I want to start off by saying have absolutely nothing against vegetarians (some of my best friends are vegetarians!) and I completely understand wanting to go meat free in this day of corporations buffing up every animal from chicken to swine with corn corn and more corn and hormones and salt water and whatever else. But I am not sure how one can attend culinary school without being open to trying foods you don't normally eat.
My team had a big discussion tonight about foods we like/dislike. For instance, one of my team members doesn't like watermelon, but she tried the balsamic watermelon amuse bouche that we made. She still didn't like it but she TRIED it. We also have a vegetarian on our team, but she's not in the culinary program, rather is getting a pre-requisite for her MS in nutrition so I give her a pass. It made me wonder about people who may be vegan, vegetarian, hate orange foods, whatever... how difficult it would be to go through culinary school without tasting everything you cook! So curious!
Tonight we worked on our chopping again, and also made a very nice meal. Started with the amuse bouche and an amazing salad of baby greens, candied walnuts (which we made ourselves), dried cranberries, chevre (goat cheese), asian pears and a balsamic vinaigrette. We also worked on marinades and dry rubs and made a marinaded chicken thigh dish and a really nice dry rub for pork loin (or tenderloin). The pork recipe is below. The best hint I can give you is keep your eye on the temperature of the pork. You don't want underdone OR overdone pork. It is no bueno.
Cumin Roasted Pork Loin with Apples and Onions
1 lb pork loin, trimmed of fat
1T cumin, ground
1/2 t curry powder
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 oz butter
4 oz onions, medium dice
1/2 t garlic, minced
1 medium apple, medium dice
2 oz white wine
2 oz chicken stock
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine cumin, curry, salt and pepper and rub the pork with the mixture.
Heat butter in a saucepan and saute the pork over medium heat until well bronwed on all sides. Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the pork to a parchment paper lined sheet pan and roast in the oven until cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees.*
While the loin is roasting, reheat the saute pan, adding butter and saute the onions and garlic until transparent. Add the apples and saute until tender. Deglaze the pan with the wine and stock. Bring to a biol and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
Let the meat rest at 10 minutes. Slice the pork (1/4") and serve on a bed of onions, apples and sauce.
* If you use tenderloin, you will probably only need to cook it in the oven for 10 minutes after browning in the pan.
Do you have a favorite marinade or dry rub recipe that you use often? Any thoughts on attending culinary school on a special diet?
Chow for now. :)