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