Monday, February 01, 2010

All My Foodie Cousins

Well, it seems that I'm not the only one who has been banging pots and pans around in the kitchen lately. People with much more developed skillz than I have are also getting creative.

Also, I want to address a few criticisms I've heard regarding my recent attempts of nibbling at the edges of Asian cuisine. I think one of my favorite comments, from one of my Chinese friends, was It always amazes me how Caucasian folk can mess up Chinese cuisine, even if they have the tools of the trade in hand. Heh. Um, well, this is my first foray into the mysterious world of wok cookery, and I'm all about the baby steps. I've got a few recipes, and I'm following them to the letter. I'll experiment more once I have a few more dishes under my belt. Hell, I'm not even up to the Sandra Lee level of f*cking things up yet, much less Chef Ming. I'll get more authentic as time goes by. You gotta remember, I didn't grow up with a wok in my kitchen.

Also, Confucius say electric stove can no way get the wok hot enough for proper stir fry. Yeah, I'm also aware of that, but I have to work within the limitations of my kitchen. I've alerted the maintenance crew here at the apartment complex that I don't have a gas stove, and they're even less interested in replacing that than they are in replacing my broken garbage disposal.

But for now, I'm gonna sit back and enjoy my tasty leftover pineapple chicken and turn over the keys to my good friend Marlisha from Arizona. She already had some mad skillz in the kitchen, but she decided to crank it up a notch. Her words and pictures follow...

I've been attending Scottsdale Community College Culinary Arts Program since Jan. 19, 2010. I really enjoy cooking and sharing what I cook and bake with everyone--friends, family, and neighbors. Everyone usually tells me what a great cook I am and that I should pursue it. I've been wanting to go to culinary school for a few years but it's so expensive. I looked into SCC and saw that they had a culinary program and it was very affordable compared to the other schools like Le Cordon Bleu and Arizona Culinary Institute. I signed up in Sept. and here I am...

Here are a few of the projects I've been working on these past couple of weeks.

This picture has Hors d'ouevres of:

-Thin sliced cucumber on crostini with herbed compound butter and marscapone cheese, red bell pepper, and chive garnish.
-Cucumber cups with smoked salmon rosettes and yogurt garnish.
-Sushi rolls with poached shrimp.
-Endive leaves with goat cheese and figs.

These hors d'ouevres were all done by my classmates and myself. We were all separated into teams and we all had 3 or 4 different appetizers to work on. In this pic. one of my classmates and I worked on the endive leaf and goat cheese hors d'ouevre.

Here is a closer look at the Endive leaves with goat cheese and figs.

Here are some Cucumber canapes, herb butter, with chive and red bell pepper garnish. Quail egg canapes, marscapone spread with caper and micro lemon basil garnish.

For this one my classmate and I made the quail egg canapes. The filling was made from marscapone cheese, the yolks from the eggs, capers, cayenne, paprika, lemon juice, salt and white pepper, chives and sour cream. Garnished with capers micro lemon basil and paprika.

These are quail egg canapes. My classmate Joanna and I made these.

This is a Chicken salad sandwich with toasted almonds and cherries, on a croissant, with wild rice salad, and a baby greens bouquet garnish.

One day we got to make fresh mozzarella. This was our house salad for the day at the restaurant at the school, "The Artichoke Grill." Fresh mozzarella, tomato and asparagus salad, herbed crostinis with a balsamic honey reduction sauce for garnish. My classmates, Joanna, Katie, and I made this salad.

This is Asian noodle salad with shrimp spring rolls and dipping sauce. For this dish, all of us were separated into 2 groups with several kinds of noodles to make salads out of. This is the one I made.

Compound butters--these are just flavored butters. Room temperature butter with herbs, garlic, or any of your favorite things whipped in, then piped into a little dish with a pastry bag using a star tip to make it pretty. My classmates, Joanna, Katie, and I made these butters. They are parsley, chive, and garlic butter; the other one is orange honey butter. The third is just plain.

As far as the actual courses go, these are the ones I'm taking:

-Garde Manger (pronounced- gar manzhay)(This is a pantry chef--the cook in charge of cold food production including salads and salad dressings, cold appetizers, and buffet items).
-Dining Room Operations I (working in the campus restaurant)
-Culinary Principles/Kitchen Management I
-Food Costing/Purchasing/Inventory Control
-Food Service Sanitation/Safety/Stewarding.

In another few weeks I'll be finished with Garde Manger and Dining Room and I will switch over to my other classes: Hot Foods I and Pastry. I'm excited about the baking and pastry part.


Whew! Man, how good does that stuff look? This is how the pros do food, not recipe-book hackers like me. Seriously, I would *love* to take courses like these if money and scheduling weren't an issue. We talked on the phone for a bit last night and all the different dishes she was describing made me drool like a St. Bernard. Of course, she reminded me I still have an open invite to drive down to Phoenix and chow at their place any time I want, so it looks like I need to plan another trip. In the meantime, I think I speak for all of my readers when I say that we're very impressed and wish you only the best in your studies!

Also, Marlisha, if you keep sending pictures and descriptions of your class projects, I'll keep posting them here.


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