Jul 28 2010

Last but not least

The semester is over, where did the time go?  Lots of great food, friends and fun!  To say this was the best decision I have ever made is a gross understatement. A year of my life to follow my dream, I am the luckiest person alive….can’t wait to see how the rest unfolds… Stay tuned!!!

Thought I’d end my photo reel with the very last dish I made this past semester in garde manger…a lovely cobb salad with an unreal blue cheese dressing.  Who  said simple can’t be elegant?

Jul 27 2010


Finely sliced or shredded herbs/leafy vegetables. Roll up stacked leaves like a cigar and slice thinly.  Perfect strips in no time. I use this knife cutting technique on everything from basil to mint….

Jul 18 2010

What I’m cooking tonight

Just tried re-creating a dish from one of my favorite restaurants…..goat cheese tart with organic yellow, pink and red beets.  I give it an 8 out of 10. Even what I cook isn’t always perfect!  Looking forwward to practicing again…any guinea pigs out there who want to try it?!!

This makes an excellent starter for an elegant dinner party or even as a vegetarian entree. Alongside, I made a a refreshing summer salad with ingredients I bought yesterday at the farmer’s market. Delicous, fresh and EASY:

Blanch (for a few minutes) in boiling salted water fresh fava beans, asparagus and green peas. Shock in ice water to cool down and prevent further cooking. Dress with lemon juice, olive oil and chiffonade of mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  What a great side dish to grilled fish or chicken! Or shave some fresh parmesan and serve as your salad course. The best part is – you can make this in advance. In fact, I like to dress it a couple hours before my guests arrive so the citrus and mint have time to marry. A winning summer dish in less than 10 minutes!

Jul 13 2010

Summer Lovin’

When you ask most people to name their favorite things about summer, what typically comes to mind is: the beach, outdoor happy hours, fireworks,  flip flops, picnics, the park… If you asked me, on the other hand, about the best part of summer, my answer would be: grilling, corn on the cob, tomatoes, rose wine (all day, any day), peaches, watermelon, dinner parties on my patio, stoli doli’s, and the list goes on and on….

Speaking of grilling, here’s a quick and delicious grilled summer dessert:

1) Heat up grill to about 350 degrees.

2) Halve peaches and brush with a little clarified butter.  Place on grill cut side down for just a few minutes until peaches begin to soften and grill marks are visible.

3) Using tongs, turn the peaches skin side down and place some chocolate chips in the well. Cover the grill for just a minute until the chocolate melts. You can even add a dollop of creme fraiche and enjoy!

What are some of your favorite things about summer? Please share with the rest of us!

Jul 11 2010

Intro to Garde Manger

What in the heck is Garde Manger you are definitely wondering?  A term they don’t always explain on Top Chef.  It’s the classical french name for the cold kitchen or cold food department and it sums up the last two weeks of my first semester at culinary school. Time does fly when you’re having fun!!

I bet you are thinking what I was when I read the course schedule. Cold kitchen = simple….salads, sandwiches, dressing. Those Deans at culinary school save the easiest for last? Decide to give students a break the last 2 weeks…….think again!  A salad is anything but simple.  And what about aspic, cured salmon, shucking oysters?All of this takes place in the Garde Manger kitchen.

The stove might be off but the heat is on.

The first five days were intense –  dozens of eggs cooked a million different ways. (Almost) perfectly poached and rolled french omelets.  Baked eggs with Canadian bacon, cream & Gruyere.  Have  I died and gone to heaven? Quiche with a crust so flaky and buttery I will avoid getting my cholesterol checked all summer.  And that was just day 1!

Day 2 was my most challenging and it didn’t even involve fire!  Fruit plates & carving…not my forte…need to work on that  a bit as you can see to the right:

Days 3-5: Sandwiches/Canapes. I felt like a worker in a sweatshop, churning out piece after piece, platter after platter. How am I supposed to get 300 done in an hour, when I can barely get 12 done all day?  After 3 days of practice, however, I have to admit that what turned out looked pretty great and tasted delicious. My favorite by far was the house cured salmon canape with dill cream cheese, capers and a red onion garnish. Check out some highlights below:

Monte Cristo with house made chips and mango chutney

Ratatouille tartlet with goat cheese