Friday, October 23, 2009

Saturday Night at My Sister's Place

Another saturday night has made my sister summoned me to create some nice dishes at their house. Normally, I would bring all my stuff because I don't trust their pantry and their kitchen tools except cooking oil, stove and oven. I even brought my own pepper. Anyhow, I have this small cooler that has become my 'pantry on the go' carrier.

Anyhow, so let's start the fun! I told her that I was to make five dishes. Here are the list: French Fries, Steak, Salad, French Onion Soup, and Baked Chicken.

I could actually make individual post for those mentioned dishes but then again, it ruined the idea of reality for me *but hey, you are in the internet, there is its own reality right?* Anyhow, let's start with the fries.

The preparation for the fries is easy and you can do this a day in advance. Julienne them into uniform sizes and place them in a container and cover them with water. You need them to be uniform so that it cooks evenly when you deep fry them and you cover them in water so that it removes the excess starces that the potatoes have. If possible soak them overnight, which I did, or at least an hour.

I then cooked the french onion soup first since it can be heated easily later when service time comes. Slice some onions and butter a casserole. Place the onions there.

Caramelized the onions there. When it started caramelizing, add some leeks, and some balsamic vinegar. Don't forget to season them too.

Then, add some chicken stock and and bring it to a boil. Then simmer it. Covered. Then let it just stay there and turn it on again later when service time comes.

As the soup cooks, cut the vegetables for your salad, my vegetables consisted some iceberg lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes. Tomatoes were diced. I also candied some walnuts during that time. You just roast them with some sugar. When you are done with these, I made my dressing. I reduced some balsamic with a little bit of brown sugar. Lastly, I used a vegetable peeler to slice some parmesan. When those are done, put the sauce aside and place the vegetables inside the fridge. Use them later when service time arrives.

While reducing the dressing, I made the steak sauce. It is technically a red wine reduction with demi-glace *cheat, I used some Knorr professional demi-glace, when you have a time constraint, you need to cheat*. At this point, I was using 3 stoves right now, one is for the soup, and two were for the sauce an dressing. During this time, I only have 2hours to go before service time so I started making the main courses.

I started blanching the fries in oil. The key to making good fries is to cook them first at around 320F. Then, when you are about to serve them, deep fry at 375F. Restaurants do this all the time. They blanch in advance then refrigerate or set it aside then give it a final cooking.

Drain them then set aside. *didn't have paper towels at that time boo!*

First, I seared the chicken drumsticks with butter and olive oil. Then, halfway during the searing of the meat, I placed some rosemary and whole cloves of garlic. I let them baked for 45 mins in the oven with some chicken stock.

While the chicken was cooking in the oven, I started pan roasting some steaks because it was 45 mins before service time. Sear, baste. *nice sear >:)*

It took me around 15-20 mins to do that. So I have 30 minutes to go, prepared the french onion soup and started heating up a pan for the fries at 375F.

I used L'artizan's baguette and some gruyere. Finished those in the oven.

This was a pretty intense cooking for me. While four stoves were running and the oven heating, I was still cutting more vegetables because I was told that there will be two additional guests arriving *relatives/neighbors*. Lolz, pretty pressured that time but I was also able to pull it off.

Then service time came. Everything was good and the execution of food were expected. I was actually 30mins late in terms of serving them, not yet trained in terms of time execution of cooking, oh well, I learned.

Bad presentation for the salad and dressing was overly reduced. Loved the walnuts though.

Loved the cooking of the steak. The only problem was, poor quality steaks, there were USDA choice grade rib eyes, the catch? they were already frozen for a year! lolz, but still, it was pretty well cooked I think. Sauce was great *thanks cheat demi*.

People liked the fries. Texture was good and seasoning was just right. Although I think it absorbed too much oil for my taste. Anyhow, as long as they are happy, that is good.

Chicken was pretty moist and it had a lot of flavor. Simple clean elegant dish.

Lastly, the soup was so-so. I think my stock that time was weak. It could have been better. Luckily, one of the extra people liked it *actually, he likes onions* so he finished all of the soup lolz!

The presentation was not really pleasant since I was really press for time :(

Whew! that was like a level-up for cooking execution for me. I felt like having a professional cooking simulation, pressure and heat. It was fun actually and I like the feeling to be able to pull off something like that.

We were happy eating :D


sebiesy said...

think iron chef! they are also under time pressure. you can also do it! by the way, since you have an 'on the go pantry', you are (again) invited to visit my kitchen anytime! hehe

Hershey said...

lolz, but it is expensive :))