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Archive for October, 2008

Okay, first thing I will say is go buy this book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.  It is worth it.  I’m going to put the base recipe below, but not all the tips.  If you have a basic amount of cooking knowledge then you should have no problem with this recipe.  There are a zillion recipes in the book and they all look great.  These guys did a great job!  You can find it at Amazon.

Before I get to the bread, let’s catch up.  First off I haven’t exercised other than a few days in the past six weeks or so.  It’s so funny, or maybe sad, that I can repeat the same darn process over and over again.  I lose a bunch of weight over a period of five to six months then I slowly put it all back on over the next year and then I start all over again.

I was determined not to put it back on this time, but I’m doing it.  What can I say, except maybe tomorrow will be the day I get my motivation back and start exercising again.

Let’s see…what about all those other lofty goals I set for myself a few posts back.  Well I can’t recall what they all were so that might give you a clue as to how things are going.

How about the kick ass catering we did this weekend.  It was for a large union that was bringing people from California up to Reno to work on “get-out-the-vote” activities.  On Saturday we put together almost 200 box lunches and on Sunday we did another 200 plus dinners for the bus ride home.

We had a blast.  Here’s a quick peek at some of the details.  We used over 70 loaves of fresh bread from Truckee Sourdough (awesome artisan bread), over 100 pounds of turkey, roast beef and ham, over 100 pounds of various types of cheese.  Sliced multiple onions and over 100 tomatoes.  All of the cheese and the meat was sliced on a slicer and then individually portioned.  400 assorted small bananas, oranges and the coolest mini red delicious apples were put into the boxes. We went through over 400 eco/green containers, forks, napkins, spoons, etc. Countless bags of chips, drinks and cookies, made at Dish, not purchased in bulk as some companies might do to make an extra buck.

We had every table covered with boxes by the end of the night on Friday, all filled with a bag of chips, cookies, fresh fruit, forks, napkins, mayo and mustard and then we converged on Saturday morning, three of us making sandwiches and the other two boxing, tagging and packing.  When we finished we made a family breakfast and all sat around and enjoyed the thrill that comes from working your ass off with a bunch of people that really care about the result and succeeding. There is nothing better than this in my mind!

We then all took off in three different cars to deliver the food to  Fernley, Carson City and Gardnerville and then headed back to set up for the next day.

To my employees who read my blog I would like to give one big “THANK YOU”.  Everyone had a hand in getting the job done.  The one thing about owning your own business is without good employees who really care about you and the product, you are doomed.  Right now we have the best group of employees at Dish, ever!

Okay on to the recipe.  I really liked this bread.  I’ve made ciabatta before and it was a pain in the butt.  This was easy. You spend a few moments putting together the dough, let it rise for a few hours, store it in the refrigerator and then pull a piece off when you need it.  Form into a ball, let it rest for 40 minutes, bake it for 25 and bam, you have fresh bread.  I’m made it four times and other than once when I overbaked it, everyone has loved it.

Do it, buy the book and have fun.

No Knead Dough (makes 4 rounds)

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 cups unsifted, all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal for pizza peel

Warm the water to about 100 degrees. Add the yeast and the salt to the water in a 5 or 6 quart, resealable, lidded plastic food container.  You can pick these up at Resco or Smart and Final or other restaurant type food service places.

Now add all of the flour at once.  Mix with a wooden spoon, stand mixer with a dough hook, or a food processor fitted with a dough hook attachment.  You are done when everything is uniformly moist with no dry areas.  Should take no longer than a few minutes.

Cover with a lid, not airtight and allow to rise until it starts to flatten on the top or begins to collapse.  Should be about two hours.  Do not use mason jars with a lid or anything airtight…it could explode. Put the dough in the refrigerator overnight or for at least three hours.

On baking day, prepare a pizza peel by spinkling it liberally with cornmeal or prevent it from sticking when you slide it into the oven.

Sprinkle the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a grapefruit size piece of dough.  Hold the dough, flour your hands if you need to.  Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.  You are forming a round ball of dough. The bottom side will be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out during baking. The top will be mostly smooth and cohesive.

Rest the loaf on the pizza peel for 40 minutes. Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake the loaf, preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone place on the middle rack and a empty metal roasting pan or broiler tray for holding water on the shelf below.

Dust the bread with flour and then slice about 1/8 of an inch slashes into the bread.  You can do them in any pattern you see fit.

After the 20-minute preheat, open the oven. Slide the bread onto the stone. Quickly pour 1 cup of hot water into the roasting pan or broiler tray, shut the door and bake for about 30 minutes until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Dot not open the oven or the steam will escape. The steam helps make the crust.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack and then eat it!

Store the rest of the dough in your lidded, not airtight, container in the refigerator up to 14 days!

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Sorry

Sorry I’ve got nothing… I have little energy and less desire to do anything right now.  I don’t feel like I’m making much progress in my endevors right now. I did cook tonight and made a spinach and goat cheese rissoto with lemon.  I will post it as well… soon.

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We just finished catering both Saturday and Sunday, lunch and dinners for a total of almost 500 people.  Wow what a rush and a great time.  I will be back tomorrow with the story and some pictures along with the results of my no knead bread!

Enjoy your Sunday night.

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No Worries… Stay Tuned

I’m still here… busy week, but I made bread, cheese souffle’s, chicken enchiladas and went to my first kitchen equipment auction today.  Some funny stuff to come soon with some great pics!

I’ll be back after football tomorrow!

Oh and we were just voted “Best Catering Company” by Reno News and Review. YAH!

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Yes you read it right, Chicken Fried Hamburgers. I found this recipe in Kenny Shopsin’s book, Eat Me. The book is a great read and I recommend that you check it out on Amazon or your favorite local bookstore. There are great stories mixed with recipes from his restaurant in New York.

This past week has been interesting to say the least. We started the week out slow, then got extremely busy and then ended with a crazy catering at a UNR Wolf Pack football game on Saturday. On Tuesday morning we thought the restaurant was going to blow up, burn down or just get sucked into the nether. We were all busy working when we started to smell burning electrical wire. We immediately all started running around the place smelling every piece of equipment. It was a mystery at first and then the power started to flicker on and off.

“Oh crap,” I thought. I’m a pessimist or a realist at best and I was having visions of something burning in the walls. About then one of the employees yelled out that she was pretty sure it was one of the display cases.

We all stuck our noses in the case and agreed something was wrong. Now I started thinking that the brand new compressor I had just recently installed was burning up and I could see the dollar signs mounting. Nancy immediately called our refrigerator guy who asked us a few questions and told us to turn it off after the lunch rush and he would be by at the end of the day. Fortunately when he got there he discovered that it was only the plug thingee where one of the lights plug in. Damage = very little. YAH, this one worked in our favor.

As for the crazy UNR catering. I will tell you this, don’t trust a college student to point you in the right direction and always leave yourself time when you are delivering food. We fortunately gave ourselves more time than we needed, unfortunately we asked many college students for directions. To make a long story short, we rode the elevator up four floors, down three floors, walked halfway around the stadium to the left to only find out that it was a dead end, back to the start, all the way around to the right, dead end again, out the gate, back in the gate, up two stories and then we finally found the skybox. We did get our exercise for the day though!

Okay, on to the recipe. If you like hamburgers and you like grease and you like breading and you want something rich, then this is the way to go. I made the burgers pretty thick, about three quarters of an inch and they took a long time to cook in the oil. Next time, if there is a next time, I will do them a bit smaller than one half of an inch. The outcome was as follows – Nancy ate half and then told me I was crazy. Randy ate one and said they were interesting, but he liked them. Jacob and I ate one and a half each and then proceeded to start frying all kinds of crap while we watched Survivor (24, Survivor, Top Chef and Project Runway are my favorites shows!). If I recall correctly, we deep-fried some popcorn, cheese, peanut butter, bread and a cheese sandwich. Nancy scowled at us from the couch as we stunk up the house.

Chicken-fried Hamburger (makes 6 hamburgers)

Ingredients

  • Peanut Oil for deep-frying
  • 2 pounds ground beef (15 to 20 percent fat)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • All-purpose flour for dredging
  • Hamburger buns
  • Your favorite burger accoutrements

Preheat a deep fryer or a large potful of peanut oil over high heat to 375 degrees. Form the meat into six, five to six ounce patties. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Whisk the eggs and cream together in a shallow bowl. Put the flour in a separate bowl or pie pan. Dredge one of the hamburger patties in the flour and brush off the excess. Dunk the floured patty in the egg and cream mixture, lift, drain and repeat, dumping the patties back in the flour and then back in the egg and cream until you have gone through the process three times.

Carefully place one or two burgers in the oil and repeat with the remaining burgers, being careful not to overcrowd the deep fryer or the pot. Cook the burgers for 4 to 5 minutes until the crust is golden brown. While the burgers are cooking, butter and lightly toast the buns.

Serve them like any other hamburger…don’t forget to take your blood pressure medicine! Devour.

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Okay, Okay, no picture today. This blog thing is getting in the way of my life! haha

I started to workout again this week and so far so good. Eating good and working hard, well for the past two days at least. We started drawing plans for the interior of the restaurant today and spent a good hour talking with the head architect last night about the place. Things are looking great so far.

I almost decided tonight that I was done blogging, but I’m having too much fun to quit. Though I did disappoint myself with the lack of a picture. I was trying to prepare dinner and watch the debate and Nancy worked late so by the time it all rolled around I just wanted to eat and be done with it.

For those of you who write blogs how often are you discouraged and ready to quit? Help me out!

Okay here is a picture of some cupcakes we just made in the restaurant today. I need something colorful in this post!

This recipe is adapted from the book Cafe Beaujolais, which is where I found the INCREDIBLE recipe for pate a choux gnocchi. If you haven’t checked it out you should for sure. It wasn’t too hard to make and the results were restaurant quality.

Getting back to the Chicken and Nut Stew. The sauce was really good, if you like peanut butter – I do! I didn’t eat much though since I didn’t want my workout to go to waste. I served it over jasmine rice and everyone loved it.

Enjoy and sorry again for the lack of a picture.

Chicken and Nut Stew (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium-sized onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 (8 oz) pound of smooth peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter

Season chicken with salt and cayenne pepper. Saute the chicken in a heavy-bottomed dutch oven or large saute pan in olive oil oil with onions and garlic for 15 minutes. Watch to make sure you don’t burn the garlic.

Add tomatoes and saute an additional 5 minutes.

Whisk together nut butter with tomato paste and chicken stock until fully combined. You may try heating the peanut butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for a few seconds to get it soft first. Pour into pan with chicken. Stir constantly for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add salt to taste, temp chicken, looking for 160 degrees, remove from heat and serve over rice.

I made 2 cups of rice which was a perfect amount for the meal. Save the leftover sauce to use with noodles.

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