With the holidays rapidly approaching it is very important for a Foodie to be prepared in the kitchen. When working professionally there are many tips and secrets that we use to make the sheer volume of cooking easier to manage. This allows you to pay more attention to the small details and, of course, your guests.
Mise-en-place [miz on plas] is a French term that simply means “putting in place.” This term is used in the industry to describe all the components you might need during the course of your shift to create a variety of different menu items. This same concept can be easily used in your kitchen at home when you are preparing a large meal and or several large meals for a lot of people.
Chopped vegetables such as onions, garlic, celery, and carrots should be prepared in batches. This is a very efficient way to process your recipes ingredients and will save a great deal of time. For instance If you take all of the recipes you plan on making and add the ingredients together you might find that you need 10-12 onions peeled. The same theory can be applied to potatoes, carrots, and garlic.
From there, you can process each respective vegetable in the various manners needed such as diced, minced, julienned, etc. This does not only work for veggies. You can certainly apply this method to other ingredients such as herbs, roasted garlic, stocks, and spice blends. This week I will try to share a few tips and ideas for optimizing your time this holiday season so you have more time for family and friends. After all, that’s what it’s all about.
Tips for Preparing Large Quantities Ahead:
* If you peel potatoes, yams, or carrots in advance you can keep them in cold water in the refrigerator for up to 3 days this is true for most all root vegetables.
* Chopped garlic can be stored in a little olive or cooking oil in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days
* Chopped herbs can be stored in an airtight container with a piece of paper towel over the top for two days
* Chopped onions will hold for two days in an air tight container refrigerated
Garlic or Onion Confit:
2 cups of garlic peeled cloves or onion slices
Olive or cooking oil (you can use un-salted butter for this as well if desired)
Place the garlic/onion and oil in a thick bottomed sauce pan and place on low. Cook, watching carefully for bubbles to start rising slowly making sure garlic does not fry. This should take 20-30 minutes. Once the garlic is soft and golden brown, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. You now have two very useful components: garlic/onion flavored oil that can be used in and on just about everything including just drizzled on bread ( I like to use this to make my stuffing) and a creamy garlic/onion mixture that tastes like roasted garlic and can be used, once again, for anything you can think of, like soups, sauces, and, once again, spread on bread.
Stay tuned next week when I will go over pre-cooking and par-cooking vegetables. I will also have some more great tips and ideas for smoothing out your time in the kitchen this holiday season.
I have as usual dug up a bunch of great events on Brown Paper Tickets for you to consider:
Thursday, November 1:
Local Libations – Chicago, IL
TerraVITA Three-Day Event Pass – Chapel Hill, NC
Friday, November 2:
TerraVITA’s Sustainable Classroom – Chapel Hill, NC
Sunday, November 4:
Wine Heritage Lunch at the Mendocino County Museum – Willits, CA
Wednesday, November 7:
Uncork & Create in the Valley – Hurricane, WV
Thursday, November 8:
Oktoberfest: History of Philadelphia Craft Brewing – Philadelphia, PA
Raise the Roots 2012 – Knoxville, TN
TV Dinner – Sacramento, CA
Monday, November 12:
A Humble Feast – Seattle, WA