Let's call this week's update bonuses and broiled eel because that is what it seemed like this week. I had a couple bonus recipes I didn't get to last week, which I did this week. I chose 1 of 4 sauces to make with my immersion blender because that was the next lesson in The 4-Hour Chef. However that wasn't a meal so I went on to the next lesson, broiled eel! Yes, I made eel and I'll let you know how it went when we make our way to the end of the week. But first, the bonuses that I did earlier in the week.
From making the arugula, avocado, and roma salad I learned two things. First, how to easily de-pit and slice up an avocado for use in many recipes. Second, I learned of the existence of the eggocado. I'm a fan of avocados and have been making eggs quite a bit so I really wanted to give this a try and bought 2 extra last week so that I could make it as a treat for my wife and I. The avocados I purchased weren't ripe enough on Sunday so I had to wait and treat her on Monday.
Here's a pro tip for anything special you want to make. Tell the other people who use food in the house that you have plans for certain ingredients or else they may disappear. My wife gave one of the avocados to my son for dinner on Monday so I was down to a single avocado and no time to get another one.
First, this was a tasty treat. It could be a good appetizer or snack. It takes a bit of time in the oven though so it does have to be planned. In the book it says that if you use the popular yet smaller haas variety you may have to make the pit hole a bit deeper. I ran into a problem with this when I didn't make extra room so go ahead and do it. It won't remove too much extra tasty goodness. Besides, you can put it on top of the egg when you are through in some way shape or form. I haven't done this yet but why not.
The balancing act of cutting the back of the avocado was a problem that I will pay more attention to in the future. On one half the cut was not parallel to the top so much of the egg spilled out. Egg spillage occurs quite easily too as it likes to stick together. So if you are making this, take care with your cut and try to be as parallel as possible.
Keeping with the theme of night time treats with my wife I made some roasted garlic. This was part of the lesson that had me make gazpacho. I meant to make it with that meal but didn't plan my oven time well enough so it became a late night treat later in the week. When I started to make it I decided to be a bit cheeky about it and posted mysterious messages on the social networks.
Something is baking in the oven. Tonight's treat. Shhh, it's a secret. ;) twitter.com/diacre/status/…
— Daryl Ducharme (@diacre) February 6, 2013
When I was done I made sure to clear up the confusion. I didn't know what things people might think I was making but I'm sure it would be better if they knew it was garlic.
...and this is what came out of the oven. Mmm, tasty baked garlic. twitter.com/diacre/status/…
— Daryl Ducharme (@diacre) February 6, 2013
I'll make this again, though maybe I'll make more for a group of people. I think I could leave it in the oven for much longer than I did so I can probably do it next to some other dishes.
After last week's update', the next lesson wasn't a meal or even a dish. It was instead a choice of one of 4 sauces to make with the immersion blender. The pesto seemed the simplest and worked with eggs so I decided to make it before I made my eggs this morning. Right up front I'll let you know that it was tasty. After all, this is basically the italian flavoring I used on eggs and pasta before but with fresh ingredients, greater aroma and added cashews. However, I ran into an issue with basil I'd like to tell anyone reading my blog.
If you are experienced in the kitchen with basil you can probably move on. I am not experienced with fresh basil so this is what happened to me. The first store I went to only had fresh thai basil so I got that. The store I went to for eel had thai basil and basil. For learning purposes I got basil from there as well and did a couple experiments. Visually they are fairly similar. However, the thai basil has red stems and the leaves seemed more defined. I also noticed that the thai was much more aromatic than the regular basil. A taste test revealed not much difference to me. In the future I'd say go with either one. The aroma of the thai basil was very nice though so if you like it go with that.
On the skills learned during a lesson front, this lesson didn't have any spelled out in the beginning of the section. However, I got a bit more practice using my immersion blenders chopper attachment and I learned how to chiffonade basil (as well as any other large leaf thing). So that's there for you if you are headed down the same path.
First the lesson basics, what skill was supposed to be taught in this lesson? The answer was unusual proteins. In a way I feel this is true, now that I've made this dish once I feel I could easily make it again. Also, in my search for eel I ran into all sorts of unusual proteins in the fish area. Funny enough, I found vegetarian (fake) eel before I found the real deal eel. However, I feel the real skill I learned this lesson was using broccoli as an alternate to rice. Not only was it a skill I learned but it is a tasty alternate with much less starch content. Very nice.
Now let's go through my questions above. I was obviously able to find it, though it did take some searching to do so. The eel part was probably the easiest, I just broiled it for a couple of minutes and it was ready to go. As for taste, it was great. However, more details need to be said in this area. When you read this recipe you see that it is inspired by unagi sushi and that flavor comes across. I like sushi quite a bit so the fact that this tasted like sushi was great. In fact, this is my favorite dish I have made so far. If the eel weren't as expensive as it is, though all meat is really, I would make it all the frickin' time.
The only problem with this recipe was the broccoli. Much like glitter that gets everywhere and you can't get rid of it easily, the broccoli bits got everywhere and were a pain to clean up. I think I got them all and the clean up was well worth the flavor. The kids weren't big fans of the whole meal but they did eat the eel so that's good.
Until next time
So next week is SFIT so I will be busy especially on my main shopping day of Saturday. Next week may or may not have an update depending on what I decide to make. I will still be cooking the dinner meal on next Sunday but it may not be a new dish. However, I'll be making arugula, avocado, and roma salad with baby arugula (aka rocket) as I found it where I should have looked in the first place. It was in the pre-packaged lettuce area. So if you are getting inspired by any of my writing and want to find baby arugula, that's the place to look. I found it at a plain old Safeway. So keep an eye on me via twitter(some might say follow) to see how that and anything else I might try this week, there are 3 other sauces to try with my immersion blender, turns out. Until next time, have fun and let me know what you find out.