Thursday, December 30, 2010

bright stars

2010 is almost over. 

The holiday has given me sometime to reflect on what I do and where the program is.  As an educator I sometimes gauge my effectiveness or success on the accomplishments of my students.  To this end, I was successful in 2010. 

Derek graduated with his Bachelor degree from the University of Houston.  He is working as the assistant pastry chef at a resort in Vale.  Derek is very talented, focused and will be a factor to be contended with.

Dedee also graduated with her Bachelor degree.  She attended Texas Tech University.  I really enjoyed having Dedee in class.

Pat attended on the hands on Plate Cooks events sponsored by Plate Magazine.  His group received the coveted "best plate" award for their recipe by the California Raisin Board.

There have been many more successes through the year but these are the ones that stand out to me at the moment.  Well done guys!

I can't wait for 2011.

Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh
Alvin Community College

Sunday, December 26, 2010

American Culinary Federation Chef Educator of the Year

I am deeply honored and pleased to be able to inform you all, that I have been named as a semi-finalist for the American Culinary Federation Chef Educator of the Year award.  This is indeed a high honor. 
I am in the central region of the A.C.F..  The central region conference will be held in April in New Orleans.  At the conference, one individual will be chosen to represent the region as a finalist for the Chef Educator of the Year award.  This person will compete against the finalists from the other three regions of the A.C.F. for the title of Chef Educator of the Year.  The competition will take place at the A.C.F. national conference in July 2011 in Grapevine, Texas.

Until next time.

Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

enrollment for spring semester

As this semester is coming to an end, I am getting quite a few inquiries about enrolling in classes for the spring semester.  Options for spring enrollment include taking management classes and/or any general academics that may be required for your course of study. 
We start students in our lab (culinary arts cooking) classes every August.  The very first lab class, Basic Food Preparation, is the pre-requisite for all other lab classes.  We typically hold seats in the fall lab class sequence, for those students who start with us in the spring.

Happy Rating
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tips for a Safe and Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey Tips to Keep Your Thanksgiving Holiday Safe and Happy
(The updated information in this post is in Italics.)

The following tips will help keep your turkey safe to eat.

1.        If you are using a frozen turkey, allow ample time for it to thaw in your refrigerator. 
A twelve pound turkey can take up to four days to thaw in the refrigerator.  The time required for your turkey to thaw is dependent on how big it is and the temperature your refrigerator is operating at.
2.       Do not thaw your turkey at room temperature.  Doing so, allows the exterior of the turkey to get hot enough to support microbial growth while the interior is still frozen solid.
3.       If you discover your turkey has not thawed sufficiently in the refrigerator, you may use the following method to help it along:
Put your turkey into a clean sink or container and fill it with cold water (hopefully your sink/container is deep enough for the turkey to be fully covered; if not, turn the turkey over periodically).  Leave the turkey in the water for 20 minutes and then drain.  Repeat as needed.
4.       Be sure to cook your turkey to appropriate temperature; 165˚ F.  Use a calibrated stem thermometer to check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh.  The juices should run clear.

If you suffer from dry turkey syndrome you may wish to brine your turkey

Combine 1 gallon of water, 1 cup sugar and ½ cup kosher salt in a large pan and bring to a boil. 
When the sugar and salt are dissolved turn off the heat allow the brine to cool to room temperature.  Place your thawed turkey in a container large enough to hold it and cover with cooled brine.  
Place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
When you are ready to cook, remove the turkey from the brine and discard the brine.
Dry the turkey with paper towels.
Season and cook your turkey as normal.
A 12 pound turkey will take about 1 ½ - 1 ¾ gallons of brine. 
Remember it must be thawed and refrigerated at a temperature below 39˚ F.
Brining flushes out some blood and helps the bird retain water so you will hopefully wind up with a juicy turkey.
You may also wish to flavor the brine by:
adding some fresh squeezed orange juice as a part of the water required
add orange halves to the brine when you bring it to a boil
you may also add any other herb or aromatic you desire to the brine when bringing it to a boil.

Need further assistance with your turkey or other holiday cooking projects?
You may wish to access the following sources of help:
 Reynolds Turkey Tips Line
(800) 745-4000 Open through December 31, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Butterball Turkey Talk Line
(800) BUTTERBALL (800-288-8373) Available November 1 through December 28, weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST; Thanksgiving Day, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST; Nov. 24 to Dec. 25, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST.

Honeysuckle White
(800) 810-6325 Recorded answers to frequently asked turkey preparation questions.

Crisco Pie Hotline
(877) 367-7438 toll-free.  Provides answers the most common questions about baking pies for novice bakers as well as offering tips that will benefit the most seasoned baker. The hotline also offers the option for callers to connect to a live pie expert for pie baking guidance. Hours: 9 - 7 EST except for: Nov. 16 - 25 (8am - 8pm EST) and Dec. 14 - 23 (8am - 8pm EST).

Foster Farms
(800) 255-7227. Live operators answer your questions 24 hours a day November 19 through December 1.  The rest of the year, hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday.

Perdue Chicken
(800) 473-7383 Available weekdays year-round (except the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m Eastern Time. Thanksgiving week: Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, Nov. 27, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, Thanksgiving Day, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m EST.

Shady Brook Farms Turkey Line
(888) 723-4468. Available 24-hours, 7 days-a-week, automated messages by famous chefs and winemakers, through Jan. 1.

Empire Kosher
(800) 367-4734. Year-round Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST; Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m EST. Closed on Jewish and secular holidays.

Land O' Lakes Holiday Bakeline
(800) 782-9606 Available through Dec. 24 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, CST, 7 days a week.

Betty Crocker
(888) ASK-BETTY (888-275-2388) Open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST weekdays; staffed year-round.

Campbell's Soups Holiday Leftovers Hotline
(888) 453-3868 Open the day after Thanksgiving through December 31 for questions on leftovers; otherwise there are recorded recipes which can be faxed to you.

Fleischmann's Yeast Baker's Help Line
(800) 777-4959 Weekdays, 9am to 4pm CST, year round advice for bread bakers.

Nestle Toll House Baking Information Line
(800) 637-8537 Year-round baking help, plus recipes, from 10am to 6pm.

Ocean Spray
(800) 662-3263. Staffed year-round, weekdays (open Thanksgiving Day; but not Christmas Day, New Year's Day and other major holidays) 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., EST. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

shrimp and rice egg roll

I just realized that I am running behind in my quest to publish a recipe a month that uses 8 ingredients or less.
So..........  Here is this months installment: 

Shrimp and Rice Egg Roll
4 servings

4 each egg roll skins
1 cup cooked rice
5 oz hot, pre-prepared shrimp bisque 
4oz cooked, peeled, de-veined, medium shrimp cut in ½ inch pieces
3ea green onion, medium, sliced ¼ inch thick, green and white

Combine rice with warm shrimp bisque, shrimp and green onion.
Lay out four egg roll wrappers, on a cutting board, so they look like a diamond with tips at top and bottom.
Center, even portions of the Japanese rice mixture on the wrappers, from the left to the right side, leaving a 2 inch piece of each side of the wrapper uncovered.
Paint the bare portions of the wrapper with water.
Fold the lower tip over the filling.
Fold in each side to overlap the lower “tip” and to enclose the filling from the sides.
Roll forward to fully enclose the filling.
Deep fry each egg roll in 350 F° canola oil until golden brown.
Remove from oil and drain excess oil. (There may be a small amount of filling left over.)

Serving suggestions
Cut each shrimp and rice egg roll diagonally.
Overlap the two pieces of each shrimp and rice egg roll on the plate, so the person eating the egg roll can see the filling.
Accompany the egg roll with a small salad of snow pea shoots and mung bean sprouts lightly dressed with rice vinegar and roasted sesame oil; and wasabi green peas as a garnish.
If you do not want to make your own shrimp bisque use a good quality canned one.
You can use steamed/boiled shrimp purchased from your local market for this recipe if you like.  Just make sure you like the overall flavor of them.
You can prepare these by blanching them in hot oil until they just start to brown and chilling them rapidly.  This allows you to finish frying them for service without having to make them from scratch.  
To do this prepare the egg rolls up to the frying stage.  Fry them until they just start to color.  Remove from the oil and allow to cool at room temperature on a rack (so excess oil drains away) for 15 - 20 minutes, then refrigerate (preferably on the rack).  
When you are ready for service, remove the egg rolls from the refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Deep fry to desired doneness.  This will give the egg roll proper color, heat it through and make it very crisp.
                                                               Shrimp and Rice Egg Roll

This recipe combines several things I like:  Shrimp in a shrimp flavored "sauce", combined with rice in a crispy edible wrapper.  Comfort food!

Until next time.
Happy Eating.

Chef Leslie Bartosh

Phi Theta Kappa Induction

I am pleased to report that one of our culinary arts students has been inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.  Alex Johnson is the student.  I had the pleasure of teaching Alex in both management and lab classes.  He embodies the concept of a scholar/culinarian.

Well done Alex.

Until next time.
Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Friday, October 29, 2010

Saucier Class

Saucier class started last week.  The students are doing real well.  Especially when I haven't worn them out!

On the 21st we furnished an after concert snack to the ACC Band.
                                                        Pecan Toffee Squares
The students enjoyed making them and by all accounts the concert goers did too.

On the way back to the kitchen we discovered that one of my students had an undisclosed talent:
                           Rachel walking with sheet pan on her head with Steven

So parents and teachers and anyone else reading this; let this serve as a reminder that there is hidden talent in everyone.

That night in class the students also prepared a real nice dinner.
            Chicken Roulade Provencal with fresh Fettuccine.  Mmmmmm

All in all it was a good night.  Good food, making people happy with our cooking.  What more can you ask for?

Until next time.
Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Plated desserts

Our fundamentals of baking class wraps up this week.  Chef David Romano was kind enough to forward a couple of photos of one of the plated desserts they worked on.
So here they are:  photos of a chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce, fresh fruit and tuile cookie.

mmmmm chocolate!  I'll have two please.  Hope you enjoy.

Until next time
Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In honor of Poland

On October 11, 2010, Poland, became the 50th country to visit us since we set up our  flag counter.  In honor of this I am reposting a post I made in June, 2010 when I installed the flag counter.

"Tuesday, June 8, 2010

visitor flag counter

The internet is an interesting thing.  It did not exist in a form that was usable by the normal person twenty years ago.  But now, in two decades time, it has in ways, made the world into a global community.  When I am researching food online I can find, access and translate websites in other countries from the comfort of my desk, at Alvin Community College.  Wow!  I don't know how else to describe this access to authentic information about a subject that near and dear to me, food.

Because of this global access to food information, I decided to add a visitor flag counter to the Alvin Community College Culinary Arts blog.  I think, and hope, that it will show many visitors from all around the world.

We are truly a global community even if we do not speak the same language or subscribe to the same religious beliefs.  We are a global community that is bound by the love of food and love of our fellow man.  Rejoice in your love of people by cooking something good and nourishing for those who are close to you and those you do not know."

Until next time
Happy Eating
Chef Bartosh

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Visit to Foster High School

Last week I wrote that I planned on visiting Foster High School on October 4, 2010.  I had hoped to have some pictures from the visit to post, but did not come away with any pictures.
But, non the less, I am pleased to report that I spent seven periods with Ms Yearby and her students.  This made for a long but overall pleasant day.
I was able to make truffles with each of her classes, visit with them about our culinary arts program, about being a chef and the importance of achieving an education. 
Ms Yearby and her 3rd and 4th period culinary arts class were kind enough to feed me lunch:  lasagna, green beans and a very rich coconut/caramel dessert.
All in all it was time well spent.
Ms Yearby, my thanks to you and your classes for allowing me to visit.

Until next time
Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Monday, October 4, 2010

recipe for Shrimp ala Golden Isles

This is one of my favorite shrimp recipes.  It is simple, and has wonderful flavors including one of my favorites bacon.  Mmmmm bacon.  I hope you enjoy it.

Shrimp Ala Golden Isles
(4 servings)

8 pieces thin slice bacon, cut into a half inch dice
1 peeled medium yellow onion, cut into a half inch dice
1 ½ pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined, seasoned with salt and black pepper
4 Tablespoons flour
24 oz water
salt and black pepper to taste

Cook the bacon in a sauté pan over medium heat, stir frequently, do not brown.   (You are trying to render fat out of the bacon.)
After 2 to 4 minutes, add the onion and continue to cook. 
When bacon is half cooked, increase heat to medium high and add shrimp, season with salt and pepper. 
Cook on one side for approximately 1 minute and turn. 
Cook 15 - 30 seconds and dust with flour. 
Toss to combine ingredients. 
Cook until lightly golden. 
Add water and stir well. 
Allow mixture to come to a boil and thicken. 
Season with salt and pepper. 
Reduce heat to simmer for 2 minutes adjusting seasoning as need be.
Serve over rice.
Note: The bacon should not brown or crisp during the cooking.  The exact color of the dish will vary according to the following:  caramelization in the pan and how much you cook the flour before adding the water.  Really cooking the flour will result in tough over cooked shrimp.
This version of the recipe is written for home.  Commercially, the bacon and onion mixture is prepared in advance and heated to order to cook the shrimp.  You can really get a nice white sauce using that sequence. 
Here are a couple of photos of the dish.

I hope you enjoy the recipe.  
Let me know how it turns out for you.

I wish Google would fix the photo up-loader so photos would enlarge again :-(
My thanks to Joe K for helping me with this problem.
It seems it is caused by using the caption feature.  We will see if it continues works as it seems to be doing now.

Until next time
Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baking and Pastry Class

Baking and Pastry started last week Wednesday, the 22nd of September.  The class is doing well.  As with any beginning baking and pastry class there are some real successes and some things that are not quite so successful.  Chef David Romano was kind enough to forward a couple of photos from last nights class to me.
So......... without any further ado here are two photos from last nights class.
I hope you enjoy:

I am looking forward to seeing more photos as this class progresses.

Tomorrow, Friday October 1, I am making my annual pilgrimage to Foster High School.  I hope to have a photo from this to post next week.
Next week, I will be posting another quick and easy recipe with photos.

Until then.
Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What is in a name?

Once when I was young I heard a restaurant was looking for someone who could cook gumbo.  Now this did not seem to be a big thing to me because I had grown up eating gumbo.  So, I made an appointment to go down and tryout for the position by cooking my gumbo for the owners.  There were a few other candidates there in various stages of their tryouts.  As I looked at their dishes I wondered what the heck were they making.

Everyone in my family knew that gumbo was okra stewed with onion and tomato.  But these guys were making some kind of brown soup stuff that had some okra in it and putting all kinds of things in it; like shrimp, sausage and who knows what all.  Obviously, I was confused as to what they were doing.  I was even more confused when one of the owners came by and tasted my gumbo and said thanks for coming out, it tastes good but you might want to try and put some seafood in it.  Needless to say I did not get the job.

Now, I should state that I had an instructor at school from Louisiana who also grew up eating gumbo, okra stewed with onion and tomatoes.  It was interesting to visit with him about the foods he grew up eating and those that his wife's family enjoyed.  The dishes were similar from one family to the other but the protein item was usually different (beef vs pork) and one family ate rice where the other ate sweet potatoes.

I am writing this story because I believe we need state clearly and distinctly on our menus and recipes what an item is.  In the example above gumbo to me was stewed okra.  But, to the restaurant owners it was seafood gumbo.  That much is clear.  But, what is still unclear to me is whether they were looking for seafood gumbo or file gumbo with seafood. 

I can hear you saying, he has lost it, he has spent one too many evenings over the range, aren't they the same?  Well in reality they aren't.  Seafood gumbo by it's name would rely on a brown or cajun roux to provide the thickening.  A roux is used with a boiling liquid to thicken the liquid.  File gumbo would rely on file powder to provide the thickening.  The file powder would be added after the gumbo was removed from the fire because if it boils it becomes stringy.

By the way before i forget, gumbo is African for okra.  Legend has it that African slaves smuggled seeds from the okra plant into the new world which is how we now have okra.

So there we are: three forms of gumbo.  Each correct in it's name but totally different in content and context.
To think this all started with a simple pot of stewed okra, errr gumbo!

Until next time
Happy Eating
Chef Bartosh

Friday, September 17, 2010

Culinary Arts Program Update

After I posted the photo of the chicken adobo recipe that one of our readers sent in I realized I had not updated the culinary arts blog on the status of the program.  So with that in mind, here is a brief synopsis of what has been going on here at ACC.
Class started on August 26.  This year most of our classes either sold out or have very good enrollment.  Our basic food prep class is going great and is almost over.  The students have done a great job in tackling knife skills and basic cooking techniques.
One of the first meals they prepare is a roasted chicken like this one.

I am pleased to report that everyone did a great job on their birds and the accompanying pan gravy.
The class has done an outstanding on most of the items they have prepared.  They are just about finished with basic food preparation and will soon start fundamentals of baking.
I hope to post some photos from fundamentals of baking as the class progresses.
Until next time.
Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Readers Photo of Chicken Adobo

One of the readers of my blog was kind enough to send me a picture of the chicken adobo they prepared using the recipe that I posted.  So, I thought I would share this with you all.
It really is a nice, simple and good recipe.

If you make one of the recipes from my blog and would like to send me the picture feel free to do so.  I will be glad to post it here.

There are recipes in some of the earlier posts and I will be posting relatively easy recipes once a month while school is in session.

Hope you enjoy.
Until next time.
Happy eating.
Chef Bartosh

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken Adobo

This recipe is one of my favorites.  Every time I cook it, it takes me right back to living on Maui.  Serve it with sticky rice (Japanese short grain rice) and stir fried cabbage.  Man, talk about something being ono!

The Hawaiian islands have a large Philippine population.  I am glad.  I would not have had the opportunity to learn this wonderful dish if things were different.

Some people state that Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines.  I do not know as I have not had the pleasure of visiting the Philippines.  What I do know, is that this dish is easy and tasty.   In addition to chicken, pork and oxtail are also prepared adobo style.

There are many variations on the basic recipe.  Some have more garlic, some more vinegar, some more black peppercorns.  You should feel free to experiment with the recipe making adjustments in small increments to make the dish yours.  On Maui, the adobo we made at the hotel had a little more vinegar so it was a little more tart.

As the footnotes for the recipe state, the protein item is usually sauteed or pan fried at the end of the cooking.  I have opted to saute at the beginning to build a little caramelization in the pan to put into the cooking liquor.  My recipe does call for marinading the chicken for three hours.  Some people opt to just combine everything and simmer it with out any marinading time.

As you can see by the variations mentioned, this is a dish you can make work for you.  That and the fact that it tastes as good as it is easy to prepare is what is most important.  Enjoy!

Chicken Adobo
Yield: 4 servings

1 ea                  chicken 3 /12 lb, split in half
1/2 cup             white vinegar
½ cup               soy sauce
½  tsp               black peppercorns
1 tsp                 brown sugar
5 ea                  garlic cloves, crushed
3 ea                  bay leaves

Combine all ingredients except chicken and stir to dissolve sugar.
Pour over chicken and marinate 3 hours in the refrigerator.
Remove chicken and brown in hot skillet, skin side first, turning once.
Add marinade and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow the cook for 15 minutes, turning chicken one time half way through the cooking time.
Uncover and allow most of the liquid to evaporate as the chicken cooks, turning the chicken occasionally.
Test for doneness.
There should be little liquid left.

At the end of the cooking time if the skin is rubbery allow to sauté and brown until desired doneness of the skin is achieved.  Traditionally this type of recipe was a simmered dish.  When all the liquid evaporated the protein item was sautéed to give it color and some degree to crust.
As the accompanying pictures show you can use Cornish Game Hens work quite well with the recipe too.
A picture of the Cornish game hens cooking.  They are almost done.
                                                  A photo of the finished game hens
Chicken adobo plate with stir fired cabbage and sticky rice.
 I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.
It is unpretentious, delicious and easy to prepare.
Until next time
Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Monday, August 30, 2010

recipe for T'ien-suan-ku-lao-jou

I recently received a note requesting the recipe for T"ien-suan-ku-lao-jou (sweet and sour pork) pictured at the following link:  sweet sour pork  The dish was made last March or April as a part of our International Cuisine class.  I thought since someone wanted it I would just go ahead and post it so anyone who might want it could use it.
Hope you enjoy.
Until next time.
Happy eating.
Chef Bartosh

T’ien-suan-ku-lao-jou (Sweet and Sour Pork)
Yield: 2 – 4 main course servings or 4 – 6 servings as part of a larger meal

1 pound lean boneless pork, preferably butt or shoulder
1 each egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup flour
¼ cup chicken stock
3 cups peanut oil or flavorless vegetable oil

1 tablespoon peanut oil or flavorless oil
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
1 large green pepper, ½” squares
1 medium carrot, cut 2”x1/4”x1/4”
½  cup chicken stock
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water


  1. Trim the pork of any excess fat and cut the meat into 1” cubes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the egg, ¼ cup cornstarch, ¼ cup flour, ¼ cup chicken stock and salt.  Set aside.
  3. For the sauce, have the oil, garlic, green pepper, carrot, chicken stock, vinegar, soy sauce, and cornstarch mixture within easy reach.
  4. Just before cooking, add the pork cubes to the egg and flour mixture, and stir until each piece is well coated.
  5. Preheat the oven to 250-degrees.
  6. Pour the 3 cups of oil into a wok and set over high heat.  When the oil almost begins to smoke or reaches 375 degrees, drop in half of the coated pork cubes one by one.  Fry for 5-6 minutes, regulating the heat so that the pork turns a crisp golden brown in that period without burning.  Remove the pork with a strainer or slotted spoon to a baking dish and keep it warm in the oven.  Fry the other half and add to the first batch.
  7. To make the sauce, pour off any oil remaining in the wok, or use a 10” skillet.  Set the pan over high heat for about 30 seconds.  Pour in the tablespoons of oil and swirl it about the pan; heat for 30 seconds turning the heat down if the oil begins to smoke.  Add the garlic, then the green pepper and the carrot, and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the pepper and the carrot darken somewhat in color.  Be careful not to burn them.  Pour in the ½ cup of chicken stock, the sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce and bring to a boil.  Boil rapidly for 1 minute or until the sugar has thoroughly dissolved.  Immediately give the cornstarch mixture a quick stir to recombine it and add it to the pan.  Cook a moment longer, stirring constantly.  When the stock is thick and clear, pour the entire contents of the pan over the fried pork and serve immediately.

* Variation:  Sweet and sour shrimp is made in precisely the same way – with identical batter and sauce.  Shell and devein 1½ pounds of fresh or defrosted frozen shrimp and substitute them for the pork in this recipe.  Chicken would also be a good substitute.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

southwestern cuisine

Last night I was on a southwestern cuisine kick. I have been working real hard at my summer job and at home after work. I wanted food that I consider to be tasty, satisfying and somewhat in the category of comfort food.

So the menu came out to be caramelized chipotle chicken with southwestern style; creamed corn and macaroni and cheese.

To make the creamed corn I cooked frozen sweet corn in heavy cream and half and half with salt and black pepper and pureed it in a blender. At service I stirred in sliced green onion and chopped cilantro. I was unable to find queso fresco at the store but would have really liked to top the creamed corn with some crumbled cheese. The result was really good even without the cheese. I am thinking about adding a squeeze of lime next time.

Many cream corn recipes call for a thickener such as corn starch to be added to the pureed corn.  By using the bare minimal amount of cream and half and half possible you can make creamed corn without having to go the thickening process.

For the southwestern style macaroni and cheese I made bechamel sauce, and flavored it with a four cheese Mexican cheese mixture and diced roasted green peppers.  A simple concept that directly relates to classical sauce making.  That is, to change a mother sauce into a small or leading sauce we do one or two things to it:  We flavor it, we enrichen it or both.

The macaroni sauce mixture was topped with panko bread crumbs and more cheese before going into the oven.  When it came out of the oven it was a bubbling mixture of goodness with a nicely crunchy top that provided great textural contrast.
I am thinking about combining this combination of flavors and textures with a precooked protein of some sort to create an "all in one dish".  I will post the information when I do this.

Sorry that there is not a photo of the chicken.  When it came out of the oven photos were the last thing I was thinking of.  :-)

Until next time
Happy Eating
Chef Bartosh

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Texas Chefs Association Conference

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Texas Chefs Association annual conference.  The event was held July 16 through 18 in Beaumont, Texas. 

While there I attended seminars on Wild Caught Texas Shrimp, Fois Gras and Akaushi Beef, among others.

Chef Michael Ty president of our national chefs association: the American Culinary Federation was kind enough to attend our conference.  In fact it was my pleasure to share the dinner table with Chef Ty and several other distinguished guests.  The conversation was enlightening and educating.

Below is a photo take after the general business meeting of the TCA.

In the photo left to right:
Chef Charles Duit, CEC, ACE, AAC, CDM, CFPP, President of the Texas Chefs Association
Chef Leslie Bartosh, CEC, FMP 
Chef Michael Ty, CEC, AAC, President of the American Culinary Federation

Lest I forget, hats off to the Golden Triangle chapter of the TCA for an outstanding job of setting up the conference.  The educational sessions, meals and all involved in the conference was first class.  Well done chefs!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Enrollment in Alvin College Culinary Arts Program

At this time we have sold out all seats for the fall culinary arts classes. 
So to make a long story short; there are some options for students who wish to enroll in our program.

1.  We can put you on our waiting list.  This list was started today, July 13.  It will be used on a first come first served basis.
The reason for the list is that sometimes people enroll in classes and later change their mind.  If this happens we would really like for someone who wants an education to have the opportunity to pursue it.
2.  We can enroll you in management and/or general academic classes.  This works well if you are pursuing our two year degree.
3.  We can combine the two options listed above.  This will put you on the waiting list and have you enrolled in the program.  Of course, I will block a seat for you in the next years labs.  And if a position should open up you can take advantage of the waiting list, drop the classes you enrolled in and enter lab.

If you are interested in getting on our waiting list or discussing any other option, please feel free to contact me. 
I am not on campus much during the summer, so please contact me via email @ or by phone @ 281.756.3949.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Happy Eating!
Chef Bartosh

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

enrollment for fall 2010

As I type this, enrollment for the fall semester culinary arts classes has taken off.  We currently have three places left in our lab classes.

If you are a student who started with me in the spring or summer semester, I have a seat blocked for you in lab class.  When you are ready to register for class, please contact me so I can either get you into class or remove the seat block.
If you are a new student and we run out of seats in lab classes there are a two options available to you.

1.  We can start you in management classes and/or general academic classes.
2.  We can put you on a waiting list.  This list will be done on a first come first served basis.  The purpose of the list is to be able to enroll you in lab if someone decides not to attend in the fall semester.  In the past, I have had as many as two seats open up because of changes in students plans.
3.  We can do both 1 and 2 above.

If you have questions about enrolling in our program, please feel free to contact me via phone or email.

Until then,  Happy Eating

Chef Bartosh

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Texas Restaurant Association Southwest Food Service Expo and Robb Walsh

On Sunday, June 27, I had the opportunity to attend the Texas Restaurant Association Southwest Food Service Expo.  The show runs for three days, but I could only attend on Sunday.  While there, I stopped and visited with the Russel and Linda from the Texas Beef Council. 
Much to my surprise, I found out that one of my favorite cook book authors, Robb Walsh, would be signing his cookbooks at the Texas Beef Council booth.  In fact, I was told that Robb had just arrived and was on his way to the booth.  While I own most of the books that Robb has written, I could not resist waiting and meeting this fine author.  What a treat! 
After a brief but nice conversation, Robb was kind enough to pose for a photo with me (Robb is on the left).  And, by the way, as a native Texas who grew up in south Texas, I heartily endorse the book that Robb is holding in the photograph.

As always, the TRA EXPO had many sites and sounds.  There were old friends to see.  New products and foods to taste as well some favorites to sample again.  Overall, it was a good show and time well spent. 
Check out Robb's books.  They are well written and contain a great deal of anecdotal information that is helpful in understanding why a dish works or how it came about.
Until next time.

Happy Eating

Chef Bartosh

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Enrolling at Alvin Community College

Many of the common questions I get revolve around the enrollment process: what do I do?
Well, the answers to the seemingly complicated process are actually pretty simple.

At this time of year, if a student is planning on starting in the fall semester the first thing I urge a student to do is to apply for federal financial aid on line; they need to complete the FAFSA  Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  The application process, when done on line takes about three weeks from the time the student completes the application to when the results are known.
The FAFSA can be found at the following URL:
The process is straight forward, ( I do this every year with my daughter over the phone.  I will say it helps me to have the form up so I can read the questions.).
the results of the FAFSA are used for student loans and in some cases qualify a student for some types of grants.

Fill out the College's application.  It can be found online at:
I have not filled this one out but presume it is also straight forward.

Have official copies of any transcripts from high school or any previous college classes forwarded to Alvin Community College.  This allows our academic advisors to review your information and determine if any form of placement testing is required.  Any student entering into a 2 year degree in the state of Texas needs to complete the THEA test.  the THEA test is designed to prove that a student can function in the ares of reading, writing and math at a college level.  The need for Placement testing may be waived by appropriate scores on the TAKS exam, SAT or ACT scores.  If you already have completed previous college level classes in reading, writing and math your scores may also negate the need for placement testing.

If you need placement testing visit with our academic advisors to determine the type of testing available and times.  You must complete placement testing regardless of whether you are entering the degree or certificate programs.

I urge students to order their uniforms early.  I do have clean uniforms that students can try on for size.  The uniforms can be purchased through the college store.

The only supplies that a student needs that are not carried in the college store are a set of measuring spoons and measuring cups.

If I can be of any assistance in this process please feel free to contact me.

Until then: Happy Eating
Chef Bartosh

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

visitor flag counter

The internet is an interesting thing.  It did not exist in a form that was usable by the normal person twenty years ago.  But now, in two decades time, it has in ways, made the world into a global community.  When I am researching food online I can find, access and translate websites in other countries from the comfort of my desk, at Alvin Community College.  Wow!  I don't know how else to describe this access to authentic information about a subject that near and dear to me, food.

Because of this global access to food information, I decided to add a visitor flag counter to the Alvin Community College Culinary Arts blog.  I think, and hope, that it will show many visitors from all around the world. 

We are truly a global community even if we do not speak the same language or subscribe to the same religious beliefs.  We are a global community that is bound by the love of food and love of our fellow man.  Rejoice in your love of people by cooking something good and nourishing for those who are close to you and those you do not know.

Happy Eating
Chef Bartosh

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

uniforms and knife kits

The standard uniform for the Alvin Community College Culinary Arts Program is as follows:
white double breasted long sleeve chef jacket with pearl buttons
check cook pants
white full bib apron
white skull cap
non slip shoes
For the convenience of our students all of these items can be ordered through our book store.
I do have clean uniforms that students can try on for size before ordering.
If you are interested in doing this, let me know so we can set up an appointment to do so.
The knife kit used in our program is also available through the book store.  They normally have this item on hand and do not need to order it.

I hope this information is helpful.
Please let me  know how I can be of assistance.
Chef Bartosh
Happy Eating!

fall schedule of classes

The Alvin College culinary arts program offers most of its classes in an eight week mini-mester format.  This means that students will normally register for classes two times during both the fall and spring semester.  Our software will not allow students to register for classes in both mini-mesters at one time.
To help students understand what they need to register for I have pasted in a copy of our schedule of classes for the fall 2010 semester.  You will note that some classes are highlighted in yellow and some in green.  These classes occur during separate mini-mesters.  The yellow classes in mini-mester 1 and the green classes in mini-mester 2.
A typical student entering our program in fall of 2010 without any credits will register for and take all of the classes highlighted in yellow during mini-mester 1.  When mini-mester 1 is about 1/2 way through registration will be opened for mini-mester 2 at which time the student will register for the classes highlighted in green.
I hope this helps.
Please feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.

Chef Bartosh
Happy Eating!

Monday, May 10, 2010

commencement 2010

Well, the school year at Alvin College has come to an end.  Yes summer classes will happen as always but the primary academic year is done.  It will conclude on Tuesday May 11 with our annual commencement exercise. 
I like attending graduation.  It gives me a chance to reflect on the victories and the defeats that have occurred during the year (the Alvin Community College culinary arts program holds it's lab classes only during the regular semesters).  The things I did well and those I could have done better at.  Every class year is a chance to do better than the previous year.
I enjoy celebrating the accomplishments of the students.  Not just the culinary arts students but all the students.  They have all worked hard to get to where they are at.  In many cases there have been some serious sacrifices made to achieve their education.  I feel privileged to be allowed to share in their moment of accomplishment.

Happy Eating
Chef Bartosh

Friday, April 30, 2010

end of school year buffet in garde manger

Each year at the end of the school year we are in garde manger. As a part of the class the students prepare a buffet for their family as a means of saying thank you for their support during the last nine months of class. The photos below are of the buffet. I hope you enjoy them. The students and their instructor, chef Romano, did a fine job.
We will start with the centerpieces and move on.  This fruit palm tree was the focal point of the buffet:
It was followed by an Angel fish ice carving prepared by one of the groups

The smoked salmon mirror also received a lot of attention (the smoked salmon tasted good too!)

Another classic dish on the buffet was the chicken galantine platter
All year I have been writing about our students and showing you pictures of their work; so.......our students

I hope you have enjoyed the years stories and photos.  The food was good.  And it was a lot of fun to be with the students on their journey into the world of food.
Until next time, Happy Eating

Friday, April 23, 2010

garde manger class spring 2010

The last class in our eight class sequence is garde manger. This class uses some of all the techniques the students have previously learned and also introduces them to some new skills. As part of the class, students prepare plated salads and they learn about ice carving. The following photos show some of "ice night" and a couple of plated salads.
Here Chef Bartosh is chipping away at a recalcitrant angel fish while some of the students look on.

In this photo Tara wields the chain saw while being observed by Erin, Chef Romano, and Chase

In the salad department the students prepared a nice Waldorf salad
followed by Casino Egg on French Salad.
The salad is composed of a poached egg, placed on top of French Salad, coated with Chaud Froid sauce.

I'll have more photos from the class in the next few days.
In the meantime:  Happy Eating