Monday, April 26, 2010

Millennium Spring Cooking Class 2010

Classmate Sekhar got the glory for making these delicious Pea and Cilantro Puree-Stuffed Fried Yuba Ravioli with sesame seeds at yesterday's Spring Cooking Class at Millennium taught by Millennium's Executive Chef Eric Tucker. Of course, the recipe was Eric's great idea and I think Sekhar got some help from classmates, but the most important thing is that they tasted totally fabulous! The yuba, a.k.a tofu skin, were purchased from Hodo Soy at the Saturday San Francisco Farmers Market. Highly perishable, you need to plan your yuba dish in advance, but this one was really awesome!

A variant on this recipe involved a Korean Chili Broth, with maitake mushrooms and peas:

with the same Pea-Cilantro puree added to crispy risotto-style rice cakes:

A plated close-up of this dish:

Shiso , or Perilla, is a member of the mint family:

We garnished a thickened up version of the broth with shiso and used it as a sauce:

Simple and delicious Daikon pancakes with scallions were a hit with a garnish of pickled cucumber:

A plated close up of this dish:

A fresh Fava Bean and Grilled Spring Onion Salad provided a fresh side salad. Eric's view: don't mess too much with fava beans. These were peeled and blanched and their freshness shone through.

Terrines are a nice Spring item and we did two versions - Mushroom and Walnut Terrines with marinated maitake and portabello mushrooms:

and adjusting for a mushroom-free classmate, a roasted carrot and walnut terrine (the sweeter version):

Also acquired at the SF Farmers Market, freshly milled flour from Eat Well Farm. Two of their fresh flours were used to make flatbreads - whole wheat and Triticale, a lower-gluten flour:

Here's a close-up of the grilled flatbread with a Sundried Tomato-Spring Garlic Butter and the mushroom terrine:

My photos of the incredible Kale & Bean Salad do no justice to this amazing dish. The dinosaur kale was blanched, marinated with balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper and grilled. The number one thing I learned is this class is that grilling kale gives it an incredible smokey, meaty taste:

And, although I'm no sweet tooth, I always eat dessert at Millennium. Are you ready? Cashew Crust Tartlets filled with Black Pepper Vanilla Cream (made with Spectrum palm shortening), topped with Grand Marnier Marinated Strawberries and Thyme Ice Cream:

Worth a second gloriously indulgent picture, don't you think?

Thanks, as always, to Eric, Ann, Veronica, and Thomas for creating another fabulous Sunday Cooking Class at Millennium. Also thanks to my classmates for making this another entertaining, friendly, and fascinating class.

Here's links to the previous 13 classes:
  • Chiles Cooking Class 2009

  • July Cooking Class 2009

  • June Cooking Class 2009

  • Spring Cooking Class 2009

  • Mushroom Cooking Class

  • Holiday Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest 2008

  • Indian Summer

  • Southern Comfort Cooking Class

  • Spring Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest Cooking Class

  • Chiles Class

  • Tomato Class

  • We chatted about favorite dishes in the class so, as promised, here's a couple of links to one of my favorite dishes: Edamame Gnocchi with Shiso Aioli:
  • Dining at Millennium

  • Making the dish in the June 2009 class
  • Sunday, April 04, 2010

    Spring Vegetable Melange with Green Garlic

    The rainy weather almost persuaded me to make a soup today, but I had all these lovely fresh baby vegetables and it seemed a shame to drown their prettiness. So I kept it amazing simple: melted some Kerrygold Irish butter in a sauce pan and added small cut potatoes and a green garlic cut into slices. Cooked covered until the potatoes started to get tender. Added the rest of the vegetables (baby radish, fresh English peas, baby carrots, precooked Brussel Sprouts, alba mushrooms) and another sliced green garlic and finished with a little champagne for sweetness. A pinch of sea salt and I was done.

    I just love the mild flavor of green garlic. See the previous post for other green garlic ideas.

    Happy Easter!

    Friday, April 02, 2010

    Green Garlic Easter Recipes

    I was so excited to pick up some green garlic at the Farmers Market this week! It's mildness is wonderful with eggs, so it's perfect for Easter recipes. I'm still musing on what I'll make with it this year, but thought I'd share some previous recipes that would be ideal for the weekend. Above is a vegan recipe for Green Garlic Soup with Fresh English Peas

    One of my favorite Easter recipes: Scrambled Eggs with Green Garlic in a Roast Potato Base

    The roast potato base is adapted from a recipe by Gary Rhodes (British Chef) called Cheesy Fondant Potatoes on a Bed of Soft Leeks from the March 2002 Good Food magazine (put out by the BBC).

    Potato base:
    1 large russet potato per person
    2 cups water
    1/2 cup milk
    1 bay leaf
    2 + garlic cloves
    olive oil
    butter (optional)

    Put the water, milk, bay leaf, garlic cloves, and pepper into a wide saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep.

    Peel your potatoes and keep them in a bowl of cold water to avoid them discoloring. Using your peeler, shape the ends of the potatoes so they are nicely rounded. Cut a shaving of potato off one long side so the potato has a stable base. On the top side of the potato, use a sharp paring knife to cut an oval shape down into the potato, leaving about 1/2 '' around the edges (err on the side of edges being too thick). To remove the cut oval of potato from the top, cut the oval into quarters and use your knife to "pop" out one quarter and then cut out the others. I then used a zester to remove and shape the inside (this worked great). Then I tidied up with a grapefruit spoon (which has serrated edges). You'll then have something that looks like this:

    Put the potato back in the water and repeat with each potato.

    Heat your oven to 400. Put olive oil into an ovenproof dish large enough to hold your potato bases and put it in the oven to warm up as your oven heats.

    Turn the milk mixture heat on to lowest simmer and carefully place the potato bases into the milk mixture. Simmer very gently for about 10 minutes until the potato is just becoming tender. Carefully remove the potato bases with a slotted spoon and put on a plate to cool for a moment. Carefully remove any liquid that is trapped inside the crevice.

    Put the bases bottom down into the hot oil in the ovenproof dish,dot the centers with butter or a little oil, and cook for about 25 minutes. When the bottoms are starting to brown and crisp, turn the bases upside down to crisp the top and pour the hot oil over the sides. Check in 10 minutes and try to turn the potatoes on their sides and cook for 5-10 minutes each side.

    Take the ovenproof dish out and let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove the bases onto a plate with a paper towel to absorb any extra oil. Place on a foil-covered baking sheet and keep warm in the oven at lowest heat (but not for too long).

    A simple dish with some sophisticated flavors: Scrambled Eggs with Peas, Green Garlic & Humboldt Fog Cheese

    Not familiar with green garlic?

    Green garlic is immature garlic that has not yet formed a strong, pungent mature bulb and flavor. It is wonderfully delicate and mild and perfect in this springtime soup. It looks like a small leek or a big spring onion:

    Happy Easter!