I told you how two Thursdays ago, Amanda showed me how to brunoise a bell pepper as a garnish for our pepper soup. This past Thursday, I spent a few hours of the day reducing eight bell peppers – two each of red, orange, yellow, and green – to a brunoise as best I could. It was labour-intensive, focus-demanding, and highly rewarding. And I didn’t cut myself once!
It was most gratifying to press the lid onto each of four half-pint containers, themselves only about half-full of brunoise, label them, and store them in Amanda’s fridge for the service that night. It is simply the coolest feeling to know that someone might just have a burst of pleasure or inspiration when they bite into those tiny cubes of raw bell pepper, mixed into a colourful garnish and served atop the soup. Heck, a guy can hope, right?
At the very least, it felt cool to make it through all those peppers, and I definitely felt myself getting better as I went. And the red and green ones were much harder than the orange and yellow because of their thinness, and I made it through ok even with those.
My favourite part is to skin both sides with an ultra-sharp knife. It made me feel like a sushi chef, bent over my station, with the utmost concentration, lifting waxy skin from flesh with the gentlest of strokes, and making small piles of what at a glance or in low light could definitely pass for thin slices of sashimi or nigirizushi. The orange pepper especially gives this effect.
I have not seen peppers quite yet at market, but when they arrive look out for a tutorial on brunoise, I think that would be fun to share.
Aside from this noble, if not tedious, prep task, I also prepped the ginger and scallions, mushrooms for the grill and mousse, and celery, among a few others. I learned that you can peel ginger with a spoon and it’s way faster and more economical than using a knife! Good life skill.
And once again, Danielle busted out a mean family:
It was a highly moist day as far as hot days go, and this cool salad of broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, onion, herbs, rice, and lentils totally hit the spot – hearty and flavourful while cool and refreshing. And she got me to hack up this watermelon for everyone to enjoy. I couldn’t have been happier, sitting on the steps outside the restaurant, enjoying the afternoon with a bowl of delicious food.
In other news, I also found out this weekend that Amanda was on Iron Chef America in a special ‘vegetarian’ battle with Morimoto (the original Iron Chef is way better, but still)! Each time I think I have Dirt Candy all figured out, I find out some new detail that is even more cool than the last. Check out Amanda’s three part series on the experience, as well as a post-factum round-up, and coverage of the Iron Chef dinner she hosted at the restaurant where she recreated the menu from the show. How awesome!