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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Could any menu say, "Fall", better than this?

Today's menu screamed FALL! A hearty (and healthy!) vegetable soup of butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips and red onion, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and roasted to bring out their sweet perfection! We added them to vegetable stock and seasoned the soup with fresh thyme and sage and gave them a whizz with the immersion blender!

Next on the menu was our Fall Salad...mixed baby greens topped with diced golden delicious apples, dried cranberries, pomegranate and sunflower seeds and crumbled blue cheese, served with a delicious vinaigrette of cranberry-pomegrante juice reduction, red wine vinegar and olive oil!

Turkey-Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie~tastes like Thanksgiving when everything on your plate gets mixed up together...not a pretty site, but, boy, does it taste good and comforting!

And to top it all off, every lunch order came with a warm from the oven Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffin
 (with a little streusel topping...couldn't resist!)

and here's the recipe...enjoy!!
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins
makes 12 muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon allspice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center, and put in eggs, pumpkin and honey. Mix just until the dry ingredients are absorbed. Spoon into muffin cups so they are about 2/3 full. Divide topping among the muffins.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan before removing from cups.
Streusel Topping:
⅔ c brown sugar
¼ c flour
½  t cinnamon
2 T butter, softened
pinch salt

Stir together until well mixed

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cooking with Ms. Lipetri's Italian 3 Class

Every now and then, I have the opportunity to cook with Foreign Language classes~today we made Arancini (rice balls) and Tiramisu with Ms. Lipetri's Italian 3 class; they did a great job and hopefully were as happy with their end results as I was! Photos of the process below...
 rice, eggs and cheese
 mozzarella, ground beef, peas and marinara
 "standard breading procedure"
 forming and filling rice balls
 almost done...

the finished product!

and the tiramisu...
getting the yolks, vanilla and sugar ready to make the zabaglione

 beautiful mascarpone and sugar
 mascarpone, beaten egg whites and zabaglione
 savoiardi dipped in strong sweet coffee~we also tried a few dark chocolate Milano cookies as an experiment~excellent results, as the chocolate was already layered into the cookie ;)

Sorry, no photo of the finished Tiramisu, but I assure you, it was yummy! It was flavored with extra strong sweetened coffee, real vanilla extract and shaved dark chocolate...the other "embellishments were not missed! ;)

Oh, and Arancini? This recipe makes about 12 or so...

1 T olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 c Arborio or medium grained rice
3 c chicken stock, heated to boiling

1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten

1/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 c frozen peas, thawed
2 T tomato sauce (or your favorite marinara)
12-14 small cubes mozzarella (abut 1/2" dice)
salt and pepper, to taste

1 c flour**
2 eggs**
1/4 c water
1 c bread crumbs** (seasoned Italian, panko or plain)
**salt and pepper~season flour, eggs and crumbs to taste

about 2 c oil for deep frying

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent and soft, but not browned. Pour in rice and cook 2 minutes. Add boiling stock about 1/3 cup at a time, stirring until liquid has evaporated. Continue until all stock has been used. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from pan into a large bowl and cool to at least room temperature. When cool, add 1/2 c parmesan and 1 egg-mix well.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, saute the ground beef, add the marinara and peas and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Set up 3 pie tins for standard breading procedure...arrange in order seasoned flour~eggs and water, beaten together~crumbs.
Using about 2 tablespoons of rice mixture, make a ball, place in the palm of your hand and press fingers into the middle to make a cup shape. Place a cube of cheese and about a teaspoon of the meat and peas mixture into the center; roll and pinch together to close. Proceed until all balls are made.
Coat the balls with flour, dip in egg and then into crumbs, re-rolling as needed to maintain the shape.
Heat oil to 350 degrees in a deep saucepan or deep fryer. Fry arancini in small batches until golden brown. Keep warm in a low oven (250 degrees) until all the balls are fried. Placing in the oven also insures that the mozzarella cheese in the center has thoroughly melted. 
Serve warm with your favorite marinara!

Monday, October 28, 2013

what's so great about kale, you ask?

What's so great about kale...everything! Kale is loaded with nutrients and serving has more vitamin C than an orange, more vitamin A than any other green and more calcium than a glass of milk! Eating kale with healthy fats like olive oil and avocado, even a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, helps the body access antioxidants and carotenoids (the bright, colorful pigments in fruits and vegetables that produce vitamin A!)
Kale can be used in almost any recipe when one would often use stir-fry, sauteed with olive oil and garlic (chop sauteed kale finely and add it to your favorite mashed potatoes for a healthy, very tasty nutrition boost), added to soups and stews, roasted with a sprinkling of salt and olive oil until crispy and even raw in salads. To eat raw, give it a good squeezing and beating! This will break down the tough fibers while keeping a crisp texture which doesn't wilt under salad dressing.
Here's a delicious recipe for the kale dish we are serving this week...

Grilled Chicken Roasted Potato and Kale Salad
4 servings

1/2 pound small red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 large bunch kale, stems removed, leaves torn (about 10 cups)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 cups mixed salad greens
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the potatoes with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet; spread in a single layer and roast 5 minutes. Toss the kale in a large bowl with the garlic, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Add to the baking sheet with the potatoes and toss. Roast until the kale is crisp and the potatoes are tender, stirring once, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a grill or grill pan to medium and brush with olive oil. Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 4 cutlets. Coat evenly with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken until well marked and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Toss the kale, potatoes, the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, the salad greens, tomatoes, parmesan, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Divide the chicken among plates and top with any collected juices. Serve with the kale salad.

Per serving: Calories 434; Fat 14 g (Saturated 4 g); Cholesterol 112 mg; Sodium 586 mg; Carbohydrate 28 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 50 g

Thursday, October 24, 2013

one more of those golden brown, light as air, warm and crunchy beauties :)
about those popovers...
Tonight is Fright Night...movies have been made, pumpkins have been carved and for us, dozens and dozens of cookies and pumpkin whoopie pies have been baked! We will also be making caramel apples on the spot! This is the first year the Culinary Arts students have taken part in Fright Night and there is excitement in the air! Hopefully some of our students will post pictures here and add a comment or 2!
Additionally, today's soup is Broccoli-Cheese-which we are serving with our "amazing" giant popovers...seems like we could serve popovers everyday because they are sooo popular! Pictures of those later, too!
Happy Fright Night! (I just looked at the preview-it says I am posting this at 3:28 am...the clock must be off, it's really 6:30! hahaha!)

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's getting close...

Hope everyone is enjoying these last fleeting weeks of summer! I've been thinking about our upcoming year and the new additions and changes ahead. We have a new floor in our kitchen and new stainless steel work will be so professional looking! I have every hope that our students will enjoy their new and improved kitchen!
This year we will be reinstating "Warrior Wednesdays" with Caitlyn Torelli and the School to Life students; we are still working out our plans-stay tuned for the yummy details!
The countdown has begun!