Cook for the one you love

EAT’S EASY - Ernest Reynoso Gala () - February 9, 2012 - 12:00am

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. — John Ruskin

Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this, eat well. Bring the same consideration to the preparation of your food as you devote to your appearance. Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress. — Charles Pierre Monselet, French journalist

A harmony of flavors, enlightening the senses — the effect of love and food are the same, and when you cook with passion, you create not only a simple dish, but become in tune to an emotional state and a clear frame of mind of one soul-satisfying meal. There is no better feeling than the triumphant pleasure of successfully preparing for your loved ones; the simple idea of cooking to give someone pleasure grants this gesture a personal touch. So why go through endless traffic and chaotic reservations in this season of love? Prepare a magnificent dinner in the wonderful confines of your home.

In preparation, three factors are considered: the quality, the flavor and the texture of the ingredients. Using the best will always simplify your procedure, because you have to incorporate top quality to produce the best. Smell and visually observe the ingredients you are purchasing. Ask questions, don’t buy the most expensive, just the best quality for your budget. A recipe that uses more than 15 ingredients isn’t for you due to time constraints and having too many is overwhelming. Less is more, and by being aware of each ingredient’s purpose you can visualize the finished product in your mind. It is important to note that the person you are serving isn’t allergic to certain ingredients to avoid a visit to the hospital.

After choosing the ingredients comes the preparation, or mise en place. In cooking it is not speed but timing that counts, therefore allow yourself enough time to prep. A labor of love shouldn’t be rushed, and having the right measurements are key.

Finally, like a famous wrestler once said, “Excellence in execution.” Use moderate heat when cooking beef and seafood because of their delicate texture; hard vegetables should be uniform in size and blanched in boiling water to soften the texture and bring out the color. Use thick pans because it lessens the risk of food becoming tough and dry due to prolonged cooking. Tasting while cooking is just as important, to ensure you’re on track in flavor. I always remind my students that if you cannot smell the ingredients in your dish it lacks salt, as salt enhances scent as well as taste. If possible prepare a simple dessert to end the dinner on a sweet note, showcase your culinary talent and show that extra effort was made for this occasion.

Finally, plating is the preparation where your personal style and creativity come into play. A student once said she had no artistic talent in plating, so I advised her to look at cookbooks and magazines to get ideas. Simple dishes require simple plates, but if you have a colorful personality be playful. What is important is you are comfortable and confident about the dish you are serving. Besides, presentation is a reflection of who you are. Be attentive to details and wipe off smudges and spatter. Harriet Van Horne once said, “Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

Beef Medallions With Mushroom

1) Prepare 100 grams Magnolia Gold butter, 500 grams Monterey Beef tenderloin sliced into one and a half-inch round cuts.

2) For the rub, prepare: 2 tsps. rock salt, 2 tsps. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. pepper.

3) For the sauce prepare: 1/3 cup Magnolia Gold butter, 1 tbsp. garlic, 500 grams Portobello, abalone, button, or any mushroom of your choice, 1 1/2 tsp. white pepper, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup all-purpose cream.

4) Get one piece zucchini and slice thinly. Cook in 2 tbsp. or 30 grams butter for 5 minutes or until soft and light brown in color. Add 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper for taste.

5) Procedure: Prepare 10-inch round skillet about 2 inches high, and turner.

6) Marinate each steak with rub ingredients.

7) Heat pan, add butter and cold steaks. Bring down heat and cook each steak 3 minutes per side (for medium-well, 4 minutes per side). Remove steak and set aside. In the same pan sauté garlic in butter until light brown. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook for a while, then add milk and all-purpose cream. Stir until creamy.

8) Plate steak. Add mushroom sauce and cooked zucchini on the side. Top with lettuce or alfalfa sprouts.

I’ve got a crust on you: These Portuguese tarts are made of buttery, flaky crusts filled with luscious custard.

Chocolate Mousse

1) Prepare 8 one-half-cup-capacity stemmed glasses.

2) Ingredients: 2 cups (tetrapak) all-purpose cream not cold, 1 tbsp. unflavored gelatin, 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, 6 egg yolks, 1/4 cup softened butter (salted)

3) For garnish: 1 can very cold whipping cream, 6 cherries with stems, chocolate syrup.

4) Procedure: Put in Pyrex bowl the all-purpose cream and gelatin. Leave for 5 minutes to “bloom” or expand. Add the chocolate chips. Put chips on top of a saucepan with 2 inches of simmering water (double boiler) and mix until chocolate chips are thoroughly melted. Remove bowl from fire.

5) Put the egg yolks and butter in a blender and pulse 2 minutes. Gradually add hot choco-chip mixture.

6) Return mixture to Pyrex bowl and cook over simmering water, stirring wooden spoon until thick and creamy, about 10 minutes.

7) Pour into glasses. Put on tray and freeze 1 hour or refrigerate 4 hours until ready to serve (will last one month in freezer, two weeks in the refrigerator).

8) Shake whipping cream in can and press nozzle to fill glasses. Top with syrup and cherries.

* * *

For recipes and a schedule of classes visit www.sylviareynosogala.com or www.facebook.com/Sylvia Reynoso Gala Culinary or call 671-4489 or 98.

* * *

Discovery of the Week

The best Philly steak in town is at The Cheese Steak Shop! Absolutely delicious! You must try the King of Philly and the Chicken Cheese Streak. Oozing with cheese and made with an authentic Amoroso’s bread roll. Located at: 906A Arnaiz St., San Lorenzo Village, Makati. For deliveries call 555-1818.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with