Changes. Risks. Funemployment?

Technically this week is spring break with spring term starting on  Tuesday. However, after much debating and personal reevaluation about my culinary school experience, I came to the difficult decision of not continuing into my spring semester. I certainly do not regret my previous two semesters in culinary school. I have developed a foundation of basic skills but would rather pursue a job or internship aligning with my career goals.

But there wasn’t a job/internship lined up yet.There were few evening spent skimming through criaglist listings looking for what was available.  A part of me thought I was not qualified with enough experience to pursue a restaurant job. There were many discussions with two of my closest classmates about the pros and cons of withdrawing — I was nearly finished with the program but I would have to shell out a couple more thousand dollars to paid for the internship component. My culinary development benefited from learning the techniques and culinary vocabulary, utilizing new products, collaborating with my teammates to produce creative, delicious dishes, and listening to the suggestions and advice of my instructors. The most negative aspect of my experience was  dealing with the immaturity and unpreparedness of a majority of my classmates. It got pretty old listening to my instructors spending a part of the lecture scolding my classmates for not completing their work. The discussion during lecture and production was not intellectually stimulating, many of them seemed unsure about why they were in culinary school, and most days felt like everyone was just “working” to cook, eat, clean, and leave for their afternoon naps. Of course, not everyone was like this, but when you are with the same group for an entire semester, frustration grows.

It will be bittersweet not starting class again on Tuesday, to my surprise though I already have a non-compensated apprenticeship with a local vegetarian restaurant lined-up and will be starting a kitchen job at another vegan/vegetarian/raw food restaurant next week! I thought I would be in a funemployment state for at least a few weeks but I think taking the risk to put myself out there by contacting the restaurant and soundly articulating my culinary/career goals during my interviews reaped quick, positive responses.  I can’t wait to begin this new aspect of my culinary experience.

-A

Vegan Sweet Potato Cake

Here’s a story to enjoy on this rainy, chilly March morning.

Once upon a time, a culinary student was left with one lone sweet potato to work with. Should she  dare do any with the usual preps  roasted fries, casserole, or soup? — though, all favorite options. Instead the lone sweet potato was gently grated and  lovingly incorporated into a fall blend spiced batter.  Then the magical blend rose in a bundt cake pan…

1. In one bowl, combine

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground clove

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2. In another bowl, combine

3/4 c vegetable oil

1 c Almond Milk

1/2 c dark brown sugar

1/2 c granulated sugar

2 tbs lemon juice

1/2 tbs vanilla

3. Whisk the wet ingredients together, then pour into the dry ingredients bowl.

Incorporating the grated sweet potato with all its micronutritional goodness too!

Incorporating the grated sweet potato with all its micronutritional goodness too!

4. Once the batter is smooth, fold in 3 cups (about 1 medium) grated sweet potato. *optional add-ins: Raisins and nuts

5. Pour in a greased desired baking pan

6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the center of the cake/cupcakes comes out clean with a pick tester.

Freshly removed from the oven

Freshly removed from the oven

7. Enjoy warm out of the oven (highly suggested) or cool and frost with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting topped with candied pecans — possibilities are endless!

But what was the climax? What was the conflict?

She almost forgot to check on the cake after deciding that it needed a few more minutes…rushed to the oven, on speedy..but not running feet, the chef saved cake  from an almost burnt ending and the baking and pastry students that afternoon enjoyed tasty fresh cake instead of buttery cookies.

Vegan Sweet Potato Cake -- no icing needed

Vegan Sweet Potato Cake — no icing needed

The end.

-A

Stir. Shake. Pour. Sip. Repeat.

Everyday in class we learn new mixed drink making techniques, after about 30 minutes of practice we then play a team planko challenge. Our instructor plays loud music (mock bar scene) and then shouts out one of the listed drinks. We, in teams of two, must make it correctly and as quickly as possible. Depending on the day, we have two or three chances to mess up.  Talk about getting my competitive side rolling at 9am.

In the “well” shelf of the bar, that is the bottom shelf near the sink where the bartender can quick grab the house spirit, we have vodka, gin, whiskey, tequila, rum, triple sec, dry vermouth, and sweet vermouth. No, they aren’t filled with the real spirit. The clear spirits bottles are filled with water while spirits with color such as the whiskey are combinations of water with a few drops of food coloring. But we do use real cranberry juice, sour mix, orange juice, garnishes, and liquids from the drink gun (water, sprite, and coke).

Various bar glassware and shakers

Various bar glassware and shakers
From left to right (back row of glassware) : Rocks glass, shot glass, C.Collins glass, Cocktail glass, hardball glass, T. Collins glass, and pint glass

Garnishes -- olives, lemons, limes, oranges, flag, and cherries

Garnishes — olives, lemons, limes, oranges, flag, and cherries

Below I’ve given an overview of some of the drinks/techniques we have been learning.

Stirred Drinks: Pour spirits into pint glass with ice, stir with long metal spoon, pour into chilled cocktail glass.

Martini -- 1.5 oz Gin & .75 oz dry vermouth with olive garnish

Martini — 1.5 oz Gin & .75 oz dry vermouth with olive garnish

A Smokey Martini is your basic martini finished with a Scotch float.

Cosmopolitan -- 1.5  oz Vodka and 0.75 oz triple sec with splash of cranberry juice, lime wedge garnish

Cosmopolitan — 1.5 oz Vodka and 0.75 oz triple sec with splash of cranberry juice, lime wedge garnish

ShakersThese drinks are make in the C. Collins, T.Collins, or pint glass, shaken with ice, and some are finished with a carbonated drink float.

Whiskey Sour -- 1.5 oz Whiskey filled with sour mix in a Collins glass, shaken, garnish with a cherry

Whiskey Sour — 1.5 oz Whiskey filled with sour mix in a Collins glass, shaken, garnish with a cherry

Sour Mix: 50% simple syrup, 25% Lemon juice, 25% Lime Juice, we use a concentrated pre-mix, but during the summer month when citrus fruits are more readily available, our instructor recommends making it yourself.

Tom Collins - 1.5 oz gin filled with sour, shaken, finished with a 7-up float and garnished with a flag

Tom Collins – 1.5 oz gin filled with sour mix, shaken, finished with a 7-up float and garnished with a flag

There’s also Ivan Collins and Peppi Collins, both made the same way as Tom Collins but with Vodka and Tequila, respectively.

Shooters – These drinks are shaken in the pint glass then poured into shot glasses.

White Spider — 1 oz. Gin, 1/2 oz. Triple Sec, and 1 oz. sour mix

Gimlet — 1 1/2 oz Gin, 3/4 oz. lime juice

Ice Down Pour – These drinks are quite simple — pour over ice and serve.

Black Russian — 1 1/2 oz. Vodka and 3/4 oz. Kaluha

Tequila Sunrise — 1 1/2 oz. Tequila, Fill with Orange Juice, with a Grenadine float, garnish with an orange

Typically, if I were to get a spirits drink, I tend to stick to  gin and tonics with a healthy squeeze of lime juice or bourbon and ginger ale. Those sweet cocktails are too much for me. What’s your poison?

Tomorrow, Day 8, we are doing “Around the World Challenge” where we each take a turn making a drink under the total time of 16 minutes, there are 17 of us in class…yikes. If a person messes up, they receive a planko chip and must restart the drink. Each chip is a 15 sec deduction. Only the person directly stationed next to you may assist in clarifying the technique and confirming which ingredients go into the drink. What’s the prize? 5 extra points added to our final grades. Fingers crossed that they everyone studied their recipe list!

-A

Sweet Dreams are made of these…

To sum up the past two weeks: fat, sugar, and carbs seem to be appropriate words, but no surprises there since I was in Introduction to Baking and Pastry. The real enemy was moderation. But how can that be possible when, of course, I have to “taste” a bit of everything. Wednesday, after finishing the croissant/danish dough, preparing it into flaky, buttery croissants, sweet Pain au chocolates, and a plethora of fruit and cream cheese filled danishes, I left class feeling like a ball of butter and sugar. Did I mention we also make cinnamon rolls filled with golden raisins and sliced almonds? I am quite impressed with the amount of baked goods this course has been able to cover.

The many layers of butter and dough before it is rolled out and cut for sweet, flaky danishes

The many layers of butter and dough before it is rolled out and cut for sweet, flaky danishes

I have a new found respect for pastry chefs, especially after producing croissant and danish dough from scratch. The first part involves making the yeast dough, allowing it to rise and chill. Then, hammering three pounds of cold butter into a flat rectangular shape to be folded into the dough.  The dough is folded 3-fold method a few times, but must be chilled for 20 minutes in between so that the butter doesn’t melt. Trust me, it’s a long process for such a “simple”, flaky, buttery product of heaven.

Danish Fold A The corners are pulled into the middle and a topping is placed at the intersection

Danish Fold A
The corners are pulled into the middle and a topping is placed at the intersection

Danish Fold B Slits are made at the corners and everyother tip is pulled inward to create a pinwheel shape, topping is placed at the intersection

Danish Fold B
Slits are made at the corners and every other half of the corner is pulled inward to create a pinwheel shape, topping is placed at the intersection

Ahhhh

Pinwheel Shaped Danish topped with Apricots or Blueberries with crushed sliced almonds

Pinwheel Shaped Danish topped with Apricots or Blueberries with crushed sliced almonds

And the lovely cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon Rolls filled with Golden Raisins and Sliced Almonds

Cinnamon Rolls filled with Golden Raisins and Sliced Almonds

Of course finished with a drizzle of icing

Of course finished with a drizzle of icing

Throughout the rest of the week (fingers crossed!) I hope to post a few more baking and pastry tips on pies, cookies, and cake. So check back in for your e-sugar high.

-A

Oktoberfeast

Day Five explored the cuisine of Germany and touch on a few items of some Eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary, and Russia. My group produced chicken paprikash, a typical Polish stew flavored with lots of paprika and finished with sour cream, pelmeni, Russian mushroom filled dumplings, and spaetzle, German free-formed egg noodles. Flavoring with different spices and herbs are greatly reduced compared to Italian and Spanish cuisine. I found that I was using simply salt and pepper, lots of butter, and heavy cream. But another unique characteristic of this cuisine, especially noticed in German cuisine is the usage of pickled vegetables and meats. This method emerged from the practice of preserving large amounts of food and large cuts of meats for the cold winters, so vinegary and salty profiles predominate.

Chicken Paprikash without the finished cream sauce

Chicken Paprikash without the finished cream sauce

How to fold Pelmeni -- their shape remind me of Italian tortellini

How to fold Pelmeni — their shape remind me of Italian tortellini

Spaetzle -- Plain egg noodles usually paired with a beef stew or can be sauteed and dressed with grated cheddar cheese

Spaetzle — Plain egg noodles usually paired with a beef stew or can be sauteed and dressed with grated cheddar cheese

Cooked Pemini -- toss the finished handmade dumplings into salted hot water and in a few minutes their done! Delicious plain or paired to a winter stew

Cooked Pemini — toss the finished handmade dumplings into salted hot water and in a few minutes they are done! Delicious plain or paired with a winter stew

Braised Green Beans and Mushrooms -- you don't want to know that amount of butter/cream I put into this...

Braised Green Beans and Mushrooms — you don’t want to know that amount of butter/cream I put into this…

Production from other groups…

Pickled Polish Ribs -- the ribs were pickled for about 5 day prior to preparation in a brine of curing salt, apple cider vinegar, pickling salt, and sugar. The ribs were braised with a fresh sauerkraut and Granny Smith apple base

Pickled Polish Ribs — the ribs were pickled for about 5 day prior to preparation in a brine of curing salt, apple cider vinegar, pickling salt, and sugar. The ribs were braised with a fresh sauerkraut and Granny Smith apple base

Sauerbraten -- "Sour Beef"  Marinated for about 5 days in a mixture of red wine, red wine vinegar, onions, celery root, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorn, juniper berries, allspice berried and cloves then braised. The sauce was refined and thicken with crushed ginger snap cookies.

Sauerbraten — “Sour Beef”
Marinated for about 5 days in a mixture of red wine, red wine vinegar, onions, celery root, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorn, juniper berries, allspice berried and cloves then braised. The sauce was refined and thicken with crushed ginger snap cookies.

Braised Red Cabbage Beautiful red cabbage sliced thin, sauteed with onions and Granny Smith apple slices, a touch of sugar and finished with the tang of apple cider vinegar for a balanced of tart and sweet. Of course, for the meat eaters, bacon is also traditionally added for more flavor

Braised Red Cabbage
Beautiful red cabbage sliced thin, sauteed with onions and Granny Smith apple slices, a touch of sugar and finished with the tang of apple cider vinegar for a balanced of tart and sweet. Of course, for the meat eaters, bacon is also traditionally added for more flavor.

Potato Filled Pierogi in production process. These Polish dumplings were later pan fried for service.

Potato Filled Pierogi in production process. These Polish dumplings were later pan fried for service.

My favorite dish of the day…serious could not stop going back for seconds of the.. FRESH APPLESAUCE. I don’t think I could go back to store brought considering how easy and tastier it is. See recipe below!

Potato Latkes -- Traditional Jewish Dish Potato "Hashbrowns" mixed with onions, parsley, and lemon juice. Topped with fresh applesauce and sour cream.

Potato Latkes — Traditional Jewish Dish
Potato “Hashbrowns” mixed with onions, parsley, and lemon juice. Topped with fresh applesauce and sour cream.

Applesauce (courtesy Johnson & Wales)

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eights

1/2 cup granulated sugar, you can reduce this if you are watching sugar levels or use a sugar subsitute

1/4 cup Lemon Juice

1/2 cup Water

1.  Combine all ingredients in a sauce and bring to a boil. You can also add spices are this point too like cinnamon.

2.  Reduce to a simmer and cover.

3.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender

4.  Mash apples to desired consistency, I like roughly mashed.

All that was missing as a Heinkein to complete this Oktoberfeast day.

-A

**Additional Note: Well, I am clearly not a beer connoisseur because Heinkein is a Dutch beer and definitely not appropriate for a German celebrate. So to make it up to you (David Moore). I also promise to not make anymore beer suggestions (why did I even open that door) and two, offer this list I found on about.com for the top ten German Beers you should know (http://beer.about.com/od/germanbeers/tp/10GermanBeers.htm)

1. Pilsner

2. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier

3. Spaten Oktoberfest

4. Einbecker Ur-Bock

5. Paulaner Salvator Doppel Bock

6. Ayinger Brau-Hell – Hells or maibock

7. Goose Island Summertime – Kolsch

8.  Alt

9. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier

10. Berliner Kindl Weisse

As for me, I’m going to stick with wine.

The Real Olive Garden

Did you know Alfredo sauce — that creamy, garlicly, white sauce we drench over hot fettuccine noodles — is not a traditional Italian sauce? The traditional Italian white sauce consists of heavy cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese. That’s it. I’m looking at you Olive Garden with your endless pasta bowls but delicious endless supply of salad. Like all versions of ethnic foods in the United States, I am learning more about how we have “Americanized” certain dishes which unfortunately skews some of our perceptions of those countries’ cuisines. Though you might find that heartwarming Alfredo sauce in tourist hot-spots in Italy today, don’t say I did not warm you if you receive judgey looks.

Here’s a concise chart outlining major differences I have learned about between Northern and Southern Italian cuisine, there is a central culinary character too but we did not touch on the differences as much, I am curious to research it in the future.

ItalianCuisine

And here are some pictures document the Italian frenzy of dishes we produced on Day 3!

Brasciole -- butterflied beef cut stuffed with spinach and parmesan cheese, rolled like a cinnamon roll, trussed, and then braised.

Brasciole — butterflied beef cut stuffed with spinach and Parmesan cheese, rolled like a cinnamon roll, trussed, and then braised.

Baked Polenta Wedges -- Made with Ricotta and Parmesan cheese, sundried tomatoes, Spinach, and onions

Baked Polenta Wedges — Made with Ricotta and Parmesan cheese, sundried tomatoes, Spinach, and onions

Ricotta Gnocchi -- Traditional Pasta Dumplings that can be made with ricotta as above or purred vegetables like spinach, sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc. Delicious with a sprinkle of cheese or serve with a sauce

Ricotta Gnocchi — Traditional Pasta Dumplings that can be made with ricotta as above or purred vegetables like spinach, sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc. Delicious with a sprinkle of cheese or serve with a sauce

Braised Greens --Italian like their bitter greens (Broccoli Rabe, Swiss Chard, etc.) sauteed with garlic, onions, and some pancetta

Braised Greens –Italian like their bitter greens (Broccoli Rabe, Swiss Chard, etc.) sauteed with garlic, onions, and some pancetta

Stewed Pork with Bell Peppers

Stewed Pork with Bell Peppers

Tomorrow we shall venture to Spain!

-A

WOP

Butterfly — a technique to filet your protein so that it opens up like a book and is able to be stuffed.

European Escape

A typical postgraduate bucketlist activity is a month-long European trip, though I was unable to fulfill this bucketlist item (well, not yet at least!),  I think my current culinary class — Traditional European Cuisine — has been satisfying yet also teasing my tastebuds and my travel bug, so in a roundabout way, I guess am my postgraduate European (gastronomic) adventure as well?

My favorite part of this segment so far is learning about the flavor profiles of major European countries, each day is focused on the main cuisines, spices/seasonings, and cooking styles of the respective countries. My culinary instructor shares a breath of knowledge about the similarities and differences between each countries’ cuisines. She emphasizes that understanding the historical context, geography, produce availability, and socioeconomic backgrounds is vital to understanding the development of their characteristic dishes and flavor profiles. Most of the cuisines, especially as we traveled north, are warm, hearty, filling dishes — the type of cuisine appropriate for combating mostly fall to bitterly cold winter seasons.

Day 1 and 2 were devoted to introductory braising and stewing skills. Both types of cooking techniques are very similar and their recipes can be easily interchanged for the other. Each group made a braised pot roast on Wednesday. My group added a special touch of ground cinnamon to our beef chuck seasoning. After a two hour braise in the oven, the braised concoction smelled like Christmas and we received raved reviews from our classmates. On Thursday, each group was challenged to represent a certain European country through a beef stew. To represent the land of double-decker buses, loveable accents, mid-day pub gatherings, and real football, we put together a Sheppard’s Pie consisting of a hearty beef stew topped with duchesse potatoes, and finished with baking to brown the potatoes.

Beef Stew -- Braised Beef Chuck with carrots, onions, celery, red wine reduction, & veal stock topped with Duchesse Potatoes

Beef Stew — Braised Beef Chuck with carrots, onions, celery, red wine reduction, & veal stock topped with Duchesse Potatoes

SheppardsPie2

Finished Sheppard’s Pie — Lightly Browned Duchesse Potatoes (mashed Chef’s potatoes mixed with butter, cream, and Parmesan cheese, and piped with pastry bag), garnished with parsley leaves

Other neat products I made during those two days are fresh pasta noodles tossed is a basil, pinenut, and Parmesan cheese pesto sauce, rice pilaf, and coq a la biere (chicken with beer).

Easy Homemade Pasta 

My step by step (with pictures) of how to make homemade pasta with a pasta roller — seriously invest in one and you will never go back to store brought pasta.

For 4-5 Servings: 2/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour 1/3 Cup Semolina Flour 1 Egg 2 Tbs Water 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil Extra Semolina/Flour

For 4-5 Servings:
2/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Semolina Flour
1 Egg
2 Tbs Water
1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
Extra Semolina/Flour

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl or to show off your culinary swagger, mix on a sanitized table. Build a "well" so that the egg/water do not run every where. Incorporate with a fork, or with your hands.

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl or to show off your culinary swagger, mix on a sanitized table. Build a “well” so that the egg/water do not run every where. Incorporate with a fork, or with your hands.

Continue to mix and knead until you get a neat ball, that is not too wet or dry. Be careful to not work your dough too much or else you will overwork the gluten.

Continue to mix and knead until you get a neat ball, that is not too wet or dry. Be careful to not work your dough too much or else you will overwork the gluten. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Like the Transformers, roll out! With a pasta machine roll a couple of times at the thickest setting, if the dough starts sticky, use that extra flour for dusting. After a couple of runs at the thickest setting, roll through the machine, each time decreasing the increments by 1.

Like the Transformers, roll out! With a pasta machine roll a couple of times at the thickest setting, if the dough starts sticking, use that extra flour for dusting. After a couple of runs at the thickest setting, roll through the machine, each time decreasing the increments by 1.

Once you roll out your dough, you will have a pasta sheet, this sheet can be used for lasagna or to make filled pastas like tortellini and raviolis. Another option is to run the pasta sheet through your pasta cutter attachment to produce oodles of noodles!

Mmmm....Fresh Pasta, boiled in a few minutes and quickly tossed in a fresh pesto sauce

Mmmm….Fresh Pasta, boiled in a few minutes and quickly tossed in a fresh pesto sauce

Get your gastronomic passports ready because everyday this week, I’ll post about each of the countries we have discussed in class and include a favorite recipe or two.

-A

Michael Pollan Talk

Pollan1

One highlight of moving to a growing metropolitan area is the overload of events to satisfy almost every personal interest. I had the opportunity last Thursday to listen to Michael Pollan speak at Queen University. He is a leading prolific writer (a New York Times Bestselling author to say the least) about food and cooking – its historical implications, cultural influences, transformative nature, and the relationship (physical, mental, and spiritual) to what we put on our plates. I am currently reading, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma – A Natural History of Four Meals,” it has reintroduced and reinforced the very reasons I choose to live a meat-free diet and mostly dairy/egg free diet as well.

At this specific talk he pointed out highlights from his latest release – “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.”  To write this book, he took on several roles throughout the culinary world such as working alongside breadmakers, brewers, and cheesemakers. He shared several brilliant points about how society’s relationship to cooking is the ultimate basis for how our relationship to food has changed.  We are living in the age of the “Collapse of Cooking,” While obesity trends rise and ironically our obsession with food tv and specialty diets, according to Pollan, the average American spends perhaps 27 minutes a day to cook with 4 minutes spent cleaning afterwards alluding to two questions – what are we cooking? And can you scrub down a pot in 4 minutes? Yes, I love the food network, it’s my go to channel but I do sometimes regret the time wasted watching someone else prepare a healthy meal for their T.V. audience rather than preparing something healthy for myself or to share with my family.

He discussed how we have “outsourced” our cooking to corporations. What’s wrong with allowing these mega companies to take care of our cooking? Well, I do not think anyone would ever say a reheated frozen pizza is better than a freshly homemade one. These corporations use cheap, raw materials, toy with our desire for salty, fatty, and sweet foods, and are terrible cooks. And unlike a homecooked meal that satisfies the stomach and heart, a processed meal never satisfies and entices you going for that second helping.

Pollan2

Those are just a few of the highlights. I hope to get his next book and I’ll have to let you know what I think about it. If anything, I hope you 1. Are inspired to prepare your next meal and 2. Pick up one of his books!

-A

Wine & Food Pairing

Rule 1: There are no right and wrong wine and food pairing. Tastes ultimately is an individual’s choice – so go ahead have the Riesling with your entrée!

That being said, I want to share my wine and food pairing tasting experience. As a lover of wine and cheese parties, I definitely was excited when the spend the morning of Day 6 last week discussing wine tasting and pairing in class. I sampled 6 different wines – Riesling, Savignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, & Port —  and then sampled them with different foods like strawberry, lemon juice, blue cheese, chocolate chips, popcorn, apple, potato chips, etc. My culinary program has the unique ability to offer all its culinary students the experience of TASTING alcoholic beverages even if they are not of age. For this tasting, we had to sign waivers stating that we agreed to split out the wine and if we decided not to, we were to be held responsible for becoming impaired.

Dining8

Setting up for our class wine tasting

Classical pairing is to pair food and wine from the same region, but our world is growing smaller and smaller and cuisine and flavors are crossing borders, meaning pairing rules are changing too! Pair sauces with your wine, usually red sauce means red wine and white, creamy sauces means white wines and think about not only complementing but also contrasting the flavors.

In General

   Acidic Wine + acidic food = good

      Sweet Wine + sweet food = sweeter

    Sweet Wine + salty food = good

Tannins + spicy = spicier

Best Wines for Food Pairing are….

Low in alcohol

Low in tannin

Aren’t heavily oaked

Are high in acid

Some of the combinations I liked were strawberry with port, popcorn with chardonnay, chocolate chips with pinot noir, and Parmesan with sav. blanc. This experience brought back memories of various wine and cheese nights my friends and I would throw in college, they were always a hit filled with a delicious variety of wine, cheeses, desserts, and conversations. I want to do it again!

What are your favorite combinations? Have fun experimenting!

-A

WOP

Tannins: a natural compound in the skin of grapes, it can make salty and spicier foods even more salty or spicy, respectively and does not pair well with foods rich in omega 3 oils like salmon.

#TBT to Spring Break 2013

In honor of the #tbt (throwback Thursday, for those of you living under a rock) tradition, I chose to post this particular reciepe from Monday because it reminded me of my senior spring break cruise with a crew of some of my closest college friends. It doesn’t cease to amaze me to see where everyone is right now in their post-graduate life. This crew including those that were sorely missed from the tropical adventures, are some of the smartest, motivated, talented, and hardest working individuals I have had the blessing of meeting and fostering friendships with. Though, I dearly miss the days before graduation, the days before we starting settling into our post-graduate lives, the nights when we would pack like sardines into our freshman dorm rooms to watch movies, the afternoons of procrastination, the evenings that turned into late-night study-sessions and ended with spontaneous Cook-Out runs, and the Friday afternoons when we would hang out on our apartment porches and figure out dinner place but went to Monsoon Noodle House anyways. This post is a remembrance to those days but also an embrace to the adventures ahead for each of my friends, I cannot wait to catch up during Homecoming in a few weeks! #terriers #alumni

DSCN6197

Jerk Chicken (1)
Jerk Chicken 2
Jerk Chicken

My group made a grilled pineapple-haberno salsa and Jamaican Rice and Beans to complement the chicken.
Carribean Grill Day

WOP
Smoking Point: The highest temperature your oil/fat can reach before it begins to deteriorate into its components of glycerol and free fatty acids, creating smoke (i.e. as the name points out) and decreases the usability of that oil/fat.

Oh! Today I completed part one with the roasting portion and Monday I have a grilling practical. I feel like I’m on one of those Food Network competitions as I prep my plates and receive criticism from my instructor….more on that on Monday’s post.

-A