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  • The Timid Chef 3:58 am on June 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: soup, , , tomato soup, tomatoes   

    Module 1-7 Recipe: Homemade Tomato Soup 

    Summer is here, and I have been craving homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I like my grilled cheese on sourdough bread (the kind with the crispy crust) and REAL American cheese. Yummy! This recipe uses the tomato concasse technique that we covered in Module 1-7. The peeled tomatoes and vegetables are roasted which gives this soup a deep, tomatoey flavor.

    Just you know, I am not a very good photographer so don’t laugh at my cheesy pics. On second thought, laugh away. It is always good to have a good laugh.


    • 3 lbs fresh ripe tomatoes
    • 4 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
    • ½ onion (medium dice)
    • ½ red bell pepper (medium dice)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil (be sure you are using a good quality olive oil)
    • salt & pepper to taste (I prefer using sea salt and freshly ground pepper)
    • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
    • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
    • 14 oz. crushed tomatoes *
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (basil/parsley/oregano)
    • fresh basil & parsley for serving
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream 
    1. Preheat the oven to 450° F
    2. Concasse the tomatoes using the techniques learned from Module 1-7. In case you haven’t read that post yet, concasse is a technique for removing the skin from a tomato. It is so easy once you learn how to do it. (After removing the skin, I also removed as many seeds as possible. I put the skins and seeds in a cheesecloth and squeezed out as much juice as possible. I then threw away the seeds and skin and poured the squeezed tomato juice into a saucepan.  Although this is not necessary, why not save as much flavor as possible)?
    3. Cut the tomatoes in quarters. In a large bowl, gently mix together the raw tomatoes, (NOT the crushed tomatoes from the can) garlic, chopped onion, chopped red bell pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Then pour this into a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
    4. Roast in the oven at 450° F for 15 minutes. Turn the broiler on and broil for about 3 minutes (maybe a minute or so shorter or longer) until the tomatoes begin to char. Gently stir the tomato/veggie mixture and lower the oven to 450° F and cook another 10 minutes. Watch closely as these times are approximate. You want a nice char, but you don’t want them burnt. I don’t suggest you watch tv or youtube videos until you take them out of the oven.
    5. Add the canned crushed tomatoes and chicken stock to the tomato juice that you squeezed from the seeds and skin and bring to a simmer.
    6. Add the tomato/veggie mixture and fresh herbs. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
    7. Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You could use a regular blender, but the immersion blender works so much better.
    8. Add ¼ cup of the heavy cream and taste to see if you need to add more. I usually use the whole ½ cup, but some people do not like as much cream. Also, the amount of cream you use depends upon the intensity of the tomato flavor. You may need to add a little more if it’s too intense to tone it down a little.
    9. Bring back to a simmer and then turn off the heat.
    10. Serve with a shaving of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of FRESH, chopped parsley.

    *I was not able to find a 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes. I bought the 28-ounce can and saved half of it to use for meatloaf tomorrow night.

  • The Timid Chef 3:06 am on June 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Mirepois, mirepoix   

    Module 1-6 Mirepoix 



    Mirepoix is a combination of aromatics (onion, carrots, and celery). It is the foundation of many flavorful dishes and frequently used in sauces, soups, and stews.

    Mirepoix Recipe

    50% onions

    25% celery

    25% carrots

    Another way to think of it as 1/2 cup onions, 1/4 cup celery, 1/4 cup carrots

    Mirepoix uses

    Whole – If your recipe doesn’t require caramelization or to be strained at the end, it can be used whole. This is most commonly done in stocks, large batch sauces, and pureed soups.

    Finely Chopped – Uniform sizes will help with even cooking. Remember, the smaller you cut your aromatic vegetables, the shorter your cooking time.

    Light Sauté – Most recipes will call for you to only sweat, not caramelize, the mirepoix. If that’s the case, follow these steps:
    1)Melt the butter.
    2)Add in the onions and carrots and sauté until the onions are translucent.
    3) Add in the celery and cook until the carrots and celery begin to soften

    Caramelized – If you want a richer, deeper flavor to your mirepoix, caramelizing will help. Follow the same steps as above, but wait until your carrots have developed a golden brown sear before adding the celery.

    Aromatics – Mirepoix can be used to lend aroma and flavor to what you are cooking even without directly using it as an ingredient. For example, if you were to roast a turkey for Thanksgiving, you could place the mirepoix under the turkey (directly, or under the roasting rack) to impart it’s flavor.

  • The Timid Chef 2:47 am on June 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bouquet garni, , ,   

    Module 1-4 Bouquet Garni and Sachet d’Epices 

    A bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs and aromatics (such as celery or leeks) tied together with cooking twine and simmered in stock, soups or sauces to add flavor and aroma to a recipe. The classic is fresh thyme, parsley stems, and a bay leaf. In modern cooking they could be thyme, celery, and parsley that is wrapped in a leek leaf and then tied with a piece of twine. I like using parsley, thyme, and a bay leaf that is wrapped up with a strip of lemon zest.

    bouquet garni
    bouquet garni

    The difference between a bouquet garni and sachet d’epices is how it is held together. A bouquet garni is held together with a piece of baker’s twine, whereas, a sachet d’epices is held together in a piece of cheese cloth or muslim drawstring bag.

    sachet d'epices
    a sachet d’epices

  • The Timid Chef 10:30 am on June 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: herbs de provence, spice blend   

    Module 1-8 Herbs de Provence Recipe 

    • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
    • 2 tablespoons dried savory
    • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
    • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
    • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
    • 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers (optional: provides an undertone of fragrance)

    Mix all of the ingredients and store in an airtight container.

    This is one of the few decent videos I can find on this spice blend.

    If you don’t have a spice blender, put the herbs between wax paper and roll with a rolling pin until crushed.

    Herbs de Provence can consist of other herbs besides what is used here.

  • The Timid Chef 9:47 am on June 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Module 1-9 Ratatouille 

    I have included two recipes for Ratatouille. I like both of these recipes and they use some of the techniques we have learned (and it is sooo good).

    Here is a recipe for Ratatouille from America’s Test Kitchen. I have tried both this recipe and the one that follows. I can’t make up my mind which I like more. This recipe uses a Dutch oven and so yummy.


    Visit Cooks Illustrated to learn more.

    This video and recipe is from Escoffier Culinary Academy. It is a little on the lengthy side, but he does an excellent job of explaining EVERYTHING. Enjoy!

  • The Timid Chef 9:06 am on June 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: concasse, ,   

    Module 1-7 Tomato Concasse 

    Tomato concasse is more of a cooking technique than recipe. It involves boiling scored tomatoes in water. You will then proceed to peel, remove the seeds, and then chop them. The end result can be served alone, as a base for tomato sauce , or in a variety of dishes.

    Tomato Concasse


    2 Beefsteak tomatoes

    If you have a skimmer it will make this process much easier.


    Bring a pot of water to a boil. Score the tomatoes and blanch them for 30 seconds. This loosens the skin. Immediately shock in cold water; peel off the skin with a paring knife. Then slice through the equator and remove the seeds. Cut the tomatoes in an even dice.

  • The Timid Chef 7:11 am on June 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Clarified butter, Ghee   

    Module 1-5 Clarified Butter and Ghee 

    Clarified Butter

    Frying foods in butter is not a good idea due to its low smoke point. It burns quickly and will leave your dish with an unappetizing bitter, burnt flavor. Clarified butter is the answer to this problem.

    Butter is not 100% fat; it is about 80% fat and the rest is water and milk solids. Once you remove the water and milk solids you are left with clarified butter which has a high smoke point (somewhere around 400 degrees F). Clarified butter gives your food a complex buttery flavor that is plain yummy.

    Ghee is a type of clarified butter that is heated longer than clarified butter. The longer cooking contributes to a stronger and nuttier flavor. It also has a higher smoke point than regular clarified butter.

    Clarified Butter Recipe

    Clarified Butter

    1 – 2 cups UNSALTED butter

    Cheesecloth (if making Ghee)

    • STEP 1 Melt butter in saucepan over low heat, without stirring, 10-15 minutes or until melted and solids separate from fat. (be careful NOT to burn and tie your hands behind your back if you are tempted to stir it).
    • STEP 2 Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Skim off foam. Slowly pour off clear yellow liquid, leaving behind the residue of milk solids that has settled to the bottom of the pan. Cover; store refrigerated.
    • STEP 3 Use clarified butter for frying and sautéing. Use it in place of oil, it works the same, but give a great buttery flavor.

    If you wish to make GHEE continue cooking until the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turn brown.

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