Herbs, spices, & seasonings continued

As mentioned before, the main purpose of this blog is to share with my students and to continue their experiences in being in the Captains Table kitchen at OCC. Obliviously the main goals for the classes are to learn and become better cooks, but also to have fun, and for a brief period forget about everything else going on around the world and just focus on the food.
So if you are following this blog and are not yet a student, no worries, hopefully you’ll find something on here to enjoy and hell, maybe even learn a thing…I appreciate any support and promise to make it worth your time…so here, enjoy some pics!

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Photobombs are welcome…even encouraged!

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Usually after a short introduction, I like to break everyone into groups, and let them have at it…

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Add a little kick to your caramel!
We added a teaspoon of ground clove to this ordinary caramel sauce, and it completely elevated the flavor to another level. Along with balsamic basil strawberries, and cardamom spiced walnuts, served over vanilla bean ice cream of course.

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Have an over abundance of rosemary?
A great way to use up extra is to make skewers out of them.

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In this case we marinated some shrimp, and threw em on the grill!

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Chimichurri
Chimichurri is definitely one of my favorite condiments. With all the fresh herbs, the kick of the chilies, and the bite of the vinegar, you can’t go wrong!
Slather it on eggs, cheese, fish, salads, and my favorite flank steak…

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Another dish that embodies flavor is Jamaican jerk chicken. Utilizing both fresh and dry seasonings, along with its sweet, sour, and spicy notes, it’s a no brainier being featured in this class. I like to use chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on of course. Typically you would want to marinate this overnight, to let the flavors really develop. You can use boneless, skinless breasts if you want (although I don’t recommend for selfish reasons)
It’s okay though because the marinade will give you that extra flavor, as well as breakdown the muscle tissue in tougher cuts of meat, which are the two reasons we use marinades…

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A few tips
Start the chicken on a hot grill and finish in the oven, the chicken will stay moist. Always cook chicken to at least 165 degrees internally, don’t focus on the time, although they’ll take about 20-25 minutes.
Always let your meats rest about ten minutes before slicing. You want the juices to rest, not bleed out everywhere.
Finally, if you have old jars of spices, old being more than a year…throw them out! They’re no longer worth saving. Every time I visit home in Nebraska I always find little containers of spices tucked way in the back of the pantry, god knows how long they’ve been back there, I’m sure some of them are probably older than me…keep your dried spices as fresh as you can folks!

Let’s eat!
After a couple of hours in the kitchen and growing tired of hearing my voice, the groups are finishing up and well, are getting hungry.

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Here we go!
Shrimp and rosemary skewers, sun dried tomato/ oregano and maître d butters, caprese and pesto, jerk chicken, flank steak with chimi, roasted herb potatoes, and ice cream…not bad for two hours….

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The verdict?

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I think they liked it…
Well done guys!

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