May 29, 2013

Culinary School Pictures

I was going through some of my 1000+ pictures on my computer that I have forgotten about and came across these and thought I would share them with you. Going to Culinary School was on my list of things to do and when I actually had the chance to go I was so excited. I couldn't wait to get my hands on new ideas, new tools, new recipes and techniques. The experience and knowledge is something I will never forget. Maybe some day I will go back to take a few more classes, just for pure pleasure!


Here you see a smoked pork leg and a whole smoked salmon. I personally liked the smoked salmon better.

Not very pretty but oh so yummy. This was the salmon before covering it with a glaze and edible decor.

The salmon is covered with a glaze that was used to preserve the fish. The white coating is referred to as a Chaud Froid, which is a type of aspic used to preserve meats such as fish or poultry. This was such an interesting thing to see and do.
Me covering the smoked pork with the same glaze we used on the salmon.

All of the students made their own appetizers for the last day of our Garde Manger class. See the plate to the left of the deviled eggs? That's my plate....Roasted Butternut Squash Bruschetta with sage pesto topped with a little goat cheese. Below is a dish with chicken breast stuffed with a ratatouille over a veggie pilaf.


This box was made completely out of chocolate. Our culinary teacher for this baking class did the decorative swirl on the top. Inside of the box are an assortment of chocolate truffles....yummm

This was one of my favorite desserts we made! The dessert is called Frangipani. It had almond paste in the batter and it was a mixture between a cookie and a cake. Moist but sturdy enough to cut into bars. The design on top of the Frangipani was made out of chocolate.

Frangipani presented in an elegant way that you might see in a restaurant.

This was done in a tropical fruit sauce and a raspberry sauce. On the left below is a Chocolate Molten Lava Cake and to the right more Frangipani.

The bowl is made out of caramel and is filled with an Apple Compote and vanilla ice cream. We had a few of the sugar bowls burn during the process of making them.....didn't smell to good. But the ones we did get right looked great and tasted good too.

Our swan made out of a pastry puffed filled with Chantilly. These took a little practice to get right but the effect was great was they were plated.

May 20, 2013

Pasta E Fagoli ***Surprise Recipe Swap***

Where has this month gone? Does anyone else like these past weeks have just slipped by them. It feels like we just had Spring Break and now my kiddos only have 3.5 days left before Summer Break starts!! 
I have been pretty busy with my current college schedule and on top of that schedule I had a house full of sick children....not a great combo at all. Thankfully I didn't catch the germs and that the germs have finally decided they don't like all the de-germifying I have been doing and have left our house ;-) So I hope you can all forgive me for not having posted much in the past days it really was not my intention to leave you hanging for so long.

Today is May 20th so that means we are FINALLY allowed sharing our partnered up with for the monthly Secret Recipe Swap hosted by Jutta over at Hungry Little Girl
I finally get to share the great recipes I have found and will be adding to my keeper files.
Spatulas on Parade was my stalking site for this months swap. Dawn the creator and editor of this blog has been doing a great job with providing a great variety of recipes. I browsed through her recipes and postings....and probably read every single one not because I couldn't find a good recipe but because I really liked SO MANY of her recipes and I REALLY felt she writes from the heart and the way it is.

Now to the I decided to recreate.....first I decided on her Pasta E Fagoli Soup recipe and then I just couldn't help myself and also made her Everything Tropical Cake. I chose to make the soup because I love eating it at Olive Garden but since I don't go that often I wanted to have a recipe that would compare that I could make at home. The Everything Tropical Cake was chosen because I love coconut, pineapple and mangos but my husband doesn't...thankfully I had a Bunco night with some friends SO it was the perfect opportunity for me to try it! Another reason I wanted to try this recipe was because it is DAIRY & EGG FREE!! 

This is without the seems I can never get a picture with the frosting on my cakes!

Both recipes are keepers :-) 

1 lb ground beef or turkey (I used turkey)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp italian seasoning
2 carrot, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
26 oz. beef stock
1- 25 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp parsley
3/4 cup cooked pasted

Cook beef or turkey with the paprika and italian seasoning ***I forgot to add the seasoning...oops***
Drain the fat from the pan before adding it to your crockpot. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir well. Cook on low 6-8 hrs or on high 3-4.   
30 minutes before serving add the cooked pasta and stir.
Serve with parmesan cheese and crispy bread.


Everything Tropical Cake

1 1/2 cup flour plus 3 TBS
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mango nectar
1 tsp white vinegar
5 TBS vegetable oil
3/4 cup shredded carrots
4 TBS crushed pineapple, after draining juices
1/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 can white frosting
1/2 cup crushed pineapple with the juice


Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a glass 2.2 quart rectangle baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients first and mix well. Then add the mango nectar, vinegar, and oil. Mix until combined. Stir in the carrots, pineapple and coconut flakes. Stir well and pour into your prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes, cake will be nice and golden.
Meanwhile, whisk together the frosting and crushed pineapple. Set this aside until the cakes has cooled.  

I decided to pour the frosting mixture onto the cake while it was still warm....well I think it would have been better to frost the cake until after it has cooled because my frosting disappeared!!! The cake was so warm that it melted the frosting! HAHA oh wasn't a bad mistake but it didn't look as pretty as Dawn's cake ;-)

Joining Hungry Little Girl monthly Secret Recipe Swap is as easy as clicking on the link below!


May 1, 2013

Strawberry Crisp

Have strawberries been on sale like mad crazy every where or is it just in Tucson because I don't think I can remember the last time I have boughten and eaten so many strawberries!! Not to mention adding them to smoothies too.

This recipe that I am going to share with you was given to me by my mother in law and was for a Rhubarb Crisp. Rhubarb is used in a lot of different dessert in Germany but honestly I can't recall a single on being as yummy as the one my mother in law made. So of course I wanted the recipe and now I always keep a few servings of rhubarb in my freezer.

This recipe is easy to make and doesn't require too many ingredients either, another winner in my books. So far I have made it with rhubarb and strawberries but I do think you could try it with other fruit too. I am pretty sure I have some frozen peaches in my freezer...hhhmmm...I will keep let you know if I try it and how I like it!

3 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1 small pkg strawberry Jello mix
1 box white or yellow cake mix
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water, not boiling
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 13x9 baking pan. Measure your water in either a microwave safe measuring cup or bowl, add your butter to this and heat just until butter is completely melted, set aside. 

Roughly chop strawberries and put them into your baking pan to cover the bottom, set aside. In a small bowl whisk together sugar and jello powder, then sprinkle this mixture evenly over the strawberries.  

Then sprinkle the dry cake mix next...if you notice any large clumps mash them up a bit.

Now carefully pour the butter & water mixture over the cake mix, try covering all of the cake mix with the water but don't worry if there are still a few spots not drenched.
Now bake for 45 minutes, the top should be golden brown and the juices bubbling on the sides. Cool for 15 minutes before serving, then refrigerate any leftovers.

***I like making this the day before I plan on serving it BUT love it hot out of the oven's just a little messier warm ;-)