Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My ISCAHM Culinary Experience in 10 Dishes

At first, I was determined to make a blog post for each and every class that I had, but the thing is, I was quite busy, and I've only been able to write ONE. Now, I seriously doubt catching up on all the missed posts would be meaningful. So I've decided to sum up my culinary experience in 10 dishes! Note that they're in no particular order since it's already hard enough to just pick 10, and it would be even harder to rank them 1 through 10.

1. Salmon Tartare with Honey Dill Mustard Dressing
This dish just might be the most refreshing salmon dish you would ever have. It's composed of 3 types of salmon- Smoked Salmon, Gravlax*, and Fresh Salmon. The crunchy bits of celery yield refreshing intervals in between the spoonfuls of salmon. And everything is held together by yogurt which is way better and healthier than mayonnaise.** This is Chef Gerd Menger's recipe, apparently he created this dish when he was the executive chef for a cruise ship. Three cheers for this dish, it's wonderful.

Lapu Lapu with Soy Anise Butter
And now dressed with the Arugula Relish
2. Pan Fried Lapu Lapu Fillet with Star Anise Soy Butter and Arugula Relish
This dish has been tried and tested. Believe me, it's as tasty as it sounds! Daryl and I cooked it for Valentine's Day! The anise soy butter might look quite scummy and unappetizing but it's jam packed with amazing flavor! The arugula relish is just composed of arugula/rocket, lemon juice, olive oil, tomato, and onion. It's a rather simple combo but it's so fresh and tasty.

Simmering Fish and Veg
Now with Shellfish
The beautiful final product!
3. Seafood Soup with Vegetables
I hate the way this dish is named. I think it should be named something fancier- something that will draw much more of a WOW factor when someone says it. Like any good seafood soup, this one starts with fish stock, and all sorts of fresh fish, prawns, shellfish! And it's finished off with saffron and heavy cream. I'd say the picture up there speaks for itself- TASTY!

Slapped with the salmon coating!
And this is how it turns out!
4. Horseradish and Smoked Salmon Crusted Snapper Fillet
I often think that crusted things sound dodgy for some reason. It might be because the execution is more often than not a failure. This recipe for this one has been calibrated to perfection and so it's flawless. It might sound a bit strange, but it's crazy delicious!

Kofta on the grill

5. Lamb Kofta
I like lamb, I really do, but lamb in the Philippines often falls short because it has a side note of some weird weird taste, I'd it's equivalent to a fish's fishiness. This dish for some reasons banishes that cause of the strong flavors! It's Greek and even better, it's served with Tzatziki.***

It might not look like much, it taste otherwise though!
6. Nasi Goreng
As I've probably mentioned in previous posts, I'm a bagoong freak.**** This dish is an Indonesian rice dish that is loaded with shrimp paste. You might think it would be salty, but it's not- there's depth of flavor!

Served with sauces and onion rings!
7. Roasted Beef Striploin & Lamb Gigot
Basically I love roasts, and I've always been to intimidated to cook them. It's gets pretty intimidating especially when it comes to big words like Lamb Gigot and stuff like that. The most that I've done was roast chicken a couple of times. The lamb gigot was very traditional, rosemary and everything! It was accompanied by caramelized garlic and a red wine jus. And the beef was simply coated in mustard and seasoned with salt and pepper! Simplicity is the key sometimes!

This is TOO TASTY.
8. Roast Pork Spareribs (Teiji Kalbi Gui)
You know how you go to a restaurant sometimes and it's just like you order a dish, you taste it and you think it's awesome? This is definitely one of those ones. It's full of flavor and it has such a full body- a little tinge of chilli here and there too.

Plain and Tomato Pasta Dough

Running it through the pasta maker

Spinach and Feta Filled Ravioli


Pasta Mediterranean
9. Pasta Making
I've made pasta from scratch once or twice, they didn't fail; but they weren't epic successes either. They were borderline. So I got really excited about the pasta making class. We made a couple of flavors and varieties of pasta. The dish I loved the most from this session was the Mediterranean pasta which consists of chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, shitake mushrooms, feta cheese, and arugula. I know how strange it might sound, but it was something, something new and inventive.

Cold nuggets of butter

See the container filled with clarified butter ?
10. BUTTER!!
I think people always underestimate butter. Truth be told, it does so much. It completes a dish, it gives it such a nice and refined finish. Chef Sean McSavaney couldn't emphasize how much he loved butter. It was so funny.

* Gravlax is fish cured with alcohol. Sounds tasty, hey? It originates from Sweden. God Bless the Swedish!

** I absolutely hate mayonnaise unless it's freshly made.

*** Tzatziki is a dip mainly made out of yogurt, cucumber, and mint. It's perfect for that hot summer day!

**** Bagoong is Filipino condiment made out of ground shrimp.

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