Sunday, June 27, 2010

Keith-san Sushi Chef!!!

So I skipped another week. Big deal. I'm tired. And sometimes when your hung, tired, on your day off, the last thing you want to do is sit at a computer for an hour.

And yes, last weekend was the Mid Winter Dinner feast. It went really well. I'm currently gathering some pictures together to show that off. Everybody pitched in from setting the tables to prepping to washing dishes. Great feast. I'll post that soon.

In the meantime, I played Sushi chef this week with a sushi dinner in the bar. I learned how to do this from Diane, the woman who worked here this past summer and trained me before she left on the last boat. Let's take a look...

First you need a sushi board. I don't know the technical term. Bamboo sushi wrap thing. Make sure you wrap it in cellophane to keep it clean. You don't have to but it cuts down on cleaning up and cross contamination if your making more than on kind of sushi.

Fold the corners in.

Sushi rice is different than regular rice. More starchy. Cook with a 1:1 ratio rather than 2:1. Meaning 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water. Leave it covered on the stove over low heat for about 40 minutes. Crunchy rice sucks. This batch didn't work out the best and was a little al dente. But no matter. It's sushi in Antarctica! And cooking rice here is a bitch anyway. It was easier with the elevation and dryness of Pole to cook rice. I don't know what it is. Anyway, add one cup of rice vinegar and one cup of sugar... the rice with a plate or something to help it cool...

...make sure all your ingredients are laid out in front of you for easy access. This process can be a pain so you want it to go quick.

Lay the seaweed out on the sushi-bamboo-wrap-thing...

...moisten it with water so when you roll it, it sticks to itself...

...put a glob of rice on half the seaweed and press it down... it lays nice and flat on the seaweed.

Put your desired filling on top of the rice. In this case it's smoked salmon and cream cheese...

...begin rolling...

...tightening as you go until... have a perfectly rolled sushi roll.

Next we take it up to the bar...

...where we cut it and plate it on a fancy little sushi table.

There are four kinds of sushi here, even a tofu carrot avocado sushi for the vegetarians. It gets put in the middle of the table... everybody can gather around and move around to get what they want.

Bede, Chris and Sean wait their turn while SteveO goes for a piece off camera.

I made 90 total rolls of sushi and there was some left at the end of the night. But everyone did a pretty good job of destroying what was put in front of them. Rumor has it that the great Neal Scheibe had a total of 50 pieces!!! How he is such a skinny bastard, I'll never know!

When the service is over I get to unwind with my new glasses.

Sushi night was fun and we'll probably do it one more time before the boat comes back. Stay tuned for more food fun this week. I'll get a MidWinter blog together. Later!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Stuffed Pork Loin and Homemade Falafel...

Megan!!! This first one's for you. My dear friend Megan gave me this fantastic self compiled cookbook whilst I was in Denver in April. It has some of her favorite tasty recipes. I was happy to try the Falafel as I have never made it from scratch before.

This is the book! Awesome!

We don't have all the ingredients, like shallots for example, but I substituted red onion and it worked just fine.

Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl. Mashed chick peas, egg, spices, bread crumbs, whatever freshies are on hand...

Form into little cakes. You can make these as big as you want. You need the proper mix of bread crumbs and egg so it can all bind together...

When they are seared, put them in the oven and bake till hot.

I garnished this one with a lime tomato salsa with cilantro and fresh Tzatziki, a yogurt cucumber dish with garlic, lemon juice and dill.

Even Clair likes it. She'll eat anything!!! SeeFood!

Next is apricot stuffed pork loin. Kind of an involved process. Let's begin...

Take your loins of pork...

...cut it as much in half as you can but not all the way. You don't want to cut through it...

...and pound it gently with a meat tenderizer. You want to pound the inside in order to keep the skin intact so your finished product will look good. Be gentle because tenderloins of any kind are just that. Tender. Too thin and you lose the integrity of the meat.

Finished tenderizing.

These are the ingredients I stuffed the loin with. Fresh red peppers, julianne yellow onion, dried apricots and slivers of garlic.

Saute it all together adding whatever spices you see fit.

When it has cooled, place some filling into each of the open tenderloins...

...then carefully begin to roll it back up.

Tie a knot with butcher's twine at the top of the loin...

...wrap the other end around the pork and pull the tied end through. It's very difficult to explain in type.

You continue this down the entire loin tying it off at the bottom. This obviously keeps all the filling in.

When you are ready to cook it, lightly dredge it in flour mixed with sea or kosher salt and black pepper. Always good to season the flour...

...sear on all four sides so the whole thing is toasty brown, then bake till its cooked!

Then you have a wonderful Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. (The green one in the picture is fresh spinach and bleu cheese. Also fantastic.

Stay tuned! Next week is Mid Winter Dinner. Awesome celebrations all over the continent. We'll have a great dinner here. Dave is working on designing the menu. I'll post that to. Very exciting...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Last Week of Summer.....

So there was plenty of excitement this week as the last of Palmer's summer population prepared to leave. I think we all got to know each other very well over the past six weeks but it was definitely time to get the winter started. The summer friends will be missed. But not too badly. HA! :-)

It started off as a windy week as you can see. 44 knots with gusts in the high 50's.

This picture sucks cause it was taken through a window and with my zoom. But it's a huge wave crashing against an island.

They had to take the boats out of the water and store them. One of black buoys that we use on the pier to brace the ship even got blown out to sea. We got it back though. Crazy wind.

We even had a visit from a little penguin friend.

The boat was set to leave on Friday so on Thursday night we had a Crosstown Dinner. This is where we invite the folks from the boat over for dinner. It was a big feast with Beef Wellington, a baked potato bar, and the chefs on the boat prepared some things as well. Including a fresh salad and Pulpo! As you can see above, Lisa, our Winter Station Manager enjoys the Pulpo, or octopus. It is a tasty treat and if you've never had it I highly recommend it. The scientists pulled up a bunch of these little guys in their nets on the last fishing trip. They were SO good!!!

Laura Rip tried one. She's one of our full time engineers back in Denver. It was such a good time that I decided to unleash the dragodile hat. It was a gift back in Denver during OSAR training and I had been waiting for the perfect moment. This was it. I say dragodile because we can't figure out if it's a dragon or a crocodile.

That night Dave organized a great open mic. I played guitar for three songs in a band. There were five or six of us? It was great fun. Some really talented people here. Below our boating coordinator is actually yodeling. Yodeling!!!! And it was so awesome! Not the stupid pretending to yodel. The real thing. He took a class during high school I guess.

This is just one of the mixtures of people that performed. Half-Assed Blue Grass they called themselves. And they sang Gin and Juice.

Some people don't like goodbyes. I don't really care one way or another. I'll probably see all these people again anyways. We gathered to bid farewell in the galley in the morning.

Friday morning the line handlers get ready to cast off the ship for the last time this summer. We won't see the LMG again until September.

I think this picture turned out great. Don't know why. I just like it.

The summer folks on the boat wave goodbye to us. Some of them have been here for the better part of 8 months. I think they are as ready for something new as we are.

Then they leave, motoring into the Antarctic sunrise.

Then begins the crazy Palmer tradition of jumping into the ice cold water as the boat motors away. Crazy!! I'm sure the water is below freezing.

Sean, Chris and Cory jump in these photos. I've done it before. Not here. But before. So I needn't impress myself. I'd rather stand back and take the photos. But good thing there is a hot tub to warm everyone up!!

So we look forward to hunkering down for the quick winter with a small population. I have never cooked for this few people before so we'll see what happens. I have a feeling the paperwork, reports, and menu planning will take up the majority of my time. I am looking forward to midwinter dinner in two weeks. There will for sure be a blog about that. Keep yer eyes open...