Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fearless in the kitchen

      I've come a long way in a short time, the timid somewhat fearful and definately insecure girl who allowed her peers to intimidate her in the kitchen is now the intimidator.  I thought that after a few quarters in school the arrogant and dominating people go away and all of a sudden everyone is equal, well I'm here to tell you that's bullshit and laughable and possibly even stupid of me to consider.   The bossy get bossier and the arrogant get arroganter.....of course that's not a word, but I couldn't resist, the arrogant get just plain mean and I in turn become stronger with each encounter rather than give in and go rock in a corner (which I probably considered in baking class).

      As I gathered my mis en place for the "Seafood Bouillabaisse", which I called dibs on, I was feeling good, confident and powerful after all I am that much closer to chefdom (I made that up), one of my group members I'll call "blue" looks over at me and tells me to put the seafood in the refrigerator until I need it, now if the seafood had been sitting there for more than five minutes I would probably have agreed it had to be refrigerated "now" but since it was just out maybe a minute or so and I wasn't done gathering the seafood end of the recipe I knew it was fine and I ignored her, furthermore her tone was way off, she spoke like a chef in a "real" kitchen and she may well be as this is her last quarter, but hell, she's not my boss!  I did what I've learned to do best kept going about the business of gathering, ignoring her unsolicited advice.

     "Blue" kept looking over at me, perhaps because I was the shortest of the group she figured I was the best target, who knows?  She mumbled and when I was done gathering I asked her if something was wrong, she walked away saying "whatever" of course I knew she was on some kind of power trip, so you have to know the question was more of a tease.  A little later she interfered with my endeavor once again and I knew I had to let her have it so it went like this "I'm on top of my dish, just keep on top of yours and we'll be fine"  translation: STEP OFF BITCH!  I apologize to anyone who finds this offensive, but believe me if you let them step on you once they will continue, hence possibly making the execution of a wonderful dish bad.  Any chef out there knows this to be true and like I said in past posts no one is allowed to ruin my experience.

      I realize my last post consisted mainly of  lovesickness, however, I want to share all of my life on this blog, it's what makes it a "blog" in my opinion, what happens in the school kitchen is exciting in itself, but I want to share all of my emotions in and out of school and will continue to do so.  On that note I am feeling better, lovesickness stomachaches are gone and I am moving on as you can see.  Now I'd like to share with you the recipe for the "Seafood Bouillabaisse"  and have to add that the end result of this dish was "inspiring" (mainly to the males in the class).  My male tablemates kept dipping into the pot and eating the seafood especially the mussels and clams, I had to tell them to calm down and really didn't understand the excitement, all I kept hearing from a couple of them was "damn girl this shit is good"!  Of course I was flattered, but bewildered at the same time, why could they not get themselves away from the pot?  I asked, thinking perhaps other students wanted some, "Leslie this is an aphrodisiac girl" said one of them, he also added he was getting horny as he ate, I questioned why he wanted to keep eating this "aphrodisiac" if he didn't even have a girlfriend, his response "exactly"........I thanked him for sharing and walked away from the stove. 

     So a little extra on seafood dishes they act as aphrodisiacs, maybe good to prepare on a date where you hope the end result will be sex? Just a thought, below find the recipe, again I'd like to remind you to take your time, relax with it, enjoy putting it together.  I recommend putting the saffron in towards the end of cooking because it tends to disappear if cooked too long and also that you add the shrimp and squid towards the very end as a matter of fact, you can complete the dish and pour the hot liquid over the squid, squid cooks extremely fast so this is perfectly acceptable.  The potatoes are optional, on a personal level I would exclude them if your making this for the first time and don't have much experience cooking, because they tend to break up and the dish loses eye appeal if that's important to you.  I'd also say add the pernod (pastis) it makes all the difference and the licorice/anise flavor is lovely and livens the dish even more.  Enjoy my friends!

Seafood Bouillabaisse

olive oil as needed
5 oz onions in thin strips (julienne)
1 fennel bulb small dice
1 1/2 oz leeks (stalk part)
cayenne pepper to taste
1 oz chopped garlic
1 quart chopped tomatoes
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 1/2 quart fish stock
1 pinch of saffron thread
salt and pepper to taste
12  mussels
12 clams
6 large shrimp
6 oz squid
6 oz sea scallops
3 small new potatoes if desired
1 oz pernod

     Saute onions, garlic and leeks in olive oil add potatoes (if desired) fish stock and thyme.  Simmer until potatoes are tender add tomatoes and fennel, cook for about three minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add clams, mussels and scallops, cook for two minutes add saffron here too.  Add shrimp and squid or pour the hot liquid over the squid if you wish.  Serve with croutons.

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