Friday’s during lent, us Catholics don’t eat meat. We do however eat fish. This Catholic, does not care for fish. So this lent, I’ll be looking into ways (other than frozen fish sticks) of eating fish that does not completely weird me out. Unfortunately due to hectic snow make-up days and the competitions last week, fish sticks were on the menu for Ash Wednesday and last Friday. Tonight, inspired by my beautiful new plate and next week’s International menu (Latin America), I decided to make fish tacos…with the help of my two ex-roommates.
The Fishy Part…
We picked up four Tilapia fillets. Seasoned them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Squeezed a lime on top and sauteed until cooked. After cooking, I ran through the fillets with a fork to get chunky taco meat.
The Green Part…
Mmm…guacamole…the home wrecker. For this, chopped half of a medium-sized red onion, half a medium-sized tomato (usually get the six-pack that is on the vine), and mince half a jalapeno pepper. Add some cilantro leaves. Core out two avocados and mash all ingredients together. Squeeze a lime on (for extra flavor and to prevent oxidizing) and that’s about it.
The Red Part…
A quick pico de gallo, the rest of that medium sized red onion, another tomato + the rest of the one from before, the rest of the jalapeno, a few more cilantro leaves, and squeeze another lime.
Toast or microwave a few tortillas, add whatever other fixing you want (we had both sour cream and a Mexican cheese mix), and eat! Unfortunately no pictures were taken of the final product because the tacos went straight from making our hands to our mouths. But I think overall, the stronger flavors of the guacamole and pico de gallo killed any fishy flavor the tilapia had. Already contemplating what next Friday’s fish dish will be…
Pot Au Feu
But this time made with 5 cooks. The whole night felt like a frustrating disaster. Can’t help not caring when there isn’t enough to do and am forced to work with stupid people.
Sure I can dice an onion correctly (you'd be suprised that some students don't even know how to cut an onion in half correctly) and do funky cuts on carrots if I try. But tourne cuts simply unravel me. Won't see that on any menu I write!
Last night International Cuisine, we cooked two menus entitled “A Taste of Africa.” Below is our magnificent buffet of African dishes, all plated family style.
Of the fabulous array, the dynamic duo cooked, Black Bean Fritters with Hot Sauce (renamed the savory balls) and Coconut Rum Cake (renamed the sweet balls).
Black Bean Fritters & Hot Sauce
Gold Winning One Pot Dish: Lamb Stew with Couscous & Harissa Oil
The Challenge: Cook a complete meal only using one pot in two hours. The dynamic duo, renamed as Shake and Bake, came together with a double boiler, a 15 lb leg of lamb, lots of beautifully chopped vegetables, and the hot & sexy harissa oil. Out came the gold medal plate! Our mise en place was on point, our sanitation and organization were tight, and the chef critiquing us was reaching for things to nit pick on. It’s always great seeing a seasoned chef tear through your food.
Bronze Medal Winning Aspic Dish: Lamb Chops with Roasted Potatoes & Asparagus served with a Red Pepper Coulis
Now this was strange. And most definitely not for me. Preparing food that doesn’t end up being eaten, just presented is a complete mind bender. All this food had to be individual coated in this weird, gelatinous, aspic stuff. Truth be told I’d rather be cooking, than plating. Soooo…probably won’t be doing something like this again.
Can you imagine walking into a classroom and seeing that??? Kinda crazy, but this was actually a great learning experience. Our chef showed us how to break down the whole thing, pointing out along the way where everything comes from. What better understanding of ham, bacon, ribs, pork chops, etc., than to actually see where it comes from on the animal.
Here’s a shot of the head and all the funky little bits you can get out of it:
Apparently, the tongue is one of the best parts. The ears can be braised and then deep fried, and (again apparently) taste just like pork cracklings. The sweet breads (thymus glands) are another delicacy. Kinda cringing as I remember this.
We ended up braising all the pieces of it together (including the head). And then shredding it all up. Someone made a really yummy sesame flavored fried rice and another person made chimichurri sauce. We cored out some coconuts and below is the final product:
I’ve heard that people read this thing and yet there are no followers. So I decided…this first 10 or so people to join as a follower…I’LL COOK WHATEVER YOU WANT FOR DINNER FOR YOU. Even if you aren’t local to me, I’m sure that in time we’ll be in the same geographic location.