Apr 30, 2011

Vegas Baby!

So I am off to Las Vegas for a course offered by the Federal Government (Radiological/Nuclear Incident Response) for the next week and will try to film an episode while out there. Had suggested themes of shooting a buffet (Bellagio anyone?), visiting a LV firehouse, or a bird's-eye-view of my adventure out there. Not sure what I'll do, it all depends on the time that I have outside of the training, which I've been told is very little. Keep tabs on my adventure by following me @TheFireChef on Twitter. Stay hungry, my friends.

Apr 24, 2011

Lemon Churros






Episode 10 - Lemon Churros - I present my spin on a classic Mexican treat, churros. By adding lemon, these elevated desserts are not only easy to make, but don't hurt the wallet. Can be made well ahead of dinner to help avoid kids at home and calls at the firehouse. For more visit www.thefirehousechef.com.

Formats available: MPEG-4 Video (.m4v)


Fuel:

1 Cup of water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tbs. sugar, plus ⅔ cup to roll the churros in
½ Salt
Lemon, zested and juiced
1 Cup (4 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil to a depth of 1 inch, for frying
1 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela (optional, but not readily available)

Vessels:
Dutch Oven
Cookie Sheet
Medium Pot
Pastry Bag
Star-shaped tip
Scissors

Tactics

In a medium-small (2-quart) saucepan, combine the oil, 1 Tbs. sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt with 1 cup water and 2 Tbs. of lemon juice. Set over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and add flour all at once, stirring vigorously until mixture forms into a thick, smooth-textured ball. Let cool in the pan.

When you're ready to eat the churros, heat oil in a large pan over medium to medium-high heat to about 375° (the oil will shimmer on the surface and smell like hot oil).

Scoop the dough into a heavy-duty (canvas-type) pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch star tip. Holding your pressing apparatus a few inches above the hot oil, press out a 5-inch length of dough—the end will dangle into the oil—then cut with your scissors. Cook this one churro, turning occasionally, until it is deep golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes if the oil temperature is right. Remove it to drain on paper towels, let it cool a minute, then break it open to check for doneness—it should be just a little soft inside (but not doughy). Too low an oil temperature and the churros will take a long time to color, usually bursting apart before they're brown; too high a temperature and they'll brown quickly but not cook through.

Press out and fry the churros 4 or 5 at a time, draining each batch on paper towels. Spread the 2/3 cup sugar over the bottom of a baking pan and mix in cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. Roll churros luxuriously in sugar mixture while they're still warm. They're ready to enjoy.

Apr 12, 2011

Strawberry Cream Puffs






FHC Episode 9 - Strawberry Cream Puffs - Spring is in full swing here in the South and nothing celebrates the season like Strawberries. Follow me as we make this quick and easy recipe that is predominantly staple items. For more visit www.thefirehousechef.com.

Formats available: MPEG-4 Video (.m4v), MPEG-4 Video (.m4v)


Fuel:

Puffs

¾ Cups of water
2 Tbs of freshly squeezed lemon
3 Tbs. of unsalted butter
¼ tsp of salt
¼ tsp of sugar
¾ Cup of AP flour
¼ tsp of vanilla
3 large eggs

Cream Filling

1 Cup of heavy whipping cream
¼ tsp of vanilla
2 Tsp of sugar
6 Strawberries
Pinch of salt

Strawberry Coulis

1 Package of strawberries
½ Lemon, squeezed
2 Tsp. of sugar

Vessels:

Hand Mixer (whisks chilled)
Metal Bowl (chilled)
Medium Bowl
Blender
Cookie Sheet
Medium Saucepan
Pastry Bag
*Fine Mesh Sieve
*Plastic Squeeze Bottle

*Optional

Tactics

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine water, lemon juice, butter, salt and sugar in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Bring to a boil ensuring butter melts. Add flour and stir vigorously until the dough sticks together and forms a loose ball. Remove from heat. Transfer dough to a medium bowl and using a hand mixer, add the eggs one at a time until the dough becomes smooth. Beat until the dough is smooth and shiny. Place dough in a pastry bag and lay out the dough on a lined cookie sheet (Silpad or parchment paper) about 2” wide x 2” high spaced roughly 2’ apart. Moisten your fingertip and gently flatten the peaks. Bake for 35 minutes.

Hull 6 strawberries then slice to place in a Ziploc bag. Gently smash them until they are crushed. Beat the well-chilled cream, salt and vanilla in chilled medium bowl with chilled whisk from the hand mixer until the cream thickens. Add sugar (1 Tbs. at a time) till the cream form soft peaks. Fold in the mashed strawberries. Place in pastry bag.

Place the remaining hulled strawberries into a blender, add 2 Tbs. of lemon and process until smooth. Run sauce through a mesh sieve then transfer to a plastic squeeze bottle.

When puffs have cooled, core the insides then apply a layer of coulis on the bottom then top with the strawberry cream. Apply more coulis to the top of the cream puff, replace the top, then dust with optional powdered sugar.
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