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