Archive | Prep School RSS feed for this section

Preserved Lemons

6 Dec

So, seeing as how we are almost through the first week of December, I suppose we should start thinking about gifts eh? I feel like whatever festive day you call your own, a present or two will always come in handy during these beautiful months of winter. For the past few years I have attempted to make something exciting and special to disperse amongst those who are close. One year I bound books, another year my Ma and I went on a gingersnap/seed brittle bake-off. Most recently, we sent out small batches of homemade Olalliberry Jam and Roasted Hazelnut Butter. I find that it’s a fantastic way to be creative while spreading the holiday love, and in my eyes the nicest little gift you could give as it comes straight from the heart (and usually the kitchen).

If we have ever cooked together you probably know that I am obsessed with fresh lemon juice. In my opinion, almost everything is better with a little hit of citrus. At Olympic, I feel like our chef Erin runs with the same model. We use preserved lemons in almost a quarter of our dishes if not more. These lemons, traditionally used in Moroccan/Mediterranean cooking are basically cured in their own juices with the addition of a large amount of salt. They’ve appeared on our menu served with everything from Brussel Sprouts with Creamy Preserved Lemon Dressing to Spaghetti with Dungeness Crab and Parsley. Many times they are simply chopped fine and mixed with fresh herbs to be used as a garnish. They are an amazing addition to many different types of dishes as their intensity adds a unique flavor that really can’t be mimicked. They are like a kaffir lime leaf or a vanilla bean, nothing competes with the real deal. Do take note that a little goes a long way, so familiarize yourself before using a heavy hand.

Packed in small mason jars, these would make an amazing gift for any friend that loves good food or experimenting with new ingredients.

They take about 10 lemons, a box of salt and 15 minutes of prep time, but they have to sit for about three weeks before they are ready for eating. I know you can do quick preserved lemons as well, but this method is for the old school version.

Here she is.

Makes about 1 quart, but you can disperse them into whatever sized jars you please.

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 medium lemons, scrubbed clean, (get Meyer lemons if you can)
  • 3/4-1 cup kosher salt
  • extra fresh lemon juice
  • optional ingredients: bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, etc.
  • sterilized mason jars

Directions:

  • Place 2-tablespoons salt on the bottom of your jar. If you are using smaller jars, use less.
  • To prepare the lemons, cut off about 1/4 inch off one end. From there, cut the lemons in half like you would an onion before you chop it, going almost all the way to but not through the other end. Do the same once more to create four separate wedges of lemon, all attached to the same root if you will.
  • Open and generously sprinkle salt all over the inside and outside of each lemon. Really use your fingers, salting each one thoroughly. Pack the lemons in the jar, squishing them down so that juice is extracted and rises to the top. They should be very compact and covered with juice. Add more if necessary.
  • Top with a couple additional tablespoons of salt and add whichever optional ingredients you desire.
  • Seal the jar using boiling water and let sit at room temperature for a couple of days. Turn the jar upside down occasionally. Then, put it in the refrigerator and let it sit for at about 3 weeks. Flip occasionally until lemon rinds soften.
  • When you are ready to use the lemons, remove the quantity you plan to use and rinse it lightly with water. You can use the rinds and pulp, but remove the seeds. Some people only use the rinds, so taste for yourself and decide what you like best. When adding to your dish, chop very fine like you would garlic.
  • Hand out to loved ones or store in the fridge for up to six months and enjoy!

Fall Inspiration and a Failproof Galette

1 Nov

Hello to you all. My sincere apologies for my recent disappearing act. School will do that from time to time, but be assured the blog will continue, it just may take a few days or sometimes even twelve.

Today I will share a recipe for the perfect galette crust. I have failed numerous times before as I am no professional when it comes to baking, but yesterday I finally got it right. A galette is basically a free form tart, and in this case the dough is very flaky and buttery, more or less like puff pastry. It lends itself to either sweet or savory fillings, and would no doubt be delicious with either one. The trick for me is letting it sit in the fridge over night rather than the recommended hour or so. The dough is mainly butter, so unless you move pretty quickly it will begin to soften at rapid speeds, leaving you with a serious mess and nothing to serve for dessert. Leaving it to chill longer gives you more room to take some time and get it right.

The filling options for this are endless. This time around I went for Apple-Cheddar.

I hope you enjoy this prep school recipe and happy November to you all.

Stay posted for more to come soon.

Ingredients:

Makes enough for 2-medium sized galettes.

  • 2 1/2-cups all purpose flour
  • 2- tablespoons sugar
  • 1- teaspoon salt
  • 16- tablespoons cold butter, cut into medium cubes
  • 2/3-cup ice water

Directions:

Either using a stand mixer, hand mixer or food processor, mix flour, sugar and salt together. Add butter a few cubes at a time until well blended. Add ice water and mix until a nice dough is formed. Note: its okay if there are streaks of butter. Form into two thick disks, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. Again, leaving it in longer will give you more time to work as the dough will not soften as quickly. Once dough is ready, flour your work space and roll disks out into nice flat rounds, about the thickness of a couple flour tortillas stacked on top of each other. Remember that these are rustic, so don’t worry if they aren’t perfect circles.

Fill with your chosen filling, leaving an inch or so around the edges to fold over. Once filling is set, fold the edges to meet your filling (like photo up top) to create the crust. Brush with an egg wash (whole egg plus 1 tablespoon or so of water beaten together) for a nice crisp shine and bake at 400 until lightly golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Serve hot and enjoy…

Homemade Mayonnaise

16 Sep

I always feel sad when people come into work at lunch and ask for no aioli on their sandwich. It’s kind of like asking for a cake without frosting, or pasta without a sauce. I have heard the whole phobia-of-weird-white-cream-sauce-theory, but in my eyes it seems to be more along the lines that we as a culture think it is bad for us to consume oil rich foods, that these foods will make us fat, and that we wont be able to fit into our size two pants after one bite of the stuff. I am all about feeling healthy, and support whatever strategy works for anyone, but as far as homemade mayonnaise goes, take an extra walk around the park and live a little eh? You know you like it.

Here is a prep school recipe on making your own with a few simple ingredients. Fresh mayo is really a whole different ball game.

A few tips:

  • Works best when all ingredients are room temp.
  • Always beat the egg yolks for a minute or two before adding anything to them. As soon as they thicken they are ready to absorb the oil.
  • The oil must be added VERY slowly at first, way slower than you would think. Once the sauce has incorporated into a thicker sauce, you can add the oil with less precision.

Alright, recipe as follows.

Homemade Mayonnaise

Makes about 1-1/4 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • salt
  • lemon juice
  • 1 cup neutral oil, such as canola or sunflower
  • note: make sure your oil hasn’t gone bad as you will most definitely taste it.

Directions:

  • In a medium metal bowl, beat the egg yolks with a pinch of salt for 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice, about 1 tablespoon.
  • Continue to whisk rapidly.
  • Start adding oil by very slowly drizzling it into the bowl.
  • Keep whisking quickly.
  • Once sauce begins to thicken, add another squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Keep incorporating oil and whisking simultaneously¬†until all oil is used.
  • Season with salt, pepper, lemon, and whatever else you please. I enjoy adding fresh herbs.
  • Sauce should be very mayo-like, not thin or flavorless.
  • If you mess up, try again! It’s really easy to mess up. On a positive note, it is also really simple to master. It just takes practice identifying the steps as they happen.
  • Keep in the fridge up to a couple of days and enjoy!

Baked Fried Food for Everyday Healthy Meals. And the Best Way to Bread.

1 Sep

So one of my self proclaimed “specialties” is making comfort food, especially those that are usually fried, still taste delicious but in a more healthful way. I’m not talking replacing silken tofu for cream or using low fat cheese. I’m basically saying that most anything that requires a deep fryer, can be made in your oven (with the help of your broiler, learn to love your broiler). It will obviously not be exactly the same as deep fryers are magical tools that produce the tastiest of foods, but for your Wednesday night dinner cooked at home, its a great alternative. And when you are at your favorite restaurant or at the fry shack down the street, go to town.

My favorites include baked fried chicken, baked sweet potato fries (I eat these like 5 days a week), baked fish and chips, and today’s recipe, baked eggplant parmesan, which will come later this afternoon.

For this new category of the blog, Baked vs. Fried, a little prep school is necessary.

Todays Topic: How to properly bread your food without a) freaking out or b) taking two hours.

What I have found through my days back when I helped in the kitchen at Clyde, where I had to cut and bread huge boxes of green tomatoes as fast as I could to get to my real job on time, was that using medium to large metal bowls was the absolute answer.

So, unless you are breading one piece of chicken, ditch your plates and get out 3 metal bowls (any large bowl will do).

BREADING:

The three ingredients you will need are:

  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs (homemade, panko, whatever you have depending on what you are making)

Directions:

  • Put a good amount of flour in one bowl, crack and beat a few eggs into another, then put breadcrumbs in the third.
  • Line them up in this order and fill a fourth bowl with water to use to keep your hands clean. (This aids the not freaking out part, also using a fork to transfer between bowls is helpful).
  • Once whatever you are breading is prepped, put it into the flour bowl. Toss the bowl towards yourself until it is fully coated, like you would to toss a stir fry in a pan.
  • Then, move it to the egg bowl and do the same, shaking to bowl from side to side to make sure the item is fully coated.
  • Lastly, put it in the breadcrumb bowl, and toss towards yourself like the flour to ensure total coverage.
  • Repeat and fill bowls as needed to finish everything.
  • Once done, place breaded items onto a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
  • Bake accordingly… time and temperature will vary on what you are making.

Hope this is helpful and stay posted for Baked Eggplant Parmesan coming in a few hours!