Smash ’em!

Headin’ South!

We’re continuing our journey through the Americas, as we discuss South America. There are 12 countries and three dependencies that make up this beautiful country.

  1. Argentina
  2. Bolivia
  3. Brazil
  4. Chile
  5. Colombia
  6. Ecuador
  7. Guyana
  8. Peru
  9. Paraguay
  10. Suriname
  11. Uruguay
  12. Venezuela
  1. Falkland Islands
  2. French Guiana
  3. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Take me back to 2014…

I went on a South American cruise in 2014. I visited Chile and Peru. I forgot to mention in last week’s post on México and Central America that I also traveled to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. I loved Costa Rica. My best memory of my time there was going on a beautiful hike at Villa Lapas Skyway.

The one thing I love most about cruises is traveling to multiple countries and cities in one trip. There were so many great memories on this trip. The one sad memory, though, was that I missed the once-in-a-lifetime excursion to Machu Picchu in Peru. I developed a head cold some days after embarking on our cruise from Santiago, Chile. The day we were scheduled to travel to Machu Picchu, I was too congested to go. I was so disappointed, but I ended up traveling the city of Lima, Peru’s capital, instead. That was very adventurous.

Some of our travel mates who visited the historic citadel reported that they were very lightheaded, dizzy, nauseated, and had difficulty breathing during the trip because of the high elevation. Some of them had forgotten to ask their doctor to prescribe them altitude medication. I had mine but never got to use it. I hope to visit Peru again in the near future and experience Machu Picchu, healthy and well.

The hightlight of the week:

This week, I made tostones, plantains that are double-fried. I bought my plantains from Mercado De La Raza, the local Latin American market in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Plantains look like very large bananas, but they are different from the delicious fruit. The three distinctions I learned while working and cooking with plantains were:

  1. You can’t just easily peel a plantain like a banana, especially if the plantain is not fully ripened. The peel is tough. You need to cut both ends off and slice the ridges vertically to peel the skin off.
  2. When making tostones, green plantains are better to work with compared to plantains that are yellow (riped).
  3. Plantains, depending on their ripeness and how they’re prepared, can have completely different tastes.

I found an article that discusses the differences and similarities between bananas and plantains: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/plantain-vs-banana#similarities

This article explains the difference between green and yellow plantains: https://micfood.com/green-plantains-vs-yellow-plantains-whats-the-difference/

First time trying plantains

My first time trying plantains was in 2019 at a Liberian restaurant in Fargo, North Dakota with my dearest girlfriend. It was our first time trying Liberian food. We were so excited. Everything we ordered was absolutely amazing, especially these plantains pictured below. It reminded me of a mouthwatering Filipino dish, banana lumpia. Yum!

Yummy plantains at A&E Liberian Restaurant in Fargo, ND.

A&E Liberian Restaurant
524 Broadway
Fargo, ND 58102
763.898.7144
FB: https://www.facebook.com/AE-Liberian-restaurant-417049628827306/

Tostones recipe/equipment:

  • 2 Green plantains
  • Canola oil, as needed
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
  • Cutting board
  • Chef knife
  • Deep-fryer
  • Paper towel
  • Cookie sheet
  • Tongs
  • Parchment paper
  • Spoon (to smash plantains)

Production steps:

  1. Sanitize kitchen (sink, countertops, stovetop/oven, cupboard handles, phone, computer).
  2. Mise en place ingredients.
  3. Preheat the deep-fryer with oil to 325ºF.
  4. Peel the plantains and slice into 1” thick.
  5. Fry plantains until they start to turn golden.
  6. Line the pan with paper towels.
  7. Remove plantains from the oil and place on the paper towel-lined pan to drain excess oil.
  8. Allow to cool.
  9. Increase deep-fryer to 350ºF.
  10. Prepare parchment paper and put plantain slices on there one at a time.
  11. Use a spoon to press the plantain slices to flatten- ½” thick.
  12. Place flattened plantain back into the deep-fryer and fry until golden brown.
  13. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined pan to drain excess oil.
  14. Immediately season with Kosher salt.
  15. Serve immediately.

Happy last week of January!

FS x

The Méxican National Dish

Geography lessons

Hola! This post is a bit overdue. Last week was week two of my world cuisines course and we highlighted México and Central America. Did you know there are seven countries in Central America?

  1. Belize
  2. Costa Rica
  3. El Salvador
  4. Guatemala
  5. Honduras
  6. Nicaragua
  7. Panama

Support small local businesses

My chef instructor encouraged us chefs-in-the-making to review our recipes ahead of time and buy ingredients that may be difficult to find due to shortages and shipping delays.

I’m grateful that O’ahu has a darn good variety of culinary ingredients. We’re so blessed to have a wonderful assortment of exported goods in our grocery stores as well as small mom-and-pop stores to support on the island.

This week, I needed dried mulato, ancho, or pasilla chiles to make our featured dish, mole (pronounced “moe-lay”) poblano de guajolote (pronounced “gu-wa-ho-lo-teh”). The main grocery stores didn’t have them; not even Whole Foods!! I was in a bit of a panic. However, thanks to Google, I found a local Latin American market called Mercado De La Raza. They’ve been around for 27 years?! Holy molay!

I called the store ahead of time to ask if they had any of those chiles. This store is small and there’s limited parking (mainly alongside the street), which fills up quickly beside the one-way, multiple-lane street on South Beretania. I was in luck! They had the dried ancho chiles in stock! Phew!

Rey at Mercado De La Raza helped me locate the dried ancho chiles at his store. He was super friendly. He was curious about what I was making with those chiles. I told him that I’m a culinary student and was making mole for my assignment. He was excited and highly encouraged me to visit México once our COVID case count decreases. That would be a wonderful trip I’d be game to go on!

If you’re ever in need of Hispanic ingredients, check out this lovely store. Mahalo, Rey, for your wonderful customer service and assistance.

Mercado De La Raza
1315 S. Beretania St.
Honolulu, HI 96814
808-593-2226
IG: @mercadodelaraza

Thank God for a Hispanic market on O’ahu!

Mole, mole, mole! 411!

Aforementioned, I made México’s national dish. I found an article that discusses the country’s famous dish: https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/mexico/articles/a-brief-history-of-mole-mexicos-national-dish/

Two attempts and learning lessons

I made the mole twice because the sauce was very chunky and thick the first time. The sauce is supposed to be smoother, like brown gravy. It tasted good though. I’ve never had mole before. It was exciting to make the dish and eat it for the first time. Truly authentic.

I returned to Mercado De La Riza last weekend to purchase more chiles. Rey helped me again. He told me they had dried Mulato chiles in stock. I bought those chiles this time. I wanted to compare the two sauces after completion.

I decided to purchase a coffee grinder last weekend before starting my second attempt at the mole sauce. That made a huge difference in grinding all my spices to a finer powder. I used a food processor the first time and it wasn’t as fine as I anticipated it to be. I also discovered that adding more water to the sauce was the key to making it a thinner consistency. I love these learning moments!

Recipe/culinary equipment:

Mole Poblano de Guajolote:
Yield: Four servings

  • 2 Chicken thighs or turkey legs
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 oz. Lard
  • 4 Mulato, ancho, or pasilla dried chiles
  • 1/2 oz. Sesame seeds
  • 1 oz. Almonds
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground coriander
  • 2 oz. Canned tomatoes
  • 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 oz. Baker’s chocolate
  • 2 c. Water or chicken stock
  • Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
  • Sauce pot
  • Food processor
  • Coffee/spice grinder
  • Rubber spatula
  • Tongs
  • Cutting board
  • Chef knife
  • Food scale
  • Plate

Production steps:

Mole poblano de guajolote:

  1. Sanitize kitchen (sink, countertops, stovetop/oven, cupboard handles, phone, computer).
  2. Mise en place ingredients.
  3. Remove and discard the seeds and stems from the chiles.
  4. Grind the chiles into a powder, using a spice grinder or food processor.
  5. Grind the sesame seeds and almonds in a coffee/spice grinder or food processor
  6. Put the ground chiles, sesame, and almonds in a food processor and add the ground cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and coriander.
  7. Add the canned tomatoes and garlic to the food processor.
  8. Blend to a smooth purée.
  9. If the mixture is too thick, add water or stock.
  10. Season the chicken thighs or turkey legs with salt and pepper.
  11. Brown chicken/turkey on both sides in a sauce pot over medium heat.
  12. Once browned, remove the chicken/turkey from the pan and set aside.
  13. Add the purée to the pan and cook for five minutes. Stir constantly. The mixture will become very thick.
  14. Add the baker’s chocolate and stir constantly until the chocolate is completely blended.
  15. Add water/stock and the browned chicken/turkey into the pan.
  16. Bring to a simmer.
  17. Cover and simmer over low heat until the poultry is tender.
  18. Remove poultry and set aside.
  19. Increase heat to reduce the cooking liquid to sauce consistency.
  20. Taste and season as needed.
  21. Pour sauce over poultry.
  22. Garnish with sesame seeds.
  23. Serve immediately.

Double attempts at making mole

Phots 1 and 2 are the first attempt at making the mole using the dried ancho chiles: sauce and plating. Photos 3 and 4 are the second attempt using the dried Mulato chiles: sauce and plating. You can see the difference in textures between the two. The mole sauce is supposed to be smooth, not chunky. Also, I didn’t notice a significant difference between the two sauces.

Stay tuned…

Stay tuned as we explore South America this week.

Be well,

FS x

Party in the USA!

Exploring worldly cuisines

School is back in session and a new course has begun on world cuisines. I’m most excited about this new 12-week course. We’ll be highlighting different countries each week. Not only will we be learning about a variety of dishes but we’ll be educated about the history of the countries, too. I can’t wait!

America the beautiful

This first week, we’re making dishes from my country tis of thee- the United States. We’re highlighting cornbread. Mmm! It’s one of my favorite comfort food.

A history lesson

1This week, we learned that one of the three staple crops of the Native American population is corn. This produced corn pone and hominy, used to make grits. They’re both variations of traditional Native American dishes, which were originally called apones and uskatahomen in Powhatan.

2Corn is referred to as one of the “three sisters.” Her other two siblings are beans and squash. It has been stated that corn was protected from insects and rodents. The beans grew up the cornstalks and prevented the rodents from eating the corn. Lastly, the squash kept the bugs away from the corn.

3When the English arrived on the East Coast in the 17th century, they experienced difficulty growing their staple crops. They immediately recognized that cornmeal could be used for practically everything. They weren’t able to grow wheat, so they began making breads with rye and cornmeal. Hasty pudding, which is a staple of the region similar to Italian polenta, consists of corn ground that is made into a porridge.

Corn is such an abundant crop, especially in my household. My family loves corn. We have corn with our meals several times a week. We can’t get enough of it! It pairs so well with our dishes.

Recipe

  • 5 oz pastry flour, sifted
  • 5 oz cornmeal, sifted
  • 4 oz sugar, sifted
  • ½ oz baking powder, sifted
  • ¼ oz Kosher salt, sifted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 8 oz whole milk
  • ½ oz honey
  • 3 oz melted vegetable shortening (or melted butter)
  • Non-stick spray
  • Food scale
  • Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Spatula
  • Fork
  • Sifter
  • Glass pan
  • Toothpicks 

Production steps

  1. Sanitize kitchen (sink, countertops, stovetop/oven, cupboard handles, phone, computer, and recipe books).
  2. Mise en place ingredients.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  4. Sift dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  5. Beat the egg.
  6. Combine wet ingredients in another mixing bowl.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  8. Spray non-stick spray in a glass pan.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the toothpick that is inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool the cornbread before slicing and serving.
So bright and vibrant!

Reference1,2,3: August Escoffier School of Culinary Arts: Week 1 Lesson, January 2022.

Happy baking!

FS x

Aloha, 2022!

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

Happy New Year! We are so blessed to have a fresh new start every January 1st, and rather, every day when the clock strikes midnight. We have so many opportunities to “begin again.”

Twenty-two resolutions

Every year, I make a list of resolutions. These are mine for 2022.

  1. Listen intently to my body and follow what she’s telling me.
  2. Continue making a difference.
  3. Set smaller and more reasonable goals.
  4. Do at least one self-care practice daily.
  5. Lower the stress levels.
  6. Continue inspiring and motivating others.
  7. Discover my inner-most being.
  8. Take it easy.
  9. Continue learning, growing, and soaring.
  10. Hydrate with lots of water.
  11. Fill my heart, mind, and soul with hope and love.
  12. Give and receive grace.
  13. Let go of what I can’t control.
  14. Pace myself.
  15. In all that I am and in everything I do, be humble.
  16. Give thanks to God and the universe.
  17. Take life to new levels.
  18. Travel. Oh, how I miss traveling.
  19. Discover new passions.
  20. Take a nice, long, relaxing bath once a week.
  21. Deeply breathe in the positive, and slowly or forcefully breathe out the negative.
  22. Always forgive because forgiveness is what sets us free.

New Year’s family tradition

I would like to highlight a staple dish my family and I eat every day New Year’s Day- ōzoni. It’s Japanese mochi soup.

Ingredients

Everyone has their version of making ōzoni. We make ours with the following ingredients.

  • Shoyu
  • Chicken broth
  • Water
  • Shiitake mushroom marinade (mushrooms soaked in water)
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Carrots
  • Gobo (burdock roots)
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Mochi
  • Soba (buckwheat noodles- optional)
  • Mizuna (Japanese mustard greens) or shingiku (chrysanthemum) leaves for garnishing

Production steps

  1. Soak the entire package of dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl of water.
  2. Wash, peel, and cut the vegetables.
  3. Cut the chicken and pork into cubes.
  4. Cook the meat in a large pot and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add in the chicken broth and shiitake mushrooms + water it was soaked in.
  6. Add shoyu, to taste.
  7. Add carrots, gobo, and bamboo shoots.
  8. Let everything come to a boil.
  9. Let soup cool and set overnight.
  10. The next day, boil the soba noodles in a pot.
  11. Reheat ōzoni soup pot on the stove.
  12. In another small sauce pot, add water and some ōzoni soup to cook the mochi.
  13. Pour soup into bowls.
  14. Once the mochi is cooked (soft), transfer them to served bowls.
  15. Add soba if desired and garnish soup with shingiku or mizuna leaves.

Ōzoni’s meaning

Ōzoni symbolizes good luck for the new year. Eating soba symbolizes long life. The Japanese believe in various foods representing good luck, good health, and long life, which I love and appreciate so very much. The Asian culture, and in particular, Japanese culture, is rooted in richness and has so much history.

Here’s an interesting article that explains ōzoni: https://matcha-jp.com/en/3594.

Hopeful in 2022

Wishing everyone copious amounts of hope, stability, good health, success, prosperity, happiness, and peace in 2022. Let this be YOUR year! Don’t let anything hold you back!

Cheers to a grand 2022!

FS x

Adiós 2021!

Another year, gone!

Happy New Year’s Eve! We’re finally here. We made it to the end of 2021. I’m ready to begin a new year.

2021 was another challenging year as we embraced the continuation of living in a global pandemic. However, I’m doing my best to adjust and re-adjust to new norms and continue living my life. Life keeps moving forward no matter what comes our way. Let’s not let COVID dictate our fate and get in the way of accomplishing our goals and living life.

2021 unveils…

This world keeps on giving, in positive ways. And that’s what I need to cling onto when the world gets dark. 2021 revealed a lot to me. Here are the 21 revelations:

  1. Keep pressing forward even if I don’t feel like it.
  2. Change up my routine. Keep life spicy!
  3. Believe!
  4. In all things, have faith.
  5. Reward self with something big or small every day.
  6. Self-care, all the time! Multiple times a day!
  7. Keep working towards pursuing dreams.
  8. YOLO!
  9. Not letting domestic and world news bring down my mood.
  10. Meditate more!
  11. Move my body to ease the physical pain.
  12. Don’t stop until I’m proud.
  13. Continue being patient.
  14. Always cultivate joy.
  15. Focus on the happy and the good.
  16. Escape and get away from the negativity of the world, through audiobooks, TV series/movies, or music.
  17. Express gratitude. In all ways. For everything, even the negative. A lesson is found in everything.
  18. Love, love, love.
  19. Forgiveness and compassion go hand-in-hand.
  20. Social media breaks are important for the sake of my mental and emotional well-being.
  21. Slow the heck down!

A dish to behold

Today’s featured dish is a beautiful dessert I’m sharing with my family tonight as we welcome 2022. A rosé sparkling wine gelatin fruit mold, garnished with edible flowers. Ooh la la!

Recipe

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 4 envelopes of unflavored powdered gelatin (about 1/4 cup total)
  • 1 cup St. Germain elderflower liqueur, divided in two parts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle of sparkling wine (I chose Rosé)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Fuji apple, cubed
  • 1/2 cup yellow peaches, sliced
  • 1/2 cup oranges, cubed
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup wild blueberries
  • Edible flowers, for garnish

Production steps

  1. Coat a 10-cup Bundt pan or jello mold with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place the gelatin into a small bowl, add 1/2 cup of the elderflower liqueur, and whisk to combine.
  3. Set aside to bloom for 5 minutes.
  4. Warm the remaining 1/2 cup elderflower liqueur and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the bloomed gelatin and whisk until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  6. Set aside to cool.
  7. Add sparkling wine and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  8. Set the bowl over an ice bath.
  9. Add the cooled gelatin mixture and stir gently to combine.
  10. Cool the sparkling gelatin over the ice bath until it is quite thick to ensure that the fruit doesn’t float when added.
  11. Add the fruits and some edible flowers, and gently fold in with a rubber spatula.
  12. Pour the sparkling jelly into the mold.
  13. Refrigerate overnight.
  14. To remove the gelatin from the mold, carefully invert the mold onto a serving plate and let the mold fall gently from the mold onto the plate. This may take up to a few minutes.
  15. If it does not come out, fill the sink or a large, wide pot (wider than your mold) with warm tap water.
  16. Dip the outside of the mold in the water for 10 seconds.
  17. Remove from the water, dry the outside of the mold, and flip out onto a serving plate.
  18. Garnish with more fresh fruit, mint, and edible flowers as desired and slice to serve.
Such a beautiful dish. I loved those edible flowers.

Safe celebrating

Have a Happy New Year’s celebration. Celebrate safely and responsibly.

See ya in the new year!

FS x

ʻOno and reasonable prime rib

‘Twas the day after Christmas

Happy day after Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa! I hope everyone’s Christmas was splendid and well-spent. If there’s anyone shopping today, may you find the best day after Christmas deals.

Prime rib goodness!

I wanted to share some delicious prime rib we ate for Christmas dinner. My aunt called this hole-in-the-wall joint called Ray’s Café. It’s located in Kalihi, in Honolulu. They are known for their prime rib. The plates were $22 and included a generous piece of prime rib, two scoops of white rice, toss salad, and a side of au jus sauce. Not bad if you ask me.

Mmmm, delightful!

It was very filling. My dad made a pot of gravy, one of my aunts made her famous Mac salad, and I made the carrots Vichy. We paired this with a bottle of Stella Rosa Black wine, my family’s favorite brand. What a meal! I only could eat half of the prime rib. It was very filling.

The dets

Ray’s Café is located at 2033 N. King St. Honolulu, 96819. Their phone number is (808) 841-2771.

Ray’s has limited parking. Street parking is probably your best bet. They only take cash and allow takeout. Best to call in your order because this place gets very crowded.

Finals…

This is the final week of 2021! Let’s finish the year strong!

Let’s get it!

FS x

The spirit of Christmas

Christmas blessings

Merry Christmas! I wish you and your loved ones a marvelous and safe holiday. We’re celebrating small again this year. Similar to other parts of our nation and the world, the omicron variant is sweeping across our island like wildfire. Please be safe and take the necessary precautions.

Today, I’m highlighting the very first dish I made in culinary school- Vichy carrots. I’ve recorded a special demo video that I’m excited to debut.

Unfortunately, I’ve been trying all day to upload the video, but it kept failing. Technical difficulties… I posted the entire video on my Instagram page: https://instagram.com/foodnista.soul.

Instead, I’ve posted a shorter clip of a video prepping the carrots, demonstrating an oblique cut.

Carrots Vichy prep video

Recipe/equipment list

Servings: 4 yields

  • 1 lb carrots, peeled, oblique cut
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 oz unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cutting board
  • Chef knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Paper towel
  • Sauce pot
  • Water

Production steps

  1. Sanitize kitchen station
  2. Wash and peel carrots.
  3. Cut carrots, oblique cut.
  4. Mise en place ingredients.
  5. Pour cut carrots in a sauce pot.
  6. Fill pot with water.
  7. Add sugar, salt, and butter.
  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until water evaporates.
  9. Plate dish and season with black pepper.
Oblique cut carrots
Carrots simmering in a pot with salt, sugar, and butter.
The final product!

Mele Kalikimaka!

FS x

Amazing artichoke cakes

Christmas countdown!

There are six days until Christmas! This month flew by like a gust of wind! It has been an extremely busy month with work, culinary school, and holiday errands. Thus, with so much going on, it was an enjoyable holiday season.

With all the hustle and bustle in our lives, we’re also dealing with a new COVID variant and an increased surge in cases. There’s a lot going on! Nevertheless, I hope you all found this holiday season to be joyful and memorable.

Winter break begins!

I am officially on holiday break from culinary school. I’m so grateful for this time off. I have two weeks to take care of other things that have been put aside since the week of Thanksgiving. Additionally, I have traditions that I practice before welcoming in the new year (i.e., cleaning the house, brainstorming resolutions, etc.). Whoo! Let’s do this!

Pâtisserie course completed and a new class awaits…

It’s been a bittersweet moment this week as I completed my second course in culinary school. Twenty-four weeks went by like that *snaps*! I began this journey in early July and now, we’re ending 2021. Wow! I’ve learned so much throughout these many weeks that will remain with me for life.

In January, I’ll begin a new 12-week course on world cuisines. Each week we’ll be honing in on a specific country. I’m beyond excited to begin this class. I love trying and eating miscellaneous ethnic foods from around the globe. I’m so appreciative that Hawai’i is a melting pot, full of multi-cultures. Hawai’i has given me a lot of exposure in introducing me to a plethera of cuisines. It’ll be an exquisite experience to make these upcoming dishes in my kitchen. Stay tuned for those weekly blog posts, starting in the second week of January. It’s gonna a voyage of a lifetime!

Hors d’oeuvres vs. appetizers

Before I was introduced to this week’s assignment, I learned the difference between hors d’oeuvres and appetizers. According to my chef instructors, hors d’oeuvres are small, individual dishes that are served before a meal/main course to stimulate a person’s appetite. It’s usually not sharable amongst other people on your table, compared to an appetizer. Appetizers can also be a meal in itself. Huh! Now you know!

This week, I will be highlighting artichoke cakes. I guess this dish, depending on how many batches are made and how many cakes will be served to each customer, can be categorized as either an hors d’oeuvres or appetizer. These cakes were amazing and light. It’s a perfect dish to serve before the main course. It’ll defintiely ignite one’s pallate.

Recipe:

  • 8 oz canned artichoke hearts, chopped and drained (recommended to pat chopped artichokes on a paper towel and kept in the refrigerator overnight so that they can complete dry and absorb any excecss liquid)
  • 1 oz onion, small dice cuts
  • 1 oz red/green bell pepper, small dice cuts
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise (if you can make your own mayo, even better)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • ¼ c panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil, as needed
  • Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
  • Can opener
  • Cutting board
  • Chef knife
  • Fork
  • Mixing bowl
  • Sauté pan 
  • Spatula
  • Wooden spoon
  • Food scale

Production steps:

  1. Sanitize kitchen (sink, countertops, stovetop/oven, cupboard handles, phone, computer).
  2. Drain and cut artichokes. Let them dry on a paper towel and store in the refrigerator overnight to completely drain the artichoke liquid.
  3. Wash and cut onions, and bell peppers.
  4. Mise en place ingredients.
  5. Sweat onions and bell pepper in a sauté pan over moderately high heat. Cool completely.
  6. Gently combine artichokes, onions, bell peppers, mayonnaise, egg, dijon mustard, breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
  7. Form into 3 oz patties.
  8. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over moderately high heat (not too hot, or else the cakes will char).
  9. Add artichoke cakes and cook until golden on the bottom.
  10. Flip and brown the other side.
  11. Remove from the pan and season with salt if needed.
  12. Serve immediately.

Alternatives…

I had a difficult time pan-frying these cakes. Several of them were burnt and did not cook on the inside. I found that the heat on my stovetop was too high. However, because I didn’t know that at the time I was frying the cakes, I decided to bake them in a 375ºF oven as an alternative. I think it worked out better. I didn’t have to deal with oil splattering everywhere.

The week of Christmas

Sending everyone wonderful wishes to a fabulous week leading to up to Christmas. May all your holiday wishes come true. Stay safe, keep yourselves healthy, and take care. Stress less, hydrate, eat nutriously, and remain positive.

Merry Christmas!

FS x

My new loves

December is here!

We’ve made it to the final month of 2021. This year flew by too quickly. However your year has been, let’s finish strong and with a BANG!

There’s a lot happening during the month of December. At least for me. However, I often reflect on the year and orchestrate goals for the new year, while living through and experiencing my most favorite time of the year.

Culinary journey thus far…

My pâtisserie course is coming to a close in two weeks. I will have completed two courses by the end of the year. I’ve learned so much in the last five months of culinary school. Applying to Escoffier has made me get out of my comfort zone. I have cooked and baked so many different dishes I never thought of making prior to this program. Things like fresh bread and pasta, sauces/condiments, and purées. Some dishes have been challenging, but it’s been worth the frustration. It’s taught me to have a lot of patience. These culinary skills continues to fuel my passion every week. Furthermore, it’s reminded of why I started this journey. I love to cook! And, sharing my dishes with others is the absolute best!

Highlights this week

This week, I’m highlighting two of my newest favorite sauces and condiments that are simple to make: tomato raisin chutney and mostarda. Chutney originates from India and mostarda derives from Italy. Chutney can be used as a dipping sauce, a glaze, a spread; with cheese, gamey meats, in sandwiches… You name it! Mostarda is served with meats and cheese that make up a beautiful charcuterie board.

These sauces were so fun to make. And oh-so-yummy! I plan to make a variety of chutneys and mostardas, using different dried fruits this holiday season. I can’t wait! It’s going to be phenomenal!

Recipes:

Tomato raisin chutney:

  • 1 lb 4 oz fresh tomatoes
  • 1 oz garlic, chopped
  • ½ oz fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 2 fl oz red wine vinegar (1st quantity)
  • 3 fl oz red wine vinegar (2nd quantity)
  • 4 oz sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped hot chiles
  • ¾ oz raisins
  • Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
  • Food scale
  • Cutting board
  • Chef knife
  • Paring knife
  • Sauce pot
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Food processor (or blender)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Airtight container

Mostarda:

  • 4 oz dried fruit (i.e., raisins, cranberries)
  • ¼ of red onion, minced (or 1 shallot)
  • ¼ c dry white wine
  • ¼ c white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
  • Food scale
  • Sauce pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Food processor or blender (optional)
  • Airtight container

Production steps:

Tomato raisin chutney:

  1. With a paring knife, make an “x” on the bottom of the tomatoes.
  2. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 10-20 seconds to loosen skins.
  3. Peel and trim.
  4. Cut tomatoes into quarters.
  5. Combine garlic, ginger, and first quantity of vinegar into a food processor to purée.
  6. Combine tomatoes, purée mixture, second quantity of vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.
  8. Cook at a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes thick. 
  9. Add the chiles and raisins. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and cool.
  11. Store in an airtight container, refrigerate for up to a week.

Mostarda:

  1. In a small sauce pot, combine dried fruit, red onion (or shallot), wine, vinegar, and sugar and bring to a boil.
  2. Cover and cook until dried fruit is hydrated.
  3. Stir in mustard powder.
  4. Cook, uncovered until mostarda has a jam-like consistency.
  5. If desired, mostarda can be pulsed in a food processor for a smoother texture.
  6. Store in an airtight container, refrigerate for up to a week.

Holiday wishes and tips

Wishing you and yours a jolly holiday season. Remember to enjoy this time of year and not stress out. The holidays can be very busy and hectic with all the hustle and bustle. This weekend, I’ve been reminded to set small, reasonable goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Also, to accept what is and do what I can. One of the many things that’s important to me is being able to reminisce and create new memories during this special time.

Be safe, stay well, and take care of one another.

Cheers~

FS x