Molecular Gastronomy T-day

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Plating Assignment: 4 of 4
I made a turkey and stuffing terrine with Brussels sprouts petals, carrot caviar, panko-crusted mashed potato sticks with gravy spheres, all atop a bed of herbed noodles. It took all day and tons of chemicals including agar agar, sodium alginate, calcium lactate, and soy lecithin, but it was really fun! More…

Plating Assignment: 4 of 4

I made a turkey and stuffing terrine with Brussels sprouts petals, carrot caviar, panko-crusted mashed potato sticks with gravy spheres, all atop a bed of herbed noodles. It took all day and tons of chemicals including agar agar, sodium alginate, calcium lactate, and soy lecithin, but it was really fun!

In terms of design, it was a matter of laying out the food in the center; using the noodles and caviar to lead your eyes around the plate. It is a more modern approach to plating, but seemed to fit the elements on the plate. The color of the noodles and the carrot caviar really pop on the plate (no pun intended) and offer a much needed contrast from the subdued colors of the potato stick and turkey and stuffing terrine.

tday

Lemongrass Ginger Chicken with Rice Palou & Ginger-infused Carrots

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Plating Assignment: 3 of 4
This flavorful go-to meal consisted of pan-fried chicken medallions with a light ghee sauce that included minced ginger and lemongrass, a baked rice that included coconut milk, green onions and cilantro, as well as infused carrots that had been simmered in lemongrass and ginger. The meal came together quickly and with little fuss. While the rice was baking in the oven and the carrots simmering away, I was able to turn my attention to the cooking of the protein. If it doesn’t smell right, it rarely is. More…

Plating Assignment: 3 of 4

This flavorful go-to meal consisted of pan-fried chicken medallions with a light ghee sauce that included minced ginger and lemongrass, a baked rice that included coconut milk, green onions and cilantro, as well as infused carrots that had been simmered in lemongrass and ginger. The meal came together quickly and with little fuss. While the rice was baking in the oven and the carrots simmering away, I was able to turn my attention to the cooking of the protein.

To plate the meal, I used the classical plating technique of visualizing a clock with the starch between 8 and 12, the veg between 12 and 4 and main between 4 and 8 (all approximates that overlap to some degree); always keeping the center of the plate in mind and minimizing the space between each component. I stacked the protein for additional height and added some crispy onion for texture.

chicken

Savory Butternut Squash Soup

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Plating Assignment: 2 of 4
This savory butternut squash soup consisted of a laundry list of ingredients including butternut squash, bitter kale, and salty bacon. In addition, I added sage and Eastern spices. In the process of making the soup, I used the following techniques: sweating of mirepoix, reducing of wine, skimming of impurities, simmering of soup, blanching of kale, pureeing of soup, sautéing of sage. Cooking the soup was really a matter of cooking ingredients (sometimes separate, sometimes together), layering flavors, and tasting as I went. I also relied on my nose to help me as I went. If it doesn’t smell right, it rarely is. More…

Plating Assignment: 2 of 4

This savory butternut squash soup consisted of a laundry list of ingredients including butternut squash, bitter kale, and salty bacon. In addition, I added sage and Eastern spices. In the process of making the soup, I used the following techniques: sweating of mirepoix, reducing of wine, skimming of impurities, simmering of soup, blanching of kale, pureeing of soup, sautéing of sage. Cooking the soup was really a matter of cooking ingredients (sometimes separate, sometimes together), layering flavors, and tasting as I went. I also relied on my nose to help me as I went. If it doesn’t smell right, it rarely is.

Blanching the kale was important to the final visual of the soup to add another color. The final dish looked inviting and smelled slightly exotic. I added small fried potato cubes to the warmed bowls at the end and sprinkled a bit of the leftover bacon bits and crispy sage; adding some height to the dish. The spice level was perfect and the potatoes and sage added wonderful texture and variation in color that I think the soup needed.

box3

Beef Tenderloin with Creamy Polenta & Fresh Greens

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Plating Assignment: 1 of 4
This meal was exactly what I needed today. Warm, creamy polenta is perfect on a cold, rainy day especially when paired with a tender cut of beef. I simmered the polenta for a little over a half hour at which point, I turned my attention to the protein. After searing the tenderloin, while allowing it to rest, I deglazed the pan with some stock and shallots. Once reduced, I added a knob of butter and set aside. More…

Plating Assignment: 1 of 4

This meal was exactly what I needed today. Warm, creamy polenta is perfect on a cold, rainy day especially when paired with a tender cut of beef. I simmered the polenta for a little over a half hour at which point, I turned my attention to the protein. After searing the tenderloin, while allowing it to rest, I deglazed the pan with some stock and shallots. Once reduced, I added a knob of butter and set aside.

I dressed the salad with just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper along with a some colorful baby tomatoes. The acidity of the tomatoes was more than enough for the salad. I plated the polenta first, and then the salad and tenderloin. Lastly, I spooned a bit of the shallot jus over the beef. Had I had more, I probably would have poured it over the polenta as well. By plating in the order I did, I was able to achieve a bit of height and flow so that your eye starts at the beef and ends of the polenta; which echos my taste buds desires!

beef

More Than Just a Pretty Face

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Did you realize that there is not only an art to plating, but a science as well? I suppose it is really a bit of both–a marrying of the two. Your food needs to look good and where you place each component allows for a natural flow for the eye to follow. In Unit 24: Plating the finer details of how to present your food is discussed and demonstrated. It starts with the anatomy of a plate and plate design and ends with ideas and suggestions on how to set up your workstation in order to efficiently plate, sauce, garnish, and inspect a finished plate before serving. More…

Did you realize that there is not only an art to plating, but a science as well? I suppose it is really a bit of both–a marrying of the two. Your food needs to look good and where you place each component allows for a natural flow for the eye to follow. In Unit 24: Plating the finer details of how to present your food is discussed and demonstrated. It starts with the anatomy of a plate and plate design and ends with ideas and suggestions on how to set up your workstation in order to efficiently plate, sauce, garnish, and inspect a finished plate before serving.

I found the information to be extremely helpful and actually wished that it had been presented earlier in the course so that I could have taken full advantage of this information and been able to practice with each assignment. But better late than never!

Imagine the canvas of a round plate can be divided into three sections similar to a analog clock. The vegetable normally goes in the 12 to 4 section, the protein in the 4 to 8 section, and the starch in the 8 to 12 section. In addition, it is best to start plating near the center point and build outward.

Imagine the canvas of a round plate divided into three sections similar to a analog clock. The vegetable normally goes in the 12 to 4 section, the protein in the 4 to 8 section, and the starch in the 8 to 12 section. In addition, it is best to start plating near the center point and build outward.

The plating assignment was rather in-depths so I have decided to break up into several posts. Be sure to check them out! Simply click on Unit 24 to the right.