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This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Exploring Boston: ArtEpicure cooking school

This was a different kind of Friday night: I attended a cooking class at Mark DesLauriers' ArtEpicure Cooking School (artepicure.com).

It's a hands-on class, and the menu for the night was Shrimp remoulade with fresh greens, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo with rice, and bananas foster with homemade vanilla-honey ice cream.

The group was fun too --- friendly people, all.

Here, Mark shows how to peel the gigantic shrimp he'd obtained for dinner:
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Did I mention the class was hands-on? Everyone took a turn at something, as the meal prep progressed:
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Mark had forgotten to get mayonnaise for the remoulade, so he made some from scratch, and we used that instead.
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Checking the roux. Mark starts it on the stove, but finishes it in the oven.
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Part of the gumbo: roasted, split chickens, on a bed of vegetables.
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Two volunteers pull and shred the chicken for the gumbo.
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The andouille sausage gets chopped in preparation for its role in the gumbo.
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The ingredients start to come together.
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Just before cooking: the giant shrimp: These things looked like props from the movie District 9.
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But they sauteed rapidly and well:
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The first course: Shrimp remoulade with fresh greens.
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Adding file and other spices to the gumbo:
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Second course: chicken and andouille sausage gumbo with rice.
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Dessert prep: the bananas Foster assembly line:
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Igniting the rum and banana liqueur:
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The finished bananas, with the homemade honey-vanilla ice cream in the background:
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Dessert!
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It was a huge meal, but a fun evening.

It's now also 13 hours later --- and I'm still not yet hungry again.  :)


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Shrimp remoulade

3 tablespoons butter
32 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Juice from 1 large lemon
Salt and pepper
¼ cup chopped parsley
6 cups salad greens of choice, leaves removed, washed and left whole

Heat a large saute pan on a medium. Saute the shrimp in the 2 tablespoons butter until the shrimp are just done then remove the shrimp from the pan and allow to cool. Add the Worcestershire, squeeze in the lemon juice, add the parsley and salt and pepper. Remove from the pan, set on top of the greens and top with the remoulade sauce

Remoulade sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Pan liquids from the cooked shrimp
1 teaspoon Dijon or whole grain mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup shallots, minced
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
1 tablespoon ketchup
Salt and pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together.

Chicken and andouille sausage gumbo

1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 large celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice
10 garlic cloves, sliced
4 cups chicken stock
8 ounces andouille sausage, sliced
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons worcestershire
2 tablespoons gumbo filé
2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
One 3 ½ pound chicken, roasted, meat shredded, skin and bones saved for stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Hot sauce
Steamed rice, for serving
2 scallions, thinly sliced

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, whisk the flour with the oil until smooth. Cook the roux over moderately low heat, or in the oven. whisking often, until deep brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add the onion, celery, bell peppers and garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 20 minutes.
Gradually add the stock to the casserole, whisking until smooth. Add the andouille, bay leaves, worcestershire, gumbo file, thyme and paprika and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the chicken meat and season the gumbo with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Discard the bay leaves, ladle the gumbo over rice, garnish with the scallions and serve with hot sauce.

Roast chicken

2 chickens, backbone removed and butterflied
4 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
2 celery stocks sliced into ½ inch chunks
3 onions, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
12 garlic cloves, split
Kosher salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450º F.

Brush a baking pan with olive oil to lubricate, unless you are using a non-stick roasting pan. Spread the vegetables evenly over the surface. Sprinkle both sides of each chicken with salt and pepper. Place bone side down on the vegetables. Place the pan in the oven, on the top shelf, and roast for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and check the temperature. The temperature of the thickest part of the dark meat should reach 160º F. If it has not reach that, continue roasting until it does. After removing the chicken from the ovenallow it to rest for 15 minutes before cutting it up. Save the bones and vegetables to make stock.

Chicken stock

2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped leeks
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped carrots
16 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Parsley stems if you have them
Bones from 3 or 4 chickens, roasted or not
12 cups water

Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot and simmer for 3 to 4 hours then strain.
You can also do this in a pressure cooker for 1 hour.

Vanilla bean and honey ice cream

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2  cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped or 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
2 egg yolks

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. Set a smaller bowl inside.
Heat the cream, milk, honey and sugar, stirring until the sugar melts and the mixture is near boiling. Separate eggs and beat yolks until smooth with the vanilla. Temper the yolks by adding 1/2 cup of the hot milk to them while whisking. Slowly whisk in the remaing liquid. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring the entire time, until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Make sure it does not boil or the eggs will scramble.
Strain immediately into a bowl over the ice bath and stir occasionally until chilled to at least room temperature.
Churn in an ice cream maker until thick. Remova and store in a stainless steel pan that has been chilled in the freezer.

 

Bananas foster
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 bananas, cut in half
lengthwise, then halved
¼ cup dark rum
Juice from ½ orange and ½ lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a skillet. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames subside add the juice and vanilla, stir in, then lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.