I have learned many tips, tricks and recipes great chefs and celebrity cooks have brought to and demonstrated before attendees of the classes. I’m using this blog to share my experiences.
Next, in the introductions of Culinary Experts is, Chef John Wilson, an accomplished chef/restaurateur and now, leads his own Culinary Vacation School inviting people to Italy, France, Spain wherever he sets up housekeeping. Attendees enjoy a full week immersing in the culture of the region, learning ingredients, and from Chef’s guidance, cooking same.
Chef also hosts dinner parties I’ve yet to be able to get into. They are like those restaurants in places such as New York where “it takes months to get reservations.” His dinner club is quite the popular place to be. Understandably so, Chef serves the finest in cuisine.
The very first time I assisted Chef, I learned the difference between a zester and a microplane. He was pulling drawers open trying to find a zester and assistants kept pulling out microplanes which many chefs/cooks do refer to when recipe instructions call for zest. From this lesson, I make it a point to ask each chef to specify which tool they prefer.
Finally, he found this essential tool hidden under the numerous tongs stuffed inside paper towel rolls (a great space-saving idea). Chef explained the zesting tool provides strips of rind where the microplane finely grates the rind. An article written by David Lebovitz shares the importance of owning a zester. I do admit, while you may get the same flavor using a microplane, the results are more attractive after using a zester.
The most important thing I’ve learned from the Chef is to enjoy cauliflower. I have never cared for it because my mother only boiled it and seasoned it with salt, pepper and butter. Blah!
After so many years of avoiding it, I am thrilled to be eating this wonderful vegetable, having overcome the obstacles. I’m sharing Chef’s recipe, Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Raisin Almond Dressing.
1 cup Almonds-slivered/toasted
1 tsp. Yellow Mustard Seeds
1 tsp. Brown Mustard Seeds
1 tsp. Cumin Seeds
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup each Golden and Dark Raisins
1 cup Dried Cranberries
3 Heads Cauliflower-cut into florets
1/4 cup + 1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 tsp. Chives-minced
1 Tbs. Parsley-minced
Method: In a saucepan add the mustard seeds and cumin and toast about 20 seconds, then add the sugar, water and cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add raisins and cranberries and allow to steep for about 2 hours.
Place the cut cauliflower in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Place florets on a sheet pan to roast and be sure to toss a pinch of salt and pepper over them. Roast at 350°F for about 20-40 minutes until golden and tender.
When done, put cauliflower in a serving bowl and add the raisin/cranberry mixture along with toasted almonds. Blend together well.
Thank you Chef for all that you share.