bell Pepper.

 Some Pan Fried. Some Grilled.
With Scallions

 Pan Fried
 With Red Bell Pepper.