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Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Camera: Canon EOS-350D Rebel XT
Lens: Lensbaby 2.0
Location: Phoenix Az
Date: Mar 2, 2009
Galleries: Food and Drink, Blur
Date Uploaded: Mar 2, 2009

Viewed: 942
Comments: 10
Favorites: 1 (view)

It didn't occur to me that people who are not on my Facebook page would not be able to access the link. So here is the very long story. You don't have to read it :o).

I like to think of myself as an alchemist in the food arena. I like how the different ingredients react with each other, creating something completely new and tasty. This is why, when I was asked to make the famous consomme, I was up for the challenge. And wow - it was a process. The end result is sitting in my fridge - precious liquid.

Consomme is a highly concentrated, clarified broth. It contains no fat and should be crystal clear. The flavor should be deep and intense, which comes from reducing gallons of broth to a few cup-fulls.

So I cooked a chicken with some salt, bay leaves and pepper corns. Then I deboned the chicken, threw the bones back in the defatted broth, along with some onion, celery and carrot. That was boiled until reduced by half. The bones release gelatin into the broth - important for flavor.

This broth was strained through cheese cloth - twice - and then cooled and defatted. THEN! You create the "raft": 7 egg whites, two cups of mirepoix (chopped up carrot, celery, onion - and in this case also parsley stems, tomato for the acid, and chopped fresh thyme), a pound of ground chicken breast. You whisk that all together, pour it in your luke warm broth and proceed to bring it to a boil while stirring.

The raft eventually congeals and rises to the top. When the broth is boiling, you turn down the heat, poke a hole in the raft where the broth can rise up and baste the raft, and let it simmer for a while. Opinions seem to differ on how long it should simmer. Since i had reduced my broth by a lot already, and it's supposed to serve 12 people, I simmered for 20 minutes. (I'm pretty sure nobody is going to read this)

Then you pour the whole thing through cheese cloth again. Now mind you - there's a lot of congealed egg white, mire poire, and ground chicken, so you end up with a shockingly little amount of consomme (which should be clear and free of particles by now).

I had crap floating in the consomme, soooo, I poured it through some coffee filters and then again through some paper towels. I sampled inbetween to make sure it was not taking on some odd flavors, but it was fine. Also I had to measure it then - making sure there's enough! Barely 7 cups! So that will be 1/2 cup per person. I really hope they like it!

When I serve it, I'll float a thin ring of green onion, a thyme leaf and a micro-wedge of lemon in it.

Here's the menu:

Consomme (sic!)

Crab with a lime vinaigrette on bib lettuce

Grapefruit sorbet garnished with mint (to cleanse the palate) (I made that too, but I'll spare you the story)

Osso Buco (veal shanks stewed with vegetables) with
Risotto alla Milanese (risotto with saffron - traditionally served with osso buco)
Roasted asparagus spears

And finally -

Zabaglione over strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar and topped with amaretti crumbles.

To explain - zabaglione is the most delicious dessert made of egg yolks, sugar and marsala wine (which is a fortified sweet wine - not unlike port, but has a very distinct taste). For the most part this concoction is stretched with whipped cream. It makes it slightly less intense. The egg yolk/sugar/marsala mixture is whipped until it is thick and heavy. You fold in the soft whipped cream and let it chill.

For the strawberries - they will be marinated in a reduction of brown sugar and balsamic vinegar.

The strawberries go on the bottom of a brandy snifter. They are topped by the zabaglione. On top of that I'm sprinkling amaretti crumbs. Amaretti are Italian almond cookies and they are really, really good and really, really expensive.

So there you have it. I have two helpers - one is a dish washer and one will help me plate and serve.

Just an FYI - I really want my own cooking show on Food Network.

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03/10/2009 04:49:34 PM
And I hear I thought Kraft Mac and Cheese was a challenge! (Actually, I can cook but rarely have the time) It looks delicious.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/03/2009 06:56:34 PM
Now that I have read your story, I know how wrong my initial comment was! I think you deserve your own show on Food Network.
I am adding this to my favourites so that I can access all that information. But it sounds way out of my range.

Message edited by author 2009-03-04 01:20:45.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/03/2009 06:04:40 PM
I read your whole story, so HA! LOL! Wonderful sense of motion and nice mix of colors. I love my food processer, yet rarely use it anymore unless I'm making large batches of cookies. The only one who likes gourmet food here is me. To much hassle to get it out, then cleaning it. Uughh. It's easier to just chop on the board.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2009 10:54:14 PM
I love my food processor. LOL
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2009 10:07:46 PM
I love the bright orange in all that green, and the lensbaby gives the sense that the veggies are swirling around. Neat! But best of all I am intrigued by your writeup; I'd watch your cooking show!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2009 07:00:10 PM
It's a ronco food processor I think?
nice blend of color.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2009 05:51:47 PM
Ahah. Fast food. Nice and colourful.
Sorry but the story link only took me to my own Facebook page.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2009 05:45:16 PM
I can't get into your FaceBook page to read the story but I can comment on the image as it is. Obviously diced veggies, my favorite. Great colors and very healthy.. you're supposed to eat colorful foods and this is an excellent example. The blur kind of highlights the chopped celery at the top. I assume this is one of those power juicers which accounts for the movement. Looks very inviting ;-)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2009 04:11:26 PM
Somebody's been in the kitchen. Shopping and preparation is the part I hate about cooking, but your lensbaby captures it nicely. Of course my favorite part is eating!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2009 02:50:35 PM
LOVE the bit on Facebook. Did you shoot the dessert? Will you shoot the dessert? And congrats on the successful consomme!
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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