Coq au Vin

coq au vin

With all the cold and snow weather we have been having recently I wanted to make a dish that would warm everyone up. I chose to make coq au vin because it is a hearty winter meal and I also want to learn a bit more french technique. This recipe is a quicker version that only takes 1 hour and 45 mins in total. The meal turned out quite well. However while cooking it you need to consistently taste it to make sure it has enough salt, it is very easy to under season this dish and have it turn out bland. Enjoy

Coq au Vin

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French Dip

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This sandwich is perfect for a football party. There is  quite a bit of prep time, but most of that can be done the day before. The jus is quite sweet from the onion but also has good savory flavor and really makes the sandwich. The double baking of the bread makes the crust crispy but the inside of the roll soft. All of the ingredients in the sandwich compliment each other well and the jus compliments the sandwich perfectly. You can find the recipe below.

French Dip

Braised Beef Short Ribs

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Over the weekend I made braised beef short ribs for dinner. A warning before you attempt this recipe, it is fairly simple technique-wise but it will take 3-3 and a half hours to make. However, the time is more than worth it for the final product. To come up with this recipe I combined a few recipes I had researched online while looking up how to make this dish. I am a fan of peppers so I added a few into the mirepoix mixture.

When buying the short ribs see if your butcher can cut the ribs into 2 inch pieces cut crosswire, this allows the ribs to fit in the pot and be covered by the braising liquid. After the ribs are done it is important to remove them from the liquid then strain the liquid to remove some of the fat. You then return the liquid to a sauce pan and bring it to a boil to reduce down for 5-10 minutes. As it boils add salt and pepper to taste. You can serve the short ribs over mashed potatoes or polenta. With the weather in the Northeast getting cooler this is perfect for an Autumn or Winter weekend. Enjoy!

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Chocolate Souffle

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I wanted to try something special for Easter so I used the techniques I learned last week at the cooking class and made chocolate souffles. These souffles are very rich and go well with red wine, Irish Cream, or a nice stout.

You can make the souffle mixture in advance and keep it refrigerated for up to 2 days. The most important part making these souffles is to do all the prep work before you start cooking. Separate egg whites and egg yolks, chop chocolate, and measure out other ingredients. Lightly butter ramekins and coat sides with sugar. By doing all the prep work before hand the process of making the souffles will run smoothly.

To make the chocolate mixture use a double boiler to avoid burning the chocolate. The mixture should look smooth and creamy.

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The hardest part of making souffles, both technically and physically is whipping the egg whites. You will stop once firm peaks form. Firm peak is when the egg whites can stand on their own.

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The most important part of making the souffle mixture is to fold in the egg whites into the chocolate. Do not stir them together, this will prevent the souffle from rising properly. Although this recipe seems intimidating it is not as hard as it sounds. Everyone will be impressed by both the final presentation and taste of this dessert. Enjoy!

Chocolate Souffle

French Toast

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All this week I have wanted to make French Toast for breakfast. I have not made it in a while so I needed a quick refresher on the recipe. After looking up a few basic recipes I put together parts that I liked and started cooking. Cooking the toast in the pan then finishing it in the oven made sure the French Toast was warmed all the way through. Enjoy this simple recipe for breakfast sometime!

French Toast

Cooking Class Week 6: Souffles

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Week 6 was bar far the toughest week of the cooking classes. I had always wanted to attempt to make a souffle but was always intimidated by the process. Our chef broke down each step from the creation of the base, the whipping of the egg white, and the folding over of the two. After the class I was very excited to try to make a souffle for Easter.

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I chose to make a basic ham and cheese souffle in the class. Unfortunately I was unable to take pictures throughout the cooking process but I will give a few of the tips I learned. On Sunday I will post step by step pictures for the next souffle I make. The hardest part of making the souffle was whipping the egg whites. It is quite exhausting and as delicate as souffles are they are rough on the cook. An important tip before you whip the egg whites, add a pich of salt and 1 tsp cream of tartar for every 8 egg whites. These ingredients will help the eggs fluff up and not become too bubbly. It is also important to line your ramekins with something to allow the souffle to grip something as it climbs up the wall. For this souffles I used butter and Parmesan cheese. If I were making a sweet souffle I would have used sugar. The final tip came when we were mixing the base with the egg whites. During this step you want to keep folding the base over the whites until the mixture looks faintly streaky, do not stir the two together.

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You will probably be seeing a few souffle attempts in the coming weeks because they are fun, challenging, and rewarding to make. Keep checking the blog out to see how it goes.

 

Cooking Class Week 3: Game Birds

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Week three of the cooking class focused on game birds like duck, pheasant, and quail. At the beginning of the class the Chef talked us through all the different kinds of game birds and how their tastes differ. The techniques for breaking down the game birds were the same as the techniques we learned in week one with the chicken. I impressed myself and remembered the proper way to cut a bird in the European style. The dish I decided to cook was the Margret De Canard Au Poivre Vert, which is a pan cooked Muscovy duck with a green peppercorn cream sauce.

I chose this dish becasue I wanted to properly learn how to cook a duck. The most important lesson I learned is that you cook duck until it has the correct look, no need to stick to a certain time just cook it until your duck skin has a nice golden brown. In order to ensure proper cooking you must first heat a pan over high heat. Then rub oil, such as peanut or canola oil, and salt and pepper on duck. Once pan is heated place duck in pan, keep it at high heat until the edges of skin turn golden brown ~3-4 min. Turn down heat and continue to render the fat out of the duck. As more fat renders out of the duck feel free to drain the pan and keep duck fat to the side. As the duck is cooking take a spoon and pour rendered fat from pan over the duck to start to cook the opposite side. Once the skin side has reached your desired color and crispiness, flip the duck over and cook 1~2 min then remove from pan

Breaking Down A Chicken

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Today I practiced the techniques for breaking down a chicken I learned on Monday. As you can see from the first picture I started with the whole bird. I then used the knife skills I was taught and broke the bird down into quarters, also known as European style. I then further broke the bird down into eighths, also known as the American style. For the dish I wound up making I had to cut the chicken breasts in half so everything would cook evenly. If you look at the bottom left corner of the third picture you can see I also attempted to French the chicken wing. The chef in the cooking class went over this technique briefly but I thought I would give it a try.

Pork Chops with a Normandy Style Pan Sauce

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After experimenting with the duck dish earlier in the week I wanted to make something that used the duck fat I had saved. In the end I decided to make a Normandy style pan sauce to put over pork chops. This sauce is very rich and packs a lot of flavor. It would go well over chicken and lamb as well so feel free to mix it up.

Pork Chops with a Normandy Style Pan Sauce