Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Many Incarnations of My Name

I had been Admissions Director of DLS-CSB for three year now and one amusing thing that occurs is when people misspell my name. Let me give you some examples of the many incarnations of my name...

Ms. Catherine Dee
Ms. Catherine Dy
Ms. Katherine Deen
Ms. Kathleen Deen
Ms. Katy Deen

My favorite of all was...
Ms. Christine Deen (This came from a pinoyexchange post of an applicant I interviewed)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bechamel Sauce - What a difference proper technique makes

Two days ago, I decided to prepare my usual creamy tuna pasta dish for my husband. I've seen and heard many cooks prepare this dish with all purpose cream which is incredibly high in fat. I prepare it with a bechamel sauce made from butter, non-fat milk, flour, salt and some pepper. I normally prepare the sauce directly on my non-stick pan. However, this time around, I followed the instructions of Linda Carucci in her book "Cooking School Secrets for Real World Cooks" and what a difference proper technique makes! My sauce was much creamier and tastier than my usual.

The secret? Prepare the bechamel sauce by melting 6 tablespoons of butter on a saucepan (not a non-stick pan) and whisk in 5 tablespoons of flour to make the roux. Using the wire whisk is very important to achieve a smooth finish. After about 2 minutes, whisk in the milk (1/4 cup at a time). Continue whisking until the milk is absorbed. When the mixture is smooth, you can pour in the remaining milk all at once. After this, switch to a wooden spoon and continue stirring in a figure 8 pattern over medium heat. Stir like this for about 8 to 10 minutes. To test if the sauce is done, just drag your finger over the back of the wooden spoon. If the track remains, the sauce is done. At this stage, salt and pepper (or Tabasco sauce) may be added. Taste and see if the sauce is to your liking. For me, I put a lot of salt because I am using it as the only sauce for the pasta. However, if you are using the bechamel for lasagna, less salt is needed since you also have your bolognese sauce. To complete the dish, I added the cooked tuna and tossed in the pasta. Add grated cheese if you wish. Enjoy.