Sooo excited!! Houston Press Arts writer
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
So as you can see its been some time since I've updated a post. It's been a CRAZY, but in such a fantastic way.
To start I was asked to create items that would “jazz up” the sandwiches served at a new local coffee shop named Eat Gallery. The Eat Gallery is a Culinary Art Gallery featuring the Edible Artwork of community’s emerging culinary artists. I was honored to be asked to be a part of this.
I make a Spicy Cilantro Pesto as well as the curry Mustard. The first time I saw this I swooned!!
|Artisan Spreads that's ME!|
The other Culinary Artist are Vegan food truck owners and Chefs Rodney and Maddy of Green Seed Vegan, Ella Bella (not her real name I just call her that) the cookie pusher/creator owner of E-Dubalicious cookies she has 35 (and counting) different types of scrumptious cookies, Bread Boy Bakery who makes some amzing Rosemary bread and Chef Chris of Lucille's. This was a week long event that kicked off with a private rooftop dinner where all Chefs involved cooked a 3 course meal for a very very eclectic mix of people. There where politician, artist, promoters, business owners and community leaders.
My AMAZING team was there, Verlonsky, Marshelle and newbie Tomika.
|Tomika toasting the Rosemary Bread|
|Marshelly and Verlonsky plating|
Our menu was:
Passed dishes showcasing Bread Boy Bread and the following from me:
- Ginger-Pear Butter
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Spiced Garlic Infused oil
Causa- Smoked cumin purple potatoes, yellow curry potato and coconut cauliflower mashed, layered with avocado, cucumber and mango chutney, paired with lemon fried shrimp crisps.
Herb Crusted chicken breast stuffed with Roasted Garlic Spinach and mushroom, accompanied with warm summer vegetable Israeli couscous salad, lentils and Marsala sauce
Marshelly came over to help make this..
Right in the middle of the 2nd course it started to rain so they moved everyone downstairs.. Everyone was so amazingly cool, and receptive. Everyone seemed to LOVE the food that was presented to them from me I felt like I was off the a GREAT start.
Next was my satellite tasting at Melodrama Boutique
The menu there was:
The menu there was:
Mango/Coconut Rice Sushi with Basil foam
|It ended up on top of the Coconut Mango Sushi|
Curry - Petatou (potato salad)
Fruit Salad/ Wonton chips
Coconut Polenta topped with Bacala SaladIt was just me and Verlonsky for this one, and despite the close quarters the owner Jackie was Amazing accommodating, the turn out was fantastic and it was a great success.
Next up was my artist talk, where I got another opportunity to have tastings of my food as well as an AMAZING rooftop performance from Michele Thibeaux.
Sweet and Savory Cream Puffs
Sweet had pastry cream topped with Chocolate ganash, the savory was a Gougers with whipped curry potato on the inside the puff was mixed with herbs
Sweet potato with Brown Butter and Basil Ravioli
Coconut Polenta topped with Bacala Salad
Caribbean Petatou topped with Mango chutney
Vegetable spring rolls
Plantain Chips with Spicy Chimichurro sauce
This time none of my dream team was there but thankfully I had some amazing volunteers!
This has been an OVERWHELMING experience, the feedback on my food was amazing, I'm soo charged up and ready for the next event! Up next is a Foe dinner.. stay tuned!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I currently attending the the ArtsInstitute, in the Houston. So this semester I'm taking the lab that I've been waiting to take for sometime now you have to wait till the end of your tenure here at AI. (I graduate in December) The class: Art Culinare it's a the study of the dishes of world renowned Chefs. Thus far we have done dishes from: Charlie Trotter, Charlie Palmer, and Alain Ducasse. It's taught by Chef Hernandez who from early in my schooling he has been one of my favorite Chef Professors. He's one of the few that actually push you.. and I mean hard, hes a thinking Chef that makes you look at ALL angles.. and I love it. So now we are 3 weeks in and I wanted to share some of the delicious dishes we have created in class:
|Seared Scallop on a Potato Cloud, that is sitting on a roasted garlic burre blanc, with speckles of a orange reduction. Garnish of supreme orange and parsley|
|Prosciutto wrapped Halibut and sage, on a carrot puree and Cabbage and prosciutto slaw, topped with sliced apple and Fried Sage|
|Roasted Beet topped with herbed Goat Cheese, with beet reduction and spinach/parsley infused green oil..|
|Broccoli Soup garnished by creme fraiche, lardons, and fried portabella mushrooms|
|Foie Gras on toast with a Port grape sauce, brown butter peal onions topped with apple, grape, peach compote|
|Roasted Garlic and portobello mushroom Ravioli, with a red wine olive sauce, garnished with brown butter asparagus spears and fava beans|
|Pork loin on leek and bacon slaw|
|Marshmallow with chocolate covered banana and raspberry jam (the marshmallow were soo good!)|
Thursday, July 14, 2011
So I'm always being asked, what cook books do I love to read so ever so often I will post up the books both cooking and regular that have shaped me and led me to following my passion.. That said, my first book is..
During my very first semester at school, I participated in “chopped” type of workshop were we where given a mystery basket. It was also the first time I met Chef Fernandez, who I would find during my time at school to be one of the BEST chef instructors at the school.
After a dismal (and I do mean dismal) first effort he must of realized something in me (passion perhaps) because he pulled me aside and recommended that I get the book “Culinary Artistry”, he said it's the book that he keeps with him at all times, he didn't really explain what was in it, he just said it helps with flavor pairings. So off I went to the school library and checked it out..
Let me break it down for you.. Culinary Artistry is written by Andrew Dorneburg and Karen Page, I believe they may be husband and wife, they are James Beard award winning authors for their plethora of culinary related books.. (a few of them I will share here). It's part reference, part real world stories, part recipes.. I was struck and stuck when I read this passage under the title Sensory Perception:
“Food is something we ingest, we judge it carefully, critically and instinctively. All of our senses are used to evaluate whether to put the food in our mouths, and then whether to swallow it. First, you look at it, and the you might smell it, Is it safe. Is it appealing. If a food appears hot for example you may first try to touch it to gauge the temperature, will it burn your mouth? If it passes muster and you bit into it, your first experience is texture. Is it soft, crispy? If crispy, you hear the crunch in your inner ear a split second before its flavor begins to register on your taste buds.... then goes on to say.. Taste is existential, sensual experience..”
I was hooked.. Then I turned the pages to find that this book, ties all food, and I mean all food together with every other food it taste well with.. ie its flavor pairing.. It clues you in on seasonality, and menu themes, holiday and international food ideas.. it is FABULOUS!.. So much so for the next two years I checked it out of the school library for entire quarters. I finally got around buying it so now I own it (its all highlighted and tagged)..Watch yours will be too.. enjoy!
You can buy the book at Amazon.com
and you can read more about the authors here: Andrew Dorneburg and Karen Page
Thursday, July 7, 2011
3 tbsp Sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
5 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp Lee Kum Lee Chili Black Bean Paste
Heat oven to 350
Create a foil basket add all ingredients fold to close and bake for 25 mins till salmon is done..
1 bunch- Kale
1 tsp-Olive oil
½ tsp- Sesame oil
2 tbsp diced onions
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp – grated ginger
1 tsp or to taste - red pepper flakes
¼ cup c. stock
¼ cup rice wine
To Taste - soy sauce
Clean Kale by removing the stem and then Julianne (thinly slice) the leaves.
Add both oils to pan over medium heat, add onions cook till transparent (abt 2 mins), add garlic cook (do not brown)
Add Kale, toss well to coat with oil, add rice wine cook for 5 mins till liquid is reduced by ½
Add c. stock cook 7 mins till reduced by ½ add grated ginger, and red pepper flakes.
Note- Kale does not cook down like spinach or bok chuy, it remains pretty full, so when you grab that bunch know that, that's the qty you will end up with after cooking
1cup Jasmine rice- follow cooking instructions on the bag ;)
To serve take a look:
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
So when on of my very, very best friends asked me to research salt for her (now that I'm typing this I'm not sure why she needs this info) I ecstatically agreed, because hey, research for her means research for me, so down the rabbit hole I went.
First off, who knew there was an Institute of Salt, I sure the hell didn’t but nevertheless there it was, and thankfully because it provided a wealth of information.
Salt is an essential nutrient. Let me repeat this, salt is an ESSENTIAL ingredient, meaning with out it we don't exists. According to varies sources :
“An essential nutrient is one required for life that the body cannot produce itself and which is required for good health. For humans, salt is as essential as water. We can perish from too little salt as we can of thirst. The human body contains about eight ounces of salt. The amount of salt is regulated in our bodies by our kidneys and by perspiration. “
Holy crap! Who knew??
There are 10 different types of salt and they come in an array of colors:
- yellow (sodium chromate),
- orange (potassium dichromate),
- red (potassium ferricyanide),
- purple (potassium permanganate),
- green (nickel chloride hexahydrate),
- white (sodium chloride),
- Colorless (Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate) and
- black (manganese dioxide).
There was NO way I was going to write about all of them, besides there are only 3 of them that we can cook with. The 3 basic types of salt are:
Table Salt, Kosher and Sea Salt..
But let's back it up a bit. I know that for my family hypertension or “pressure” is an ever constant nemesis. So much so that my mother and grandmother do not cook with it at all. So why use it?Here’s how salt helps food:
Preservation – helps protect against microorganisms, bacteria through dehydration and preventing growth of bacteria, which slows or prevents spoilage.
Texture Aid – in bread making, allows the dough to rise by giving helping the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide. In meats it improves tenderness and in cheeses it aids in consistency of the cheese and the hardness of the rind.
Color Developer – in ham, bacon, and other processed meats it helps obtain the desired color. It also helps create a golden crust for breads.
So now what where those 3 types of salts again? Lets start with Table salt. This is what we see most often and in most restaurants (not on plantation F though, we use fine sea salt) other types of table salt include:
Pretzel salt – large grained, does not melt quickly.
Rock salt – large crystal salt with a gray color, due to minerals not removed from normal table salt.
Popcorn salt – very fine grained salt which is flakier version of table salt.
Iodized salt – contains a small amount of potassium iodide and dextrose as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease.
Seasoned salt – table salt with herbs added like onion, hickory smoke or garlic.
Pickling salt, Canning salt, Coarse salt, Gos sel – This is similar to table salt, but lacks the iodine and anti-caking additives that turn pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy. Pickles made with table salt would still be good to eat, but they wouldn't look as appetizing.
Next up is Kosher Salt. Kosher salt coarser and flakier than table salt so it disperses more easily and since it is a lighter salt, there is less after taste with it. It is also recommended to use Kosher salt for cocktail glasses for drinks like margaritas. Kosher salt is used most commonly amongst chefs because it dissolves fast and its flavor disperses quickly.
Lastly is the mother of salts: Sea Salt unlike the other salts, this one is not mined, therefore its the purest of the three, but of course that makes it the most expensive of the three.. Here are a few other Sea Salt varieties and their uses:
Black Salt, Kala Namak, Sanchal - Significant for its strong sulfur odor (India) this salt is a pearly pink gray. It is used in Indian cooking.Grey salt, Celtic salt, Sel Gris – The gray or light purple color comes from the clay in the region of France where it is harvested.
Hawaiian sea salt – Has a distinctive pink hue from the Alaea added to it. The Alaea is volcanic red clay with a high content of iron oxide. This salt is used in many traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian Jerky.
Coarse salt, Gos Sel, Gale Grosso – Is a larger grain salt which resists moisture and is intended to be ground. Uses include flavoring for soups and salt crusts on meats.
Fleur de Sel, Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal – This is considered a great condiment salt; also good on grilled meats, in salads and on vegetables. The flavor, like wines, varies depending on the region it is harvested from. Typically it is from France though some is produced in Portugal.
French Sea Salt – A coarse salt, this is good for salads, vegetables and grilled meats.
Italian Sea Salt, Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino – Harvested from the lower Mediterranean sea by hand using traditional methods this is a delicate salt which is good on salads and in sauces.
Smoked Sea Salt - The salt is smoked over real wood fires to add the flavor to the crystals. These can be used in soups, salads, pasta and also in grilling foods like salmon.
Lastly now that you have the knowledge of salts here are some tips in using them
Add a pinch:
When whipping eggs to create fluffier eggs.
To enhance the flavor of coffee and in overcooked coffee helps remove the bitterness.
To whipping cream or egg whites to get them to whip faster.
To milk to have it stay fresh longer.
To icing prevents them from sugaring.
To improve boiled potatoes, salt after draining - this gives them a fine mealy texture.
Keep salads crisp by salting immediately before serving.
Rub the chicken skin with salt to remove pinfeathers more easily.
Improve the flavor by rubbing salt inside and out before roasting.
Salt + Water =
Salt makes water boil at a higher temperature which reduces cooking time.
Boil eggs in salt water to ease the peeling process.
To set the whites of poached eggs, boil over saltwater.
Place an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoon of salt, a fresh egg will sink, a floating egg may be spoiled.
Washing spinach, lettuce and other greens in saltwater will keep them crisp.
Lightly salted cold water helps maintain the color of apples, pears and potatoes.
Soak in saltwater for hours to make shelling pecans easy.
Dampen a cloth with saltwater and wrap around cheese to prevent molding.
Sprinkle ice with salt, place gelatin salads or desserts on ice to get them to set more quickly.
For miracle Uses for salts not related to cooking visit the Salt Institute
For more on salt visit the sources is used to compile this information: