February 20, 2014

Personal Chef Dinner in Philadelphia

Most Personal Chef Dinners are .... personal... sort of. Not really. Maybe?
We often take pictures of our In-Home Cooking Classes but
not so much for the Personal Chef Dinners.

This group was generous enough to take some pictures for us.
We started off with just one item for a taste test for this dinner.
(We have dinner options where the entire dinner is a taste test
if you choose that option)

Testing your taste buds with Let's Cultivate Food starts off by
viewing 5 different items-- in this case, it was cheese.
You get to taste 5 different cheeses that look very similar and sort of
taste similar but are VERY different at least in where they came from.

As you can see from the picture, you have to figure out which cheese
came from a cow, goat, buffalo, sheep or soy.

In this person's case- they got one correct. The circled 'buffalo' which is 
the mozzarella cheese. My sous chef takes care of this portion of 
the class and again, he was fascinated by the facial expressions and 
head tilts of this groups/ tasting and guessing. It's always interesting 
to watch and see how quiet and serious everyone gets trying to 
decipher which item is which.

The first dish in this 4 course dinner was the raw tuna and cucumber 
skewers. I cut Kirby cucumbers (because I wanted less seeds and a 
crunchier cucumber) into little cubes about the same size of the raw tuna 
(sushi-grade) that I cut after the cucumber. I cut the cucumbers first 
so that I wouldn't have to take the time to wash the cutting board 
to save time.  (Anytime you have a meat/protein- you want to 
wash your cutting board)

For Personal Chef Dinners especially-- it's all about time
management because dinner is served in a timely fashion
like the way it is (or should be) at a restaurant.

The 2nd appetizer for this group was another seafood item- butter 
sauteed shrimp on cucumbers with avocado and diced red onions on top.  
Both appetizer dishes had wasabi mayo as the sauce and gluing agent. 

The 2nd course dish was the mango slaw lettuce wraps with sweet 
and spicy pork belly.  Shredded scallions were served as a garnish and 
endive pieces as well to be wrapped in as a 2nd option to the pieces 
of red leaf lettuce. 

I like to take veggies and use them in a way that is not necessarily 
the norm. In this case-  I used different colored bell peppers and 
cut them in zigzag cuts and used them as a bowl.  
(The sweet and spicy pork belly was put in the  
peppers for this Personal Chef Dinner.

Here is a closer look at the mango slaw. It had cubes of mango,
savoy cabbage, red cabbage, red bell pepper, cilantro, tomatoes and
an easy marinade of rice vinegar, a sweetener, a splash of soy for
some salt and the juice of a lime.

The main entree was the 'World Peace Noodles'  
This is a dish I created- starting  with the name. 
It is a favorite dish among many people. I simply named it 
"world peace noodles" because it has many different kinds 
of noodles and of course veggies in it.

Have you ever watched a beauty pageant or the scene from 
"Miss. Congeniality"  with Sandra Bullock and she says that she 
really does want world peace. hahaha. This dish has 4 different 

kinds of noodles AND they are all stir-fried TOGETHER
AND they get along!  WHAT!??  They are different and they 
get along?  They simply get along EVERY.SINGLE.TIME! 

The veggies in this specific World Peace Noodle dish were: snow peas, 
celery, carrots, enoki mushrooms, bunapi mushrooms and savoy cabbage.
The noodles were: green veggie noodles (made from spinach and broccoli), 
linguine, vermicelli and stir-fry noodles (aka: lo-mein noodles)

The sauce for these World Peace Noodles is super simple. 
Drizzle some veggie oil into your saute pan and start with the heartier 
vegetables like the carrots and celery to have them cook down. 
(I don't recommend olive oil in this dish because it will throw the taste off) 
Add the rest of the veggies and drizzle in some soy sauce --
enough to coat the veggies- maybe about 3 TBSP and about a TBSP 
of sesame oil.  Add about 2 TBSP of sugar or sweetener of your choice. 
Toss in a handful of each different kind of noodle.  
(You want the noodles to be already boiled and ready to go) 
Once the noodles are mixed in with the veggies it's a matter of using 
your muscles to toss everything together.  
Add drizzles of more soy sauce as you taste it while tossing/mixing 
in the saute pan.   You can also add more sesame oil but keep 
in mind that the sesame oil is being used as a seasoning oil 
for flavor and not to fry with. 

What's great about this dish is that it's colorful and a little fancier 
than a plain ole 1 noodle dish and it's easy and the natural flavor of 
the sweet carrots, snow peas and savoy cabbage work really well 
with the different kinds of mushrooms in it.

Lastly, the group was served dessert after they finished their main entree.  
Because this menu was Asian Fusion friendly and slightly customized 
I wanted to make the dessert on the lighter side with fruit rather than a 
heavy cake/pie or baked dessert which is more associated with our 
other Personal Chef Dinner menus like the 'Italian Indulgence'
or the an 'American Tuscany', 'A Night in Bangkok' and many more!

Again, I like to take everyday things and make/prepare it in a way that 
is not the norm.  Why did I cut the fruit into cubes and pile them up 
almost like a rubics cube or tetris-like?

When would YOU like your Personal Chef Dinner
Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food