Crazy butter

At some point during our International Cooking class with the master chef, this butter called Cafe de Paris butter came up. It seemed like a really intense process, I watched the making of this butter unfold from the corner of my eye but was too involved in whatever I was making that night to get really involved. I however was really intrigued because in my mind I was like…its just butter!

The butter was supposed to be used as a finish for frog legs and since it had so many components to it, the frog legs wouldn’t require any additional seasoning. However as things happen, the butter got lost. The chef had a fit and the student who was originally responsible for making the butter had to start from scratch without directions. So the final product of that wasn’t anything to call home about. Eventually I had some time to mess around in the kitchen at home and found a recipe for it online (which varies slightly from the version the chef gave me). Its really amazing stuff and is a great finish to a grilled steak.

Cafe de Paris Butter:

* 1 pound premium unsalted butter softened
* 3 shallots, minced
* 8 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon Bhuna Curry powder
* 1/4 cup white wine
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* white and black Pepper to taste to taste
* 1 tablespoon Blue Cheese
* 1 teaspoon cayenne
* Juice of a lemon
* 4 egg yolks
* 3 anchovy fillets – roughly chopped
* 1 tablespoon gherkin roughly chopped
* 1 tablespoon capers- roughly chopped
* 1 bay leaf – finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon thyme leaves – finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons of Dill – finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons parsley – finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons Tarragon – finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons Chives – finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon salt- more if required

Preparation

Sweat the shallots and garlic in a knob of the butter over a gentle heat (3-5 minutes) then add the curry paste and cook for a further minute.

Add the wine, mustard, pepper, cheese, cayenne and lemon juice, turning up the heat and stirring continuously until reduced to a paste, set aside.

Blend all the other ingredients with the remaining butter by hand, but do not liquefy. Add the shallot mixture and blend together gently by hand.

Form into sausage shapes in cling film for freezing if required.

Grand Buffet


The grand finale of my culinary school experience was the Garde Manger Grand Buffet. We ended up sticking to a Mediterranean theme that included Merguez (spicy lamb sausage), Seafood terrine (that apparently had great mouth feel), Tabbouleh salad, Goat Cheese and Sun Dried tomato tartlets, and Prosciutto and Melon Ball Canapes. Also had three different sauces on the side: mint pesto, harissa yogurt, and roasted red pepper coulis. (Funny thing about the sauces, they turned out looking like a stop light when lined up — my partner didn’t appreciate me joking that we should plate them that way). Pretty proud of how things turned out…we got an A- and nothing but compliments from our chef.

Ode to Carcinogenic Meat

Its summer. School is over (I am officially a Certified Professional Cook — whatever that means) so celebrating my amazing amounts of free time! One of my favorite things to do in the summer is light up my grill and cook ridiculous amounts of meat. I’ve messed around with different bbq rubs over the years but recently found one that is my current favorite. This is a slightly modified version from one of my chef’s — since I’ve had multiple requests for it in the past few days, I thought what better way to revive the blog?

BBQ Rub:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup celery salt
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • Lemon zest from one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Combine ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Except that I didn’t have any leftovers because it ended up seasoning 20 pounds of chicken and a 10 pound pork roast. What leftovers I did end up with I whipped into a bbq sauce which was just 1/3 cup bbq rub, 2/3 cup ketchup, 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1/3 cup brown sugar.

Another chef, who was slightly obsessed with bacon, had a slightly different take on bbq sauce. While my sauce is what you classically expect, his is a little different:

  1. Saute up a whole mess of bacon (I think we ended up using one whole sheet or 10 slices). Works better if you cut the bacon into smaller pieces before starting this.
  2. Using the fat rendered from the bacon, saute 1 onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, and a few cloves of garlic. (Veggies should be chopped)
  3. Once veggies have cooked down, add 1 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup sugar, and then a splash of the following: Tabasco, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard, and liquid smoke.
  4. Using either an immersion blender or food processor, puree until smooth.
  5. Adjust flavor with salt and pepper.

Upon hearing these instructions I really thought he was messing with me. But it turned out really good….a little more trouble than its worth for an everyday bbq but something to keep in mind for a special occasion.