First and foremost, I would like to apologize for my lack of pictures today. Time got away from me, but I’m going to try to make up for it with a quick, informative, and slightly disturbing video. Today was Spain and Portugal and although most of the food turned out to be tasty, there was definitely that “break-is-tomorrow” smell in the air. More dishes were left in the sink than usual, which Ligia, Kelly, and I would end up doing because the sight of piled dishes makes me cringe. The entire atmosphere in the kitchen today was much slower than usual, and I am not sure I really liked that. I am just as, if not more, excited about going home tomorrow and as the Chef of the Day Kat said, “not doing your dishes now means more work later!” I am sure that tomorrow will be the same, but oh well. Sometimes you just need to deal with it.
I cannot believe the 1st trimester of my sophomore year is already over (almost). Pretty soon I’ll be on my internship, and before I know it I’ll be receiving my diploma for my associates in culinary. It is amazing how time can go so slowly one minute, and then the next you are saying to yourself, “I am already 1/3 of the way finished with this year”.
Today we did Spain and Portugal and we mainly focused on traditional dishes such as paella, pork and clams, and tapas. I was assigned to do Eggplant Maitre, which is pretty much a chorizo sandwich with eggplant slices as the “bread”. It was SO good. Eggplant carries a lot of water so the first thing Ligia (my partner) and I had to do was slice and salt the slices and let them sit for over an hour so it releases a lot of the moisture.
Chef Kelly told me before I began cooking that normally students just take two slices of eggplant, slab on a piece of chorizo, add the other slice, and that it just looked plain sloppy. Being that, again, I am SO excited for Thanksgiving, I thought to myself, “why not make a beautiful chorizo stuffing instead?” And that, my friends, is exactly what I did.
To make it pretty, I decided to take my time and brunoise the entire pound of sausage. (FUN FACT: BRUNOISE= 1/8X1/8″ cubes) 🙂 . I sauteed the sausage in olive oil until it started to brown just a little and then added a few more ingredients.
Here I have garlic, shallots, red onion, and a combination of cilantro and marjoram. WHAT IS MARJORAM? Marjoram is considered a tamer, more fruity version of oregano. I am not the biggest fan of oregano (bad childhood experience), so I went with the marjoram instead. After everything was sauteed together, I added one of the greatest ingredients in mankind. Panko.Panko is a Japanese style of bread crumbs made from bread without the crusts, which gives it a much crispier, crunchier texture. It is so light and you can use it in so many ways which is what I love about it. I very rarely eat deep fried food, but if panko is involved, I will gladly give it a try.
Anyway, after the stuffing was finished and it was time to start frying, we wiped the eggplant with a paper towel to remove the moisture that extruded from it, added manchengo cheese (AMAZING), the stuffing, the other eggplant, egg/flour batter, and deep fried to golden brown.
Honestly, let’s face it. Fried food never looks….exactly…”presentable”. But, with the dark rings around the eggplant still showing through the layer of panko, I found it to look like one of the nicest fried foods I have ever seen. Did I mention it tasted absolutely delicious? Salty, gooey, cheesy, crunchy, and savory. I was also STARVING when I took a bite of one, but that is here nor there.
And now…let’s hear a round of applause for….JORDAN KILLING A LOBSTER!! (certainly rated PG-13)
TOMORROW IS OUR LAST DAY OF LAB!!!! I really am going to miss so many of my lab partners….lots of pictures tomorrow, I promise 😀