Saturday, May 15, 2010

breakfast is served...

For those of you who love breakfast like I do, here are some pictures from yesterday's breakfast buffet. No complaints this time, it was a lot of fun.

Garden frittata and home fries:

Pancakes, french toast, crepes and a tower of yogurt granola parfaits (which literally had a tablespoon of yogurt and close to a cup of whipped cream):

As fun as it was, I do have to tell you that not everything went smoothly.

I was in charge of making Quiche Lorraine and Huevos Rancheros. We were instructed to roll out the dough for the quiche then blind bake it (without any filling) for a few minutes to set the crust. I rolled it out once, put it in pie pans and watched as the dough shrank so much it fell back into the pans. I took it out, re-rolled it leaving a pretty significant amount of dough hanging over the edges of the pans and popped it in the oven. That didn't work either. It still shrank and slid back into the pans. I was left with oblong discs of pie dough, not suitable for quiche.

I tried again. This time I decided to forgo the blind baking and just fill the raw dough with the quiche custard - ensuring there would be no way for the crust to shrink back into the pan again. As you can see...the crust did not cooperate. Oh well, it tasted pretty good. And now I'm on a mission to try to create the perfect quiche.

After my crust catastrophe it was time for the Huevos Rancheros. I've never made this before, in fact I'm not even sure I've ever eaten it, so I had no idea what I was doing. We didn't have a recipe so my instructor said "go find some veggies in the fridge and make some chili" as he handed me two cans of beans.

Let me explain something to you. I don't make anything without a recipe. Ever. This is why I'm in culinary school. So the instruction "go make chili" doesn't help me much.

I started looking frantically through my textbook for a recipe. (if there's one thing I've learned so far, it's that you have to work quickly) A couple of minutes later my instructor came back and said, "What are you looking for?" I looked at him and said, "a recipe for chili - I have no idea how to just make chili". He chuckled and said "just sweat some onions and garlic, add a little stock, throw in a couple tomatoes concasse (tomatoes that have been blanched, shocked, peeled and seeded) and here's some turkey you can add. We'll season it later."

Alrighty then. That helps, but still - no recipe. How much of each thing? How long do I cook it? In what order do I add the ingredients? Oh, and I'll go get on that tomato concasse business, but this is gonna take awhile!

It actually wasn't so difficult once I just started chopping and cooking. And it turned out pretty well. And, most importantly, it helped me get over my fear of cooking without a recipe. When the chili was complete, we served it on top of chive scrambled eggs and voila - Huevos Rancheros. (sorry, I was so caught up in the non-recipe stress I forgot to take a picture)

Next week we're on to whole chickens. I have no idea what we'll be doing with them but I'll be sure to let you know.


  1. Try ceramic pie weights for the pie crust. You add them to the inside of the raw dough before cooking. You can also try pricking the dough all over the inside before cooking it too. From one recipe girl to another- way to go on the going "off recipe". That's so hard for me! Love to cook, hate going "off recipe"!

  2. Amy,
    It all looked very yummy! I am impressed that you could do so much without a recipe. My family still laughs at me for referring to my recipes for dishes that I serve all the time!
    Keep up the hard work!

  3. Yum! In awe of the no recipe thing ......

  4. This is so much fun to read about! It sounds like you're having a blast!

  5. Thought of you today. I hope you are well.

  6. Amy your food looks amazing! It's making me very hungry, too. I'm so glad you are learning and doing so well with school. 'm sending happy thoughts your way, take care!

  7. if you don't have pie weights you can use dried beans. I've never tried it (not a baker) but looked it up. Sounds like you're doing well with school. Good for you!

  8. Food looks great! And don't feel bad - I am a recipe girl, too. My husband is a chef, and my sister is a chef, and they always say "Katie, you DON'T need a recipe, just MAKE it!" I can't just MAKE it! LOL. I have gotten better with time, but it is hard to let go of that security blanket.

    Good work! Now I am hungry!

  9. Oh wow. I am now absolutely starving after seeing all of that yummy food!! If you ever need a taste-tester in Penn Hills, let me know *LOL*

    I'm jealous of your quiche. The only way I can make it is to buy the frozen ones from Costco and heat them in the oven. (Which I was actually thinking of doing for lunch/dinner today...)

  10. recipe:
    1/2 lb of tomatillo (green little tomatoes) + 1 or 2 large tomatoes, or 1 lb of tomatillo if you wish green salsa
    1/2 onion
    2-3 cloves of garlic
    1 cup of chicken or turkey stock, or beer (my favorite)
    a handful of green little chiles, or jalapeƱos (fresh), optional

    either sweat everything but the stock with a little oil, or roast it on your pan on medium heat until they're brown on the outside and hot and mushy on the inside (watch it because the garlic and chiles will burn before the tomatoes are done),
    then blend with the stock or the beer, and add salt as needed.
    simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the alcohol from the beer has evaporated, then voila.
    you can use this salsa for huevos rancheros, enchiladas, chilaquiles, etc.
    for variations you can add cilantro, ground pumpkin seed, more tomatoes, use only tomatoes, a bit of cream cheese, etc.
    huevos rancheros here in mexico are served sunny side up on top of a lightly fried tortilla, and covered in the hot sauce. then you roll it like a taco and eat it with fork and knife. mmmmm good but heavy breakfast.
    I hope you like the recipe. :)