The week in review…. I meant to post a couple blogs this week, but for some reason time flew right by.
I was invited, volun-told really, to a Kitchen Forum this week. Thai curry and a compressed watermelon salad with a cherry balsamic vinegar were on the menu. The ingredients used in the Thai curry were: red curry paste, coconut milk, potatoes, onions, celery, lemon grass, red bell pepper, chicken and grape seed oil, and of course boiled white rice. For the compressed watermelon: watermelon, vanilla bean sugar, a pinch of salt, cherry balsamic vinegar, mangoes, and fresh mozzarella. The main purpose of the watermelon salad was plate presentation. The flavor profiles for both dishes were exemplary, and I was repeatedly asked by one of the housemates, to make the Thai curry for dinner the following night. (I took him with me to the kitchen forum.) I however did not.
As some of you know, I now live in the Portland area, famous for many things… one of which is its microbreweries. I was asked what my thoughts were about Grapefruit Beer, and at first I was a bit hesitant, as I expected a tart beer. I went to McMenamins Grand Lodge to play some disc golf (I lost by 3) and enjoy the amazing weather we have had this past week, when I was introduced to the Grapefruit beer (Ruby). I was immediately impressed with the lightness and delicate flavor of their beer, so I ordered a second one… just to make sure I liked it :D. While at McMenamins Grand Lodge, I ordered some Cajun tater tots. The service left much to be desired, as it took almost 30 mins to receive the food. The Lodge provided a “natural ketchup.” Both the tater tots and ketchup were impressive.
Looking forward… There are two scheduled orientation days before classes start mid-august. With the start of class, begins the start of the international challenge. There is a Deaf Night Out slated for next saturday. I’ve also been researching “clean eating” and molecular gastronomy and will be posting a blog or two on each of those subjects before class starts.
Until next time….
1 cup fresh Basil
3 cloves of garlic
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese (fresh)
In a blender combine all ingredients, pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Yields apx 1/2 cup)
To make the grilled chicken kabobs:
Chop 4 chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Marinate the chicken in 1/2 cup pesto for 1-2 hrs.
On skewers alternate chicken, cherry tomatoes, and onion.
Grill until chicken is cooked (the bite size pieces will be completely white)
Serves up to 8 people, each getting 2 skewers each
For the pesto fettuccini:
Prepare a cup of pesto.
Cook fettuccini (1 lb) for approximately 8 – 9 mins. Drain. Combine Pesto and Fettuccini. Serves apx 4 – 6 people.
I never made it to the Farmers Market yesterday, ended prepping for a dinner party/get together. It was really more of a get together than a dinner party, but I was still asked to cook for everyone. I made some grilled chicken pesto kabobs, pesto fettuccini, some little smokies, and rice krispy treats for desert, with the occasional adult beverage being served as well.
The ingredient for the Day/Week seems to be basil. The recipes can be found here.
I have decided to participate in a brewing class offered through the school. It meets on saturdays at 9am. I figured I’d give it a try and see if I can brew something extraordinary. Will it have cinnamon in it? This puts me in downtown PDX six days a week.
Class and the Challenge both officially start Aug 19th. A bit of information about the campus… it is 33,000 square feet of kitchen :D.
This week I definitely will be hitting up two separate farmers markets, wednesday and saturday. The housemates are a little chicken-ed out, so I dont know what will be on the menu this upcoming week, other than clean eating.
The zucchini bread has to be made…
Well I finally made it to Portland. 😀 After numerous delays due to whatever reason, I still managed to arrive on time.
The past two weeks have been filled with numerous firsts and lasts. Some of the more memorable firsts include being introduced to “the Bucket” at The Rock, a local pdx bar, visiting the campus where I will spend the next two years of my life, and meeting some great locals, and an interesting patisserie chef (“Baker”), whom I’m sure all will eventually make different appearances throughout this blog. One of the lasts included a Coke.
I closed out the previous chapter of my life on very little sleep and a long wait at the airport, but what can I say… I was ready to GTFO of Oklahoma and begin the next chapter of my life. It amazed me at how important I became once people learned that I was moving away and not looking back. There are a few from OKC that I will still maintain, at least an attempt, communication with.
I get my uniforms for classes on Aug 1st, and will be attending school from 1030-1430, Monday thru Friday beginning August 19th.
The ingredient of the week was Lavender, and there was an attempt at a Red Velvet Cupcake. I plan on hitting up a Farmers Market tomorrow, as it seems that there is one almost every day of the week it seems, which is great fresh produce whenever I want it. Baker and I met a few days into my stay here and we bonded, over food, almost instantly. We made some Lavender Cookies, but we infused our own sugar with some lavender oil. We attempted to alter my chocolate cupcakes into red velvet, a failed attempt. Too much vinegar? Not enough red/black food coloring. We did discover that the red velvet cakes offered at the local Safeway aren’t red velvet cakes at all. It was a decent attempt, and we think we know where we need to alter the recipe in order to be successful.
Next week there will be an attempt at some zucchini bread and I was asked to make some pesto fettuccine for dinner.
Anyone who knows me knows of my love for food and my desire to learn. There is something about food that has the ability to bring people together. Furthermore, I love to travel and some of the food that I fell in love with was Mediterranean. Hence my choice of this challenging cuisine.
The book I have selected for the Mediterranean portion of my International Cuisine Challenge is:
Culina Mediteranea by Hendrik Neubauer
The thought behind the Indian Cusine for this challenge, was posed as a question: “What’s your favorite cuisine?” The conversation continued for a bit but was ultimately decided upon Indian. The thought process was to pick a cuisine that would be fun to cook and push the culinary envelope.
The book selected for the Indian section of my challenge is:
Complete Book of Indian Cooking by Suneeta Vaswani
Both books have about 300 recipes each. 600 recipes in 365 days shouldnt be a problem…. right?
In a little over a month, I will be in Portland attending school at Le Cordon Bleu and officially starting my journey in the culinary world. Most of you probably have seen the movie Julie and Julia. Instead of doing the same deranged assignment that Julie did, I figured that I would add a twist to it. I have picked two cuisines to devote my first year of my culinary education to… Mediterranean and Indian. My favorite chefs who will accompany me on this journey will be Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, both geniuses in their own right, as well as the guys from Sorted food
Books: As of yet, no books have been selected to begin this pursuit.
Me: Aspiring chef by day, food critic by night. Single with no desire for a relationship outside of food and working out and wanted to add more to my plate. Risking my sanity for this journey towards culinary perfection… in the spirit of Julie and Julia I too have signed on for a deranged assignment.
365 days, who knows how many recipes and a crappy outer borough kitchen.
How far will it go? We can only wait. And wait. And wait…..
The International Cuisine Challenge. Coming soon to a computer terminal near you.
Well, I was planning on competing in this challenge however, the contest deadline was June 30, 2013. I’m about a week behind schedule. However, I will post my recipes in the newly created recipe section. The contest rules were to create a steak and seafood recipe, the key is that it has to be cooked on a grill. The top three cash prizes were $25,000. The contest website and info can be found on their website. My beef dish was going to be the black garlic and rosemary rub I made few weeks ago. The seafood dish is a salmon fillet with a pomegranate marinade.
The next contest I am looking at participating in is on October 25th. Its Halloween themed food. After that on Nov 16th, I will be volunteering at the ACF Competition in Portland. The idea behind these competition is to prepare myself for the S. Pelligrino Cooking Cup in Venice May 2015. Here is a short youtube clip:
Well… academically the next two years of my life are fairly mapped out.
August 2013: Food Safety and Culinary Foundations 1 ( 2 courses)
September 2013: Foundations 2
November 2013: Foundations 3
January 2014: Math and Interpersonal Comm (2 courses)
February 2014: Baking
April 2014: English Comp and Nutrition (2 courses)
May 2014: Cross Culture Cuisine
July 2014: Wine & Beverage / Contemporary Cuisine (2 courses)
August 2014: Restaurant Rotation
September 2014: Cost Control and Hospitality (2 courses)
November 2014: Catering
January 2015: Externship
February 2015: Externship
Im still fighting over a few transfer credit hours, but will keep you posted. This is the framework for the next two years of this blog. Each course is approximately six to eight weeks in length.