Saturday, January 30, 2010

Embellishing Indian Pudding

So, my part of the menu, for Monday evening, is the Indian pudding. I've had it before but I've never made it. The fun part of this class is that I'm able to have some creative license with how I plate/present the dish. I've decided to make an apple-cinnamon compote to go under the pudding and I'm going to make a hard sauce to drizzle over it.  I'm really looking forward to making it, I think it's going to turn out really good. Chef has given us permission to bring our cameras to class so we can document our menus in photo format. Pretty cool!

I can't wait to get back into the kitchen, even though I HATE the production kitchen. Chef T has said that there will be big changes within the next few weeks. For one thing, the steam jacket kettles are leaving the building... and the big huge work table (that really has NO space for anyone to actually WORK at it) will be replaced with an honest to goodness work space. That simply can't happen soon enough.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

American Regional Cuisine

I always get so excited at the beginning of a new semester. I have the best intentions to blog about it, but then I always get so busy that I simply can't keep up. I hope this will be the semester where I really can keep up. I'm only taking 7 credit hours this semester... Nutrition & Meal Planning, American Regional, & Tai Ch'i.

I admit, I was terrified of taking a class from Chef Turner. He's the absolute center of most "negative" rumors around the college. But, I was assured that as long as you love to cook and have a strong desire to learn... it'll be good.

Believe it or not (and anyone who actually knows me will NOT believe it... ) I was told that I lack the passion for cooking and will never make it in this industry. Oddly enough, that came from someone who has very little clue what it's like to be in the back of the house.  I've had several CIA trained Chefs now tell me that I'm one of their best students... in fact, my passion for the craft of cooking has never been questioned by them, and they are the ones who really matter.  Anyhow, my point is... I should be fine in this class!!!

This class is not set up the way all of my other culinary classes have been, thus far. For this class, we are divided into two teams, A & B. The A team is in charge of preparing "city food."  Our menus are consistent with that of high end establishments and plating and presentation must reflect such. Team B is preparing "country food" and will present in a family table style. Teams will switch styles after 8 weeks. I'm on the "A" team.

For our first lab we are learning about the cooking styles of New England. Our menu for our first lab is as follows:
  • Lobster Bisque
  • Beet & Apple Salad
  • Scallops Au Gratin
  • Duchess Potatoes
  • Glazed Fennel
  • Indian Pudding
  • Parker House Rolls
In addition to the preparation of the meal, we are required to come to class prepared to discuss what we've learned about this region of the country, it's cooking styles, and a brief history on the Boston Oyster House.

I'm really going to enjoy this class!!

Recommended Reading: (Required for American Regional)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I fell off the wagon again!

I really suck at blogging. But, every once in a while a recipe pops up that I just can't pass up the opportunity to post. I hope one of those days happen soon. =)

Awesome Vegan Trail Mix

4 tablespoons vegan butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 1/3 cups quick-cook oaats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup cheerios (I personally used Rice Chex since I can't eat Cheerios)
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons salted peanuts OR pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (Enjoy Life Brand is our brand of choice)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 tspn salt

Preheat oven to 325degrees. Line an 8" square pan with parchment and grease lightly.

Melt butter and maple syrup together in a small pan. Set aside to cool.

Add all remaining ingredients to a large bowl and stir together. Once the butter and syrup mixture have cooled, pour over dry mixture and combine well. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press down firmly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until center is just firm to touch.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes, then cut into 8 bars, using a very sharp knife. Allow to cool completely before lifting from the pan. Store in airtight container.