Friday, May 18, 2007

Teaching a class at Dierberg's

Taught a class at Dierberg's grocery store. Dierberg's is one of the more upscale grocers in the city, and they have often had cooking schools attached to some of their stores. It was a two hour class for which I had planned a too ambitious menu-typical. It went alright, but a couple glitches happened. They did not have a table top fryer, so I was trying to make rice sticks and lobster tempura in an eletric skillet-it never got to temperature, so I switched to a wok, which eventually worked, but put me behind. It was lots of fun and I met alot of customers and talked to them.

The Dierberg cooking school personnel are amazingly organized-all my recipes were prepped and organized for me. I teach the same class at the Edwardsville store in two weeks. My assistant Katie was great help, especially in getting the electric skillet problem solved.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mother's day 07

It has been a most frustrating but eventually fulfilling weekend. Friday was the annual benefit for the History Museum of Monroe county, and Sunday was Mother's day. In between was a very busy Saturday night. Three different menus with three separate prep sheets, Most of us enjoy the change of pace-some are not so cooperative-there was some conflict and drama to add to the stress of all the business. Some individuals always feel that they do more work than the person next to them, when actually the workers who produce the best, adapt to change, and acquire new skills are the one who never seem to complain.

We were presented with a three day window to do allot of business and color me proud, but most of us rose to the occasion. Running a busy kitchen is allot like coaching a sports team. You have players, you have stars, and you have prima donnas (that is usually myself-though not always). I have a terrific crew and they do a great job. I will blog about the museum benefit later in the week, as I have time, but I will give the Mother's Day menu and some photos here.

Mother's Day Menu
Blueberry Crumb muffins
Monroe county Asparagus Salad-baby lettuce, asparagus, and ham all grown in Monroe county
Pork Loin with Blackberry brandy sauce
Chicken Piccata
Stir-fried vegetables and rice noodles
Sauteed fingerling potatoes with zucchini
Crepes filled with chocolate mousse/strawberry-mandarin orange sauce

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mixed Berry Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee remains at the top of the best selling desserts. We all get so tired of making it, but the customers are not tired of eating it. I am pretty much a purist when it comes to creme brulee, a simple custard flavored with vanilla with a burnt sugar crust on top. I have strayed to chocolate, and Grand Marnier on occaision but vanilla is the best. This week I flavored the custard with Creme de Cassis and floated some berries (raspberry and blackberry) in the custard-more creme brulee heresy.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fried Catfish

This was quite tasty last week. I don't sell much catfish at the restaurant-it doesn't sell that well. I guess there are alot of cheap and good places to get catfish, and when people come to Gallagher's they expect something a little more than catfish. All the other fishes sell pretty well-especially salmon, orange roughy, shark, and mahi mahi.
I do not like catfish fillets, I want the whole fish on the bone-they really do taste so much better. I made tartar sauce with some delicious pickles I bought from a lady who makes them in Redbud. I dusted the fish with a mixture of 1 1/2 cups flour mixed with 1/2 cup cornmeal-I don't like all cornmeal coating-too gritty. Adding 1/2 cup cornmeal to flour adds just the right amount of crunch for me. Of course fried in my beloved vintage Griswold iron skillet.