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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Culinary School - Q4 Week 9 California Cuisine

American Regional
Mar 7-8, 2011
California Cuisine

Day one
The Menu:
Chilled Avocado and Cucumber Soup
Warm Scallop Salad with Tomato, Mint, and Lime Dressing
Sautéed Duck Breast with a Port Wine Reduction
Monterey Jack and Green Chile Polenta
Fried Fennel
Creamed Spinach
Creative Dessert – Faux Beignets with Blackberry-port sauce

The Food:
The Chilled Avocado and Cucumber Soup would be nice on a hot summer day. I liked it even though it tasted mostly like cucumber soup. For the Warm Scallop Salad Chef also gave me some veal so that I would be able to taste it. I like veal a lot. I understand the people that think it is unethical to eat veal, but I don’t agree with it. The Sautéed Duck Breast was a little salty. I really liked the Monterey Jack and Green Chili Polenta. The Fried Fennel was delicious. I think the frying takes away some of the bitterness and licorice flavor. I didn’t like the creamed spinach. Tonight we got the chance to make a creative dessert. My Team chose to make a beignet.

I liked the soup. It was creamy and refreshing. Kind of like an avocado and cucumber gazpacho. The Veal salad with Tomato, Mint, and Lime dressing was really good. I liked the flavor of the dressing on the meat. This might make a nice lunch sized salad with a bigger piece of meat. The Port Wine Reduction was a little salty for my taste. I am a big fan of polenta and grits so I really enjoyed the Monterey Jack and Green Chile Polenta. While I like spinach, I think the Creamed Spinach tonight was disgusting. For our creative dessert, we had to come up with something to go with our fruit. We wanted to make beignets but had to use the ingredients that were already in the kitchen. We used a Paula Deen Recipe as a starting point. We have no extra eggs in the kitchen and no evaporated milk that was called for in the recipe so we used sour cream in place of the eggs and heavy cream in place of the evaporated milk. The beignets were a little doughy on the inside but since they didn’t have any eggs in them, the doughyness was ok.

Faux Beignets with
Port Wine Blackberry sauce

Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup

Warm Scallop Salad

Warm Veal Salad
Duck Breast with Port
Reduction, Creamed Spinach
and Fried Fennel

Day Two
The Menu:
Cream of Garlic Soup
Warm Baked Goat Cheese with Baby Greens
Calamari, Artichoke, and Penne Pasta, Monterey-Style
Raspberry Chicken
Swiss Chard with Golden Raisins
Rice with Red Peppers and Pine Nuts
Strawberry Shortcake with Cornmeal Biscuit

The Food:
Cream of Garlic Soup was good, but the consistency was off. Disappointing to say the least. The Warm Baked Goat Cheese Salad was fabulous. I love baked goat cheese. The Calamari Pasta was good, I think it would be east to substitute things like eggplant, tomatoes, or squash with the artichokes. The Raspberry Chicken was good but the fresh raspberries were kind of bitter so the sauce was on the bitter side. We should have added some honey to the sauce. The Swiss Chard was a quick and easy dish to prepare. The Rice was another easy dish. This would be a good dish with fish or beef as well as the chicken. I love Strawberry Shortcake but the biscuits we make tonight were not great. I thought they were kind of tough,

I liked the sound of this menu. I wish we had executed it better. Looking at the swiss chard and thinking about the goat cheese salad that was supposed to be with baby greens got me thinking about different greens and the types of greens available. I started thinking of endive. I did some research on endive. Did you know that the name Endive is pronounced differently depending on where it comes from. Belgian Endive is pronounced On-Deev. It grows under the ground. Curly Endive is pronounced En-Dive. They are both members of the Chicory family. Curly Endive grows in the light, above ground.
Calamari and Artichoke

Cream of Garlic Soup

Raspberry Chicken

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

Strawberry Shortcake

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