Rhonda Marie here reporting from New York City once again. Yes, I had to wear the hair net again, but I’m going to figure out how to pin down my frizzy front pieces because it is just killing my culinary fashion having to wear that awful head piece. So, Chef Butler decided that he wanted to take us around to the green market located in Union Square at 7:20 am. Although he didn’t make it mandatory, he insinuated that it was, so obviously set my alarm to 6:50am and there I went. It was particularly chilly this morning, but luckily I brought a jacket because I was wearing a tank top. Chef Butler purposely shows up late because he hates waiting for people and he wanted to see who was on time. Thanks to my mother, who would always pick Garrett and I up 47 minutes late from school everyday, but somehow when we asked where she was her response was “I’ll be there in 5 minutes”---- 40 minutes go by. One time Garrett and I even crossed the I-95 expressway from Krop and walked almost to the JCC before my mom scooped us up. WOAH- sorry for the major sidetrack. Where was I again? Oh, yeah being late- chef butler. Okay, so I showed up on time because of my mother, I hate being late and avoid it at all costs. The market was lovely and sold every farm vegetable you could think of. Chef Jeff (Butler) kept recommending different sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beets, radishes, etc., but it wasn’t until he said chocolate milk from such and such farm that my ears perked up! I obviously didn’t leave the market with vegetables; instead I left with a cute little jug of chocolate milk! I was one happy camper.
After the market, we came into the classroom and learned how to make a vegetable ratatouille. Now, I’m well versed in what a ratatouille is thanks to the Disney movie Ratatouille starring Ratatouille the Rat that dominates the ratatouille dish for the chefs (If you haven’t seen the movie you should, it’s cute). A Ratatouille is basically a bunch of vegetables sweated out, sautéed, and cooked together to give your mouth a party it deserves. An explosion of flavors thanks to the main ingredients the onion, pepper (red and green), eggplant (grandma’s favorite- hey G! =)), emonder or blanched tomato, and zucchini. So, we had to work with our Chef partners again. Today I was paired up with Pandora (no not the music site that allows you to stream music), but a lovely girl hailing from Paris. Pandora and I worked as well together as mac and cheese. When I tell you we kicked some kitchen behind- we kicked some kitchen rear end. We showed ratatouille who was boss. By the end of the day, those dishes were beginning to go into the dishwasher.
We divided up the procedures. One of us ciseler the onion (cut) and then put in a pot to sweat while the other was busying going Jackie Chan on the vegetables cutting them up real fine. Each vegetable went into their own pot in order to get sautéed in the pan until they were a little brown. While sautéing I was singing “browning, browning on the river” to the song “Proud Mary” by my girl Tina Turner. Couldn’t help myself. The blanched tomatoes were added in with the sweating onion and oil. You see onions and tomatoes are the bomb.com don’t get me wrong, but this party in the pot needed to be taken to another level. Now if you’ve ever been to one of my family parties you know at some point you are going to need the “Allan Benes Card” (Allan is my cousin that manhandles the dance floor like no one’s business- Beyonce who?) So, I pulled out the “Allan Benes Card” and took my onions and tomatoes party and like a DJ mixed them with my melody of sautéed veggies. Now my party just did the A-ROD and got JUICED UP aka hit a home run. My lucky roommate- Veronica- get’s to try the leftovers tonight... Which reminds me, they are still in my purse, oops. The chef thought we did a great job- he always has something to say, but he didn’t this time because his taste buds were busy dancing at Liv in his mouth.
Our second dish of the day was Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with apple and a tangy vinaigrette. Just ask Fransicka- I beg her to cook me beets- no more Kika making those beets- move on over you cute little grandma- BIG MOMMA’s (that’s me- remember took on the fat lunch lady alias till I deal with getting rid of my hair net ordeal) MAKING THE BEETS FROM NOW ON. Chef Jeff says “Goat Cheese is the “gateway drug” of cheeses”. I couldn’t agree more- that stuff is addicting. First, we roasted the beets (soaked in salt/pepper/oil etc.) in the oven wrapped in aluminum foil. Then Chef Jeff did his demonstration and sent us on our ways to recreate the dish. We peeled the beets, macedonier (French knife skill) apples, cleaned frisee, only were allowed to use half the goat cheese stick (don’t think Chef Jeff realizes who he is dealing with here people! I want more cheese!). We mixed the cheese in with herb garnishes and we made the vinaigrette (3 parts of oil to 1 vinegar). Also chopped up (ciseler) shallots to put in the vinaigrette. When everything was done we added a little vinaigrette to the beets bowl and apples bowl. Then we plated using a kitchen ring to create a beautiful shaped. Inside the ring we layered cheese, beets, apples, cheese, then beets and on top we added the frisee and drizzled the vinaigrette on the sides! I was so proud of my dish I was jumping for joy and was singing away “oh happy days- oh happy days” (sorry for all the Big Momma references but I can’t help it- Daddy always had that movie on). Once again, Chef Jeff liked it, but said we used a little too much dressing on the frisee. I like it saucy though! (Here is a picture of me with my beet salad baby)
In the afternoon, Chef Jeff introduced us to the products in a little farm to table demonstration. He showed all different kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and radishes, so that we can see that even though vegetables come from the same farm, they taste differently each color or style.
Today was an extremely fun day because we were busy cooking all morning and a little into the afternoon. My feet were a tiny bit better today- thanks for asking. Still need to get on Doc Anderson or better yet my father for not having ordered me my ORTHODOX. Tomorrow is another day- learning how to do things with potatoes!