Friday, March 5, 2010

Restaurant Quality II

Well, the recipe is from a restaurant, so I guess that makes sense. I will still pat myself on the back for proper execution. Thank you.

What makes these mushrooms patties restaurant quality is all the prep and the two different sauces. But the steps really didn't take that long, and you can overlap a couple to save time. I was still able to make a main course protein and a grain.
First, I made the red pepper sauce. I needed to blacken the peppers over a gas flame or under the broiler. I chose the burner open flame because I love charring peppers, and something about an open flame increases that affection. You would think, what with my aversion to peeling garlic because of the sticky skin et. al., that I would also find charring, peeling and seeding peppers to be wretched. I don't know what it is ... charring peppers is just cool. And don't be tempted to rinse them under water to get all the blackened skin off. I once watched Bobby Flay peeling his roasted peppers and he said that you wash away the good char flavor with the water, and why would anyone want to do that? A few pieces of carbonized skin won't kill you.

Then, while the peppers were sitting in a bowl with plastic over them to steep off the skins, I rinsed and chopped my mushrooms. You better believe I bought pre-sliced button mushrooms because I could! And oh, ugh, the shiitakes I got (Oh! Shiitake!) were so tiny that I was washing and pulling out stems forever. Also, I was convinced that removing portobello gills was unnecessary, but I wanted restaurant quality, so I did what the directions directed. After the mushrooms cook, it's really just throwing all the patty parts into the food processor for processing.

Your processor gets a serious workout with these guys, by the way. I used the small bowl for the pepper "coulis," which may be an abuse of the term. I used the big bowl for the mushroom patty ingredients. I then reused the freshly rinsed small bowl for the avocado "pesto."

Then, of course you have to shape the patties and brown them. Oh, and you must save making the pesto for shortly before serving because brown, mushy, oxidized avocado is gross.

Josh asked why this should be considered a pesto and not a guacamole. I realized that it's both because they are one in the same. That is, "pesto" means "pounded," and pestos are traditionally prepared with a mortar and pestle. "Mole" is from Nahautl and means "concoction," but "moler" is Spanish and means "to grind." Moles can also be made with mortar and pestle. I'm going to go ahead and believe that it all works out, etymologically, and definitely culinarily so that what is a pesto in Italy may just be a mole in Mexico.

The instructions even tell you how to plate. To wit: spread an even layer of pesto on the plate, top with two mushroom cakes, and top that with pepper coulis. The combination of all three elements was awesome. Was more than the sum of its parts. Was restaurant quality.
The aforementioned main dish was halibut with raisins and almonds. The fish was dredged in corn flour and baked just that like. The sauce was made in a skillet with butter, wine, lemon juice, raisins, with the parsley and almonds added at the end. Simple and quite good.
Lest I get too big for my britches, I should mention the wild grain rice. I have always been afraid of making rice in a pot - it never goes well for me ... like bechamel. But I tried. And failed. This looks cooked and normal, but there is a puddle at the bottom. The rice had a gross, undercooked, chewy layer, and a gross, overcooked, soggy layer. I tried to get Sam to eat it. No dice. He also refrained from trying the mushroom cakes. "Refrained" being a euphemism for "spitting them out and making yelping, pained sounds while sticking his tongue out."


  1. I especially like the mushroom patties and the red pepper sauce too looks really good.

  2. Thanks, Mangocheeks. They are pretty easy to make and if I had to choose only one sauce, I would go with the pepper coulis.

  3. Had to laugh at Sam's reaction. I can visulize him with his tongue out. Mom