One of the things I’ve learned about being a chef’s wife is that when your husband is applying for a promotion in the kitchen, you do everything you can to help. While the obvious benefit is that I get to taste and indulge in delicious gourmet fare for a week, it is actually a very labour intensive process to be a part of. There’s shopping, prepping, cooking, cooking methods to document and then type up for the menu, etc., etc. But let’s face it, the benefits make the process worth every bite. Not to mention that his menu is pretty fantastic and the judges would be crazy not to promote him – and I’m not just saying that because I’m his wife.
So let me tell you about the menu. For the test, Chef will need to prepare two appetizers (one hot, one cold), two mains (one meat, one fish) and he is opting to include a dessert even though it isn’t required. He has to do all of this and serve one plate of each at the same time to the panel of judges for them to do their thing and well, judge him based on cooking methods, ingredients used, and plating…all under 6 hours.
And here is the menu that we came up with (because yes, I had some input):
Braised Pork Belly with Scallop on a Leek and Celeriac Puree
Beet Carpaccio with a Cranberry Beet Vinaigrette
Gnocchi with Lamb and Mushroom Medley
(Main, meat dish)
Halibut with Citrus Jalapeno Beurre Blanc and Salsa
Panna Cotta and Chocolate Mousse “Tartufo” with Pomegranate Sauce
It’s only fitting that for the first food-related post, I would share with you my favourite dish from the entire menu and my all-time favourite dish that my husband makes – GNOCCHI! And since I’m not entirely selfish in my indulgences, and since this is the promised theme of the blog, I’m posting the recipe as well so you can try it at home, too. You can add braised lamb (as Chef did for his recipe) or you can make it meatless by adding sauteed portobello mushrooms. You can also add tri-coloured cherry tomatoes for some colour…the possibilities are endless! Leave a comment below and tell us what you think!
2 Russet potatoes (large)
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
4 tbsp Olive oil
2 tbsp Butter
1 ½ cups Freshly grated parmesan
2 cups Flour
Place potatoes on pan and bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours. Remove potatoes from oven and peel skin off the potatoes. Put potatoes through a ricer into a bowl. In case you’re unsure of what a ricer is and what it looks like, here it is:
Beat the egg and combine with ¾ cup grated parmesan, and a ½ tsp each of salt and pepper. Combine egg mixture with potatoes using a fork. Slowly add 1 cup of flour. Dust large cutting board with flour and transfer dough. Knead until dough is formed, and shape into ball. Remove ¼ of ball of dough and cover the rest. Roll dough into 1 inch thickness and cut into 1 inch pieces. Dust pieces with flour and set aside on baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer. Repeat with remaining dough.
Blanch gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water. Once the gnocchi floats to the top, remove from water and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzled with olive oil to prevent sticking.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heated nonstick frying pan. Sautee the gnocchi on medium heat for 2 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. If you don’t wish to sautee the gnocchi, you can add your favourite pasta sauce and top with whichever meat/poultry/veggie option you wish.
Garnish with remaining grated parmesan.