Monday, October 31, 2011

Green Tomato Bars

Winter is approaching which means our garden is slowly dwindling into it's impending death! Anyway, there were a few tomatoes left on the bush so I picked them. I really liked these bars when Dianne made them for us. It's a great way to use any unripened tomatoes that you have.

While these bars might not look or sound that great, they really are!

Green Tomato Bars

2 cups green tomatoes, diced
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small pot over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, brown sugar and lemon juice. Cook until the mixture has thickened, about 20-25 minutes.
  • In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Spray a 9x9 inch baking pan and press half of the mixture into the bottom, layer the tomato mixture on top of that and then top with the remaining oat mixture.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until brown.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So, I made fish tacos again! But since I never did the recipe for my guacamole I decided to make a post about it. I honestly didn't like avocados until my grandfather brought some over one day when I was much younger. They were very large and had a smooth green skin, much different from the "hass" avocados that were found in every store. It's kind of crazy how many varieties of avocado there are!

Now-a-days I could just eat an avocado plain, they have such a great buttery and nutty flavor, yum.

*Totally reused this picture from my Fish Taco post, it's too pretty not to.


2 avocados, seeded and peeled
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of cumin and chili powder

  • Slightly mash the avocados.
  • Mix the rest of the ingredients in and combine without breaking down the avocado too much.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

So, our class decided that it would be a great idea if we all got together at least one weekend every month to have a "potluck". It's just a way for us to stay involved with each other outside of school... plus, we all really enjoy cooking and eating, so it's just fun!

I'm making spring rolls, a recipe that Dianne gave me, it's simple but I really enjoy the freshness of the vegetables and herbs that she picked to use. The spicy peanut sauce is also really good, we usually make it a lot spicier but I don't want to overwhelm anyone's taste buds tonight.

Spring Rolls

spring roll wrappers
leaf lettuce, torn
spicy peanut sauce {recipe below}
vermicelli {rice} noodles, cooked
rice wine vinegar
carrots, shredded
cilantro, torn
mint {regular or chocolate}, torn
basil {regular or thai}, torn
napa cabbage, chopped

  • To assemble the spring rolls, soak a wrapper in warm water until pliable.
  • Place the lettuce on the bottom and top with about 1 tablespoon of sauce, add some noodles, carrots, herbs and the cabbage and wrap up as if you were wrapping a burrito.
  • Cut in half on the diagonal and serve when ready.

I actually forgot to add the rice wine vinegar to the noodles, but they are still fine without it.

Spicy Peanut Sauce:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons onion, chopped
2 garlic clove, chopped
4 tablespoons red pepper flakes*
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water 
2 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoon tomato paste or ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

  • In a pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil and cook the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and combine. Cook for about 5-6 minutes.
*If you're not as fond of spice as myself, you can reduce or omit the amount of red pepper flakes in the recipe. That's the awesome thing about a recipe, it can be changed to fit you better!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Chef of the Year Competition

So this morning a few of us went to watch Chef Adalberto produce an awesome dessert for Pastry Chef of the Year {in Utah}. His plating was so detailed and beautiful... and I know it tasted great because he made it!

He made a creme de pot with an macadamia nut crust and topped with an almond brittle. A banana ice cream with a garnish of brulee bananas. A raspberry coulis topped with red and golden raspberries mixed in pear syrup and mint.

He finished on time and lucky for us, there was leftover banana ice cream, we just loved it on Wednesday when he let us sample it. We are all so thankful that we had the opportunity to learn from him, he's such a great chef.

Chef Peter was also in the competition, I got a nice picture of his dish as well.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chicken Divan

So I didn't expect it so soon, but we have a "fall break" this Thursday and Friday... which means no class. It's sad though, we were just getting into learning how to perfect our knife skills. I really need to practice my tourne cut as much as possible.

Anyway, onto dinner... I love this mostly because of the flavor it gets from the sherry. I wish I could use broccoli from my grandfathers garden, it's so good... but I'll just have to stick to what I can get from the grocery store.

Chicken Divan

3 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced
2 broccoli crowns, cut into florets and halfway cooked
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sherry
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
cayenne, sprinkled on top

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and make a roux.
  • Add the chicken broth and let thicken, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the sherry, cream and parmesan and bring to a slight boil.
  • Place the broccoli into a casserole dish, then layer the chicken and pour the sauce mixture over the top.
  • Sprinkle with the cayenne pepper {amount that is desired}.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbly.

I served this over basmati rice!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Baked Pasta with Sausage Tomato Sauce

I really like this sauce, it's similar to the spahgetti sauce I made last month but instead it has only sausage, less tomatoes and red wine is added for extra flavor. I'm using it in this baked pasta and I was planning on adding sauteed mushrooms but I completely forgot... maybe next time.


Baked Pasta with Sausage Tomato Sauce

1 lb italian sausage {hot}
3-4 cloves garlic
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon basil
1/2 tablespoon sugar

  • In a pot over medium-high heat, add the sausage and cook thoroughly. Add the garlic and continue to cook, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, basil and sugar, stir to combine.
  • Simmer for about 1 hour.

16 oz cottage cheese {large curd}
1 1/2 cups italian cheese blend, shredded
2 oz parmesan cheese
2 oz romano cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste

  • In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until combined.

1 lb pasta, cooked
1/2 cup italian cheese blend

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix the cooked pasta and sausage tomato sauce together.
  • Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and layer half of the pasta mixture on the bottom, followed by the cheese mixture and than the remainder of the pasta. 
  • Sprinkle with cheese and bake covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for 10-15 minutes.

I served this with a side salad mixed with blue cheese vinaigrette. The salad mix I bought at the store was a basic spring mix with fresh herbs -- dill and cilantro were what I noticed most. I also put some of our roma "grape" tomatoes in it.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pear Galette with Creme Anglaise

We actually made Pear Galettes in class, but instead we used Pate Sucree and spread a layer of almond cream on the bottom of the dough. This was just a personal choice to use flaky pie dough because I really enjoy the texture of it. I poached pears a few days ago, it's very simple, you just make a simple syrup and add in skinned, halved and cored pears and cook until they are translucent {firm pears are better for this}.

Pear Galette

3-4 pears {cooked in simple syrup}
egg wash
cinnamon sugar
apricot glaze
raspberry, for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Roll out the dough to about 8-9 inches and place the pears in a circular pattern {I did 2 rows}.
  • Fold the sides of the crust over the outer layer of the pears.
  • Egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar over the crust.
  • Cook for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Once done, glaze with the apricot glaze over the entire galette.


creme anglaise

I served this with some leftover creme anglaise that I had made, it was perfect.


Pie Dough {Flaky}

This is a recipe that we used in our first semester Baking and Pastry Class. It's pretty funny how much I used to hate making and "shaping" pie dough... but now that I've been taught how to do it, I love it! The book that I got this from mostly does measurements in metric, it's actually very easy. Having a scale also helps.

Pie Dough {Flaky}
Recipe from Advanced Bread and Pastry

109 grams pastry flour
5 grams sugar
2 grams salt
76 grams cold butter, cubed
3-5 tablespoons ice water

  • Combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter. Mix with your fingertips, making sure the butter stays about the size of hazelnuts.
  • Add 3-5 tablespoons of water and mix in with a bowl scraper. The dough should be easy to combine once the right amount of water is added.
  • Shape into a round ball and flatten and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using.
  • Once ready to use, take out of the refrigerator and start rolling out, making quarter turns with every roll. Use flour to reduce sticking to the rolling surface.
  • Roll out to about 9-10 inches.
  • Bake according to the specific recipe being used.


Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

This is a very simple vinaigrette with added flavor thanks to the garlic and cheeses. One thing I like about making my own salad dressing is I can control how much I make and what I put in it.

Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
4-6 oz blue cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons romano cheese, shredded
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Mix the oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and dijon mustard until well blended.
  • Stir in the garlic, blue and romano cheese, salt and pepper.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pecan Crusted Halibut with Cauliflower au Gratin

I swear, I'll be using up this halibut for the next year... Lol. Thankfully it hasn't been getting old though, flavor-wise. I found this recipe because Chris wanted halibut with a crust. Pecans actually are great for this fish because they add a sweetness and crunch to it's flaky texture. I really liked that the mixture is held on by mustard, which also tastes great with halibut.

Pecan Crusted Halibut 
Recipe adapted from Charm & Salt 

3-6 halibut fillets, deboned and skinned
salt and pepper, for seasoning the fish
4 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the pecans and breadcrumbs in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
  • Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon of dijon on each side of the fillet. Press the pecan-breadcrumb mixture into each side of the fillet.
  •  Place the halibut onto the foil-lined baking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Cauliflower au Gratin
Recipe adapted from TasteFood

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

3 oz cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

1/3 cup breadcrumbs

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    Steam cauliflower until crisp tender and transfer to a large bowl. 
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add in the milk and cream, whisking constantly until thickened. Whisk in salt, mustard, pepper and nutmeg. Add the cheddar cheese and whisk until smooth. 
  • Pour the bechamel over the cauliflower tossing to thoroughly coat and pour into a buttered baking dish. Combine the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the gratin. 
  • Bake until golden on top and bubbling, about 35-40 minutes.

Should have gotten a green vegetable to go with this like... asparagus, but they didn't have any at our local grocer. Oh well!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple Pie {Practical #2}

So I really liked making this pie -- flaky pie crust and sauteed apples with pear vodka soaked raisins! Even though I overcooked the crust a bit I still think it came out great!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beef Stew

I was planning on making this yesterday but our interwebs were down after I got home from work, so I figured waiting wouldn't hurt. I've actually never made Beef Stew before but I can remember how much I loved my Grandmothers when I was just a little girl. Plus, this kind of meal gives me a reason to use my awesome green Dutch Oven.

In addition to making dinner, I'm also poaching pears and making Creme Anglaise {testing for my practical tomorrow}. It actually came out pretty good, I did overcook it a tad and because I lack a chinois at the moment there was evidence of that. But all and all I'm happy with the results.

Beef Stew
Recipe adapted from Once Upon a Chef

2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
salt and pepper, season the meat
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onions, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
7 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
6 springs of thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup baby carrots, cut in half
1/3 cup peas
2 1/2 cups parsnips, cut to 1/2 inch sticks

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees, make sure that the rack is in the middle.
  • Pat the beef dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat until hot. Brown the meat in multiple batches to ensure that the meat properly sears. Cook each batch for about 2-3 minutes using 1 tablespoon of oil per batch. Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.
  • Add the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar and stir, making sure to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of pan, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook a few minutes more. Add beef with juices back to the pan and sprinkle with flour; stir until flour is dissolved, 1-2 minutes. 
  • Add the wine, beef broth, bay leaf, thyme and sugar; stir to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the oven and braise, about 2 hours. 
  • Remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots, parsnips and peas. Cover and place back in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked and meat is very tender. 
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. 
  • Let cool, then store in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve, if you want. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Reheat, covered, over medium heat or in a 350 degree oven.

I served this over garlic and horseradish mashed potatoes. I thought that was a better idea rather then putting potatoes in the stew.



Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tuna Melts {open face}

The last couple of Sundays I haven't been making dinner because of all the extra homework I've had. But since I didn't have anything extra to do I decided to use the sourdough I just made for these awesome tuna melts!

Tuna Melts {open face}

2 5 oz cans tuna {packed in water}
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon dill weed {dried}

  • In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.


tuna salad {recipe above}
cheddar, sliced
tomato, sliced
red onion, sliced
alfalfa sprouts

  • Place 1-2 slices of cheddar on top of the bread.
  • Place in a broiler and melt the cheese. 
  • Top with the tuna salad, onion, sprouts and tomato.


Lazy Sunday...

wake up in the late afternoon! Well, not really... but I can't help but quote Andy Samberg.

I actually woke up a bit earlier to start baking the Sourdough I started on Thursday. I "borrowed" some the leftover stiff starter from our bakeshop and mixed it with bread and rye flour as well as some water to make a levain. The levain helps flavor and add structure to the sourdough {preferments make everything better!}. After it's ready, I added it to the final dough mixture and folded, pre-shaped, proofed and shaped {final}. You'd think you could bake it after this but instead, I let it sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours basically before baking. This actually is great for the bread, it helps form those awesome blisters and helps develop more flavor. I baked my boule on a stone and created steam by putting a few ice cubes on a baking sheet, then opened the oven to let the bread dry out. I'm happy with the results, although it will never be as perfect as the ones we make in the bakeshop.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Havana Style Meat Pie {no recipe}


So yesterday in class, Chef made this awesome filling for meat pies. As far as I know, it included ground beef, onions, peppers, green olives, wine-soaked raisins and tomato paste. There was some leftover filling so I jumped right on that and took some home. Luckily, I had a sheet of puff pastry in the freezer and decided that I would make a duplicate of what was made in class... a giant meat-filled pop tart!

I'm planning on getting the recipe as soon as I can so that I can make this again. Timmy basically ate the entire thing which didn't surprise me.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas {with mushroom soup}

Cream of Mushroom as the base for enchiladas... odd, I know. It's not your traditional red or green sauce, but it's still really good. One thing I didn't realize was when we were buying the cheeses, I picked up a processed jalapeno jack... oops. Oh well, that just means it will melt nicely, but I'll never make that mistake again.

Chicken Enchiladas {with mushroom soup}

3 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can green chilies or jalapenos
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 15 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
6-8 tortillas
8 oz cheese, shredded {monterey, colby and/or pepper jack}

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large pan cook the chicken over medium-high heat. Cut the chicken into cubes and set aside. Put the butter into the pan and add the onions and peppers. Add the chili powder. Add the chicken back into the pan.
  • In a small bowl, mix the soup and sour cream thoroughly. Add 1/2 cup of the mixture to the chicken and combine.
  • Grease a 9x13 casserole dish and add 1/2 of the mushroom mixture to the bottom of it. Add some of the chicken mixture to each tortilla and roll it up. Place each into the dish. Add the rest of the mushroom mixture on top of the enchiladas.
  • Sprinkle the taco seasoning and the desired cheese over the top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.


pico de gallo
sour cream


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Italian Sausage Soup

Fall: the season of soups! I really love this soup too, it's got a bit of spice from the sausage. I would have loved some sourdough with this but I'm still working on developing my starter... oh well.

Italian Sausage Soup

1 lb hot italian sausage
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
15 oz can butter beans
15 oz can black beans
15 oz can diced tomatoes
4 cups beef stock

  • In a large pot cook the sausage over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked. Add the italian seasoning and mix together.
  • Drain and rinse the butter and black beans. Add them to the sausage mixture along with the tomatoes and beef stock.
  • Simmer until ready to serve.

I also made cream puffs filled with a creme chiboust (pastry cream with italian meringue). This is similar to some stuff we made in class today... a St. Honore Cake. It's a cake with a puff pastry base, piped with pate a choux -- creme chiboust piped on top after it's baked and topped with caramel dipped cream puffs. Maybe someday I'll make that when I have time, it's really delicious.