My job as the "R&D Chef" can vary from testing recipes to entertaining/cooking meals for guests. Today was a mixture of both! As soon as I got to work I was given the task of cooking breakfast for some clients that were visiting for the morning (croissant sandwiches with scrambles eggs, sausage, and cheese).. Oh did I ever tell you I make the best scrambled eggs ever???? Yea, ask my dad or sister...they can confirm.
After that I got started on testing recipes for another client. I re-made a recipe I tested a couple of weeks ago.. (5-spice chicken with a ginger mango sauce, teriyaki green beans and "edamame caviar"). This recipe has been in the works for a while. Previously the sides to the chicken were simply green beans and edamame which was way too much green on the plate. Then, I made it a couple of weeks ago with a new edamame recipe that added more color. We changed it up a bit after that tasting..... here are the two tests I did on this recipe:
Which one do you like better?? We will probably go with the most recent sample (the one on the right). There is definitely more color and we had an issue with the thickness of the sauce on the first sample, so I added more starch and thickened it up a bit on the second sample.
You might be wondering how the proteins stay tender through the "freeze and thaw" process. Wellll, I will reveal the secret.... tumbling.
First I start out by weighing my protein and entering the weight in a tumbling solution spreadsheet, which gives me the amount of grams of the rest of the solution.
I then mix the solution ingredients ..which usually include water, modified starch, salt, white pepper, garlic, and any other seasoning you would like to marinate with.
The tumbling machine sucks the air out of the container, then we tumble the protien for 40 minutes.
I also made a "pork roulade" .. which we switched up to just layer the essential ingredients of a cuban.. pork, ham, pickles, swiss, and mustard. I paired it with a black bean puree and plantains.
In between all of this, I was working with a different client testing the quality control on potential expiration dates for the products. I took the frozen meals (16-- 1 each) out of the freezer last week and took a picture every day to determine any changes in the appearance. Today we heated each meal up and tested the taste. Overall, the meals were delicous for being defrosted for a week. There were a few changes we have to make to meals, but we were impressed with the quality of the flavors/textures of all the different components of the meals.
It was another interesting day in the test kitchen and another day of lots of eating/tasting. Tomorrow I will be working on yet a different client with producing their meals. I also have to be there a bit earlier so I better get some rest for another busy day!