Tip / guidance to the young chef :chicken liver parfait 

In general I rarely share recipes not because I keep the secret to my self but because the Internet is so full of recipes so I preferre to educate on other topics , but  for some reason the following recipe as been asked over and over so I am sharing with you this wonderful recipe of what is known ” chicken liver parfait ” it’s a  wonderful creamy texture which is achieved by a simple technique demonstrated below .

Parfait chicken liver:

Meat:

  • 400gr chicken livers
  • 12gr salt
  • 5gr pink salt (optional)
  • 2gr ground white pepper
  • 5 eggs
  • 400gr unsalted butter  

Reduction:(this is a combination of ingredients that  will give the parfait it’s unique flavor )

  • 50gr chopped onions
  • 1gr chopped thyme
  • 75ml cognac
  • 75ml red wine
  • 1 clove garlic chopped

Lining: the lining process that is optional see explanation and photo below.

Sliced back fat or bacon

Method:

 

  • Combine all ingredients from reduction in pot and reduce by ½ -set aside.
  • Liquidise (in a blender) the chicken liver with the seasoning until smooth-add eggs 1 by 1.
  • Add “reduction” and gradually blend in melted butter-pass trough chinois.
  • Pour into a terrine lined with back fat or bacon or directly into  a silicon.
  • Cook at 120deg “Bain- Marie” about 1 hour until firm and core tem 73deg. 

Serve with brioche bread and pickles, onion jam…,

 

Here are few photos of my work of the recipe .

In the flowing photo I cooked the parfait directly in a silicon mold


In this photo I cooked in a terrin lined up with back fat .


Thank you for reading

Michael

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Tip / guidance to the young chef : introducing sous vide 


More and more cooks are being exposed to cooking in low temperatures and I am deliberately not referring or using the term commonly used ” molecular cooking ” that young chef like to attach to low temperature cooking.

Some like to refer to “cooking at low temperature” as “Sous vide ” this is correct as long as the item is place in a specific engineered bag that can be sealed under vacuum condition and placed in a water bath which a device called ” immersion circulator” is controlling the heat and heat and the water circulation or placed in a an oven in low temperature with steam activated etc…

When you think about the bag ” job” is to keep water in and aroma in but it’s not cooking in vacuum .

Cooking in low temperature is an “issue ” that as been researched for years and that we have a lot of gathered information and understanding either among chefs and academics.

There is a lot of information regarding cooking in low temperature ” sous vide” and sometimes it could be confusing, so I would like to share with you with the guide to “sous vide” written by Douglas Baldwin .

Douglas is not a chef but a mathematician and is approach as an mathematician makes this guide as a very practical and comfortable to use .

Even dough this guide is more for the domestic cook I think it can serve young cooks in there endeavor.

I hope you enjoy this guide here is s link :

“Douglas Baldwin – a guide to sous vide ”

Thank you for reading

Michael

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Tip/ guidance for the young chef :Tart tatin for beginners 

I have been asked few times for a tart “Tatin” recipe , as  you know i am not a pastry chef ,and I look at things trough the eyes of a cook/ chef de cuisine .

Tart tatin is a method I always liked , so I made many tests and experiment and trust you possibilities are almost endless , when the request to share my ideas regarding tart tatin came I thought it would be great to share with you some guide lines  tips and methods , so here is a link to a PDF doc i wrote for you to which I hope will help you to achive a good result, it’s a long article and not you’re everyday recipe .

Tart tatin by Michael Katz

The main photo at the top is of the one that  i have for this article and the base is a cake base ( see article for method)

The following photo is how I have started the tart .

The following photos are to give you idea of how endless variation out there and the sky is the limit .


please feel free to ask me any question, remarks – good luck and thank you for reading

Michael

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Tip/ guidance to the young chef: there is only one competition…


The culinary competition that is, to me, the best and most important in the culinary world or at least for me is The Bocuse d’Or:
In 2013, I published a short article that tells a little bit about the competition (because in that specific year I followed it very closely), and I think that when people ask me what I think about cooking competitions, my answer is:
For competitions of any kind there is tremendous added value; a cook who prepares for a competition generally prepares himself via studying, training, consultation with other professionals, and on the day of the competition (and this is true of any competition) there are elements like pressure, fear of mistakes, dealing with an unfamiliar arena, and more…an experience that provides a wealth of professional experience.
It is difficult for me to follow everything that happens in the world of competitive cooking, but there is one competition that I think someone who wants to see an unparalleled professional world—full of passion, ego, pressure, rivalry, pride, attention to the smallest details, huge budgets, and years of training—I recommend such a person take interest in and get to know the highest-regarded competition in the world, the Bocuse d’Or, or the Golden Bocuse (named after the famous chef, Paul Bocuse).
Here are a few details that I hope cause you to read more; there is a lot of material about this competition but I will summarize it briefly:
The competition was established in 1983 by the business group of the well-known French chef Paul Bocuse.

The competition is held every two years at the famous “Sirha” culinary fair, which is considered one of the most important culinary fairs in the world—it is in Lyon, France (in parallel with this competition there is also the World Confectionary Cup competition and the Bread-Baking Competition—both of which are considered the highest competitions in the world).

The competition is held over two days.

Teams of 2-3 people take part in the competition and represent a country—they are those who already won qualifying competitions in their home countries; each team has a mentor who does not take part in the competition but who also serves as a judge in the tournament (of course he doesn’t score his own country).

It is important to note that in order to reach the tournament, each country must have an organization/association under which anything related to chefs is organized in the country.

In 1997, something happened that turned the competition into something that the competitive cooking world had never known—fans from Mexico arrived and behaved like in a football (soccer) match. Since then the atmosphere in the tournament area has resembled the Olympics—fans come from all over the world.

Teams come with huge budgets—rumors hold that the US delegation in 2012 invested $1 million for training. The French chef who won in 2007 worked 6 hours a day with 3 mentors who each had the MOF (French artisanal degree)

Rasmus Kofoed—from Denmark, in 2005 he came in 3rd place, in 2007 he was in second place, and in 2011 he won first place, gold—he had invested all of his money and 7 years of training, including sponsorship of the Danish national airline.
One last note:
I heard once a newspaper reporter summarize by saying that whoever wins this competition is the best chef in the world—my answer to him is that the winner is not the best chef in the world, because there is no such thing, but there is no doubt that the winner is the person with the best skills if he is to win the hardest competition in the world.

Thanks for reading,
Michael

Here are a few great links:

Here is a link to the 2015 competition
Here is a link posted by Adar Kaplan-Mor that tells of the American 2nd place finish in the Bocuse d’Or 2015

The posters for the teams that competed in 2013, here you can also vote on the best poster.

Bocuse d’Or -Wikipedia

Home page of the competition

Link to the website for the “Sirha” fair

A short clip on Rasmus Kofoed

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Tips and Guidance for the Young Chef: The Relationship between a Chef and Customer from a Slightly Different Perspective

trust 2

 

Sometimes as cooks we forget that we are, in fact, service personnel; over the years, we gain experience, something which brings us higher-ranking positions. At the same time, customers know us, cherish us, trust our work, connect with our work, and, even more so, trust is established between a cook/chef and customer.

One of the people I most appreciate in the field and in whose presence I get to be a lot is the chef Boaz Tsairi, known as one of the leading masters in Israel in everything related to Japanese cuisine.

Over the course of all my meetings with Boaz, I have been exposed to a number of stories from the Japanese kitchen, and here is one that I really loved and which I thought would be nice to share—it shows a little about the trust between a customer and chef from a slightly different perspective:

Many of you have heard of the Fugu fish, which to us is known as the Abunafkha (puffer fish),In Japan the fish is called Fugu and is considered a delicacy. A dish can reach a price of $120. What is interestingly apparent is that the fish isn’t the most amazing in terms of texture and taste, so why in any case did the fish become such a highly demanded product? The reason seems to be that it’s an issue of trust—the trust of the partaker in the master chef.

According to tradition, at the end of the meal the diner and the master bow to one another in a sign of gratitude and recognition—the diner bows in recognition of his gratitude that he is still alive, and the master bows in recognition of his gratitude that the diner placed his trust in the chef.

In Japan, standard practice is that the appellation “master” is given to those who have studied the tricks of the trade for 7 years. After seven years he is called “master”—and only after that is the chef allowed to study and specialize in preparing the fugu fish. The expertise is long, and costs a few thousand dollars, mainly because of the fact the trainee has to clean around 100 fish before he is allowed to sell them and serve them to customers.

In the last seven years, no one has died of poisoning from consuming the fish.

Here are a few links that you ought to read and watch:

A link to the Wikipedia page

Two short clips showing the cleaning of the fish:

clip 1

clip 2

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Michael

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Tips and Guidance for the Young Chef: Using another Building Block—”Gazpacho” Soup

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I want to share with you how I feel about “building blocks” in the kitchen: many basic recipes are included in this category, from which an endless variety of recipes can be made. For example: mayonnaise, pastry cream, and many more. Now I want to share with you a few less conventional building blocks that I have gathered over the years, one of which is gazpacho soup, from which you can expand to an endless number of cold soups—why? Tomato is easy to match to different tastes. In the following link there is a nice, short explanation on matching flavors, I recommend reading it. Many of you professionals have already seen that tomato is suitable to a wide rainbow of flavors: sweet, spicy, and countless others. Here is the link

I truly believe that there are very few people who don’t know gazpacho—a soup known for its Spanish roots, or more correctly, Andalusian, but anyone going deeper into history will be surprised to find out that there are a few theories as to how the soup reached Spain.

There are those who claim that it originates more from the Arab influence in the area that came with the Romans—there are an endless number of recipes and variations, but today many recipes, including the basic recipe that I provide here, are not true to the original, a little richer in flavors and not including bread. It is interesting to note that gazpacho is a variation on bread soup—a soup made of a tomato base and dry bread—what made gazpacho special was its rich taste and the use of vinegar to provide its special “kick.”

One of the nice things about this soup is that it does not only have a great variety of flavors, but a great variety of textures as well. You can prepare it smooth and creamy, coarsely textured, smooth but with many pieces of vegetables and bread—it isn’t by chance that this is a soup to which many chefs like to give their own interpretation.

In the attached picture above, I photographed 3 soups that I made, all of which are derived from the same base that you can read below. It is a base that I have used for years; you don’t need to love it or to agree with it, you can use any recipe that serves you for years. For me personally, it is most important that you understand the way of thinking and the use of recipes that I consider “basics.”

I used the base to create watermelon gazpacho and white-apricot gazpacho—now from here you will be able to go in any direction you want. Building blocks like these allow you to create easily a new, refreshing soup every day—I hope this helps.

Basic Recipe, a Little History, and Recipe Variations:

The basic gazpacho recipe that I love to use—again, all of the variations that come later can be suited to your favorite recipe.

Gazpacho Soup

1 kg clean tomatoes (around 8)—ripe, coarsely chopped

500g (around 5) cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped

500g clean red pepper (around 4)

1/2 kg red onion, thinly sliced

10 garlic gloves, peeled and sliced

1 can of tomatoes

500g (around 2 cups) of sweet cherry tomatoes, chopped in half

1/2 bundle of parsley

1/2 bundle of dill

1/2 bundle of coriander

1 bouquet of tarragon

1 bundle of basil leaves

1 bundle of mint leaves

2 cups of olive oil (around 500ml)

1 cup (around 250ml) of balsamic vinegar (you can swap it with almost any vinegar)

Salt, pepper, tabasco

Around 1 liter of cold water

Sugar, around 1 tbsp (or according to taste)

2 tbsp coriander seeds

 

Preparation:

I personally really love and recommend soaking all of the ingredients together overnight—before grinding the soup, I find it gives the soup a richer flavor; one time I forgot the soup for four days and it started to sour—its flavor was that of the Garden of Eden, I don’t know why I’ve never done that since but I have to try it again.

 

I recommend you tie all the bundles of herbs together into one bundle—it will make it easier to remove the bundle from the soup before grinding.

 

Put all of the soup ingredients into a container, cover with plastic wrap, and put into the refrigerator for a full night. The next day, remove the herb bundle and blend to the desired texture—here there are a few options: you can use a food processor, or an immersion or table blender. After the soup is blended, you can leave it with a slightly coarse texture or strain it for a more delicate texture. After blending, flavors should be balanced by adding vinegar, sugar, and salt—remember that with cold soups the flavors won’t be felt as much, and therefore it is recommended to make sure to spice relatively strongly.

 

The soup can be decorated with croutons, thinly chopped cucumber, olive oil, a mashed hard-boiled egg, herbs, pieces of avocado, and more…even ice.

 

Tips:

If you are rushing, you can give up on the phase leaving the soup overnight, and instead of putting a whole bundle of herbs you can put only the leaves and then to blend everything together for a smooth texture.

The soup will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

You can swap out the red pepper for yellow, and the red cherry tomatoes can also be swapped with yellow cherry tomatoes.

You will find bread in many recipes—I personally dont use it.

 

Watermelon Gazpacho:

How simple—

Take the gazpacho that you prepared with the basic recipe—put in a blender or a food processor, or put in a bowl to use an immersion blender, gradually add pieces of watermelon. I almost always add the same ratio, but since, in the recipes here, accuracy is very dependent on the raw material and a guiding hand, the watermelon should be added until you are happy with the flavor—chances are you will need to balance flavors using vinegar, sugar, and salt.

 

To finish (optional)—vodka or arak can add a fun “kick” to the dish.

 

I personally love a very smooth texture for this variety, and of course it can be served with small cubes of feta cheese in the soup.

 

Apricot Gazpacho:

This is very similar to the watermelon variety, but here I reverse the order—I bisect and pit around 10 fresh, soft apricots, hopefully white, and cut them into small pieces, place them into a blender or food processor or into a bowl for an immersion blender. Process them into a smooth texture while adding the gazpacho base—here again, this is a recipe whose accuracy is really dependent upon the raw ingredients and a guiding hand. Add the gazpacho base until you are happy with the flavor; most likely, you’ll have to balance again using vinegar, sugar, and salt—this time I recommend white wine vinegar.

 

In conclusion (optional)—you can also add vodka here, or Southern Comfort (apricot liquor), for a fun kick for the dish.

 

You can decorate with cubes of fresh apricot, chives, chopped mint, a tiny bit of blue cheese.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Michael

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Tips and Guidance for the Young Chef: Using Building Blocks—”Vichyssoise” Soup 


I want to share with you my thoughts regarding “building blocks” in the kitchen—many basic recipes make use of these kitchen building blocks, which can be made into endless variations.

For example: mayonnaise, pastry cream, Bechamel sauce, croquette base (which we’ve already talked about in one of the posts here), white wine sauce, butter sauce, and many more…

Now I want to share with you a less conventional building block that I acquired over the years. Today we will get to know a foundational recipe that was invented around 1950 as a “potato and leek soup,” also called vichyssoise after the city, Vichy, in France. The soup’s invention is attributed to the French chef Louis Diat, who in 1950 concocted it while he was the chef of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York—there are those who disagree with this information, but this seems to be the origin, even though there is a recipe from 1869 by the French chef Jules Gouffé.

There are many recipes on the internet for Vichyssoise soup, but I am attaching one to the bottom of this short article.

What is special about vichyssoise is that you can eat it cold or hot, and it can be dressed in a limitless number of varieties.

 

In the attached picture  (above) you can see a basic version, from which I expanded into two other varieties—but with a little imagination and understanding of flavors, you will be able to develop and go out in many different directions.

 

Vichyssoise soup works nicely with almost any herb, roasted eggplant, smoked meat, sausage, every kind of nut—it’s simply a base that is very easy to work with. I hope that this will help.

Here is a little more information, and a recipe that has accompanied me for years:

Vichyssoise

I admit that in all my years of experience, soups are one of the most surprising categories of food. Although people endlessly say that it is easy, I often find myself needing to fix the taste of soup—many times I discover that longer cooking does not always enrich the flavor of soup. What I have learned from experience is that the beginning of the vegetables’ browning will set the soup’s character. For example, steaming the vegetables for a short time will give the soup a very summery character, and will allow the taster to identify clearly the taste of the vegetables in the soup; longer steaming will develop flavors which will combine with one another, and the soup will have a much wintrier, heavy character—it’s called “developed flavor.” Thus, even with identical recipes and all the same ingredients, little nuances in cooking will bring about soups with different results from kitchen to kitchen.

Vichyssoise Base:
2 fat leeks—cut in cubes of 1cm

1 large onion cut into cubes of 1cm

4 large potatoes peeled and cut into cubes of 2cm

2 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp of marjoram (spice from the oregano family, optional)

1 bouquet garni (bundle of herbs)—8-10 parsley stalks, no need for the leaves, 1 bay leaf, 1 fresh thyme stalk—everything tied with a string—again, this is optional but it really adds to the soup. Everything is tied together because it will be easier to remove it from the soup before blending.

Chicken stock: around 4 cups, or until the ingredients are completely covered in the pot—for those who keep kosher, vegetable stock or other pareve stock, even water, will do the work—those using chicken stock can also use a chicken soup recipe beloved by you, or any brand which is comfortable to use or that you like to use.

Salt, pepper to taste

Sweet cream, around 1/2 to 1 cup (110-230ml)

Preparation:

The pot’s size is important here—choose a pot in which the leek and the onion are a little crowded, but not too crowded—overly crowding the pot will prevent air from getting in, and the flavors won’t develop. Too much exposure can cause quick scorching of the vegetables, something unwanted in preparing this soup.

The butter should be melted without giving it color—then add the onion and leek. At this stage, it is very important to put in a little salt—the salt will develop the flavors much more than if added only at the end, so it is always recommended to add a little salt at the start of cooking, as well as a little pepper at this stage since touching the bottom of the hot pot will release aromatic oils from it.

 

The steaming process is around 8 minutes, without any browning, until the leek and onion are soft. Add the potato, bouquet garni (optional), and cover with stock. Bring to a boil and reduce the flame occasionally, mix and make sure that the potato has not settled at the bottom and burned—that is very common in soups that include potato.

 

Reduce the flame and cook another thirty minutes—it is important not to cook too much, so that the potatoes will not turn into a pulp but will maintain the soft texture yet remain whole or almost whole. I personally never cook soups with a cover, but that’s not a rule, and everyone can do what he/she is comfortable with.

 

Blending the soup into a homogeneous texture needs to be done while the soup is still warm, because cold potatoes develop very sticky starch during grinding or processing—therefore, good mashed potatoes only come out when they are mashed warm. The blending must be done carefully since hot soup in a blender can jump and splash.

 

Before blending, the bouquet garni should be removed. The tool should be gotten ready—either a food processor, or a table blender, or a hand blender, or a classic masher, which I think is not in most homes these days.

 

I personally use a hand blender (immersion) because it’s the safest and works directly inside the pot—anyone using a table blender should only fill it half-way—cover it gently, leaving a little place for the air to escape, because hot liquid being processed in a blender with a closed lid can burst from the pressure. If you like table blenders and want to buy one, I highly recommend buying one with variable speeds.

 

After the soup is blended into a homogeneous mixture, return it again to the fire—and add the cream—boil it for about a minute and balance the tastes. Balancing is generally done with salt, sweetness, and sourness—if needed.

 

Anyone who doesn’t want to use cream can swap it with milk. Anyone wanting a more delicate texture can filter the soup through a fine strainer.

As I said earlier, the soup is wonderfully tasty cold or hot.

Thanks for reading,

Michael

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