Savoriesnsweets’ Blog

Another Food-Filled Day!

Posted on: March 17, 2009

A lot of my classmates tell me that when they go home, they cook.  They re-do what we did in class that day or they work on other things they’ve wanted to try.  When I go home, I have to admit I want a change and I don’t want to cook.  I usually want to bake!  I’m sure there are many reasons for this.  I like to bake at night, when my house is more peaceful.  I’m interested in switching gears and trying something different.  And I’m usually interested in satisfying my sweet tooth with some fresh confections.  While I do love my Ben & Jerry’s, I love my home made cakes, cookies and pies even more!

The first thing I made last night when I got home was a chocolate chip banana cake.  It was a simple recipe I got from all recipes.  I topped it with some instant chocolate pudding.  I don’t usually do that, but I didn’t have the ingredients to make icing.  Unfortunatley, I didn’t really like how this came out.  The banana flavor was good, but the chocolate chips didn’t really melt well and were just these huge chunks.  It did look very pretty though.  Here’s a pic.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

At this point in the evening, I was recruited to help with preparing a pernil.  A pernil is a traditional Puerto Rican roast pork shoulder.  I worked with my mom to prepare this.  After rinsing the pernil in cold water, she made incisions in all sides of the pernil.

Pernil Incisions

Pernil Incisions

Then she prepared the rub.  She used salt, pepper, oregano, olive oil and vinegar.  She mixed them all together into a coarse paste.

Pernil Rub

Pernil Rub

At this point, she worked the rub INTO the incisions she made into the pernil.  This will serve to flavor the meat all around and will also have a tenderizing effect.

Inserting the rub INTO the incisions made on the pernil

Inserting the rub INTO the incisions made on the pernil

Once the rub was worked into all the incisions, rub it all over the meat.

Prepared Pernil

Prepared Pernil

At this point, the pernil is covered and put in the refrigerator overnight.  We cooked it today, covered with aluminum foil for about 2.5 hours.  Then, it was uncovered for about another hour to brown and develop a nice, crunchy skin.  It was moist and delicious! 🙂  If you’re interested in seeing more details about the preparation of this fabulous meat, check out this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2M-l2Y8crk.

While that was going, I decided to try making a traditional tarte tatin.  I used a recipe from Fine Cooking.   This was difficult and labor intensive but it was very yuumy.  One thing that I should note was that I did NOT use the apples that were recommended in the recipe and I’m sure that’s why the texture was a bit off–I used macintosh apples really because these were what I had on hand.  I also used puff pastry for the crust.

First I peeled and cored all my apples.  Since I was short on apples, I also used a few pears.

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I then cooked the apples in the sugar, butter, salt mixture until tender.

Cooked Apples

While that was going, I rolled out my puff pastry.  I’ve never worked with puff pastry before and I never realized how delicate it is!

Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry

When my apples were cooked, I put them into my tart dish.

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Then I covered the entire thing with my lovely, delicate puff pastry and put it in the oven.

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The tart came out beautiful, puffy and golden brown.

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Then I inverted the dish to reveal the fruit inside.

Finished Tarte Tatin

Finished Tarte Tatin

This was a lovely dessert! The texture could have been better, but it was still really good and the crust was delicious!

After I was done experimenting at home, I went off to school where I learned how to truss and fabricate poultry.  We trussed chickens, cut the legs and wings, created a supreme cut and a payard cut.  We did the same thing with a duck.  It was actually really fun and for the first time in culinary school, I felt like I knew what I was doing!  It was great! 🙂

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