May the Fourth Be With You
So for the Star Wars themed Chef’s Table I was originally tasked with a side dish inspired by Qui-Gon Jinn. As thus my original idea was have
– quinoa soaked and cooked in a gin / water mix
– strips of veal marinated in gin then seared
And that was it, nothing terribly fancy, just something sweet and short because when I think of Qui-Gon Jinn what comes to mind are:
– his connection with the “Living Force” meaning he was very much “in the moment”
– his calming presence for Anakin Skywalker
As thus my desire to use ingredients that would help people “de-stress” and as thus provide that “calming” effect that Qui-Gon Jinn had on young Anakin.
However when another member dropped out and with it the meat / pork course I decided to take that over as well and turned my side dish into the main dish and added more stuff. So what did I end up doing?
SAUTEED KALE, SPINACH, and PARSLEY
One of the things I learned from researching how to cook kale online was that overcooked kale would cause it to taste bitter as opposed to sweet and I definitely did not want that. So cooking kale turned out to be a time water where I had two cups of water (for every one bunch of kale) in a large pot / pan and I added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. I brought the water / oil mixture into a boil then tossed the kale in and stirred the kale regularly for five minutes straight. Then I drained the kale and put it off to the side and worked on the other vegetables.
For the spinach and parsley I used the disposed water from the kale but then added sesame oil and avocado oil and did the same routine except I cooked those for around ten minutes. Then I drained the broth (the vegetable broth tastes so good) and worked on the caramelized onions.
Once the onions were done I took the massive wok out and added a little more olive oil then added crushed garlic, caramelized onions, and the pre-cooked vegetables and tossed that mixture for another five minutes and quickly drained the mixture into a bowl and placed it into the fridge to cool down.
What came out is that the kale and spinach was much sweeter than norm and nothing was overcooked. YUM!
QUINOA w/ COCONUT WATER
Coconut water always seemed to be recommended on the list of items to ingest to help to de-stress and really this ingredient could be used in any piece of the dish. However I chose to soak and cook the quinoa with just coconut water and hope that it turned out. After rinsing the quinoa I put into my slow cooker one part quinoa to two parts coconut water and just set the slow cooker to high and just let it cook until most of the coconut water has cooked out (or was soaked up by the quinoa).
What came out was again another sweet and very appetizing piece of the meal. Considering I am not a fan of quinoa to begin with, the thought that I enjoyed this was surprising to say the least.
BEEF and VEAL
This one is interesting for a number of reasons:
1) I didn’t know what to do with meat, I just knew I needed it
2) the inspiration for the meat I could never repeat because it is just too much to do so
3) I cheated by using something I created for a past dish but just added more and then used as a marinade for this portion of the dish
I try not to waste anything I use and this was no different. I already had a soy sauce / ginger marinade sitting in my fridge from a previous dish so all I did was added some gin and more soy sauce and then just let the beef… then veal sit in the marinade for four to eight hours before cooking the meat.
Then when came to serve, I seared the meat once again on a cast iron and voila! Not only is the meat dry and flavorful on the outside, but it is juice in the inside thanks to all the marinade it soaked up.
So yea… this portion of the dish I cheated.
Considering that I have never cooked with kale and spinach before… and I am not a fan of quinoa to begin with, this dish came out to be far better than I anticipated. Not bad for something I whipped together rather late in the period. Well not only that, but something that I happened to change around at the last minute.
What resulted was a very light and satisfying dish that was filling and extremely healthy. Who would have thunk?