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This Week

This week 03-31-15

Kitchen Nightmares

One of my  favorite TV show is Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America (The US version is awful.). Gordon Ramsey is by far the most famous chef in England and has 6 or 8 very successful restaurants. The producers of the show find a restaurant that's about to go under and send Ramsey in to rescue it. Usually the restaurant is anywhere from $200,000 to $2,000,000 in debt and losing money every time they open their doors. The first thing he does is meet the staff and then sit down and have dinner like a normal customer. Usually most of the food is bad or stupid, the waiters don't know what they're doing, the restaurant itself will be decorated with lots of clutter or too many tables... things that are obvious to everybody but the people who work there. So here's what I try to do.. I put myself in the chef/owner's place, not Ramsey's, and try to think of things I'm doing that are like him. Then when Ramsey is yelling at him, he's also yelling at me ... Usually the head chef thinks he knows what he's doing.  He usually starts out friendly and talks to Ramsey as if they are equals, they're not. One guy was doing such elaborate garnishes on the plates for his ordinary food that it took him 45 minutes to get the first course out. His food was being served to an empty table because the people had already left. Another chef, being "Creative", was serving Shrimp with Chocolate sauce, which Ramsey said was one of the worst things he had ever put in his mouth. He kept it on the menu because people ordered it about once a month... "It was very popular"...  Waiters were ordering for tables twice and then forgetting which table had which food... In the back of the house one woman was buying all of her food at the grocery store and getting it to her chef at 5pm... dinner started at 6pm... She couldn't figure out why her food costs were so high and why her chef was never ready on time. Another guy was buying all of his fish from France, getting it a day old, when there was a great fish market just down the street with fish that had been caught that morning... cheaper and fresher.. Usually their best reason for doing all these things is "that's the way we've always done it".. The odd thing is that these people, who are about to lose everything, have Gordon Ramsey there for free to help them fix their restaurant and they fight him about everything. He wants them do things that are easy and quick but they fight to do everything the hard way. He wants them to be organized and clean but they revert to clutter and grease. They've got the best expert advice they could ever have and refuse to listen. Almost as if they like self destruction.  Here's the normal fixes: 1. Quit living in the past, make food that's current. 2. Cut your menu down to something you can manage.. 4 starters, 5 main courses, 4 desserts.. nobody can do 85 things well. 3.  Make food that's 90 percent ready before the order comes.. this requires preparation and planning... then all you have to do is heat up a few things and put them on the plate... quick and easy at crunch time. 4. Buy local food from the guy who grows it or catches it.. it's better and cheaper, good things are closer than you think. 5. Order your Kitchen and your books so you know where things are and where you spend your money. 6. Put the right people in the right Job. You don't have to do everything.. Seems simple .... he hits me right between the eyes almost every time..

God's like that: He has very simple things for us to do to fix our screwed up lives. Usually we already know what they are. It requires us to change or sometimes ask for forgiveness or take responsibility. It doesn't mean you have to give up on your dreams, you just have to get there another way. God wants you to get there, ask him for help and then do what he says .. He knows how to run a successful life..


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes - Living Well - Mediterranean Diet:

Baked Broccoli Ravioli

This is from Bill Telepan. His restaurant is "Telepan" in NYC

1 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into 2-inch florets
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 pound fresh lasagna sheets ((Or dry))

Blanch the basil in boiling water for 20 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water; squeeze dry. In a mini food processor, puree the basil with 1/2 cup of the oil. Season with salt and transfer to a small bowl.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the broccoli, 1/2 cup of water and the butter, cover and cook over moderately low heat until tender, 10 minutes. Let cool. Coarsely puree the broccoli in a food processor; transfer to a bowl. Stir in the ricotta and 1/4 cup of the pecorino and season with salt.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Using a pasta machine, roll the lasagna sheets through the thinnest setting. Cut the sheets into twelve 4-inch squares. Cook the squares in the water until tender, 2 minutes. Drain, pat dry and rub with oil to prevent sticking. ((If using dry you don't need to roll it out)))

Preheat the oven to 425°. Coat a large, shallow baking dish with oil. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling into the center of each pasta square. Fold the squares into triangles; arrange in the dish. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the pecorino. Bake on the top rack for 10 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown. Drizzle with the basil oil and serve, passing more cheese at the table.


Posted by Mack Oates at 11:46 AM