Good morning to everyone, it’s Monday again, I can’t wait for more reader’s questions.
I want to start out by apologizing for no post on Friday. My host provider (Hostmonster) had a blackout and I wasn’t able to access my site for the whole day.
Use coconut cream to replace mayonnaise in traditional chicken salad recipe for a delicious alternative.
I’m looking to make a few “mixing sauces”; one for chicken salad and one for a broccoli salad. The catch is that I can’t have any egg or milk in it.
For all you culinary students out there, this is important. You will see more requests like these popping up as people discover intolerances to food. Keep up with the current trends to stay competitive in our career.
I suggest figuring out what they can eat, and move from there. They want to recreate a mayonnaise-based dressing. Ideas include a dressing made with grainy mustard, avocado, and coconut butter.
In Keith’s case, they like the coconut, but mustard and avocado are not interesting.
Use coconut milk to recreate the mayonnaise for the chicken salad mix. (It’s important to use coconut milk that is natural and free of gums and additives.) When you refrigerate coconut milk the fat rises to the top. Scrape it off and use in place of the mayo in the chicken salad recipe. (Thin it out with the coconut juice left in the can.)
For the broccoli, a dressing made with grainy mustard will work, especially by adding in some crisp bacon for good measure.
Get creative with alternative requests for traditional recipes. You may discover a tastier version than the original recipe.
Speed on a line is important.
I am a line cook, and I have been for 18 months, 3 of which I have been on the hot line, and I am trying to decide between staying at my current job or moving to a new place that has offered. Both places have excellent reputations, but one gives me the opportunity to explore more advanced cooking techniques and cross-train in pastry while the other keeps me on the line during busier services and will eventually improve my hand speed.
My question is for the more experienced chefs out there: Is it better to develop and emphasize technique or hand speed?
What a great question. Do you want to be a line cook, banquets, or both?
When I hire someone, I look at their speed and technique. I will put them where their strengths lie.
Figure out what kitchen role you want to fill. If you see yourself on the line for most of your career, then it’s important to build up the line speed. If you want to be in a setting where you will be able to carry out your tasks with less immediate pressure, then developing your skill set is the way to go.
If you are looking to move up later in your career, it’s important to know where your strengths are, and improve on them by challenging yourself.
I worked with a Sous-Chef that could pump out a banquet of sixty by himself. Unfortunately he was like a tornado in the kitchen. You always knew when this Sous-Chef was cooking because of the swath of destruction he laid down.
One night he had to jump onto service to help in a rush. He was on the meat station cooking chicken, steaks, pork chops and lobster. After I returned dish after dish for wrong meat temperatures, he grabbed his olive oil container to find that it had but a drop in it.
Before I could react, that container was flying off the walls, sailing past my nose, and connecting with one of my cook’s heads. He could barely find anything because of the clutter on his station.
On the other extreme, I demonstrated to a line cook how to make guacamole. The preparation is straightforward. Cut avocados in half, remove the pit. Scoop them into a food processor, add salt, sugar, and lime juice. Blend.
Two cases of avocados should take a competent Prep cook thirty minutes to complete. The trick with prep (or banquets) is to complete one step of a task at a time, then move on to the next step.
I went back to check on the line cook to see his progress two hours later. (I hadn’t seen him so I was wondering if he succumbed to the avocados, or if he was goofing off.) He was still on his first case.
The problem was he was preparing the guacamole like a line cook would; take the seed out of an avocado, then scrape it into the bowl of the food processor. Take another avocado, seed out, scrape. When the bowl was finally full, then measure out the salt, sugar, lime juice needed.
Both are opposite examples of people unsuited for their tasks. For you, it’s best to find out where you have the most enjoyment cooking, and focus there.
Thawed, refrozen, thawed, refrozen. Not nice at all.
Is this meat good? It was frozen meat (ham and turkey), moved to a cooler that was 32 deg for 48 hours. Is it safe to eat this? Any or refreeze it? If it’s safe to eat and shouldn’t be refrozen how long do I have to eat it?
At 32°F the meat is below the danger zone, so it will be okay to cook and serve. The meat is okay to re-freeze if it has ice crystals.
I did monthly inventory in a hotel where the cooks defrosted meat then refroze them to avoid loss. Sometimes several times. I could tell by looking at the meat that it had gone through the freezing cycle because the muscle would separate from the intramuscular fat.
That meat would fall apart when you cooked it, and taste watered down. I believe that you need to have a plan for your meat so you won’t need to freeze your meat to avoid a loss. That means pulling your proteins in advance and thawing them in the refrigerator slowly instead of in water.
How long meat keeps depends on how many days it was out before freezing. Your nose should be the guide here. You’ll smell if the meat is okay to consume after washing it.
Picked in their prime. You need to act fast or you will lose them all.
I’ve been buying Cali berries for the past couple of weeks, just about every other day.
Here’s the thing: The smell A~MAZ~ING, They look fairly descent when I first purchase them at the green grocer, but the next morning, they majority of them have dark/black blotches on them and turn soft pretty fast.
It’s great to get the berries at the peak of their season. Berries picked in their prime don’t last long. I’ve had strawberries go bad the same day they were picked. One time I received Quebec strawberries at 8 AM in the morning. By 3 PM they had a white fuzzy blanket covering the top. It’s frustrating, I know.
The answer is to Macerate them. I wrote how to do that here.
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