Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Basque Stage Candidate Post "Pork Tenderloin with Lightly Seared Strawberries"

With this food blog post on my mind, endless possibilities entered my head.  I could do a blog about Filipino food or even do a blog about the Asian cuisine class I am taking at school, these were just a couple possibilities.  But I wanted something different, something that would strike new flavors into my palate and send me into culinary astonishment.  What about Spanish food? I have not tinkered into this culinary side of the world in years, since the beginning of culinary school.  I tackled this assignment with shark like ferocity, well... as much ferocity as a culinary student can do in the library.   I stumbled across a cook book by Anya Von Bremzen, "The New Spanish Table"  flipping thought the pages I saw recipes that were foreign to me, combinations I never thought of, and innovative ways using only sustainable ingredients.   I saw a recipe and decided to take it head on, not too hard, not overly easy either.  It had what I was looking for, a new flavor combination that when I read the ingredients made me wonder why I have not thought of it before. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( Spanish)
From Left to Right: Chives, Chicken Stock, Strawberries, Aged Sherry Vinegar, Olive Oil, Sugar, Salt, and dried Rosemary, and of course a pork tenderloin which is not pictured. 

Cooking the pork went about regular, seasoned generously with salt, pepper, and dried rosemary.  Then place in a hot oiled skillet on med-high heat to create a sear on all sides to seal any juices that would be trying to escape during the cooking process.  This was where I turned on my oven to 350 degrees, just a precautionary if my tenderloin were to start getting an undesirable char on the outside I would have the option to to finish it in the oven, but I did not need it for this recipe.  I reduce the heat to low and finished cooking the pork until the internal temperature was 145 degrees.  Reserved the pork onto a plate to let rest and started the seared strawberries...

This was new to me, very new... the only time I have ever tried cooked strawberries were for dessert applications.  I lightly oiled a skillet, as I was waiting for it to heat up I sliced some strawberries, 1/4 inch thick.  Just like the title says I started searing the strawberries turned them once and took them out.   I was surprised by what flavor I was able to achieve just by doing a light sear on the strawberries.  The nuttiness from the olive oil and almost caramelized sweetness from the strawberries were inspiring.  This was when I knew that this dish comes together almost like how peanut butter and jelly comes together for a child.
The next step was to make the accompanying sauce, and very delightful tarty/sweet flavor of the aged sherry vinegar.  First we would take chicken stock and deglaze the pan where we cooked the pork.  Simmered this down until almost a syrupy consistency and then add the sherry vinegar and sugar.  This sherry vinegar mixture then would be cooked to nappe, then would tasted for flavor and tartness. If it was too tart then more sugar would be added.

Final Plate 
I was amazed at how all the flavors came together.  The tart from the sherry vinegar, the sweetness from the seared strawberries, and the earthiness from the pork tenderloin was so welcoming.   From the leftover  strawberries I was able to make an accompaniment dessert.

White Chocolate Amaretto Mousse with a Strawberry Gelee.  

Recipe for this dessert will be on my next post. 
Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Basque Stage!

So just found out that I am one of the 30 applicants that made it to round two of basque stage.  In the next two weeks I will be competing for one of the two spots to be working and studying in Basque Country under amazing chefs during a six month paid scholarship.  This was a world wide application process so I do not know how many people applied, but I am very grateful for this opportunity and hopefully I will be Spain soon enough.  :)  Now I just need to touch up on my Spanish.

Me and some of my classmates at our portfolio show.   Far right

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

First Blog

I do not really know what to write about when I blog even when things come into place I have found it difficult to express my true intentions in text alone.   Probably one of the reasons why I became interested in food is because it uses all of your senses.  "We eat more with our eyes than with our stomachs!" Probably something all of you have heard at least sometime in your culinary career. So bear with me in the beginning of this, it might be a little bumpy since I am new to blogging, but with time I feel my blogs will inspire the inner chef in all of us.

Classical Platter Arrangement on a mirror
Biscotti done multiple ways
Filet Mignon on top of mashed potatoes 
Seasonal Fruit Tart with kiwis, raspberries, and blueberries

A little about my time in the culinary industry.  I joined the Art Institute of San Diego in the Spring of 2011.  I know I should have started this blog back then, but hey at least now you wont be seeing my uncooked chickens or my unintentional fallen souffles. From there I spend the next year going through classes like basic skills where we learned and practiced everyday in class our knife cuts.  We also learned about mothers sauces and their derivatives and also how french cuisine has so much influence in what we do in the kitchen.  After skills class I went through several other classes to strengthen my skills, like Latin, Classical European, Baking and Pastry, World Cuisine, American Regional Cuisine, Asian Cuisine, and recently Garde Manger.  All were wonderful classes where we spent 11 weeks being taught by inspirational chefs that only fueled my fire to cook.    And now I made a blog.