Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gulf Coast Education That Works

This morning I had the opportunity to participate in a training session with the statewide articulation program (Tech Prep).  I was supposed to arrive at the University of Houston Conrad Hilton Hotel at 8:15 AM but due to a wreck on the Gulf Freeway I was late; arriving almost two hours after leaving my home.  It reminded me of the "three hour tour".  The drive seemed to take forever.  But all was good when I arrived. I actually had a few minutes before my session started.  The training went well.  There were seven high school teachers that needed training in the culinary arts area. And as always it was nice to see some familiar faces. 
Happy Eating!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Visit to Angleton High School

On Friday September 25, I had the honor of visiting the culinary arts class at Angleton High School in Angleton, Texas. I had the opportunity to visit with the class and their instructor, Ann Riedel, about being a chef, the importance of an getting an education, my program at Alvin Community College and the chef certification process among other things. And of course we made truffles as a part of the visit. The two photos below show me with the students both at the beginning and the end of the truffle making process. It seemed like a good and tasty time was had by all.  Happy eating!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Coconut Chicken Curry

Coconut Chicken Curry
Yield: 4 servings

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh meat cut into 1 inch pieces
Curry powder as needed
Salt and pepper as needed
14 oz coconut milk
Red curry paste
Veg oil as needed.

Season chicken meat with curry powder and salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a skillet over high heat. When hot add vegetable oil.
Add chicken and sauté until seared.
Add the coconut milk (shake it well before adding).
Bring to a simmer and season to taste with red curry paste and salt and pepper.
Simmer until chicken is done and serve over rice.

Curry powder in India is often made at home and everyone has their own blend of spices they use. I use commercially made madras curry powder. It is not hot. The heat in this dish comes from the curry paste. You can control it by how much you add.
When I can find it, I add thinly sliced Japanese eggplant when the chicken is seared most of the way. I often substitute sliced zucchini for the eggplant.
The portions for this recipe are approximate.
Appropriate rice choices include: short grain white rice aka sticky rice; jasmine rice, or any of the varieties of basmati rice.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recipe for Naan

Here is the Naan Recipe. Hope you enjoy. It really is a simple, easy and good recipe.

Prep: 25 minutes Rise: 1 hour Cook: 4 minutes Makes: 6 large breads

Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cooking."

2/3 cups hot milk (100 degrees F. Body temp if you will. Warm to the touch not hot.)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup flour (I use a blend of whole wheat flour and bread flour for this portion: by weight: 4 parts bread flour and 1 part whole wheat flour measure as needed for the recipe. It gives a hint of whole grain in appearance and mouth feel)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for bowl
2/3 cup plain yogurt, lightly beaten
1 large egg
Melted butter, optional

Put milk in a bowl. Add the sugar and the yeast. Stir to mix. Set aside until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture is frothy, 15-20 minutes.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, the yogurt and the egg. Mix; form into a ball of dough.

Knead dough on a clean work surface until smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Form into a ball. Pour about ¼ teaspoon of oil into a large bowl; roll the dough in it. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap; set aside in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in bulk, 1 hour.

When the bread is put up to rise turn, on the oven to preheat to 500 degrees and at the same time, place a heavy baking tray (I use the flat side of a cast iron griddle pan; an upside down cast iron skillet can also work if big enough) in the oven. Punch down the dough; knead it again. Divide into six balls. Keep five covered while you work with the sixth. Roll ball into a tear-shaped naan about 10 inches long and 5 inches wide.

Remove the hot baking tray from the oven; slap naan onto it. Put it immediately into the oven for 4 minutes. (Rather than remove the pan leave it on the oven shelf and pull the shelf out as needed). It should puff up. Keep the naan warm by wrapping it in a clean kitchen towel; repeat with remaining dough. Serve hot after brushing with melted butter, if you like.

If you would like a darker bread, place 3 to 4 inches from a heated broiler for 30 seconds after the bread is baked.

Chicken Curry

Since I mentioned the Coconut Chicken Curry that went with the Naan (pronounced like John)I thought I would put up a picture of the curry. This is a recipe that I introduced to the international cuisine class last year. It is really easy and ultra rich thanks to the coconut milk. The ingredients are few but each flavor is well defined and combined are much greater than their individual flavors. I also have included another Naan photo.

Next on the agenda for the culinary department is a visit to Angleton High School on Friday September 25 to visit with their culinary arts students and their instructor.

Happy eating!

Monday, September 21, 2009


In preparation for international cuisine in the spring semester I tried a recipe for Naan this last weekend. Naan is an Indian flatbread. I was really happy with the recipe. It tasted great and went really well with the coconut curry chicken I made for dinner that night.
I plan on using this recipe in the international cuisine class.