Another week in Garde Manger

Chilled Mussels with Miami Mustard Sauce

This week in Garde Manger we did a study of hors d’oeuvres and started to learn some basic vegetable carving.

We had one small event with 125 grazers, several evening events and now to work on a grand finale buffet the week after next.

Next week we focus on getting carving skills perfected and learning some molecular gastronomy elements for contemporary garnishing applications.

The most fun comes when the teams plan their final presentation that must incorporate everything we have covered so far in class.

This means I am expecting a spectacular centerpiece using carvings, sculpting vegetables, tallow or salt dough. One of the pieces I teach them is a carved daikon peacock. easy to do yet looks very complicated.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Pâté de Fruit et “Pâté du Vin”

These gleaming tender fruit gems known as “Pâté de Fruit” are delicious and irresistible. There are so many different recipes for these fruit geleés. If you want a real quality product, use a recipe that includes glucose syrup and pectin rather than gelatin.

These are considered quite a special gift and if purchased, this quality could be expensive.

Remember “Chuckles” candy from your childhood? Those are similar to fruit geleé but they had gelatin.

Gelatin, in my opinion, leaves the geleés much too “tough” and bouncy. The whole concept is for the geleé to have a slight tooth that melts into a pool of exploding fruit or wine flavor. There should be nothing to chew, just a lovely melting in your mouth and the slight crunch of the coating sugar.

The actual time required to make these isn’t much but it needs your full attention for about 20-30 minutes.

You have to whisk constantly while the mixture is on the heat. Then act fast after you remove it from the heat because the geleé mixture sets quickly.

Have everything you need ready to pour. After you pour the cooked mixture into the desired mold, let it sit for at least 8 hours, or longer, to set.

Do not refrigerate. Refrigeration will melt the sugar on the geleés.

So, Here’s how you do it

Please weigh all ingredients.

If you don’t have a small digital scale, go buy one. It is essential if you are serious about baking. They are not expensive but you can pay as much as you want to for one.

Wine or Fruit Geleé “Pâté de Vin/Fruit”

  • 3 ounces unsweetened applesauce
    • Spread it out on a parchment lined sheet pan. Place it in a preheated 200°F oven for 30 minutes. This is to evaporate some of the moisture out of the applesauce. Scrape it up with a bench scraper or spatula and put it into a heavy bottomed sauce pan with the following ingredients:
  • 8 ounces wine OR smooth and strained fruit puree (raspberry, strawberry, mango, passion fruit, pineapple, etc.)
  • 1 ounce light Karo syrup made without High Fructose Corn Syrup or use glucose syrup
  • One  3-ounce package liquid pectin or 3 ounces powdered pectin (not the one for low sugar)
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 8 ounces granulated sugar for dusting the finished geleé

While applesauce is drying in the oven, prepare the mold you want to use. Spray it with non-stick pan spray or line it with parchment paper. Leave an overhang to make removing the geleé from the pan easy.

Blend the wine or fruit puree with the applesauce, syrup, liquid pectin in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.

If using powdered pectin, mix it with a small amount of the sugar to help prevent clumping.

Over high heat, while whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.

Add half of the sugar, once it melts and nears boiling, add the remaining sugar.

Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Whisk constantly to avoid scorching and clumping.

Add the lemon juice.

Working quickly, pour into desired molds, smooth with a spatula, cover with an oiled parchment paper and let sit for 8-12 hours.

If you made one pan, remove the geleé to a cutting board and cut into desired shapes.

If you used candy or silicone molds remove them carefully from the molds.

Dip each geleé into sugar to coat. Serve or place in an airtight container and hold them at room temperature for several months.

If you like these and enjoy making fruit geleés, check out  Passion Fruit Geleés by Savory Simple.

Our recipes area similar and she has cups and tablespoon measurements on her recipe for Passion Fruit Geleé.

Enjoy making and eating these tender morsels of Pâté de Fruit or Pâté de Vin. I think they are quite special.

This Week in Garde Manger – Sandwiches

This week in Garde Manger class they learned about making pickles, condiments and sandwiches. While most people know what a sandwich is, very few can actually make a ‘really good’ sandwich.

Sandwiches draw odd emotions from people. Some love them and some actually get angry at poor little sandwiches. There is a blog where the host actually uses the ‘f ‘ word regarding sandwiches. He seems quite hostile towards them. Amazing.

Really? Get angry at a sandwich?

Some have sworn them off for life, some get sick of them after eating sandwiches day after day after day. (Remember, we always have a choice.)

Some eat the same one always. For instance whenever I go into a Subway or Quiznos, I always order the BMT or Italian, toasted. Hands down, that is my favorite sandwich where ever I go. At home I make a wide variety, but not the Italian ones. I buy those out. Why? I don’t know, it is just the way I do it. My sandwich quirk.

I love a good sandwich. Here is what makes up “good”.

The four sandwich elements:

  • Bread –  sliced varieties, artisan, rolls, buns, wraps, look around, choose what you love or looks great
  • Spread – mustard, ketchup, chutney, relishes, aioli, mayonnaise, dressings , tapenade, taziki
  • Filling  – sliced meats, cheeses, vegetables, bound salads, fruit, cured meats, tinned fish, fried chicken, fish or vegetables
  • Garnish – lettuce, sliced tomatoes, caramelized onions, sliced apples or pears, arugula, spinach

All elements contribute to either a great sandwich eating experience or one that simple stops the growling in your stomach.

Choose great ingredients from each category and you will end up with a nice product. Shake it up and do something different.

Personally every time I eat, I want it to be an experience. Even if it is a snack. Since I have no desire to be fat, overweight or insolent, and considering how much I love food, there isn’t any time for poorly flavored or poorly prepared food.

Student assignments included: muffuletta, gyros (with grilled lamb leg), Italian hoagie, Maine lobster roll, Rubens, open face French radish and ham, Cubans and more.

We did an “Ultimate Dog and Burger Day” but I forgot my camera that day so no photos, sorry. If anyone sends me some of the Dog and Burger Day, I’ll add-on to this post.

Students made mustard, different ketchup styles: mushroom, yellow pepper and tomato – none like Heinz, pickles, aioli, and side things like vegetable chips and Greek fries.

Turkeys and prime ribs were roasted, cooled and sliced. Lamb legs were roasted and grilled. Whole pork loins, seasoned, marinated and roasted for the perfect Cuban sandwich with ham, mustard and pickles. Students made pita for the gyros. (The week after next they start making their own cheese.)

Our kitchens smelled so good!

Next week they start hors d’ oeuvres, canapes and carving skills. Wait till you see what happens to simple vegetables. They also have their first event: “Grazing with Student Chefs” with 125 guests showing up to graze. Come back next week and see what happens.

The students did a fantastic job this week. See the photos of their work and tell me what you think!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This Week in Garde Manger I

This was the first full week of classes for Garde Manger.

What is Garde Manger?

“Garde” as we call it, is the art of the cold kitchen. In this class we learn all about cold food preparation and presentation.

Garde covers everything from condiments, salads, sandwiches, vegetable carving, garnishes, pickles, chutney, confitures, jams, buffet and grand presentation displays.

Each week I will post a gallery of our lessons and the students work while classes are in session.

This week the lesson was “Salads“.

Students learned about grain, legume, pasta and green salads; appetizer and entrée portions and buffet or family style presentations.

In addition they learned about oil, vinegar, dressing styles and techniques.

Students learned the nuance of different of vinegar by tasting them over vanilla ice cream. They learned about the different flavors of oils by dipping bread. (The vanilla ice cream makes tasting 20+ vinegar styles so much easier on the stomach at 9 AM.)

Enjoy this visual presentation of students work from “Salad Week”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fresh Curried Tuna Salad

This simple recipe for Fresh Curried Tuna Salad can be used in several different ways. It is a nice spin on traditional tuna salad.

Choose high quality fresh tuna – fresh really does make a difference.

The first time I tried this recipe, it was immediately taken back and put on my restaurant’s menu. It became a best seller. While I no longer have my restaurant, it is a permanent part of my recipe repertoire.

Yes, it is that good. Try it, you’ll see!

Side note: You can use canned tuna for this salad if you want. While the taste and texture of fresh tuna is amazing, canned tuna also makes a tasty salad.

Squeeze the lime juice into the dressing if you are using canned tuna instead of fresh tuna.

For a complete twist on everything, substitute Salmon for tuna.

Fresh Curried Tuna Salad

1 pound (#) fresh tuna loin
Juice from 1 lime
salt and pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon madras curry powder
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Squeeze the lime juice over the fresh tuna, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the fish in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes – for 1″ thick piece of tuna.

  • Time it more or less, depending upon the thickness of the fish.
  • You want a trace of pink left in the fish so as not to over-cook it and make the fish dry.

While the tuna is cooking, mix all remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Remove the fish from the oven. Cut into medium or small dice and cool.

Add the tuna to the dressing and serve as desired.

Serving Suggestions for Fresh Curried Tuna Salad

Top your favorite sandwich roll

  • With the salad, lettuce and tomato
  • Don’t forget the sweet pickle

Stuff a tomato

  • Cut the top from a tomato
  • Scoop out the insides
  • Turn upside down on a paper towel for 10 minutes to drain
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Fill with Fresh Curried Tuna Salad
  • Garnish plate with lettuce, chopped eggs, etc.

My most favorite way to serve this:

Fresh Curried Tuna Salad Nicoise Style

Salad Nicoise is a classic French salad. It is presented with tuna, potatoes, green beans, eggs, tomato and a wonderful light vinaigrette seasoned with mustard.

To create this lovely salad, boil some new potatoes in salted water until done.

For this salad, I used tri-colored new potatoes: white, red and blue. It makes an attractive color contrast on the plate.

Once the potatoes are drained, dress them while still warm with Mustard Vinaigrette. Cool.

The recipe for Mustard Vinaigrette is at the end of this post

Steam some green beans until tender; dress these with the Mustard Vinaigrette white still warm. Cool.

Line a plate with lettuce leaves and a small mound of cut salad greens.

Arrange the plate with Fresh Curried Tuna Salad, potatoes and green beans.

Complete the salad presentation with Nicoise or Kalamata olives (pitted of course), tomato wedges, chopped hard-boiled eggs and cucumber and anchovies, if desired.

Salad Nicoise makes a great dinner entrée. This is one of my all time favorite meals.

If you ever find yourself in Paris, or anywhere in France, it is highly recommended you indulge in one there. They vary somewhat from region to region, but are always delicious.

I hope you enjoy making and eating Fresh Curried Tuna Salad.

Salad Nicoise

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1 teaspoon minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon style mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil

Whisk all ingredients, but not the oil, in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the oil until well blended.