Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Kitchen is Closed

It's the last day of cooking today.  We produced one cookbook, shopped for hundreds of dollars of groceries (which would have been much more without our skills in budget shopping), made 120 meals for trail staffers, and conjured up several swarms of bees.

What did you get out of the class?  What new food(s) did you discover?  What recipe do you absolutely know that you will make again?

Thanks for an enjoyable and extremely delicious spring phase, everyone!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kitchen Confidential Part 3

In this section of the book, we learn a lot more about the life of a chef or cook.  Comment on the questions from the following chapters in this section.

A Day in the Life:  After reading about the pace and activities involved in Chef Bourdain's day, do you think you have what it takes to live the life of a chef?  What appeals to you?  What made you say "NO WAY?"

Sous Chef:  Discuss the importance of an excellent sous chef.  What services does he provide that a chef absolutely needs?  What are some of the character qualities that make a good sous chef?  Why do you think Chef Bourdain is so enamored of Steven as a sous chef, in particular?

The Level of Discourse:  What similarities do you notice between cook-talk and how you might talk with your friends (keep it clean, friends)?  Why do you think that slang developed in a profession that lives and dies by fast, understandable communication?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Kitchen Confidential Part 2

Chef Bourdain is moving up in the world...but maybe through nefarious ways.  Comment on the following.

1.  How did Chef manage to staff his new kitchen at Pino's restaurant?  Do you think he went about it fairly?
2.  What are some of the reasons that Chef may have gotten canned at a few jobs, and what reasons does he feel are fair for firing one of his kitchen staff?
3.  On a positive note:  how was Chef won over by Italian cuisine?

Well-Sweep Herb Farm

The rain held off during our yearly visit to Well-Sweep Herb Farm in Port Murray, NJ.  Mr. and Mrs. Hyde are amazing hosts; Mr. Hyde seems to know nearly everything about plants and their uses, letting us taste, touch, and smell all sorts of species, and Mrs. Hyde makes delicious creations from the herbs.  I look forward to our visit so much, even though I've been there many times; I learn many new things on each trip, and buying plants to add to my own gardens is always a treat.

What did you enjoy about the trip?  What is something interesting that you learned (or a few interesting things)?  What was the most surprising thing you saw or learned?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Kitchen Confidential Part 1

We are about halfway through our book, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.  Please compose a comment addressing the following questions.

1.  What is your favorite character in the book so far, and why?
2.  What is your favorite piece of wisdom from Chef Bourdain?
3.  What surprises you about the behind-the-scenes goings-on in restaurant kitchens, as described by Chef Bourdain?

Monday, May 5, 2014

On the Trail

It looks like good weather for this year's overnight hike.  We are making dinner for 50 for two nights:  chicken fajitas, corn on the cob, black bean salad, and pineapple layer cake on Tuesday; and spaghetti and meatballs/sausage, breadsticks, walnut orange salad, and death by chocolate trifle on Wednesday.

What did you learn from your experience cooking on the trail?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Nevada dinner Review

 At the dinner I was able to taste the blue buffalo wrap with sweet potato fries and all I can say is amazing! The presentation was above average, the above average presentation was complemented with an amazing taste. The sweet potato fries were crips and warm, the taste sweet but not too over sweetened. The blue buffalo wrap with honey BBQ was a blend of bold taste and exotic flavors. The lettuce helped give the wrap a fresh taste. The sight of the food simply would make any mens or women's  stomach  rumble. In all I give the meal a 5 star review for it's excellent taste and presentation with a combination of bold flavor.

Amazing Grilled Chicken Sandwich

The Nevada Diner was such an amazing diner. I enter the diner as if I was a critique but I felt so welcomed when a Alumnus greeted our class. When we sat down we all ordered but had to keep on mind how the food is served and the taste according to ingredients. So I chose Grilled chicken sandwich. As soon as it arrived to me the food was served professionally with fries and two piece tomatoes. I was so pleased that the diner gave us at least a chose to whether or not to put tomatoes which on my perspective is a great thing. Once I placed the tomatoes in the sandwich and took a bite out of it, it felt like I was biting something made of heaven. The sandwich was so precise with ingredients and the right cooking of the chicken so it wasn't neither uncooked nor burned so it was good. The sandwich I believe was amazing so I would recommend it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An awesome burger

When we walked into the restaurant's decor instantly gave off the feeling of home. from the inviting ambiance to the inviting service the Nevada Diner was showing promise. I picked the Nevada Burger for my meal since it was unique to the diner. the Nevada Burger is a type of cheeseburger which uses a special kind of cheese. I ordered the burger medium well knowing full well the difficulty of cooking beef medium well. However, the cooks in the Nevada Diner had a few tricks up there sleeves and they got the meat just right. the burger was definitely top three on my all time best burgers list and i recommend it highly. The meat was tender and juicy and the cheese complemented it perfectly. But the Nevada Diner wasn't just done surprising me as i moved my fork over the french fries. These have got the be the BEST french fries i have ever had in my life. They struck the perfect balance between crispy and soft which makes my mouth water even talking about it. Overall i would give the Nevada Diner an A-, great decor, good service, awesome food but an average presentation is what steals away the A. The way the food was set on the plate reminded me of, well, every other lesser burger i had eaten at lesser restaurants.

Nevada Diner Review

If you are looking for the classic diner feel with the booth seating, the smell of coffee, and large windows, The Nevada Diner captures it all. If you want a comfortable, homey place to get some coffee or perhaps pancakes and waffles, It's definitely your place.  However, if you crave a burger, consider Five Guys or Smash Burger instead. I ordered a medium rare burger that turned out to be more well done than I would have liked. The burger itself was on the thin side and I got the feeling that it had been frozen at one point; it definitely wasn't fresh ground beef. The only redeeming factors of my meal were the sides of cole slaw and french fries which were both delicious, and the roasted red pepper that was served with my burger.

Chicken Alfredo Pasta: Below Average

I had the chicken Alfredo. The meal tasted very bland. The chicken was unevenly seasoned. Some pieces were too salted while most of them were totally plain. The meal seemed very plain. There was also a lot of Alfredo sauce which seemed overwhelming compared to the amount of chicken, pasta and the herbs used in the dish. The presentation was below average because the dish was drowned in Alfredo sauce. The chicken also looked chicken nuggets. I would recommend trying something else at this diner.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's time for Cooking '14!

Every time I speak at an open house, I call Spring Phase the most wonderful time of the year.  I'll be shopping at Christmas Tree Stores for supplies during Easter break, and Ian and I already looked at some cupcakes on the Hello Cupcake app we'll be using to bake gourmet cupcakes.  Guest chefs are being lined up (thank you, Dr. Lansang!) and field trips scheduled, and new challenges are in our future (making fancy garnishes).  I'm looking forward to learning new techniques and recipes, as well as experiencing all the fun that inevitably happens up at the trail.

What are you looking forward to this Spring Phase?  What are you hoping to learn and experience?