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Fourteen Mistakes Made by Novice Instructors

    So here you are ... you've finally left the long hours of the food service industry behind you and you're now a Culinary Arts instructor. You're looking forward to having most evenings and weekends off. You're also looking forward to paid vacations that include four days for Thanksgiving, two weeks for Christmas, a week for Spring Break, and two months of summer vacation where you can kick back and relax. You've custom ordered a set of culinary jackets with your name emblazoned on the front pocket and you've got a bright new toque to put on your head. You are... read more

Eulogy for a Chef

     Last week a professional colleague of mine passed away at the age of 52 after a very brief fight with cancer. She wanted no memorial or obituary, apparently content to pass into history with no public farewell. For that reason I will only refer to her as Chef B.  I cannot allow her to pass into oblivion without relating to someone the impact she has had on me and I suspect many others.  This forum seems the most appropriate place to do so.       After thinking of little else for the past week, I believe I understand why I am so bereft at her passing. She was a... read more

On Becoming A Culinary Instructor

  In 2005 I was a working chef in Pennsylvania and I literally worked 360 days out of the year. I was pulling 84 hour weeks largely because I kept having to work double shifts and/or because I was called in on my days off. The final straw for me came after I was called in during what would have been my annual one week vacation.    I thought about making a change ... but instead of finding another job in the industry, I went into teaching. There were districts in Arizona who were looking for Culinary Arts teachers and although one route towards teacher certification... read more

Artisanal chocolate figure, part two

We left off in part one with brushing the decorted mold with a layer of milk chocolate. By brushing with a silicone brush, I can see any bubbles in the mold and pop them before they harden and show up as blisters. Before the chocolate fully hardens,the perimeter of the mold is scraped clean. This is very important, because if the mold halves are not clean, you will get a large and unsightly seam when the figure is cast. Now the mold is clipped together. Here you can see the mold before it gets filled. Now the mold is filled with milk chocolate. It is allowed... read more

Pan Seared Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

  • by PeteModerator

  The weather is still cold, rainy and generally pretty crappy, but despite the lousy weather I’ve been in the Spring mood. It might be nasty out but a walk through the local forest has already offered up the first ramps of the season, which I used not long ago on a previous post. I also went out and checked on our herb garden. The mint and Lemon Balm are already starting to emerge and take over (that means lots of weeding to keep them in check) and the tarragon already has 3-4 inch shoots.   I was in the mood for something simple, light and “Springy” for dinner... read more

Chicken Pot Pie

  • by PeteModerator

  Chicken Pot Pie is one of those great comfort foods I remember from my childhood. Unfortunately, they often came frozen, from a small blue box, you remember the ones. I can remember my Mom making a number of different “chicken topped with some kind of pastry” casseroles, but I don’t ever remember her making actual Chicken Pot Pie. Too bad for me, because I imagine if she had set her mind to making a chicken pot pie it would have been a pretty good one.   Chicken Pot Pie is not difficult to make, especially if you already have pie dough on hand, or if you do like I... read more

Pickled Beets

  • by PeteModerator

  The first time I really enjoyed beets is when I finally gave in and tried my parents' pickled beets. They were a revelation. I couldn’t believe that I had disdained these bright red root vegetables for so long, although I don’t think at age 10 I actually used the word disdained. I doubt I even knew the definition of that word at the time. Well, for the first time in my life my parents did not have to force me to eat my beets. Since then, I’ve come a long way. I love beets, and find many ways in spring and fall to incorporate them into my cooking often.   While my... read more

Wilted Spinach Salad

  • by PeteModerator

  I have fond memories of Wilted Spinach Salad as a kid. It was the only way I would eat spinach. I wouldn’t touch the canned or frozen stuff if my life depended on it. Even today the thought of canned spinach makes me gag and while I do often use frozen spinach I only use it if it is an ingredient in a recipe. If I am sauteing spinach it has to be fresh or forget it. But as I kid I was even more prejudiced against spinach and Wilted Spinach Salads were the only way I’d eat the stuff. I’ve long gotten over my fear of fresh spinach, but still, every summer when fresh... read more

Big, Bad Babka!

  A shaping twist on the babka from Maggie Glezer  ​      This is the same babka formula we have visited before, in 2 new shapes.     The first is babka as pan loaf.   The dough gets rolled out to about 1/4" thick. THe trick is to make sure the sough is not too thin. Lest the filling poke through.     Schmeared with a butter, cocoa and sugar mix. The a layer of raisins, chocolate chunks and walnuts.   Rolled and read for the pan.       In the second part of out adventure, the dough is rolled into a round this time, about 1/4"... read more

Herb Pot de Creme with Rhubarb Compote

  • by PeteModerator

  The other day my wife took our daughter to see one of my wife’s clients, who she had become good friends with. Her friend has a small farm and my wife took Genevieve to ride the horses. Genevieve (aka Gigi) is 4 1/2 years old and just recently told us that she wants her own horse. This has created no end of amusement for my wife because ever since Gigi was born I have been writing letters to Santa that Gigi has “dictated” to me. Most of them revolve around the idea that she wants a horse by the time she is five, so needless to say when she exclaimed that she wanted... read more

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