Monday, January 31, 2011

Dinner in Paradise ...

A few weeks ago I helped out with an event for school, it was an event I had been wanting to do for a while, needless to say it was rather interesting. The event was held at Paradise Farms, a local, organic, vegan farm in the Redlands;  Twice a month the farm hosts dinners where well respected Chefs come and cook a dish (or two), only usually organic and vegitatrian ingredients (seafood is OK) They have a budget to go spend at Whole Foods and are able to use anything from the from the farm. I will admit I have never been on a farm before and maybe in my imagination a farm would have everything labeled, but rather the farm at Paradise was more of a beautiful disarray of micro greens, edible flowers, and local Florida trees; like avocados and carambolas. There were three chefs participating in this dinner, and it was our responsibility to hold down the front of the house fort. I openly prefer the back of the house and found myself sneaking out back to snag pictures of their dishes, while neglecting my tables and potential tips. All in all the farm was "fun" - if anything it was an experience on a farm I won't forget. Maybe the next time I will be one of the chefs hosting the event !

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Redlands RoundUp !!!

A few weekends ago me and a friend decided to venture out to the Redlands to celebrate "Redland Heritage Weekend". We started off at The Fruit and Spice Market, and honestly that was all that we had originally planned to do. Due to the festival the Spice Market had many different vendors selling fruits and vegetables, fruit and vegetable plants, spices and jewelry (whenever women attend an event there is always some sort of jewelry for sale). We both opted to buy from the Spice Vendor and bought some delicious fruity Strawberry and Hibiscus Tea. Once we had our fill of the Market we decided to "Live and Let Live" and enjoy all that the redlands had to offer. We found ourselves at Schnebly's Winery, doing a tasting and of course buying some wine to take home (I got the GuavaVino and my friend grabbed Category 3- both are delicious), that then lead us to "Robert is Here". This, by far was my favorite place we went, I have been dying to go to a real "farmer market" and this was pretty damn close. Since it was my first time here I tried a shake, something that they are known for. I opted for the Strawberry Key Lime Shake and boy oh boy was it good. This day was definitely one of my favorite days - partially unplanned, enjoying time with a friend and exploring what Miami and the Redlands have to offer.I cannot wait to go back and buy loads and loads of fresh fruits/vegetables and definitely score some of their local/orangic honey!!!

 Peppers Growing at The Fruit and Spice Market
 Strawberry Hisbicuis Tea

 Local Honey with the Friendly Bee's
 Strawberry Key Lime Shake - Yum Yum

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lentils - The way to a prosperous New Year !

It is a tradition in my family to make lentils on the first of the year, they say that the lentils represent coins and money, so if you eat a bowl you are sure to have money for the upcoming year. This year we decided to spruce up our normal humdrum lentil soup. Typically our Lentil soup would consist of the basics; carrots, celery and onions, diced ham, and sometimes potatoes. This year we added kale, shredded chicken and chicken sausage for some bulk and added flavor. I was a big fan of this soup although it is more of a "stoup" than soup. Here are some pics of our new and improved Lentil Soup in my new Dutch Oven Pot (which was also a Fab Find!)

I was sure to have a nice big bowl to make sure that my year was going to be a prosperous one !

Friday, January 7, 2011

Stocks, Soups, and Sauces - OH MY !!

Since my latest class was all about Stocks, Soups, and Sauces I thought it would be fitting for me to make a post about soups. Soups are something that my mom and I always make. Typically Monday's are soup making days, the basics on rotation, always including calabaza, are a chicken soup, spilt pea, lentil, some sort of cream of broccoli, cauliflower or any leftover veg we have in the fridge. I of course have learned many new techniques to ensure your soup is extra good and have and have tried to apply to my soup making methods. Here are some tips to ensure the next soup you make is JWU worthy.

1. Start with a good quality stock
2. Saute your mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery)
3. Add any other ingredients you may want to add
4. Add COLD stock
5. Maintain a Simmer (Never Boil)
6. Skim off fat or skum that comes to the surface
7. Finish with a Final Liaison of butter or cream to add sheen and/or help to thicken.

Here is a video one of my former classmate (Quan Kep/Brown Girl) did on how to make the perfect Hollandaise !

Now get to stock, soup, and sauce making !!!!