Posts tagged ‘Culinary School’

October 19, 2011

Thoughts: Memories of the Farms…

Besides all the animal, vegetable and landscape pictures, I took some artsy (hi, Mom) pictures while I was in the North Fork Valley.

And for some reason I think you should see them. And you will like them.

 

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October 12, 2011

Food/Thoughts: North Fork Valley Recap…

This past week was a whirlwind. A good whirlwind.

Talking and working with Farmers. Learning how animals and crops work together. Taste testing. Sun burns.

Animal petting and feeding. Tractor driving. Calf birth. Sheep grading. Snow. Wine consumption. and a little cooking…

Here is a collection of some of my favorite pictures I took in the North Fork Valley. And there are 467 more pictures if you’d like to know….

Pears at Big B’s Organic Juices

 Pigs at The Living Farm

Sheep herd at The Living Farm

Black Welsh Sheep at Desert Weyr

Growing strawberries out of PVC pipes at The Living Farm

My lady goat at Avalanche Dairy Farm

Baby goats tasting my camera at Avalanche Dairy

View at Jack Rabbit Vineyard. Hops to the right, grape vines to the left and their gorgeous home.

Cattle at Jack Rabbit Vineyard

Pinot grapes at Mesa Winds Vineyard

Harvest Dinner salad..squash blossums filled with goat cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds, lemon cucumber, local mixed greens and an apple cider vinaigrette. YUM.

View from our Harvest Dinner.

Next up, is 9 days of working full shifts at a restaurant. I’ll be working at Colt and Gray. Then we graduate….and then what does the future hold???

 

September 30, 2011

Thoughts: End of Farm Week…on the front range.

Today is the last day of our farm work in the Front Range of Colorado at Abbondanza Organic Seeds and Produce. We head out on Sunday to the North Fork Valley for 9 days of farms there. If you haven’t seen my Facebook photo posts, here is a quick recap of what we harvested.

Lettuce

Rich, showing us how to bundle Radishes.

We were professionals by the end of the row…and we still had 2 more rows after that one.

Van full of Kale

Cleaning lettuce and arugula. I can’t tell you how good farm fresh arugula smells.

Dragon carrots

Broccoli

Onions…yeah we picked over 5000 in 4 hours…hard farm life.

Fragrant Tobacco Flowers and Seeds…we harvested the seeds.

Tomato seeds from this years crop of tomatoes…ready to be dried for next years sale.

All in all, a great experience. Farmers might just work the hardest – my back and legs are feeling it.

On to another adventure for the next 9 days. I’ll be posting and tweeting as the days go on…

 

September 22, 2011

Food/Thoughts: Final Day of Farm to Table.

And the final day of being in our school’s kitchen.

Chicken Consomme with Lamb Ravoli.

Warm Roasted Mushrooms with Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Crispy Parmesan and Garlic Chips

Rocky Mountain Trout en Pappiette, Celery root, Apple and Mustard.

Vanilla Gelato with Strawberries-Balsamic and Black Pepper Chutney and  Almond Praline.

 Chef Bob asked us at lunch what were are most memorable moments in the kitchen over the last 5 months and we just sat there staring at our empty plates and at each other. I personally was thinking, how quickly the time in this organized chaos of a kitchen has passed me by. Then again doesn’t everything seem to go by so fast?!?!

September 21, 2011

Food/Thoughts: Farm to Table Cuisine: Days 3 and 4.

On Day 3 we had…

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple, Coconut and Green Curry

Check out the dinner rolls..I ate a few too many of those…

Arugula with Braesola, Grana Padano Parmegiana, Lemon and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Rabbit Saddle stuffed with Sweet Corn, Mushroom and Potato, Braised Turnips and Reduction.

Red Plum Tart Tatin with Ginger Lemongrass Ice Cream

and Day 4 we had…

Clear Gazpacho with Spicy Shrimp, Avocado, Lemon, Cucumber and Basil

Rabbit Terrine with Apricots and pecans wrapped in Zuchinni with Orange Vinaigrette

Side view of the zuchinni wrapped around the rabbit.

Crispy Striped Seabass, Spinach Gnocchi, Braised Fennel, Heirloom Tomato and Fennel Nage

Warm Peach Soup and Frozen White Chocolate Mousse with Pistachio Tuiles

and a side view of the dessert.

Our last day in the kitchen is today. Sad but exciting to see what this next month of working on farms and in restaurants will be like.

September 16, 2011

Food/Thoughts: Yesterday at school.

Heirloom Tomato with Confit Garlic, Goat Cheese Mousse, Pine Nut Coulis, Basil Oil and Salt Crystals.

Finals are completed. But we still have a couple more weeks in the kitchen before we leave on our Farm Externship…I’ll tell you more about that soon. So for the next week we are immersing ourselves in more Farm to Table cuisine and using our Chef Instructors created menus that are inspired from his working days at his restaurant. He briefly goes over the menu, some cooking techniques but let’s us create the meal from seeing it listed on a menu. Cool stuff.

Here is what we made yesterday at school. Started with the above tomato salad…unbelievable, so seasonal and fresh with punches of flavors!!

Sweet Corn Soup with Saffron and Sea Scallops

You would think there would be cream in here but nope – just blended corn and stock. So simple with only a few ingredients.

Elk Shortloin with Roasted Squash Ravioli, Dried Cranberries, wine reduction and fried sage.

 If you have never had Elk – go eat some. If you think it would be ‘gamey’, well it isn’t. It is very lean with a rich meaty flavor – so good with the sauce and cranberries!

Palisade Peach and Blackberry Filo Tart with Hazelnut Gelato and toasted Hazelnut dust

 You have to check this out from the side…

The Filo sheets are resting on top of 3 blackberries swimming in blackberry coulis. Over the top!

**We were instructed to not copy these recipes or Chef would personally fire us, even if he wasn’t our boss. Use them as a tool and a guide but never copy…hhmmm.

September 12, 2011

Thoughts: Culinary School…the last few weeks in pictures.

Two posts in one day..I know crazy things are happening over here. This mornings post was pretty boring so I figured I could at least follow it with one full of pictures from the past…okay, I’m rambling. I’m nervous for my tests…and I’m done with one of them by now. Phew!

Yes, I haven’t been that regular with my Culinary School posts. But for your visual pleasure I have plenty of pictures to compensate for my lack of updates…

Brought to you by my trusty iphone..where would I be without you? probably paying more attention. No need to comment, parents.

Week 14 was our final Pastry week. Full of cakes, candles, chocolates, and contemporary desserts and plating.

Devil’s Food Cake with Vanilla Buttercream. My first official all from scratch cake.

Raspberry truffles rolled in raspberry powder. Heaven.

Strawberry chips. Seriously addicting. Seriously.

Lemongrass Creme Brulee with Wasabi Ice Cream and Roasted Strawberry Compote and chips…..a mouthful to both say and eat but with unbelievable textures and flavors. Wasabi Ice Cream needs to be repeatedly made over and over again.

Amaretto Semifreddo with Salted Caramel and Peach Beignets! No need to comment. DELICIOUS!!!

Weeks 15 and 16:  World Cuisine, wine, preserving, cheese and artisan bread making…Basically 2 weeks of 1k more calories each day than I should be consuming before 12noon.

Baklava with figs.

Roasted Halibut with artichoke, white bean, olives and roasted tomatoes in a herb broth.

Pistachio and orange white chocolate mousse on a raspberry and lemon coulis drizzled with dark chocolate. Yes, please!

Okay, there you have it. Off to breath. One test down and another one super early tomorrow, you will still be sleeping while I’m thinking about meat cuts and the dimensions of a batonnet.

September 12, 2011

Food/Thoughts: Bring on the Mystery Box.

Today is the day. The day of my Final Practical Exam with a mystery box.

Think Iron Chef, Chopped, MasterChef and Top Chef. Bring it on!!

Hopefully this dude doesn’t show up, cause I might have heart failure. Sunglass indoors scare me.

I will have 30 minutes to plan a menu from the 4 ingredients in my box. I will have to prepare an appetizer featuring seafood, an entrée with a protein (duck, pork, beef or fish) and a starch (risotto method, pasta, potatoes, etc..) and a veggie and finally a dessert with a few components.

Eekk.

Hopefully this nice guy doesn’t show up to heckle me.

The 4 ingredients in the mystery box have to be featured but I will have access to pantry items chosen by my Chef Instructor, to incorporate into the meal. After my 30 minutes of planning and production time, I will have 3 hours to prepare the entrée meal. I will be presenting at 12:00 MST to a set table (that I somehow have to set during the 3 hours of production)…so keep me in your food thoughts!

If I survive, I’ll be in touch. And I will be eating some of this and this right afterwards. If I survive!

August 19, 2011

Thoughts: Culinary School. Weeks 12 & 13.

Here is a recap with the highlights from the past two weeks of S.O.C. (System of Creation) Days at school! And they just happen to be my favorite day each week.

Mushroom risotto cake with kale puree

Asian turnip chips with slaw

Ginger coconut ice cream sandwiched with a spice cookie

Curry pork meatballs with a curry chutney

Avocado salad with sautéed mushrooms and zuchinni blossom

Espresso cream filled tart with crumbled biscotti topping

Passion fruit sorbet

 

August 1, 2011

Thoughs: Culinary School. Weeks 10 & 11.

In week 10, we completed our second Pastry week. Phew. I survived. Talk about a major shift in the brain department.

We made puff pastry, fruit pies, ice creams and gelato’s, piped butter cookies, macaroons and then pizzas.

Here is my gorgonzola, pear and walnut pizza with a drizzle of olive oil. Prefect light lunch!

Apple Caramel Upside down pie.

Then we had another shift in our brain’s – it was on to Italian week. We learned how to make pasta and used different applications – ravioli, fettucine, colored/flavored pasta and even made a ravioli with an egg yolk inside.

We also made Gnocchi, stuffed squid, Zabaglione, Panna Cotta, Bruschetta, Frico, Mushroom a la Grecque, Risotto Milanese, Osso Bucco,  polenta, and finished the last week’s lunch with Cannoli’s and biscotti and ice cream.

Now I need a break from Italian food.

Olive tapenade and red pepper pesto in olive oil and basil – great dipping sauce for our crunchy baguettes.

Osso Bucco Milanese

Here is my contribution to our ‘system of creation’. English sweet pea puree with a seared scallop topped with caramelized onions! Great started!

Another seared scallop application – over a bed of arugula with lemon and olive oil with pickled turnips and radishes!

Here is the almond biscotti with hazelnut ice cream. Very simple and light ending to the week of pasta.

This week is all about Regional American cuisine. We will be traveling to the South, Central, and Coastal regions.

Can’t believe this is week 12!

Have a great week everyone.

July 11, 2011

Thoughts: Culinary Exam Week.

Ssshhhhh. It is mid-term exam week.

You don’t really need to be quiet, actually words of encouragement are always welcome!

Get ready for a week of wordless posts full of pictures.

In order to save a few brain cells and energy typing and writing posts and taking and editing pictures. Hopefully the pictures that I took this past weekend will speak for themselves.

So enjoy. I’ll be back at the end of the week or maybe even over this coming weekend to fill you in on all the exam details. It will be exciting I promise!

 

This pictures makes me laugh. Don’t worry this won’t be happening to me this week…but then again I’m not sure what the lobster’s have planned for me!

June 24, 2011

Thoughts: Culinary School Week 6.

I can’t believe it has been 6 weeks. As I look back at the weeks, I am amazed at how much I have learned. This week in particular has been a jam-packed week (pun intended).

This week was Game Birds. So we explored ducks in detail – breasts, legs, carcass and the innards. We made duck confit, seared duck breast (picture below) and implemented the innards in about every possible dish throughout the week. Chef threw them into the risotto on Thursday…the heart cut up threw me for a loop.

We also discussed menu planning, plate presentation, and our critiquing and experimenting with foods we have eaten before and making them different.

Each week a different student is a bread baker. So for the week that student is in charge of baking the bread for the class for each day of the week. And it also means that the students has to be at school at 6:30 am – to get the dough together and start the proofing (rising/resting) process. And who was that student this week?

ME! I have no idea why I am making that face or doing that thing with my lips in this photo. Anyway, those are my baguettes that I made on Tuesday. After 2 days of making baguettes I moved on to Boules (rounds) with sun-dried tomatoes and another with black olives and roasted garlic. Yum.

We  had the pleasure of having Chef John Ash visit our class.


Chef Bob (my instructor) and Chef John Ash, listening to ‘story time’ at lunch. 

 

If you don’t know who he is, check out his website. He is a huge supporter of the ‘farm to table’ concept – which my school supports and implements – and he  is known as the “Father of Wine Country Cuisine” – good enough title for me to listen closely!

He gave a short presentation discussing the 5 most important things that we, as up and coming Chef’s, should know and become passionate about.

1. Good Meat.

2. Sustainable Fish

3. GMO’s (google it)

4. Know your Farmer. Know your food.

5. Healthy eating

It was so great to have him at school with us. He is such a celebrity, that I felt shy and didn’t really talk much. But still so thankful for his visit and soaked up everything that he had to say. Plus, he ate my bread.

We watched Chef Bob make mozzarella – the process involves kneading cheese curds in boiling water – hence the anticipation of pain in his face and hands. It was painful to watch but so good on top of veal.


I’ll end with a baguette shot!



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