3 Courses, 1 Hour

Last night I was hungry- it happens to me most nights. I couldn’t decide what to make. After a lot of going back and forth, I decided to use up some fresh basil from my garden to make a fresh spaghetti in a simple olive oil sauce. I went to the store to get a few ingredients. My trip to the grocery store was uninspired. I returned home un-excited to cook. I thought that maybe cooking in real-time “against” the contestants on MasterChef Season 3 would be fun… Could I pull off a fresh extruded pasta in an hour? The question was exciting, but the more I thought about it, I just didn’t want to cook.

I had tweeted about live tweeting an hour of cooking and there seemed to be some interest so I thought it would be fun to do eventually. But not that night… I ate leftovers last night.

Tonight I was ready to cook. A long day at work and I wanted to unwind- cooking relaxes me. I decided to up the ante and shoot for three courses in one hour. They would be simple(ish) courses, but all three in an hour from scratch would be aggressive to say the least. Spoiler: Dinner was excellent. But it wasn’t smooth sailing, here’s what happened along the way (and a few tips that can help speed up your cooking).


#MasterChef Memoirs Pt9: First Mystery Box and Theme Challenge

“1st Mystery Box” 2.12.11: We are in the MasterChef kitchen for the first time today. We had done the signature dish, apple chop, and chicken challenge in an old warehouse in Compton. The place was filthy…hard to believe we prepared food there. The “Real” MasterChef Kitchen is a lot closer to our hotel and has one big benefit right off the bat: Air Conditioning! (Yeah, the warehouse was THAT bad!)

#MasterChef Memoirs Pt.8: EPIC events leading up to the TOP 18!

clip_image002“The Pre-Egg Challenge” 2.11.11: Last season, the first cooking challenge was to create a dish featuring a single egg. There’s lots of speculation on what this year’s version will be. Potato and chicken are popular theories. On the morning of the 11th, we are taken in small groups to a “food safety” class. We arrive near the Beverley Center and the Casting PA’s walk us to a small cooking school. Sandee is there! We are cooking! It turns out that this “Food Safety” course is a impromptu “informal” cooking challenge!


28 March 2010: The Ramen Project Update

Okay, let’s get caught up on “The Ramen Project”…I’ve made a couple things since the last post:

Ramen Frittata. Pretty simple, boiled the noodles with the seasoning and strained really well, mixed with a few beaten eggs and pan fried…it was decent, but not too exciting.

Roast pork with crispy ramen/scallion cake and spicy Vietnamese pickles. The pork was the star of this dish, brined it over night in Chinese seasonings, roasted it [covered] @ 275 Farenheight until it hit 160 internal. removed it from the oven, let it rest while i cranked the oven up to 500, then gave it a couple minutes under the broiler to crisp the fat back…it was pretty awesome! I wanted to try it sous vide but I had an equipment malfunction 🙁 still working that one out. I will bring the machine back to life! The ramen/scallion crisp was boiled noodles, sliced scallions crisped up in a lightly oiled non-stick….like hash browns (kinda). Vietnamese pickles are just some sambal, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and let some thinly sliced carrot and cucumber maserate.

Tonight I did a slaw with carrots, cabbage, red bell pepper, scallion, and a black sesame vinagrette. I had it with some of the left over pork…

So for those of you who are counting along at home that makes 4 dishes, one left to go…grocery list is looking like this:

  • Green onions (from wholefoods, cause my other grocery store was out) $0.99
  • Cucumber (also overpriced from wholefoods) $1.53
  • Green Onions (from a normal grocery store) $0.50
  • Rice Wine Vinegar (WAY more than I’ve used in all these recipies) $3.79
  • Red Bell Pepper $0.59
  • Total: $7.40

        24 March 2010: Ramen Project 1

        24 March 2010: Day 1 of the Ramen Project.

        One trip to the store yielded $10.45 in groceries.

        Dark Meat Chicken: $1.71

        Pork Butt Roast: $5.36

        1# Carrots: $0.59

        .66# Zuchini: $0.79

        (12) Top Ramen Packages: $2.00

        Tonight’s meal: Barbecue [Flavored] Chicken with Ramen /Vegetable stirfry and crispy Fried Chicken Skin.

        The chicken was cooked Sous Vide (73.8 Celsius) with a BBQ Dry rub, then seared and glazed with homemade barbecue sauce (left over from previous use).

        The chicken skin was rendered in a frying pan and finished in an oven…resulted in something close to a pork rind.

        For the noodle stir-fry, I cut two carrots and one zucchini on a Japaneese Mandolin on the medium setting. I boiled the [un-seasoned] water for the noodles, dropped them and covered for two minutes. then strained the noodles and poured the liquid over the vegetables. I put the noodles into the hot pan that the chicken had been seared in, strained the vegetables and added them to the noodles. Finally, I seasoned the noodles with the chicken flavored MSG packet that came with the ramen.

        This meal was delicious! Total Cost: $1.72

        As a side note…My immersion circulator is having some issues…time to troubleshoot.