Sunday, December 26, 2010

I have found Heaven - at least Food Truck Heaven!

I have been obsessed with Food Trucks for over a year now. It all  started in New York when I used to buy the Best Chai Latte from "Love Truck Coffee". I would send my mom links on all of these different kind of trucks and beg her to help me start a food truck. I told her she could drive and I would cook. Fast Forward to a year later, my food truck obsession/dream lives on. I heard the rumblings about food trucks in Miami, but never knew there were so many! Last Tuesday we were driving down Biscayne and just happen to run into the "food truck triangle roundup" (Biscayne and 109th) Every Tuesday night from 5:30- 10:00 food trucks line up in this undefined culdasac and share some of the best treats you may ever find ! It was our first time, and to be honest I was over excited and nervous at the same time. We ended up eating from a classic Cuban (cubansso) truck and got a pretty decent pan con bistec, the crispy fries are what set it apart. But then I ventured over to the one that originally caught my eye the "Slow Food Truck". It was amazing, I opted for the short rib sandwich, with arugula, crispy shallots and queso blanco. The bread was so soft and warm, with the deliciousness of the juicy short rib, spicy arugula, sweet shallots and mellow queso blanco. They even have dessert, and since I can never turn down a sweet treat, I grabbed three mini cupcakes, mostly excited about the one topped with bacon. All three were great !  If this isn't heaven, then I don't want to go anywhere else but here!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I have discovered the New World !

Tomorrow will be my last day in New World Cuisine, besides starting a class with a group of new people (who have started to grow on me), we have learned to "master" the art of grilling, roasting and deep FAT frying. We also got to go back into history and re-learn about how the "New World" was discovered and good 'ol Christopher Columbus.  Besides the technical skills and history lessons learned, I was also re-introduced into the world of reading. Every foodie, has there collection of cookbooks, but we sometimes look past the "reading" books. Our project for the this class to was to write a reaction paper on what I now know to be a great book, "Letters to a Young Chef buy Daniel Boulud". When purchases this book I also got sidetracked and picked a few others, well a lot others. If you are a Food Lover, Foodie, or just like a good read, here are some books I recommend. Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain, The Man Who Ate Everything by Jefferey Steingarten, The Making of Chef by Michael Ruhlman.

Below is a picture of my grill marks from my practical - not bad for a first timer !

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Love Fall !

I love Fall ! Not only do I love the weather, the real weather up north, but I also love fall vegetables. We have been lucky enough to get some spurts of "cold" weather down here Miami, and that made me want to make some heart warming, yummy for my tummy risotto with butternut  squash. I took an tip or two form my good friend Giada and added some Vanilla as hint of sweetness and tons warmth.

Great tip for leftover risotto, is to make them into Arancini. I paired mine with a honey and sage dipping sauce - sorry no photos, ate them too fast before I could grab the camera.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanks for Thanksgiving !

Thanksgiving is long gone and the holidays are right around the corner (Yay). Today was the start of the Winter trimester, and I must admit it wasn't half bad. I did switch from evening to morning classes and am terribly missing my former compadres. Thanks Be To God, that one tagged along with me. I will admit there are a few people I already can't stand, but I like to blame that on my "old age", where things tend to bother me more than used to. Stay tuned, it is only Day 1 and I have 3 more months to go with this new crew !! Wish Me Luck - I will need it :)

Here are few photos of some things my family and I made for Thanksgiving! It was all so YUM !

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Dulce De Leche

 Homemade Cranberry Sauce (I added Dried Canberrys for texture)

Gourmet Sweet Potatoes Courtesy of Mari

Corn Bread and Biscuit Stuffing courtesy of my Mom

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Prosecco Party

The other day I hosted small gathering of close friends to celebrate a special someones birthday. Since I am now in culinary school, I knew that some of friends were expecting the best, I tried to put together a few small treats for us to snack on before heading out. The party was of course themed, well, because I just love themes. There was an over abundance of Prosecco, which I offered with Peach Puree and little balls of lemon sorbet. As well as two kinds of crostini, Caramelized onions with goat cheese and thyme, and Ricotta with Honey and Orange Zest. I also put a spin on the classic Prosciutto and Melon, by topping it off with a strawberry (something I learned from my catering boss). The star of the night, besides my beloved Giulia, was the Chocolate Espresso Mouse with Orange Mascarpone Cream. Here are some pictures, sorry there aren't more, the battery on my camera was charging :( Let me know what you think ?!?!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fab Finds !

Fab Finds aren't just for fashion anymore. For you culinary geeks like me, TJ Maxx, Ross, Home Goods & Marshalls are great places to find fancy smacy good quality olive oils, salts, and balsamic vinegars. My last professor kept telling us about the fab finds she would get there, Truffle Oil for $6 bucks, Truffle salt for $8. I finally decided to check it out for myself.Yesterday I visited my "local" TJ Maxx and look what I found !!!!! White Truffle Italian Olive Oil for $6.00, Balsamic Vinegar infused with Chilli Pepper for $12.99, and Madagascar Bourbon and Thaitian Vanilla for $12.99. I encourage you to run, skip, hop, or jump to your local discount store and find these Fabulous Finds for yourself. Just don't come to the one in Miami Beach :)

Here is what you want to look for when buying olive oil. It should come in a dark bottle, it protects the oil from going bad. We, as Americans are the ones who request clear bottles, but good quality olive from Italy or Spain most likely will be found in a dark glass bottle. Cloudy Olive Oil equals Fresh and Good. Most of us would think cloudy would mean spoiled, but in fact when the olives are first pressed (also known as the extra virgin olive oil) is comes out cloudy, so if you pour some out and it looks cloudy you are in luck, freshness is at your door! Another fun fact is that yes, Italy is the #1 producer of Olive Oil and is considered the best, but Spain is also a large producer, in fact since the space for Olive Growing in Italy is limited, so they import olives from Spain, but grind in press in Italy, therefore calling it Italian. (sorry if I burst the bubble for my Italian friends) none the less it is ALL Delicious !!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

One Tri Down, Three More To Go ....

The trimester is over and Thanksgiving is around the corner ! I made it through the class from Hell, it did however affect my "perfect" GPA (I had to brag a little) but at least it is out of sight and out of mind. The class that followed was a purchasing and product identification class. I really enjoyed this class, from our daily task of "shopping at the market" (filling requisition's) to our final project of picking a menu and costing it out. I of course, made it hard for myself and picked a real life menu I really want to produce. It really taught me the other side of the business, the side that most people don't want to deal with or tend to hire accountants for. I mean, math isn't fun for anyone, well unless you are a math geek. But it at least showed me that for the tiny/restaurant/store I have in mind to one day own, that I could handle the finances and day in and day out expenses. Thankfully, Thanksgiving is giving me a much needed break, at least before the next trimester starts. Below are some pictures of some tastings we did in the Product Identification class; Mushroom Tasting, Black Truffle, Cheese Tasting, Fruit Tasting, Dragon Fruit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Say GoodBye To The Nice Guys !

With my nutrition class coming to end I am mentally preparing myself for what's to come. I have my practical behind me, where I kindly started a little stove fire (it was a planned for my "firey green beans") and have my group presentation today on Mediterranean Foods. I have found this class to be a bright and pleasant surprise, although a lot of work. All of the Chefs Instructors I have had thus far have been the "Nice Guys" on campus, not to say that the others aren't, they just tend to lean more towards the "Hell's Kitchen" train of thought. With only 9 days per class, THE PRESSURE IS ON! It's hard to absorb, let alone "master" all the techniques they throw my way. My next class is "Fundamentals" where we have to master different eggs dishes and knife cuts. I know what you are all thinking, whats so hard about eggs, well all I can say is I have heard its hard ! I am going to start practicing NOW !!

Here are some pics of dishes from my Nutrition class (Top to Bottom: Grilled Portobello Sandwich with Wasabi Mayo, Grilled Chicken w/ Calypso Rice and grilled Veg, Greek Salad, and Israeli Couscous)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pie on The Porch !!!

A few weeks ago, I entered a pie contest. Now, let me just put this into perspective for you, although most of my friends know I love to bake, I have NEVER made a pie and, in fact I am not much of a PIE fan. I thought it would not only be something fun to do with my mom but, it would introduce me into the world of "food competitions". The main rule of the contest was that you had to use Local Florida Ingredients. So we started brainstorming and came up with "Lula's Key Lime Mango with Guava Whip Cream"(Mmmmmm). Honestly, The first pie I made was DISGUSTING but after tweaking the recipe the third and final pie was DELICIOUS ! I didn't end up winning, and actually all the pies that won didn't include Florida Ingredients, but I'm not bitter about it (well maybe a little). Here are some pics of MY award winning pie (award winning in my mind). Let me know what you think :)

A Quick Little Catch Up !

So it has kind of been a while since I have visited my "blog" ... I have been in school for about a month now, and am LOVING it. I have just started a real "Cooking" Class so it made me think that I should get back to my blog and jot down my journey. I am going to back up a little since, this was suppose to capture my experiences from the beginning. My first class was a Beverage class, it was a great way to transition me back into school and into the culinary world. It made me realize how much I LOOOOVED wine and really want to make that a part of my career. Next class was Meatcutting, and although I do love meat, I don't particularly care cutting dead animal carcasses apart, or how they say in the Biz - fabricate. Nonetheless I got through the class, and learned a few tricks along the way. Now, I am in Nutrition and have had two days of cooking. This is what I have been waiting for, yet I find myself being intimidated, not by my Chef Instructors but more from my peers (who, ugggh, are 19 and 20). Here are some of the dishes from class, Baked Salmon with Moroccan Charmoula, Grilled Vegetables and Greek Shrimp - YUMMMMM !!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Here we go ...

So my culinary adventure has officially begun. I have completed the “mandatory” orientation with 18 year olds, signed my life over to the government (to pay for my education of course), and received the much coveted uniforms (i was actually really excited to get these!). Now I have about a month to go and am on the job hunt! I know, I know this may sound kind of like a joke because what is a girl with NO experience doing looking for a job before she even starts school. ME, thats who. All I want, is to play with food! So here we go ...