Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Robot Coo-Coo

The food processor has become my new favorite appliance. It’s actually now an obsession. My sweet roommates gave me one for my birthday last week and I have already put it to work! Lucky for me, most of my day at work was also spent with a food processor, however they call it by its brand name, Robot Coupe.

I used the Robot Coupe to grate seven carrots. Typically that could take 30 minutes if done by hand, and result in a miserable arm cramp. But, with the amazing use of this machine it took less than 15 seconds. I used the carrots to make Happy Carrot salad. This is an item on the power lunch that has lemon juice, golden raisins, sesame seeds, olive oil, red chili flake, green onions, and cilantro. I learned today that cilantro actually comes from coriander seeds.

Next I helped make the soup of the day. We made cauliflower bisque. I sautéed onions with garlic and cinnamon. Then we roasted off cauliflower and made more vegetable stock. Vegetable stock is very simple to make. Just cut up some carrots, onions, and celery and throw it in a stockpot with some thyme and black peppercorns. Then fill to the top of the vegetables with water and let simmer until the flavors are absorbed. Once the ingredients were ready we combined and blended until smooth. The soup had a very earthy taste that most of us found slightly blander than a mushroom soup. Once salt was added it was much better!

Then Peter taught me how to make the special, Moules Frites, or mussels with fries. This is the national dish of Belgium. He began with olive oil in a cold pan and then added garlic. Once the oil was hot and fragrant he added some sweet peppers. Then he tossed in the mussels and some white wine. He covered the pan to steam the mussels until they opened. Next he added clam juice and butter to make a sauce. Once the mussels were cooked he placed them in a bowl and topped them with fries. Such a unique dish!

I finished the rest of my day doing the usual; I grilled chicken, made chicken base, and rolled flatbreads. Finally I ended the day cleaning the Robot Coup of all the build-up that accumulated throughout the day.

Once I got home I got to play with my very own food processor. I made a delicious pesto. It’s so simple. 3 cups of packed fresh basil leaves. ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese, 1/8 cup pine nuts, 2 garlic cloves, and ¼ cup olive oil. Combine in the food processor and turn on until well mixed. I prepared it with tomatoes, mushrooms, and ravioli. I sautéed the mushrooms until tender, roasted tomatoes, and then added four cheese store-bought ravioli. Tossed in the pesto, it’s a very satisfying dinner!

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