~ Totally Undeserving of the James Beard Award

~ Completely Undeserving of the James Beard Award ~

Friday, February 21, 2014

Welcome to Club Med...

Welcome to the Mediterranean!

We have on the fresh sheet menu for this evening is a wonderful char grilled cod with a medley of roasted mediterranean flavors, grilled squash and peppers and crunchy artesian bread.

For two? Of course

Allow me to explain just how the world renowned, James Beard award winning chef of our 5 star michelin restaurant prepare this…or how some doofus dreamt up this slop...

He starts with a mix of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), artichoke hearts, sweet cherry tomatoes, olives, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and fresh thyme in a small pot and slowly heats the medley to marry the flavors...

While that is on the go, he creates a combination of EVOO, 6 year balsamic vinegar, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper for bread dipping...

…that is slowly poached and the garlic roasts and softens advancing to a…well…shall I say "unique" color and texture…but it do tastes fine!

The fresh veggies are washed for their preparation...

And the cod is brought to room temperature, a drizzle of EVOO is applied along with a bit of salt and pepper. Bringing the protein to room temperature allows for even cooking later on.

The vegetables are prepped with again, EVOO, salt and pepper

The chef (or doofus) readies the grill and prepares some oil and paper towel to wipe the grill with to prevent the fish from sticking to the cooking surface.

Here we find the fish on the grill and being turned over once. No need to turn it over and over. And no need to fret about grilling fish and having it stick. As with any meat, if it sticks it's not ready to be moved…when it is ready, a spatula should slip under it with no problem.

A few minutes before the fish is ready, the veggies are tossed on

Not too soft and nice char marks…the BBQ provides everything with that extra char-grilled flavor.

When finished, the fish is transported to the kitchen on a sheet pan and topped with the warm medley prepared earlier and left while the remaining times come together and plated

Oh!…and here is your selection now!

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Now That's a Serious Pie...

My lovely bride, Mrs. Blogger Man and one of my wonderful daughters (Miss Blogger Man's Daughter) gave me a great present for last Christmas, a cooking class…or I should say a PIZZA cooking class.

Plus, it was not at some random cooking school or dorky kitchen store…but at none other than Tom Douglas's "Serious Pie". I was grateful the participants were not on "date time". I have gone to other classes where the participants were just on a date night, goofin' off, not really interested in learning…just something to do. This time, everyone was tuned in. Not to be a sour puss, but I wanted to learn stuff and was thankful others did not spoil MY experience there.

OK…enough B.S….let's get to the class, shall we?

They gave us a handout which included a dough recipe…not THIER recipe (RATS!), but one that is apparently close. Their dough is a 3 day process for the restaurant…this one is a 2 day or overnight. It includes bread flour, semolina, yeast (of course) honey, salt, olive oil, water and quite wet.

What we worked with was THEIR flour…soft, supple like a…umm…ah…nice...dough? Here's mine...stretched out on the peel. 

Mr. Jim was our teacher…I believe he said he was the Sous Chef. (must have been a minor earthquake when I snapped the pix) 

We were supplied an assortment of goodies for toppings, red sauce, olive oil, garlic, sausage, pancetta, two types of mushrooms, peppers, escarole, sliced yukon golds and pears.

I decided to make a half and half…red sauce, sausage, olives, peppers and olive oil, garlic, escarole, mushrooms, pancetta.

Behind the line we went to the apple wood fired oven. I noticed the temp was about 680ยบ F. 

So you are now thinking…where's the cheese? They add it when the pies are about 3/4 of the way done, but that depends on what cheese you asked for. We had the choice of fresh buffalo mozzarella, a wonderful truffle infused cheese, parmigiano reggiano and a 22 month old pecorino. 

We were able to sample the cheeses...so I opted for the truffle cheese for the non-red side and the fresh moz for the red side.

Mr. Jim slid the pies into the inferno, spinning them every once in a while…moving them to hotter or cooler areas. The moz was added to my pie first, then baked a bit more…then the thinly sliced truffle cheese was added…baked a bit more, then pulled. When I handed over my creation to be baked, I saw one of the line cooks prepping for the day and mincing up some fresh rosemary…so, I asked them to sprinkle a touch of the fresh rosemary over the red side when it's ready to be cut.

TA DA! I think the combination worked, especially paired with a nice glass of chianti.

Like a well made sandwich, the bread make or breaks the sandwich…I think the dough makes or breaks the pie. 

Thanks ladies!…I hope I can make you some decent pizzas!