Thursday, May 28, 2015

Paula's Involtini (Eggplant Rolls)

I know it is summertime.  Normally, most people think about cooking lighter  during the summer.  I guess I am not normal.  I like to cook what my taste buds and senses are hungry for.  
When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it.  It has several things that I like:  eggplant, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella cheese and basil.  
Paula Lambert is the author of this recipe.  Paula founded the Dallas Mozzarella Company in 1982.
As usual I will make a few comments at the end of the recipe.

Paula’s Involtini (Eggplant Rolls)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil and more if needed
2 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into 16 slices
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 pint fresh cherry tomatoes
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon chopped capers
16 slices prosciutto
1 lb fresh mozzarella
8 leaves fresh basil
8 stems fresh Italian parsley
Serves 8

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees
Brush one side of each piece of eggplant with olive oil as it is placed oiled-side down on a grill pan or charcoal grill.  Alternatively place under a hot broiler with oiled side toward the heat. When browned brush uncooked side with olive oil and turn to cook on the other side.
 While the eggplant is grilling, make a simple tomato sauce by placing a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the onion for 2 to 3 and then add the garlic and sauté for another minute or so. Finally stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture briefly, for about about 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the capers.
Lightly brush a baking 9×13” dish with olive oil. Place the grilled eggplant slices on a large cutting board. On each eggplant piece, place a slice of prosciutto and a slice of mozzarella. Distribute all the prosciutto and mozzarella on the eggplant slices. Roll the eggplant from the small end forward, and place in the baking dish. Arrange the involtini with the seam side down in  baking dish.  Spread the tomato sauce over the involtini. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
Cut the basil and parsley thinly in a chiffonade.  Remove eggplant from oven, top w/parsley and basil.
Notes:  Since I had some tomato sauce left over from Creole Daube, I did not make the sauce as listed.  The sauce listed should be fairly light.
It may look like there are a lot of ingredients but, it is a real straightforward recipe.  Perhaps the hardest thing is cutting even slices from the eggplant.
I cut the recipe in half and it worked great.
2 rolls per person with salad is a meal.
Omit the prosciutto for a vegetarian, gluten free entree.
I hope you enjoy
Until next time:
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I am always interested in experiencing the food of different cultures and countries, so when I saw this recipe, I had to try it.  I am always intrigued when I see ingredients like cilantro, cayenne pepper, garlic, chili peppers used in recipes from Asia.
This recipe is by noted Indian food expert, Madhur Jaffrey.  It was published by  I do not have a photo, shame on me :-).  None the less, I hope your will try it.  It is really good.  As usual I will have some notes at the end.

Khatti Dal Lentil Stew (Hyderabadi Style Lentil Stew)
1 cup toor dal (yellow pigeon peas), rinsed, soaked 30 minutes, and drained
14 tsp. ground turmeric
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro
14 tsp. red chile powder, such as cayenne
12 fresh or frozen curry leaves
7 cloves garlic (1 mashed into a paste, 6 peeled)
2 plum tomatoes, peeled and minced
2 small green Thai chiles, or 1 serrano, thinly sliced
(1) 12" piece ginger, peeled and grated
Kosher salt, to taste
3 tbsp. canola oil
12 tsp. cumin seeds
14 tsp. brown mustard seeds
3 chiles de árbol
Bring dal and 8 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan. Reduce heat to medium; stir in turmeric and cook until dal is mushy, about 45 minutes.
Stir in cilantro, tamarind paste, chile powder, curry leaves, garlic paste, tomatoes, sliced chiles, ginger, and salt; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
Heat oil in an 8" skillet over medium-high. Cook cumin and mustard seeds until they pop, 1–2 minutes. Add peeled garlic and the chiles de árbol; cook until garlic is golden, 6–8 minutes, and stir into stew.

I had most of the ingredients on hand which was helpful.
I could not find Toor Dal in the store so I substituted Chana Dal.  Chana Dal is not as wide and flat as Toor Dal, it is rounder. It worked just fine.
I did not have curry leaves, so I used some frozen kaffir lime leaves that I had.
When I made the dish, I did not find Thai chilis in the store (even though they usually have them) so I used serrano pepper as noted in the recipe.  Remember you can always add more pepper so, depending on heat tolerance add some, cook, taste and adjust.  The serrano pepper I bought was both real big and real hot.  I used about 1/2 of it.
Mustard seed:  I used regular yellow mustard seeds, which are milder than the brown ones.

Overall, I like this dish. It is complex, easy to make and the ingredients are mostly easy to find.
If you try it, please let me know what you think.

I hope you enjoy.
Until next time:
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Commencement 2015

Last night Alvin Community College held it's annual commencement ceremony.  As always, it was a very special evening.  The students below were some of our graduates this year.  The diversity you see, sums up the Alvin Community College Culinary Arts program and ACC.  I am glad to be here, in such a vibrantly diverse environment!  Congratulations to our graduates.  Well Done!
Until next time..
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Korean Noodles with Beef and Vegetables Chap Chae

This dish is one that we enjoy a lot.  The flavor of it reminds me of Suki Yaki.  I like the variety of textures in it, too.  It obviously contains beef but I think it would also work well with firm or extra firm tofu.  There are many versions of this recipe on line.  This particular version came from
The recipe follows the photo.  Of course, I have some notes at the end.  I hope you enjoy.

Chap Chae Korean Noodles with Beef and Vegetables
3 tbsp. canola oil
2 cups julienned carrots
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 cup julienned red bell pepper
1 cup julienned button mushrooms
1 cup julienned filet mignon
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup sugar
16 oz. dried Korean sweet potato noodles (called dangmyeon), soaked in boiling hot water until al dente
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp. thinly sliced scallions
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat; add carrots. Season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until half-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; repeat with 1 tbsp. oil, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Wipe skillet clean; heat remaining oil. Add steak and garlic; cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Add soy sauce and sugar; cook until sugar dissolves. Pour over vegetables in bowl, add noodles and sesame oil, and toss. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.


Some recipes include any or all of the following:  spinach, more garlic, include shitake with button mushroom, slice the mushrooms.
Korean sweet potato noodles (called dangmyeon):  I cannot find these without a drive.  So I use shirataki noodles which are sold packed in water.  They are ready to eat and are made from yams.  I find them at my local HEB store.  I used 3 - 8oz packages, drained, the last time I made this dish.  I put them in the dish just long enough to get ho
I slice the mushrooms 1/4 inch thick
I am somewhat flexible on the amounts of vegetables.  A quarter of a cup more makes the dish go further.
This is Texas, and I am a carnivore :-) , so the amount of beef usually gets increased when we make this.  
Speaking of beef:  Do I use beef tenderloin as noted int he ingredients?  Mmmm, I wish I could tell you I do but.......Let's be real, grocery money only goes so far.  I usually wait until the store mentioned earlier puts their prime meat on sale.  If they have their prime strip loins or top sirloins on sale that is what I use.  Both work well for this dish.
One last note:  We like food to be real hot when we eat it.  So, I usually combine all ingredients in the pan at the end to get everything real hot.

I hope you enjoy.  If you try the recipe be sure to let me know what you think!

Until next time:
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ultimate Grilled Chicken Recipe?

I have been somewhat caught up in the pace of school and have neglected to post any recipes for a while.  So I am going to try and make up for that now.
The following recipe just may be the ultimate grilled chicken recipe, at least in my humble opinion.  It is relatively easy to make.  It benefits from overnight marination.  It has a complex flavor profile that rings many chords on my palate. 
When you look at the recipe you may, at first, think there are a lot steps.  But in reality it breaks down to this: 
1st.  Make a marinade (six ingredients)  and marinate the chicken over night in the refrigerator,
2nd. Make salsa verde (seven ingredients),
3rd. Grill the chicken,
4th Enjoy! 
We like this dish with flour tortillas, Mexican rice and  beans.  This is what the finished chicken looks like.

The recipe came from  You owe it to yourself to try this recipe, if it ever stops raining.  Here is the recipe:  As usual, I have some comments at the end. 

Pollo al Horno (Chile-Spiced Grilled Chicken)
2 tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. achiote paste (See notes below)
10 cloves garlic, peeled
5 dried guajillo chiles (cascabel), stemmed and seeded (see notes below)
Juice of 1 lime
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Salsa verde, for serving
Combine mustard, salt, achiote paste, garlic, chiles, juice, and 1 cup boiling water in a blender, and purée until very smooth, at least 1 minute. Transfer to large bowl, and add chicken; toss to coat, and then cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium heat.) Remove chicken from marinade, and working in batches, add chicken to grill, and cook, turning once, until charred in spots and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and serve with salsa verde on the side.

Salsa Verde (Green Tomatillo Salsa)
4 oz. tomatillos, husked and rinsed
4 cloves garlic
2 medium white onions, quartered
2 jalapeños, stemmed
1 tsp. sugar
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Place tomatillos, garlic, onions, and jalapeños in a 4-qt. saucepan; cover with water by 1". Bring to a boil; cook until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Drain and reserve 1 cup cooking liquid.

2. Transfer to a blender along with reserved liquid, sugar, cilantro, and salt and pepper; pulse until chunky. Transfer to a bowl, and serve at room temperature.

1.  Achiote paste is usually available, in our area, at a local Mercado.  It is made from Annatto seeds mixed with other ingredients.   If you cannot find it you can use the following substitution, it works well.
Achiote Paste Substitute
Yield 3 tablespoons Units US
1 12 tablespoons paprika 
1 tablespoon white vinegar
34 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
14 teaspoon ground cumin

Mix all ingredients together until smooth.

2.  Look for Gaujillo or cascabel peppers in the produce section of your local grocery or in the spice section.  They are a dried pepper.
3.  The original recipe stated that the recipe served 6 - 8 people.  I have modified the yield to serve 4.

I hope you enjoy.  Let me know if you try the recipe.  It really is good!
Until next time,
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh

End of Year Firends and Family Event

The school year has flown by in a whirlwind.  Luckily we managed to plan our Friends and Family event for our Garde Manger class.  This year we opened up the event to some of the folks associated with our College.  Attendees included family and friends of our students, some of our administration, and representatives from the ACC Foundation and Alvin City Council.   All in all, a good time was had by all who attended.  I hope you enjoy the photos of the food and students.

                                          Chicken Galantine
                                         Pate in Croute, shy of aspic.  Time is not always on our side.

                                         House cured Gravlax

                                          Salmon display mirror

                                         Blue Cheese, Walnut and Pork Sausage

                                          Curry Fruit and Pork Sausage

                                          Chicken Liver Mousse on Garlic Crostini with Caper.

                                         Watermelon fruit carving, by Chef Henderson

                                          Apple Swans and Roses

                                          More Swans and Roses

                                          One of the Ice carvings the class did.  As you can
                                          see the detail needed to be deeper; it all melted away.

                                          Chicken and Pineapple  Kebobs.

                                          Potato Bites Stuffed with House Smoked Pulled Pork.

                                         One of our students, Joana with her child.

                                         Chef Bass with Students.

                                         Dean Nelson's Greens and Caramelized Onion Dip
                                         Maxim Potato
                                         Candied Bacon and Apple Canape

All in all the evening was a success.  We, the faculty, had the opportunity to meet many of the family and friends, of our students,  An enjoyable time was had by all.
Until next time.
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Friday, March 13, 2015

Professionals in Culinary Arts Hops and Hogs

Last fall the Alvin Community College Culinary Arts department participated in an event called Hops and Hogs. The event was sponsored by the Professionals in Culinary Arts.  The event includes a friendly competition between local culinary arts schools.  This year, four schools participated.  Our entry, Chips and Dip (Whipped Maple Syrup dip with Candied Bacon chips) was voted to be the 2nd most popular by the attendees.  Thank you.  All of the participating schools received a donation for their scholarship fund.
The photo below shows Bonnie Berbue, President of Professionals in Culinary Arts presenting the scholarship check to Chef Leslie Bartosh, C.E.C., F.M.P., , Program Chair, Alvin Community College Culinary Arts.
Thank you Bonnie, Professionals in Culinary Arts and all the attendees of Hops and Hogs.
Until next time.
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Thursday, February 19, 2015

ACC Culinary Arts Club

For Valentine's day our Culinary Arts club holds a chocolate dipped strawberry sale.  While most of the strawberries are delivered or picked up there are always a few that get sold on a first come first sold basis.  The students in the picture were selling the few that were still for sale.
                      From left to right:  Rebecca, Joanna and child, Feron, Kayla and Liz.

Until next time:
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh
Thank you Rhonda for sharing the photo.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Interview with Chef Mary Bass

Recently one of our instructors, Chef Mary Bass, was interviewed by the Houston Press.  The interview is published to two parts.  Here are the hyperlinks to the interview.

Chef Mary Bass part one

I hope you enjoy.

Until next time:
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh