December 13, 2008

The week we’ve all been waiting for–final exam. I studied my notes and practiced knife skills every day for a week. I cut an entire 10 pound bag of potatoes, pounds of carrots, and many, many onions to work toward the goal of julienne a potato, brunoise a carrot, and small dice an onion in 5 minutes or less. I was also worried about the cooking part of the final exam. We had been told we would be given chicken to breakdown, roast, grill, saute, fry and stew, as well as rice, macaroni, mushrooms and carrots. The actual final exam day was not so bad after all that worrying. I felt good about the written exam, completed the knife skills in time, and then worked on grilling and stewing chicken. I also made simmered rice. Since I knew in advance we’d be making different types of chicken I had already decided to made a jerk marinade for the grilled chicken and a Japanese style curry for the stewing. Both dishes were good, although my curry sauce was a little “flat” according to Chef Sively.

Ray’s roasted chicken breast was terrific as were his fried chicken wings, which he added some sesame seeds to the breading–a nice touch.

I am including my Japanese Curry recipe because I love it and it reminds me of my Japanese mother, Tommie Steele, a fantastic cook who inspired me to make Japanese food and keep the tradition alive. My daughter, Helen, is also honoring her grandmother by making our family favorites for her family. She recently made a Sukiyaki dinner for her family and friends.

Japanese Curry

3 cups chicken stock

1 T canola oil

1 lb chicken, cut into 1″ chunks (thighs are preferred)

salt and freshly ground pepper

3 T butter

1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1 med onion, 1/2 finely diced, 1/2 cut into 1″ pieces

1 clove garlic

3 T flour

2 T S & B brand curry powder

2 T crushed tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1 carrot, cut into 1/2 ” rounds

1 med potato, cut into 1″ chunks

1 fuji apple, peeled and shredded

1 tsp honey

1 T soy sauce

Bring chicken stock to simmer. Heat oil in large skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown chicken. Remove and add butter to pan. Add ginger, onions, garlic and cook, scraping up brown bits (about 3-4 minutes) Add flour, cook 2 more minutes, then add curry powder and tomatoes. Add 1/2 cup hot stock and whisk to combine. Whisk this mixture into pot of simmering stock, then add chicken, onion pieces, carrots, potatoes, and bay leaf. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, simmer until vegetables are tender, 30 minutes.

Add the apples, honey, soy sauce, and salt to taste. Cook 5 more minutes.

Serve with Japanese short-grain rice.