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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Culinary School - Week 8, Southwest and Rocky Mountains

Holy Crap, it's week 8 already!

Feb 28 – Mar 1, 2011
Southwest / Rocky Mountains

Day one

The Menu:
Tortilla Chips, Salsa Fresca, and Tomatillo Salsa
Poblano and Potato Soup
Marinated Grilled Quail on Spinach Salad
Pumpkin Seed-Crusted Trout
Calabacitas Con Maize
Annatto Rice and Queso Fresco
Tres Leches Cake

The Food:
Tonight we made salsa. I make this at home all the time so I left someone else in the group make it. The Poblano and Potato Soup is like a hot Vichysoise only spicier because of the peppers. The Quail and Spinach Salad was a quick and easy dish to make. I am not a fan of Trout. But I make it a point to at least try everything we cook that I am not allergic to. We didn’t have the Calabacitas so we used zucchini instead. Annatto Rice is on the menu for tonight. Annatto is derived from Achiote trees. It’s mostly used to make yellow and orange food colorings but it is also used as a flavoring. It has a slightly peppery taste. I am not a fan of Tres Leches cake but the one we made tonight was better than the recipe we used in the pastry class.

I liked the chips and salsas. We baked our chips tonight, Chef said the soup had too much white pepper but for my taste it was good. I think I might like to try some crumbled chorizo on top next time. The Quail salad was good. I don’t care for trout. I find it too fishy but Sotha did a good job pan frying it. The pumpkin seeds made a nice crust on it. I really liked the Calabacitas and corn. But I am a huge fan of squash. I also really liked the rice. The Annato powder gave it a good flavor. We made Tres Leches cake in pastry last quarter and I thought the one we made tonight was better. The Rice was my favorite component tonight.

Chips and Salsa

Poblano and Potato Soup
Grilled Quail Salad

Grilled Trout with Annatto Rice

Tres Leches Cake

Day Two

The Menu:

Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho
Spicy Pork Empanadas
Marinated Colorado Dried Bean Salad
Lamb Shoulder
Red Chile Marinade
Cilantro Pesto
Jalapeno Preserves
Fingerlings with Parsley-Basil Dressing
Lemon Chess Pie

The Food:
I am used to gazpacho that is thinner. The Empanada’s were good but they weren’t spicy by my standards. They went really well with the Jalapeno Preserves. The bean salad was kind of boring to me. Although it didn’t help that our team seems to have forgotten to marinate the beans in the dressing. The class was short on lamb shoulder so we ended up with lamb tenderloins. The Red chile rub was really good and the Cilantro pesto was delicious. The fingerling potatoes were just potatoes. The chess pie was really good.

I liked the gazpacho but I would have added more of the V8 to thin it out a little. I thought the dough for the empanadas was really yummy. It was tender and flaky. The Jalapeno Preserves were really great. I think we got the right texture on it. Our lamb tenderloins were really good. Tender and cooked just right. I liked them with the cilantro pesto. It reminded me of a chimichuri sauce. To make our pie stand out, I candied some lemon zest and then we topped the pie with it and then torched it. I mixed mascarpone with honey, lemon juice and lemon zest and then added it to whipped cream for the top of the pie. I think the lamb was my highlight for the evening but the pie was my second favorite.

Colorado Bean Salad

Grilled Vegetable
Spicy Pork
Grilled Lamb with Cilantro Pesto
Fingerling Potatoes and Broccoli
Lemon Chess Pie

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Culinary School - Week 7 Tex Mex

Feb 21-22, 2011


Day one

The Menu:
LBJ Pedernales River Chili
Crab Quesadillas
Jalapeno Cornbread
Green Chile Chutney
Lone Star Chicken-Fried Steak with Cream Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Black-eyed Peas
Green Beans
Mexican Wedding Cookies

The Food: Chicken Fried Steak is one of my favorite things. Ours was disappointing. The Textbook called our appetizers Crab Quesadillas but they were actually more like empanadas. The LBJ Chili and Jalapeno Cornbread was a perfect pairing. The Finale of Mexican Wedding Cookies was perfect.

Summary: This Chili recipe was different than any recipe I have ever used. I normally add in some tomato paste and tomato sauce to make it a thicker and still soupier chili. Our Chicken Fried Steak was tough and over-cooked. I think it is because my teammate was not paying attention to the instructions Chef was giving us. I would have liked to try the empanadas. I might use chicken or beef next time. I really liked the Jalapeno Cornbread. I am used to a sweeter version of cornbread. I liked how this was not gritty. I have had some that were gritty and crumbly. I am looking forward to tomorrow nights food!

Chicken Fried Steak

Crab Empanadas

LBJ Chili

Mexican Wedding Cookies
Day Two

Student Satisfaction Survey

The Menu:
Caldo de Res
Pork Flautas
Guacamole, Pico de Gallo
Tex-Mex Plate: Shrimp Taco, Green Chili Sauce, Cheese Enchiladas, Arroz a la Mexicana
Refried Beans

The Food: Due to the Student Satisfaction Survey Pork Flautas were removed from the menu. I was “Chef of the Day” tonight. I spent the evening checking on the four teams making sure they were on time and didn’t need any help with anything. Chef said that I could make something myself if I stayed in the region. I chose to make a frozen Avocado yogurt.

Summary: I didn’t help with the cooking for anyone because all the teams had four members on them. I used the ice cream machine and made a frozen Avocado Yogurt. I mashed two avocados, added about two cups of Greek Yogurt, two tablespoons of lime juice and a tablespoon of lime zest. When it was just about ready to transfer to the freezer I drizzled in some honey. I boiled some lime skins in simple syrup and then rolled them in sugar to use a garnish. I thought the yogurt was really tasty. It was smooth and creamy and every once in a while you would get a little glob of honey!

Caldo de Res

Cheese Enchiladas

Guacamole and Chips

Shrimp Tacos

Avocado Lime Ice Cream