Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Since I hadn't had breakfast yesterday because eating at 5:30 is not appealing at all, I decided to have breakfast for dinner, with this corned beef/baby greens and eggs.

In class, we made fried pork cutlets, sauteed kale, coleslaw, and spatzle. I have never made spatzle, so that was exciting. Sorry, I don't have much to say, its been a long day and I'm exhausted.

Here is Chef demonstrating spatzle using the spatzle maker. You pour the dough batter(flour, milk, and eggs) into this cup. Then you pull back and forth so the dough falls through the slots and makes the pasta:

Chef's demo plate:

Here is part of my mise en place for the morning:

Ingredients for spatzle dough, flour, eggs, milk:

The traditional method is to mix the ingredients by hand until elastic:

Then I poured it into the cup and let it fall through into salted boiling water:

For one of the side dishes, we made mayonnaise by hand, then made it into coleslaw. You probably can't tell from the pictures, but the carrots are cut into fine julienne, which is perfect squared ends and 1-2 inch in length.

My finished plate, which of course I didn't eat because I don't groove on the pork:

So I went to the Americas kitchen and got some fajitas. I just ate the steak with some guacamole and salsa since I'm doin the low carb thing:

Monday, June 29, 2009

trout meuniere

Skills 2 is winding towards its end, and we are all excited about our summer break for a few weeks. Over the weekend we got our schedules for Skills 3. Up until now we have been making 2 plates during class, but starting in skills 3, the kitchen is open to students/faculty to come and swipe for lunch, so its actual production. Our class will be broken up into a set of students who are upstairs and a set who are in the kitchens downstairs. A few friends of mine and I got the upstairs kitchen, which means more foot traffic and a higher amount of plates being sent out. This will help us with speed but is also a bit nerve wracking.

Our chef also told us about the Chef we'd have for skills 3, whos "precise, stern, very detail oriented..." 

Here is my tray for the morning:

One of the items on our plate was tourneed root vegetables. As I've said before, tourne is a seven sided football shape cut done on a vegetable (one of the harder cuts.) Doing this cut on a root vegetable proved even harder since the flesh of these vegetables are naturally more dense and harder to cut through. After tourne-ing 10 of them, I started to get a blister on my index finger (imagine cutting a beet into 7 sides.)

We also practiced julienne and medium dice

Here is Chef's demo plate:

We used trout as the entree, so we fileted and skinned our own fish each:

Here are my filets without skin:

Brussel sprouts and pearl onions with lardons (thick cut bacon) (gross):

Pan frying the trout:

And my completed dish (I forgot to say we also made wild rice pilaf for our plates)

I wasnt into eating that fried fish and rice, so I made a salad when I got home with some "sassy baby blend" lettuce with a red wine vinaigrette, and some of the roast chicken from last night.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

cravin the low carb lifestyle

The heft of culinary school finally hit me. After a few months of traditional french cuisine and delicious desserts, my body revolted. So I'm trying (keyword: trying) to get back on the low carb lifestyle combined with less fatty foods. I was always particular to the atkins diet since it allowed you to eat meat, but this time around I'm choosing more fish dishes and using olive oil in lieu of butter. 

The new atkins website is pretty helpful, you can make up your own menus, with 3 options for each course, and it has recipes for each course which makes it all easier for people who don't have time for that. Of course I couldn't help myself with some of the recipes or methods, but I'll tell you more about that later. Today for breakfast I had a "southwestern omelet," which was just a regular omelet with some red bell pepper, onions, (turkey) bacon, and cheddar cheese.


For lunch, the menu I chose was poached salmon and Caesar salad. They gave me a recipe & method for poaching salmon, but since just this past week we learned the art of the submerge poach with a court bouillon, I chose that method. And instead of regular salmon, I saw that they had wild sockeye salmon in the market today. Chef Clark had told us to buy this as soon as we saw it, and so I did. The color is such a vibrant red, and cooks up just like king or atlantic salmon. I wasn't a fan of the flavor, it was quite salmony (which was obvious since it had a darker color) and more firm than the salmon I'm used to. The stronger flavor & color came from the fact that its a higher activity fish which means it's more oily and the bones aren't good for stock. (yessss I still remember stuff from fish class) I made the caesar dressing from scratch (which used mayo as an ingredient.) I was about to make the mayo by hand too since it is so easy, but decided to be lazy and just used some store bought mayo.

Though I was still full from lunch , I still decided to cook the dinner and eat it a bit late. Since I had missed roast chicken day in class, I used this as an opportunity to practice that cooking method. Any practice is important since we have to take a practical exam before we are allowed to go on externship. For the practical, there are 6 menus, and we are randomly given one and must cook all 7 components within 2.5 hours. Many many people fail this, but hopefully I won't be one of them. So I delved into my meat class skills bank and trussed up the chicken with some twine, and roasted it in the oven with some veggies. Oh my goodness, I am not exaggerating when I say this was one of the best roasted chickens I have had in my life. I don't know if it was because it was organic or because of how I roasted it, but everyone needs to try this for dinner tomorrow. It was so juicy that when i was carving the breast out, juice literally squirted out and it was so tender it melted in my mouth. I used a 4 pound chicken, but you can use a smaller one too. All I did was put some rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf into the cavity & season with salt & pepper. Then on the outside rub it with some canola oil and liberally season it with kosher salt and pepper. I roasted it at 400 degrees for about 80 mins and it was absolutely delicious. 

Saturday, June 27, 2009

spinal rainbow

The day started off pretty good, I planned on heading out to the stars & stripes event at school, there's fireworks and a dance tonight for our version of fourth of July, but my body had other plans. After going strictly from class to bed the past week; my apartment had been somewhat of a mess. I woke up all set to clean up but about halfway through, the top of my spine/neck hurt from my injury, so I have been pretty confined to my bed for the day, researching places I can extern starting in November. (We need a list of 25 possible places since the economy everywhere is so down.) Isn't this rainbow swiss chard gorgeous? I love the orange ones where the color goes all the way up the leaf.

I never crave anything substantial or sweet for breakfast but today I had a craving for some french toast, so I made a banana & walnut stuffed french toast and had a nectarine on the side. It was huge so I couldn't eat the entire thing, but it was quite tasty, I added some cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg into the filling, so it brought out the sweetness of the dish.

I haven't really had much of an appetite lately, but since I have to take my neck medication with food, I whipped this up, some brown rice, chutney marinated steak and yummy swiss chard I had picked up from the farm market on the way back from the doctor. 

Hopefully I'll be able to go to the block party tomorrow, it sounds like a good time!

Friday, June 26, 2009

endless opportunities for extern

Happy Friday Everyone! It has been a long and eventful week to say the least. And to finish it off, as soon as I was done meeting with the career services counselor, a storm started and by the time I got to my car, I was dripping wet. On the positive side, the UK lifted its ban on student visas so now I can apply to work there for my externship :-D 

In class today, we made fresh pasta (fettuccine), sauteed chicken supreme with fines herbes sauce, and paysanne cut root vegetables. It was fairly straight forward and one of the tastiest dishes we have made yet. This was due to the sauce for one, we used 6 oz of glace de vollaile, chicken stock that has been reduced down to a gloss, about a gallon down to 2 cups, which results in an extremely concentrated chicken flavor. That is thinned out with some shallots, white wine, heavy cream, and finished with herbs.

Chef pounding out the chicken so its even thickness and cooking time:

And my paysanne (flat square) cuts of vegetables to be tossed with pasta right before plate up:

My fresh fettucine:

My sauteed chicken cooking. Saute traditionally is done completely on the stove (which we did), but can also be seared on the stove and finished off in the oven if you don't have enough burner space:

We poured off the excess fat, added the shallots, white wine, glace, heavy cream, and herbs. Here is my final plate:

Here is my friends plate she got from the America's kitchen at lunch. When she took the cover off, we all oohed at how pretty it was:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"atleast you dont have multiple sclerosis"

It's been a long day, filled with chicken fricassee, whipped potatoes, haricot verts, and xrays. In class, we demonstrated knife skills on certain vegetables in our fricassee sauce, made a blonde sear on the chicken, then stewed it in the oven for about an hour. The sauce was finished with heavy cream, vegetables, and fresh herbs.

Here is Chef's demo plate
All the trays lined up for the day with our ingredients:

Blonde searing the chicken

(no color)
After you take the chicken out, you make a thickening agent (roux) with the fat thats in the bottom of the pan, sprinkling some flour into it... which is called the singer method. Then we added some white wine, herbs, and chicken stock.
My plated dish: [see my pretty cubes of carrots... no level needed :)]

After class, I had a doctors appointment with a back specialist in Connecticut. I hate going to the doctor, but atleast the drive was pretty. Parts of it like this reminded me of Great Falls, and other parts past wineries and up mountains reminded me of tuscany...
After finishing up at the doctor, I thought I deserved a treat, so I stopped at the farmer's market for some yummy fruit and veggies

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"dont let mahsa do anything"

Yesterday, I had to do something I never wanted to, and missed a day of class because my back hurt so much I could barely get dressed in the morning.

Today it hurt pretty much the same, I barely slept last night but I knew I had to tough it out in class. Standing for six hours straight didn't help though. 

We made braised beef ribs, roasted root vegetables, and hard polenta. Polenta is originally an Italian grain that is cornmeal cooked with stock, similar to our grits in the south, though those are made with hominy and not cornmeal.

Chef said everything I presented was perfect but that my sauce was too "intense."-- He must not know me well enough...

Here is Chef searing all the ribs for us:
And flattening his polenta before cooling:

Chef's completed plate:

First we started by caramelizing mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery), then making a pincage, which means caramelizing the tomato paste with the mirepoix.

Then we add the short ribs and espagnole sauce (which is one of the mother sauces made with brown veal stock, mirepoix and thickened with a roux):

While the beef ribs are in the oven (for two hours), we made polenta. Here is Emily streaming the cornmeal into the stock:

After its cooked, we added some herbs and  parmigiana reggiano cheese and cooled it on a tray. After cooling, we cut it into triangles and shallow fried them in a saute pan:

Here is my completed plate (pretty good for being in so much pain, I'd say):

"fork tender" meat