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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


Carolyn Jung said...

Did you fry or bake the empanadas? I know frying is the traditional way, but I always like to bake mine. Saves on a few calories so ya can indulge in dessert afterward with less guilt. ;)

barbie2be said...

we fried them but they also would have been good baked. the dough was super light!

Mrs. L said...

I like the thought of chorizo on the potato and poblano soup.

You need to teach me dough. I've yet to make a pie/empanada because my dough just doesn't cut it no matter what recipe I try (so must be operator error :). I've always felt if I could master one sweet and one savory dough, I would be set.