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Friday, December 3, 2010

Culinary School - Q3 Week 5

Week: 5 Day:1
Éclair paste
Pastry Cream
Vanilla Sponge Cake
Crème Chantilly
Paris Brest Cream

Specialty Equipment:
Piping Bag for Paris Brest

Mixing methods:
Sponge cake
Additional Information:
When mixing the éclair paste it is important to cook the mixture on top of the stove to help evaporate the extra moisture so that the mixture doesn’t stay too eggy. The éclairs won’t cook properly of they are too moist.

Outcome & Critique:
Our éclairs were a little flat but tasted good. I could eat the Paris Brest Cream out of the mixing bowl with a spoon. It was that delicious. I liked that we tossed our almonds in simple syrup before putting them onto the éclairs. That gave them a little extra je ne sais quoi!

I am not a fan of the sponge cake. To me it visually looks like a sponge making it a little unappealing to me. However the taste was not bad. I think we could have used more strawberries between the layers.

What could I have done different:
I would have tried to resist opening the oven too soon while the éclairs were baking.

Week: 5 Day: 2
Today’s Objective:
Mid Term:
Pastry cream
Sweet tart dough
Crème Brulee
Specialty Equipment:
Tart Pan, Torch

Mixing Methods:
Stirred Custard (pastry cream)

Assembly Instructions:
Roll tart dough to 1/4” thick, line tart pan and poke with fork so dough doesn’t bubble up. Line with parchment paper and fill with beans for blind baking.

Additional Information:
Bake Crème Brulee and let cool. Torch before presentation.

Outcome & Critique:
My Crème Brulee got a little over cooked on the top. I think it was because the over was too hot. It tasted ok though.

I laid out my fruit for the tart and could have given more thought to the layout. There was a lot of pastry cream that was showing. Perhaps I should have started with a ring or two of the kiwi, since the slices were round. It would have covered the cream more and lead into the red of the strawberries and then the red of the raspberries. This is a lesson learned for next time. My tart dough was also a bit thick. It takes some practice to get it to the right thickness since the sweet dough that we used is kind of delicate because it has a lot of butter in it. I will practice rolling it to the correct thickness at home.

What could I have done differently:
Tried to roll the tart dough thinner and really paid more attention to the temp of the oven before I put my crème brulee in to bake.

I wish I had remembered to take photos of my items before we ate them.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Culinary School - Q3 Week 4

Week: 4 Day: 1

Chocolate Pot de Crème
Baked Crème Brulee
Panna Cotta
Tres Leches Cake
Chocolate Soufflé

Specialty Equipment:
Bain Marie

Mixing methods:
Egg Custards

Additional Information:
It is important to not over whip egg whites for the soufflés.
Outcome & Critique:
Pot de Crème, Crème Brulee, Flan, Panna Cotta, and Tres Leches Cakes all baked and ready for refrigeration for final prep tomorrow. Chocolate Souffles baked. Ours had little bits of unincorporated egg whites all through it. It tasted ok but not great. The other team’s looked more smooth and pretty but collapsed right away. It tasted ok but I would have not ordered either of them in a restaurant.

What could I have done different:
If I were making the soufflés, I would have been careful about the incorporation of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture.

Week: 4 Day: 2

Today’s Objective:
Chantilly Cream
Chocolate Angel Food Cake
Decorating Caramel
Practical Quiz – Genoise

Specialty Equipment:

Mixing Methods:
Whipping heavy cream for Chantilly Cream

Assembly Instructions:
Ice Tres Leches Cake with Chantilly Cream, Decorate with meringues and Fresh Strawberries. Unmold Flan & Panna Cotta, Torch Crème Brulee, Garnish Pot de Crème.

Additional Information:
Due to a gas leak in the kitchens we were not able to do any cooking tonight.

Outcome & Critique:
My Panna Cotta was very stiff. I think this was due to me not cutting down the amount of gelatin sheets used when preparing the mixture. I liked the texture of it, but can see that it would have been better slightly less firm. The Flan was very good. I did think it could have used a little more cinnamon but it was yummy. The Crème Brulee was slightly over cooked but still tasted delicious. Our Pot de Crème didn’t quite set completely. It was almost like a thick drinking hot chocolate that I had once in Italy. The texture of the cake in the Tres Leches Cake was very coarse. I didn’t like it very much, but I am not a fan of Tres Leches cake.

What could I have done differently:
I think learning to tell doneness is going to be key. This comes with experience, and that takes time. It think that Chef having us look at and taste each groups products it will help us become more proficient at determining doneness.

I can’t believe that the mid-term is already next week. I don’t feel like I am prepared for that. Both my sister and my roommate have requested that I teach them how to make crème brulee.

Chocolate Pot de Creme

Creme Brulee

Toffee Caramel Flan

Tres Leches Cake

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

Until next week,


Culinary School - Q3 Week 3

Homework Assignment
Name of Meringue Procedure Ingredients Usages

Swiss - Warm egg whites to 100°F with sugar then whip Egg whites and sugar
Uses - Buttercream, mousse, baked

French (Common) - Whip egg whites with sugar, fold in remaining sugar Egg whites and sugar
Uses - Soufflé, cake ingredient

Italian - Hot sugar syrup poured into whipped egg whites Egg whites, sugar, corn syrup Uses - Buttercream, mousse, baked

Week: 3 Day: 1

Frozen Orange Soufflé
Chocolate Mousse Cake
Chocolate Mousse
Italian Meringue
Swiss Meringue
Common Meringue
Chocolate Genoise
Ganache truffles

Specialty Equipment:
Warming Box for drying meringues

Mixing methods:
Whipped egg whites

Additional Information:
When whipping egg whites you need to be sure that everything you use is clean and free from any fats. The presence of fat will affect the egg whites.

Assemble Chocolate Mousse Cake and refrigerate.

Outcome & Critique:
We accidentally made yellow Genoise instead of chocolate. The batter was over-whipped and was quite flat.

What could I have done different:
I was not the person working on the Genoise. I always read recipes through completely before starting.

Week: 3 Day: 2

Today’s Objective:
Form truffles
Laminate Croissant dough and bake
Make glazed Orange Peel

Specialty Equipment:
None today

Mixing Methods:
Rolling croissant dough

Assembly Instructions:
Roll truffle Ganache and coat with cocoa powder or powdered sugar.

Additional Information:
Be careful with letting the orange peel go too long in the simple syrup. It will be tough.

Outcome & Critique:
I loved the frozen orange soufflé. I thought it turned out really delicious. The Chocolate Mousse Cake was good but REALLY rich. The layer of Genoise on the bottom was paper thin.

The Truffles turned out quite sticky and I had a hard time shaping them because my hands seemed very hot. The Ganache kept melting in my hands. But, they were yummy.

We made some plain croissants, some filled with almond cream, some filled with chocolate and some filled with bacon. I thought they were a little too brown but Chef said they were fine. I really liked the way they tasted.

What could I have done differently:
I would have tried not to over fold the Genoise mixture before baking. It made the cake turn out paper thin, and kept an eye on the croissants so they didn’t over brown. I try to help my teammates but one of them resists my assistance and as a result over cooks things.

Classic Chocolate Mousse Cake
with Truffle garnish

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Frozen Orange Souffle

Until next week,


Culinary School - Q3 Week 2

Introduction to Pastry Arts

Vocabulary Week 2

Angel Food: A type of sponge cake
Chiffon: A light fluffy cake
Crumb coat: A light coating of icing to seal the crumbs on a cake
Flavorings: Vanilla, chocolate, fruit.
High Ratio: Cake: a creamed-fat cake that has a two-stage mixing method
Moisteners: Milk, juice, water
Specific Gravity: the weight of an ingredient or a mixture in relation to the weight of water
Tenderizers: Sugars, fats, egg yolks
Two Stage: liquids are added in two stages
Butter Cake: Butter cakes, also known as creaming-method cakes, begin with softened butter or shortening creamed to incorporate air cells
Creaming Method Cake: begin with softened butter or shortening creamed to incorporate air cells
Driers: Flours, starches, milk solids.
Genoise: A classic European style cake
Leaveners: Baking soda, baking powder, baking ammonia.
Ribbon Stage: The stage eggs are whipped to when they leave a ribbon in the bowl off the mixer whisks
Spongecake: Made by whipping egg yolks and whites. Gently folding flour into yolk mixture and then folding in the whipped whites.
Tougheners: Flour, milk, eggs, anything containing protein.


Bake Spongecake
Bake Carrot Cake
Make Carrot twists
Make Cream Cheese Icing
Make Raspberry Ganache
Make Cocoa Gelee
Start Croissant Dough

Specialty Equipment:
Stand Mixer

Mixing methods:
Using dough hook for croissant dough.

Additional Information:
You need to be careful to not over whip the egg whites for the sponge cake. They can get too stiff in an instant!

Outcome & Critique:
Even though my egg whites were almost too stiff, I used them in my sponge cake anyway. The cake turned out well.

What could I have done different:
I would be careful to really keep an eye on the egg whites to make sure I don’t over whip them.

Week: 2 Day: 2

Today’s Objective:
Ice and assemble Carrot cake
Fill and assemble Yule log
Laminate Croissant dough
Make leaves and berries with fondant

Specialty Equipment:
Glazing racks

Mixing Methods:
Kneading coloring into fondant.

The Croissant dough requires rolling out but the butter needs to be cold so that it doesn’t squish out during the laminating process.
Assembly Instructions:
Brush simple syrup on sponge cake, spread with ganache, cut ¼” slice of cake and stack to make rolling easier. Roll tightly using parchment to help roll. Coat with ganache, then coat with cocoa gelee. Make a diagonal cut from each end of roll to look like branches. Garnish with leaves and berries. Dust with powdered sugar.

Additional Information:
Stacked cakes need to be leveled before icing.

Outcome & Critique:
I was pleased with the Yule log, however, I am not a fan of the raspberry ganache. When I make a Yule log at home, I usually use a butter cream or whipped cream for the filling.

I liked our carrot cake. It was a different recipe than the other group used but I liked ours better. I thought our cake looked like a Dale Chihuly art piece.

What could I have done differently:
I don’t think I would have done anything differently. I was pleased with our products.

I did have a bit of a meltdown tonight. Some of my classmates have been treating me really disrespectfully. But Chef held me aside after class and talked to me about it. I am glad that she is aware of things that go on in class. I felt a lot better after talking with her.

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake Decorations

Chihuly Art

Yule Log

Yule Log

Until next week,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Culinary School - Q3 Week 1

Intro to Pastry Technique and Artistry

Fresh Berry Tart
Sweet Tart Dough
Pastry Cream Filling (Cornstarch Thickener)
Tart Glaze
Prepped Berries & Fruit
Poached Pear & Frangipane Tart
Spiced Poached Pears
Crème Anglaise
Fresh Peach Puff Pastries
Almond Cream

On Monday night we made the dough, the pastry cream, the creme anglaise, the almond cream, and poached the pears.

I was responsible for the Creme Anglaise, the Poached Pears, and the Frangipane.

On Tuesday night we built and baked everything. 

I assembled the Pear and Frangipane Tart, the Peach Puff Pastries, and I made a Pear Sorbet from the poaching liquid.  I made whipped cream by hand for the Peach Puff Pastries

Fruit Tart

Peach Puff Pastry

Whole Pear Frangipane Tart

Pear and Frangipane Tart
with Pear Sorbet

Recipes for next week
Carrot Cake
Cream Cheese Icing
Dried Carrot Crisps (use Banana Twists recipe)

Yule Log (Buche de Noel)
Vanilla Spongecake
Simple Syrup (as needed)
Raspberry Ganache
Cocoa Gelee

Parisian Croissant Dough

Food and Beverage Operations

UGH!  What is there to say about this class.  Other than, WHAT WAS I THINKING?

The instructor is a "non-chef".  But, he has been in the industry for about 30 years. The class will cover everything for running a food and beverage establishment.  Our first homework assignment is to read two chapters of our textbook and come up with eight questions and answers for each chapter.  He will use our questions for the mid-term and finals.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Restaurant Review - Pampas, Palo Alto

On Sunday night a group of us went to Pampas Restaurant in Palo Alto to celebrate a birthday.

 Pampas is a Brazillian Churascaria.  I had the rodizio.  That is the "meat buffet".  The servers come around carrying skewers of different meats and carve you off a hunk.  The rodizio is priced at $44. That includes all the meat you can eat, plus the unlimited side bar that consists of salads, pastas, cheeses, vegetables, and a bunch of other stuff. 

This is a list of the meats.

Picanha traditional Brazilian cut of top sirloin seasoned with rock salt and olive oil
Cordeiro leg of lamb marinated with garlic and mint
Costela de Cordeiro lamb chop marinated with garlic and ginger
Lombo pork loin with coriander adobo
Medalhão com Alho tenderloin filet seasoned with garlic and herbs
Medalhão com Queijo tenderloin filet with parmesan
Maminha tri–tip seasoned with rock salt and olive oil
Frango chicken thighs marinated with smoked paprika and lemon
Frango Picante chicken legs marinated with garlic, chili peppers, and vinegar
Linguiça house-made Brazilian pork sausage
Abacaxi slow-roasted pineapple
Peru turkey breast wrapped in smoked bacon
Fraldinha skirt steak with onion-herb marinade
Coração de Frango marinated chicken hearts (available upon request)

The meats were all delicious! My favorite was the Picanha.  So good!  And, I even ate a chicken heart! 

For dessert I had the Chocolate Torte. It was served with caramel ice cream and a toffee made with brazil nuts, and bacon.  Yummy!

The best part of the night was after dinner. We got to go into the kitchen and meet Chef Nikki Baverso.  She is the executive chef, at just 26 years old.  That's about the coolest thing ever!  She was so great explaining how things work and even said she would be happy to take some of us on for a stage!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Culinary School - Q3

Here it comes!  Q3 starts tomorrow!  I am really looking forward to Intro to Pastry!  I am not sure about Food and Beverage Ops.  I haven't been able to see the course online yet so I guess I will have to by the school tomorrow and see what is gonna been needed to be ready for Thursday night.  In the mean time, I need to get busy and the 10 recipes for this week written out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Culinary School - Q2 Final Grades

Concepts and Theories of Culinary Techniques - 94.8% Total = A
Fundamentals of Classical Techniques - 103.11%  Total = A

So even though I am not happy about my percentage in Concepts, it is still an A and I will take it!

We have this week off for break, but I will return next week for Q3 - Intro to Pastry and Food and Beverage Operations.

Until next week,

P.S. Ed, the Class ass has failed Fundamentals for the third time!  Hahahahahaha!

Culinary School - Q2, Week 11

Tuesday Class - Concepts and Theories of Culinary Techniques

Well, this is it.  Finals night.  I have studied the vocab, and the slides.  I am sure that I am ready.  The 100 question multiple choice test takes me about 20 minutes to complete.  I join the kids on the patio to wait for everyone else.  We decide to go to Santana Row to celebrate.  Everyone is feeling pretty good about how they did and we are in high spirits.  We end up at The Counter for burgers, sweet potato fries and fried dill pickle chips. After we sit there until 9:15 we decide to wander over to Borders.  There are 7 of us.  All sitting around on stools, ladders and the floor in the cookbook section. All of us have some cookbook or memior or some other food related book in our hands.  Even Dustin who is the only guy that ever joins in with us ladies.  I think he likes feeling like he has a harem.  We leave when borders closes and walk over to Pinkberry.  I have a small pomegrante yogurt.  I am surprised at how yummy it is!  We are lounging around one of the sitting areas in the middle of the row, excited chattering about what we plan to cook tomorrow night if we are allowed to choose our own final meal for class.  We finally break up and go our separate ways around 11.

We arrive and line up outside the kitchen for inspection.  Chef Lew is accompanied by our new Chef Director, Chef Jeff.  They are not only inspecting our uniforms but asking us each a question about something that we should have learned in class.  My question is "what is shigellosis?"  ICK! 

What is shigellosis?
Shigellosis is a gastrointestinal disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella.

Illness often occurs 1 to 2 days after exposure to Shigella, and lasts 5 to 7 days. This disease can be quite severe and lead to hospitalization, especially in young children and the elderly. Some people with shigellosis have very few or no symptoms, but can still pass Shigella to others. The diagnosis is usually made when a laboratory finds Shigella in the stool of an infected person.  Shigella is spread when the stool of a sick person passes into the mouth of another person. Spread of the illness most often occurs due to person-to-person contact, especially within families and childcare centers due to inadequate hand washing and poor hygienic habits. Sometimes, Shigella can contaminate food and cause illness among those who eat the tainted item. Food items that have been sources of outbreaks have included parsley, cilantro, lettuce, raw oysters, and even a commercially prepared bean dip. Shigellosis can also occur after drinking or swimming in contaminated water.

THERE!  Everything you need to know about Shigellosis.

After I answer I am allowed to enter the kitchen.   We stand around waiting for our instructions unsure of what is going to happen.  Finally, Chef has finished inspection.  He comes in and tells us that due to time constraints we will not have to make a soup.
We must save our waste to show him when we present our meals.  He wants to make sure we are learning to minimize waste.  We are allowed to pull whatever protein we want off the cart but we must make sure we take only what we will use.  I decided I wanted to make Chicken Piccata.  Naturally, I won't be lucky enough to get 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, because that isn't how the school works.  They only order whole chickens because we need so much stock.  I manage to get one of the others to partially cut up the chicken, giving me the breasts.  But they are still on the bones and still have skin on them.  It's now or never for me.  I have got to get through getting these breasts off the bone, skinned and pounded without gagging or I am never going to pass this class.  I am so proud of myself for doing that part that I know I can fly through the rest.  I am making mashed potatoes, and broccoli with red pepper flakes to go with my Chicken Piccata.  I peel my potatoes and get them cooking, I blanch up my broccoli, I bread my chicken.  I get the potatoes mashed and into the hot box (a large metal box that keeps food warm).  Get the broccoli shocked and into the box, saute the chicken breasts and get them into the box.  I deglaze the pan and get my sauce going.  Chef Lew peeks over my shoulder and says "smells like chicken piccata" with a smile.  "Yes, Chef!" I reply.  Confident because I know I am the only one making this.  When class first started we had to select the time we wanted to present and we had to be ready at that time.  I took the first time available, 8:30.  Then Chef said that if we finished and wanted to present early we could.  I was finished with my two plates at 8:15 so I presented early.  Chef asked me to describe what I was serving and all of the cooking techniques and ingredients I had used.  Chef took one bite of the meal, pronounced it very well presented and cooked and released me to eat the other plate.  I thought it looked so good I forgot to take a picture of it before I ate it!  As I was sitting down to eat mine in the dining room, Chef looked at me through the window, gave me an odd smile and shoved the whole piece of chicken into his mouth!

Tonight is "Kitchen Appreciation night".  All Fundamentals students have to spend their last night in the kitchen cleaning.  We spent 2.5 hours scrubbing all the stoves, ovens, the grill, and degreasing all the pots and pans.  Then it was over.  We were free to go.  I went to Dave and Busters with the gang.  We had a few drinks and some food and then went our separate ways.


The finale of the Aluminum Chef series took place at the School tonight. The Secret Ingredients were Pumpkin, Chicken and Champagne Grapes. It was interesting to see how the teams were working together. Each team having only 30 minutes to plan a menu utilizing all three ingredients in the best ways. I was surprised that two of the teams chose to make a pumpkin soup. It made me think about how I would have used the ingredients. The first team cooked a pumpkin soup, chicken encrusted with pumpkin seeds over a wild mushroom risotto and a champagne grape sorbet. I tasted the first team’s food. I liked the chicken, it was moist. I did think it needed a little salt. The Risotto tasted a little bland. The Sorbet was delicious at first but if you ate more than a few bites it had a super sweet finish. I think they did the best they could under the time constraints. It must be incredibly difficult to make sure everything is on point with taste and temp. The second team also made a pumpkin soup. Their chicken was served over a broiled polenta. Unfortunately their dessert didn’t come together. The last team presented a beautiful appetizer trio. A pumpkin ravioli, a salad with the champagne grapes and a pumpkin ginger puree. Their second course was a type of Coq au Vin. They served it with mashed potatoes and sautéed mushrooms. It looked great, and it smelled great. I wish I could have tasted it. Their dessert was a sort of like a tart. It had a crust and then they boiled down the grapes with some raspberry puree. It had a Chantilly cream on top of it that looked a little soupy. I would like to participate in the aluminum chef in the next go-round. It seems like it would really test the boundaries of your creativity.

It was really interesting to see the way that my classmates used the things they have learned in their classes. I hope that I can make the same kinds of leaps in my skills as they have. This is the reason I chose to come to this school.

Culinary School - Q2 Week 10

Tuesday Class - Concepts and Theories of Culinary Techniques

As this is week 10 we are done with Vocab!  yay! Tonight we go over slides on Fish and Shellfish.  I have seen slides almost identical to these in my Purchasing and Product ID class last quarter so I try not to zone out.  Chef is talking about poaching fish to keep it moist which gets me giggling.  When he asks whats up, all I can say is "you said moist" and go into another fit of giggles, sending about half the class into giggles.  We finally manage to get through the slides, and talk about what to expect tomorrow night. 

The plan is that we will do as much of the prep work as we can on Wednesday night, so that on Thursday all we have to do is finish cooking everything.  Chef lets us go early with the instructions to bring all of our recipe cards to class tomorrow night.

Recipes: Ribs, Flank Steak, Chicken, Shrimp, Rib Eye, Salad, Tempura, Rice.

On Wednesday night we did all the prep work for our Family Night meal. In my group I was responsible for making the BBQ sauce for the ribs, and a Honey Mustard Dressing for the salad. Everything went pretty well. We finished up and we able to get out of the kitchens by 9:30.   I was stuck in the group with Ed, the class ass again but he was busy with the shrimp and since I am allergic to shellfish our paths didn't cross much.

On Thursday night, we arrived in the kitchens and immediately started cooking all the food we had prepped.  Our families were due to arrive at 7:00 pm so we had about 90 minutes to get everything cooked.  The kitchens were crowded and people seemed to be panicked so I took myself out of the equation by moving over to the dish sinks.  I figured if I could keep up on the pots and pans we would have less to do after our families left. I stood at the sinks scrubbing for the whole 90 minutes.  But I managed to get almost all the dirty stuff washed and put away before we served the meal.  Andea and Loretta came as my family. I wanted them to see what I have been working so hard at. It seemed like all of the families enjoyed the meal as there were no leftovers! 
So, next week is our final.  I can't believe it.  Chef won't tell us what protein we will be working with.  I guess we will find out when we get to the kitchens. 
Until next week,

Culinary School - Q2 Week 9

Tuesday Class - Concepts and Theories of Culinary Techniques

Still waiting for Chef to grade our sanitation quizs from last week. Tonight we go over slides on roasting and braising.  We will be making Pot Roast, Chicken pot au feu, Swiss Steak and Coq au Vin this week.  After class I went out with some of the "kids".  We went to pasta pomodoro and had a glass (or two) of wine and talked about class. Next week Thursday is "family night".  I have invited two of my besties to come to the school and see what I have been up to.  We won't know what we will be cooking until we arrive in the kitchens next wednesday to do the prep.

Week 9 Vocabulary
Concepts & Theories of Culinary Techniques Vocabulary Assignment Week 9

Blanquette – a white stew that is made without browning the meat first.
Braising – a combination of cooking. First browning the meat then cooking in the oven.
Daube – a classic French stew made with braised cubed beef.
Estouffade – meat cooked slowly in very little liquid.
Fricassee – a stewed dish usually made with chicken but sometimes made with veal, or rabbit.
Navarin – a brown ragout made with root vegetables
Pot Roast – Braising meat in liquid in the oven.
Ragout – the French term for a stew.
Stewing - To cook by boiling slowly or simmering.
Swiss Steak – meat that has been pounded thin to be tender then braised.
Flatfish – a fish such as flounder or sole, with both eyes on one side of the head.
Roundfish – this is a fish with two rounded sides allowing for filets from both sides of the fish.
Net Fishing – fishing using a net rather than a hook and line.
Farm Fishing – fish that are raised in farms. Salmon, trout, sometimes European sea bass.
Line caught fish – fish caught with a hook and line rather than a net.
Langoustines – a miniature lobster.
Blue Crabs – a type of crab from the atlantic ocean.
Cephalopods – squid or octopus
Crustaceans – lobster, shrimp, crabs.
Bivalves – oysters, clams, scallops. It has a hinged shell.
Univalves – a shellfish that only has a one sided shell and a sucker foot like an abalone.
Monkfish – a large headed angler fish from the north atlantic ocean.
Pinbones – the tiny bones in fish (mostly salmon).
Surimi – a Japanese fish puree.
Whole Fish – a fish that comes ungutted.
Drawn Fish – a fish that has been cleaned of its entrails.
Dressed – fish that has been gutted, and had the scales, gills and fins removed.
Butterflied – boneless meat or fish that has been sliced almost completely in half so that it opens and lays flat.
Filleted – a piece of meat or fish that has had the bones removed.
Steak - A slice of meat or fish usually cut thick and across the muscle grain and served broiled or fried.
Wheel – a whole cheese. Like a wheel of parmigiano reggiano. 36 kilos.


Recipes for tonight are: Chicken Pot au Feu and Pot Roast, along with Potato Latkes and Glazed Carrots with Pecans.  Wednesday was a hard night for me.  I was completely off my game because of a meeting I had with Chef Jeff. I made a comment to him that I later regretted and it disturbed me all night.  My Potato Pancakes kept turning brown from the air because I couldn’t make them until everything else was ready. I had to throw away the first batch.  Then I cut a chunk of the top of my thumb off. I don’t think I will ever make the Chicken pot au feu.  It looked icky to me.  The “pot roast” was tasty even if it was carved with the grain instead of against it.  I liked the carrots best.  I never realized how much I like carrots until we started cooking them in class.
Pot Roast with Potato Latkes

Chicken Pot au Feu


Recipes for tonight are: Swiss Steak, Coq au Vin, Sugar Snap Peas and Fried Potatoes and Onions.

On Thursday night we made Coq au vin and Swiss steak.  Both were quite tasty.  I enjoyed the Swiss steak.  I haven’t had it in many years.  We were working with our original teams again tonight.  While I felt more myself tonight I still managed to burn my wrist.  The realization that next week is our last week of “learning” before the final has hit and I wish this class was longer than just 11 weeks.  I have learned so much from Chef Lew and I know I could learn so much more from him. But, it’s time to move on.  We will be cooking for our family and friends next week.  We are each allowed to invite two people to come to the school.  I wish we could have more as there are a lot of people I wish I could invite.  I will be taking intro to pastry next quarter which I am looking forward to. My other class will be food and beverage operations, which is not required for my diploma but was the only other night class available for me. I will have to be careful in the coming quarters to be sure I can get my 9 units and stay within my required courses.
Swiss Steak

Coq au Vin

Until next week,

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Culinary School - Q2 Week 8

Tuesday Class - Concepts and Theories of Culinary Techniques

Chef has a quiz for us tonight.  It is on the Safety and Sanitation class that most of the class is taking online to get their servsafe certificate.  I took this class at Mission College two years ago and already have my certificate so I don't have to take this class here.  Unfortunately for me, it's been two years since I studied any of this stuff.  The test is 80 multiple choice questions.  As I look at it, most of it comes back to me.  After the test we are free to go home!  I stop at the Kohls on El Camino Real for Mogo BBQ!  Now I know why my friend Rene has been stalking Mogo, and BBQ Kalbi.  Amazing spicy pork tacos!  I start following food trucks on twitter.  Big Mistake!  I am now possessed by the whole food truck movement.  I found out about "Off the Grid" which is an event at Fort Mason in San Francisco on Friday nights.  They have something like 35 food trucks selling everything from Creme Brulee to Mushroom Empanadas to Roasted Duck Tacos.  DELISH!

Week 8 Vocabulary
Concepts & Theories of Culinary Techniques Vocabulary Assignment Week 8

Basket Frying – using the basket on a fryolator.
Broil – a method of cooking with dry heat coming from an overhead source.
Court Bouillon – water simmered with vegetables, seasonings and an acid for poaching fish.
Cuisson – French for quick braising.
Deep-Fry - cook by submerging in hot oil.
Double Basket Frying – putting food into one basket and then placing another basket on top of it to keep food submerged.
Fumet – a stock made with fish bones.
Grill – a dry heat cooking method with heat coming from below the food.
Pan-Fry – placing food in a moderate amount of fat and cooking on the stove top.
Poach – to cook by submerging in simmering water.
Recovery Time – the amount of time a cooking liquid takes to return to the desired temp after putting food into it.
Saute – cooking over high heat with just a little bit of hot fat.
Shallow Poach – a combination of poaching and steaming food, usually vegetables.
Simmer – cooking food by submerging it in a hot liquid that is just below the boiling point.
Smoke Point – the temperature at which oil will smoke.
Swimming – foods are gently dropped into hot fat and allowed to swim to the surface.
NAMPS – National Association of Meat Purveyors.
W.O.G – with out gizzards.
C.A.B – Certified Angus Beef.
Grillardin – the person that is responsible for the grilled foods in the Brigade system.
Wagyu – a type of cattle bred with a high predisposition for marbling.
Steak Tartare – ground steak mixed with eggs, onions, capers. Eaten raw.
Carpaccio – a dish of raw meat (generally beef, but sometimes veal, venison, salmon or tuna) sliced super thin.


Recipes for tonight are: Sole Meuniere, Whipped Herbed Potatoes, Italian Style Sauteed Spinach, and Steak au Poivre.

Chef has us draw numbers, all the 1's together, all the 2's together and so on.  I am paired with Bobby, Eva and Jerry.  Jerry is going to cook the Sole.  I am on Steak au Poivre, Bobby does the Whipped potatoes and Eva does the Spinach.  We work together like a real team.  We push each other and are the first to present to Chef.  The sole was perfectly golden.  It tasted delicious.  Chef also said my beef was perfectly cooked and he was happy that I didn't over cook it.  It's hard to get it cooked properly because the beef is so thin.  Everything was yummy delish!  I had a great team to work with and I was happy when at the end of the night we left the kitchens at 9:15!
Steak Au Poivre with Italian Spinach

Sole Meuneier with Italian Spinach
Recipes for tonight are: Pan Fried Chicken, Sauteed Chicken Chardonnay, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Basic Pasta.
Chef has decided to play a different game tonight.  He picks three people randomly and makes them captains.  Then they pick their teams.  I have flashbacks of getting picked last in high school.  Fortunately, I am the second pick for my team.  The last pick is the one I was dreading.  The guy I can't stand. Crud!  So the team for tonight will be Jerry, Jesse, Eva, Me and Ed.  We divide up duties.  Eva is on Sprouts, Jerry will do the Chicken Chardonnay, Jesse is on Potatoes, Ed is on Pan Fried Chicken, leaving me with Pasta.  I have never made pasta.  I know its pretty easy though.  Except that I didn't realize we were making pasta when we were getting our equipment out of the cupboards.  The ones Chef locks 30 minutes after class starts to train us to get everything we need for our meals.  I did find a rolling pin so I had that, but I had to do everything for the pasta by hand.  No machine.  I ended up making something that was a cross between fettucini and spaghetti.  I had made compound butter the night before so after I boiled my pasta, I tossed it into a saute pan with the compound butter and some garlic.  It went on the plates with the Sauteed Chicken Chardonnay and some Brussel Sprouts.  Ed was screwing around making ribs that he brought into class and some chicken wings that Chef found and not working on his food.  I kept saying we needed to concentrate on our food for the night but he just kept doing his own thing.  It made me mad so I just walked away and worked on my pasta.  It was almost our time to present to Chef and Ed tried to change the time because he wasn't ready. Chef saw that and made us present at our original time.  As it was, Ed's sauce was too thick and he had used the wrong chicken.  I hope Chef doesn't mark us all down because of that. 
Pan Fried Chicken

Sauteed Chicken Chardonnay with Handmade Pasta

Next week, Braising!

Culinary School - Q2 week 7

Tuesday Class - Concepts and Theories of Culinary Techniques
Tonight we have a substitute teacher.  Chef Lewis is out sick so Chef Rachael will cover for him.  She drives us hard on our poultry knowledge.  Half the class cut when they found out Chef Lew was out.  Too bad for them, they missed a good class.

Week 7 Vocabulary
Concepts & Theories of Culinary Techniques Vocabulary Assignment Week 7

A la Minute – cooked to order as in, when the customer orders it.
Aging – the time that meat is allowed to sit so rigor mortis can go away.
Beurre Manie – a mixture of flour and softened butter whisked into sauce at the last minute to thicken and add shine.
Beurre Noisette – the French term for browned butter.
Broiler/Fryer Hen – a tender young chicken, about 7 weeks old.
Brown Butter – Same at Beurre Noisette
Capon – castrated male rooster. Good for roasting. Hard to find.
Clarified Butter – butter that has been melted and then had the milk fats and water removed.
Compound Butter – soften butter that has flavorings or spices added to it.
Free-range – chickens or veal that is allowed to move about freely.
Grading – a quality program set up by the USDA.
Hen – a chicken bred for laying eggs.
Inspection – the process that food undergoes to determine quality and grade.
Roaster – a young chicken for roasting.
Trussing – to tie up the meat with butchers twine.
Yield Grade – a program that measures the amount of usable meat on a carcass.


This week we are finally cooking a whole meal!

Recipes for tonight are: Roasted Chicken with pan gravy, Wild Rice Pilaf, Vichy Carrots and Steamed Green Beans.
One of my teammates is absent tonight so there are just two of us.  Augustine handles the chicken (since we know i can't do it without getting sick) and I take on the veggies and the rice.  I am not a fan of wild rice, but we have to do it.  Everything turns out great and Chef applaudes us for our ingenuity on plating.  We used some 12"X12" tiles that we found on the shelves and some little cream pitchers for the gravy.
Roasted Chicken Dark Meat
Roasted Chicken White Meat


Recpies for tonight are: Roast Beef Jus Lie, Potaotes Anna, Broccoli with Candied Pecans, Stuffed Tomatoes Duxelles and Cheddar Leek Soup.

Again tonight there are only two of us on my team. Chef has taken another team that is down to two people and paired them with us.  This is our first time working with someone outside of our team.  I am glad to finally be working with someone else from the class.  Jesse will take on the soup.  Eva will do the tomatoes duxelles, and Augustine will do the meat again.  I am doing the potatoes anna and the broccoli.  Everything goes great working with Jesse and Eva.  They both tell me at the end of class that they learned a lot from me. :)
Roast Beef, Potatoes Anna, Tomatoes Duxelles, Broccoli with Candied Pecans and Cheddar Leek soup.

  Chef has warned us that we will not be with our teams anymore.  He will randomly assign us to new groups.  There is one person I do not want to be in a group with.  The guy is a huge "know it all" and quite an ass.  So, naturally with my luck, I will get paired with him.
Until next week,

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Culinary School - Q2 Week 6

Tuesday Class - Concepts and Theories of Culinary Techniques

Mid term this week.  A 100 question multiple choice quiz and an "egg" quiz. On the Egg quiz we must name all five parts of the egg correctly, then give the proper weights for the yolk and whites, and define egg grades. This is a piece of cake and we are allowed to leave when we are finished.

Week 6 Vocabulary
Concepts & Theories of Culinary Techniques Vocabulary Assignment Week 6

A Point – a cooking term that refers to medium rare.
Butcher’s Yield – a system for figuring food costs.
Carry-over Cooking – the term that refers to the cooking that takes place after an item has been removed from the heat.
Carving – to cut meat into portions.
Connective Tissue – the tissues that hold the muscles and other tissue together.
Convection – cooking by hot air circulating around the food.
Cryovac – vacuum packaging.
Fabricated Cuts – single portion cuts from less that optimal meat.
Green Meat – meat that is freshly slaughtered. Has not been aged.
Marbling – the mixture of meat and fat.
Medium – warm pink center.
Medium Rare – warm red center, pinkish outside.
Medium Well – mostly brown meat with a very little pink.
Portioned Controlled Cuts – measured cuts of meat that are cut to a specific weight.
Primal Cuts – the first cutting up of a new carcass.
Rack – section of the ribs from beef or lamb, or pork.
Roasted – meat that has been cooked in a dry heat oven.
Roasting – cooking meat with a dry heat.
Rotisseur – the person that is responsible for the roasting or grilling of meats.
Scallopini – cutlets that have been pounded to be thin and all the same thickness, such as veal or chicken.
Shish Kebob – chunks of meat on a skewer and grilled or roasted.
Silverskin – the tough connective tissue around muscle.
Slicer – a machine used for cutting.
Tenting – to put foil over food to keep the heat in.
Tournedos – a thick steak from a beef tenderloin.
Well Done – meat cooked to brown with no sign of pink. (Also known as a crime against meat everywhere!)

Wednesday/Thursday Class - Fundamentals of Classical Technique

This week, STARCHES! This will be part of the "No Carb Left Behind" Experiement. While we were cooking Chef called us out one by one to discuss our mid-term grades.  I received a 91.  That was the second highest in the class.  I missed being the highest by one point.  The person that finished above me had help from her foster brother who happens to be our TA.  I consider that cheating but I will still take my A and be proud of it. Chef tells me that he knows I am a good cook, he thinks I just need a little refinement.  I can't say I disagree.

Tonight we are cooking potatoes.  Baked, Croquettes, Gratin Dauphinaise, Duchesse, and Lyonaise. 
Baked Potatoes

Potato Croquettes

Duchesse Potatoes
Potatoes Lyonaise

Gratin Dauphinaise

Tonight there are only two of us on my team.  We are responsible for making four of the six dishes we are cooking tonight. The one teammate that is here with me is VERY slow.  She makes the Rice Pilaf and the Fettucini Carbonara.  I make Risotto, Polenta, Spaetzle and Potato Gnocchi.  Chef deems my Risotto and Polenta to be the best in the class!

That's it for this week.  Next week we get to make REAL food!

Until next week,

Culinary School - Q2 Week 5

Tuesday Class - Concepts and Theories of Culinary Techniques

This week we looked at slides of vegetables and talked about the dishes we would be making in class on Wednesday and Thursday night. We also got a look at the mid term.  Chef decided to wait and give us the mid term in Concepts next week.

Week 5 vocabulary list
Concepts & Theories of Culinary Techniques Vocabulary Assignment Week 5

Baby Vegetables – fully ripe miniature vegetables.
Cabbages – a leafy head vegetable that comes in many varieties.
Concassee – the process of blanching tomatoes to remove the peels and seeds.
Fruit- edible part of a flowering plant that contains seeds or pits.
Vegetables – herbaceous plant that can be partially or wholly eaten. Lettuces, onions, seeds, roots, and tubers.
Gourds – a group that includes squash, pumpkin, and zucchini.
Greens – leafy vegetables like, collard greens, mustard greens.
IQF – individually quick frozen.
Mushrooms – a type of funghi. Some are edible, some are not.
Onions – a bulb that is edible.
Pods – vegetable such as snap peas.
Roots - edible vegetable such as carrots or daikon. Grows under the ground.
Seeds – the unfertilized part of a plant.
Stalks – edible plant stems, such as celery or broccoli.
Squashes – a vegetable that grows on a vine, patty pan squash, butternut.
Truffles – flavorful tubers that grow near the roots or oak or beech trees.
Tubers – potatoes, yams.

Wednesday/Thursday Class - Fundamentals of Classical Technique

Mid Term!  EEK!  The written portion was 100 questions multiple choice, write the recipe and method for making brown stock, identifiy 20 items of kitchen equipment, 20 items of produce and 20 items of spice and herbs.  For the practical portion we had two hours to make a mother sauce, a derivative sauce, a soup and knife cuts.  My Mother sauce was Espagnole, the derivative was Poivirade, and my soup was Cream of Asparagus.  The knife cuts were Julienne, Battonette and Medium Dice.
Tonight we are cooking.  Good thing because the mid term kicked my ass.  It was hard to get everything finished on time when everyone else was also trying to use the stove tops at the same time.  So, tonight we are making vegetables. Baked Butternut Squash, Braised Celery, Broccoli Almondine, Cauliflower Gratin, Grilled Vegetable Skewers, Steamed Green Beans.  Out of the six listed, I made three.  One of my other teammates made two and the last teammate made one.  I made the Broccoli Almondine, the Cauliflower Gratin, and the Steamed Green Beans.  They all turned out great.

Braised Celery
Broccoli Almondine

Grilled Vegi Skewers
Roasted Butternut Squash

Steamed Green Beans
Until Next Week,

Monday, August 16, 2010

Culinary School - Q2 Week 3 Recipe for Food Gal

Chicken Waterzooi Soup Makes 16 Servings


Chicken, whole 1 to 3 1/2 lb
cold Chicken stock 1 gal
Sachet d'epices, prepared 1 ea
Roux, pale, prepared 3/4 lb
Carrots, allumette 5 oz
Celery, allumette 5 oz
Turnips, allumette 3 oz
Potatoes, Russets, allumette 8 oz
Leeks, allumette 4 oz
Egg yolks 3 ea
Half and half 1 1/4 pint
Salt 1 tsp
White pepper 1/2 tsp
Parsley, chopped 1/4 bu

1) Assemble all ingredients and equipment needed to prepare the recipe.
2) Place the chicken, cold stock, and sachet d'epices into a stock pot and bring to a boil. Simmer it for 45
minutes, skimming the surface if necessary.
3) Remove the chicken and let it cool down.
4) Strain the chicken broth and combine it with the cold roux and bring it to a boil, simmer the soup for 1 hour.
5) Add the vegetables to the soup and continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
6) Combine the egg yolk with the half and half. Temper the liaison with the hot veloute and add the liason to the veloute.
7) Remove the chicken meat from the bones and skin, dice the meat to medium dice and add to the soup.
8) Bring the soup to serving temperature. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, garnished with the parsley.
9) Serve as required.
10) Properly wrap, label, store, chill and rotate.

Culinary School - Q2 Week 4

Tuesday Class - Concepts and Theories of Culinary Techniques

Concepts this week was devoted to slides and talking about eggs and breakfast. We will be cooking breakfast this week in Fundamentals.

Week 4 vocabulary list
Concepts & Theories of Culinary Techniques Vocabulary Assignment Week 4

Boiled Eggs – eggs cooked by placing in boiling water
Buttermilk – this is the product that is left over after churning cream for butter. Or it can refer to the fermented dairy product.
Coagulation – this could refer to what happens when milk is mixed with rennet in the process of making cheese. Or the process of something as it goes from liquid to a thickened state.
Coddled Eggs – eggs cooked by immersing them in nearly boiling water.
Conditioned Pan – a pan, usually cast iron, that has been seasoned with oil. You don’t wash with soap and water, only wipe clean.
Custard – a creamy liquid made from egg yolks and milk or cream cooked over a bain marie or baked in the oven.
Eggs en Cocotte – eggs cooked in a ramekin with a bit of butter and baked until the white is cooked and the yolk is soft.
Eggs Over Easy – the egg white is partially cooked the yolk remains liquid.
Eggs Over Hard – cooked on both sides until the yolk has solidified.
Eggs Over Medium – cooked on both sides. The white is fully cooked, the yolk is still liquid.
Homogenized – a process to keep milk fats from separating from the milk and forming a coating of cream on top of the milk.
Omelet – a dish made from beaten eggs, sometimes stuffed with meats or cheese. Can be rolled or folded.
Pasteurized – something that has been heated to a certain temperature to kill bacteria.
Quiche – a dish with a crust made from eggs and custard with a variety of flavorings and seasonings added.
Scrambled Eggs – cooked from beaten eggs, sometimes liquid such as milk or water can be added to make fluffy eggs.
Shirred Eggs – same as eggs en cocotte.
Soufflé – a sweet or savory dish made with egg whites that have been whipped.
Sunny Side Up – cooked on one side. Yolk is runny, white is mostly cooked.
Hollandaise – a sauce made from egg yolks, lemon juice, and butter.

Wednesday/Thursday Class - Fundamentals of Classical Technique


Finally! We are cooking REAL food! Tonight we will concentrate on cooking eggs. I flipped an omelet for the first time! I was so excited. I have always wanted to be able to do this! We have to make a plate of eggs for Chef to check. One Poached, one sunny side up, one over easy, one over hard, and one omelet. Mine are perfect! Yay! At home I cheat with poached eggs because I have an egg poaching pan. Now I know I can do it the real way!


Tonight Chef has each team work as if we were on a restaurant line. While my teammates were prepping their stuff I made chocolate sauce, whipped cream and some garnishes. My team of three has an order for two French toasts, one Crepe, one Omelet, and two eggs sunny side up. I set out to make the crepe and the sunny side ups. I have never made crepes. The crepes and Eggs are out, The omelet is almost finished and the French toast is taking longer than my teammate expected. So, I crank out some chocolate chip pancakes too send out compliments of the chef (me). Our food was good, and Chef said I was thinking like a chef by sending out a complimentary dish to keep the customers happy.

Sunny Side Up
French Toast

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Chocolate Banana Crepes

Until next week,