I have been noticing how many hits this blog has been getting but very few of you have actually become followers - 18 in total, and even less of you leave comments. If you enjoy this blog please vote for it where it says rate this blog. I would love to get some feedback, and also some inter action. What would you like to see more or less of in the content of this blog? More recipes, less comment,foodie reportage. O cozinheiro would like to hear from you. To start the ball rolling todays post encourages discussion and comment so without further ado -
"Shall we have a heated debate?"
Is time worth more than small pleasures that pass us by? The crunch of fresh celery against a steel blade, the pungent tear inducing aroma of hand chopped onions. These are fabulous sensations that I feel give a dimension to food prep. Certain rules must be observed - we know basil must be torn not chopped otherwise it will bruise.
A happy medium can be achieved between hands-on cooking and labour saving devices, We should definitely take advantage of modern batterie de cuisine but at the same time be flexible about how we use it. Do what is doable. If you have just 20 minutes to cook and you want to be a dinner party pro, enlist the help of a processor.
If you have 3 hours use a knife and get chopping!!
Ah ha there is a third option. This involves hands assisted by machine.
When I make aioli, I use a pestle and mortar to grind the garlic cloves to a paste with the sea salt before folding it through the processor prepared mayonnaise.
Here are some examples of food preparation using an appliance to do half the work either before or after our hands do the other half.
Pestos, relish, aioli,
some tart fillings, some cake mixes,
particularly useful for those amongst us who are not good pastry makers
blending soups and sauces.
I prepare all my salad dressings using the processor method. There are two reasons for this.The speed with which the job is accomplished and secondly I defy anyone to achieve the rich velvety quality of the emulsified dressings that the processor produces, by enduringly handling a whisk or beater. I am sorry my arthritic wrists just aren't strong enough for the task involved!!!
Here is a plugged and an unplugged menu
I am not providing the complete recipes for all the items on these menus as they are just illustrating a point in the plugged vs. un-plugged debate.
Bruschetta with tuna pate
Thai Pork Burgers with chilli relish and potato wedges
Tarte au Citron
All the ingredients for the gazpacho are blended in the processor.
The original method of preparation would of course have used a pestle and mortar!!
All the ingredients for the tuna pate is blended in the processor.
The Fresh herbs and seasonings for the burger are all processed
before being incorporated into the mincemeat by hand and then formed by hand into burgers
The pastry for the tart is entirely processed before being chilled.
The eggs sugar and lemon zest are beaten in the processor before having the cream and lemon juice added and then poured into the blind baked pastry case
Fay Presto, you are now a dinner party pro without any effort
in an approximate timescale of 30 minutes.
UN - PLUGGED
Carpaccio of Thai marinated beef
Cardamom yoghurt baked chicken
Churrimbhoy salad with cumin croutons
Peaches poached in vanilla and almond licore
The whole essence of hand crafted food is encompassed in the carpaccio of beef, where an extremely sharp knife is essential for thinly slicing the meat.
The spices for the cardamom chicken are hand ground in a pestle and mortar before being blended with the yoghurt to make the marinade for the chicken to rest in.
The croutons for the salad, after being cubed by hand are tossed in the cumin seeds and oil before being baked on an oven tray.
The peaches are carefully peeled by hand after being poached and having their stones removed,the poaching stock is then reduced to make a light syrup to pour over the peaches before serving.
Beating, blending, chipping, chopping creaming, crumbing, grating, kneading, mincing, mixing, pureeing, shredding, slicing, whisking.
Time -saving or artesan chopping and chatting the choice is yours!!