culinary school- week 13 (139)

We are in the home stretch....finals and assignments....yikes! I'll try and post tomorrow. Oh, we didn't get the Viagra ad. Something about deciding to shoot at a house that has a swimming pool, which we don't have. To heck with those indecisive, limp willied, t.v. commercial people.


culinary school- week 12- (138 lbs)

For those of you keeping track- I was a no-show for week 11. But I have a good reason; sick as a dog with that ass-kicking flu which is doing the rounds. Without getting into too much detail....let's just say that there were a few days there where standing upright was not an option and everything hurt, even my eyelashes and my finger nails. Anyhoo, I am on the mend and have decided to focus my energy more towards recovery and less towards the pity party I hosted for myself over the last week and a half. Besides, it wasn't all bad. I lost 3 lbs.

So, what did I miss at school? More than I am comfortable with. We move so quickly and cover so much material, even missing one day is a big deal. I shivered on my sofa through 2 days of French classics, plus 3 days of Asia week.


Oh, and on a side note....a location scout came knocking on our door last Thursday. He informed me that he would like to use our house to shoot a Viagra commercial. Providing the director likes the house as much as he does, we could actually make some cash!! Though I can't help but wonder....what makes our house 'Viagra worthy'? Does the site of it conjure up feelings of endurance and virility? Or does it remind one of erectile disfunction? I guess it doesn't really matter, just so long as it pays well.


culinary school- week 10 (141 lbs)

Michelangelo's David

I’d been looking forward to this week’s curriculum for quite some time now….Italy Week!!! Despite the fact that I chose to attend culinary school with the intention of elevating and ‘fancifying’ my cooking skills; deep down (and sometimes closer to the surface), I’m just a simple gal. Ingredients that have been painstakingly manipulated, flavours that have been complexly combined and presentations that artfully impress are all wonderful techniques to master. I am very fortunate to be learning all that the program has taught me so far….but what really moves me, now more than ever, is rustic simplicity. This is the cooking that, by far, excites, inspires, moves and satiates me the most. Such cuisine honours the integrity of the ingredients while keeping the labour lighter. As someone who has always been most interested in home cooking, I truly believe it is paramount that our culture is able prepare and enjoy simple, delicious and healthy food.

Like any of the cuisines we have touched on so far, we don’t get a lot of time to delve too deeply. Italy week taught me to make pasta by hand, as well as with a pasta machine. I enjoyed it so much, I ran out yesterday and bought one for home. My brand new, shiny silver Atlas sparkles in my kitchen, feeling sturdy and durable enough to last me a lifetime; ready to crank out literally miles of sheet pasta which will then be transformed into lasagna, linguine, fettucine, cannelloni, tortolloni etc. We made one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had….and that includes those consumed during a decent smattering of pizza field studies in Europe; even a few specimens from wood-burning brick ovens. The Roasted Squash Cannelloni and the Lemon Anise Biscotti also place as some of the finest I’ve ever had. The Roasted Tomato Soup was soothingly memorable, and also dead simple to make; you can even reduce it and use it as a sauce for pasta or mussels. I’ve never been a fan of gnocchi in the past, having found it too heavy and starchy for my taste….but the Potato Gnocchi we made on Wednesday has converted me. Simply delicious.

Lobster Tortolloni

Lobster Tortolloni

Fettucine Ailio e Olio
Fettucine Ailio e Olio

Here is a short list of all items we made during Week 10:


Hand-Shaped Pasta (Trilli, Orrecchiette, and Trilluzzi)
Sheet Pasta
Tomato Sauce, Pesto Sauce and Cream Sauce
Savoy Cabbage Wrapped Salmon w. Sheet Pasta
Black Pepper Panna Cotta

Roasted Tomato Soup
Fettucine Ailio and Olio
Lobster Tortolloni
Lemon and Anise Seed Biscotti

Chard Wrapped Bocconcini w. Blueberry Vinaigrette
Veal Piccatta w. Potato Gnocchi
Open Lasagna w. Crab & Bolognese
Focaccia Bread

Pork Shoulder w. Spinach-Ricotta Gnocchi and Grilled Asparagus
Torta Rustica w. Potato and Chard

Saffron Sheet Pasta (for Cannelloni)
Stuffed Rabbit Sous Vide w. Bean Puree and Chocolate-Marsala Reduction
Roasted Squash Cannelloni w. Porcini & Walnut-Cream Sauces
Lemon Souffle

....And it’s not over yet. I can’t wait for tomorrow (Monday of Week 11), when Chef Tony is going to teach us how to make cheese....


culinary school- week 9 (140 lbs)

I’d been wanting to make preserved lemons for a while now, yet couldn't quite seem to actually get to it….so Thursday’s demo was perfect. They are so quick and easy to make, and they look beautiful steeping in a glass mason jar. One month later you have yourself a vibrant, exotic condiment to toss into salads, cous cous, rice, stews and tagines….or a unique gift to pass on to someone else.

Preserved Lemons

5 lemons, quartered
¼ c salt
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
5-6 coriander seeds
3-4 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
freshly squeezed lemon juice

Toss the lemon with the salt and place in a ½ pint jar with a glass or plastic lid. Cover the lemons with the lemon juice and spices, screw the lid on and leave the jar at room temperature for a week, shaking it occasionally. After a week, pour in olive oil to cover and use the lemons for up to 1 year, storing them in the fridge.

As for week 9, we all needed a breather after the intensity of our midterms during week 8. We made a lot of beautiful food this week; at a relaxed and enjoyable pace. I even replicated Friday’s Middle Eastern menu for a dinner party on Saturday night, adding two more (Moroccan) salads to the list, plus blood oranges, dark chocolate and mint tea for dessert. Oh, and I was very pleased with both my written and practical midterm results.

Lahmahjoon w. Meat Filling & Sumac Red Onions

Midterm Review

Gratinee of Artichoke Benny
Ricotta Stuffed Pannetone- French Toast w. Berry Sauce
English Muffins w. Scrambled Eggs

Latin American....
Enchiladas de Mole ‘Coloradito’
Ceviche de Corvina
Tres Leche Cake
Salt Cod & Potato Croquette
Coconut Pudding
Moros y Cristianos

Middle East....
Chicken Bestilla
Persian Date-Almond Pilaf
Zaatar Bread
Preserved Lemons

Middle East....
Lahmahjoon w. Meat Filling & Sumac Red Onions
Lentil Kibbeh
Tamarind Bulgar Salad
Lamb Kofte w. Spicy Tomato Sauce, Spicy Yogurt-Garlic Sauce & Cumin Butter

Sumac Spice