Currently viewing the tag: "Culinary Arts Creations"

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer

Happy July! These high temperatures call for a cool and fresh salad. Today’s recipe integrates creamy, fresh, and crunchy elements all into one salad: Creamy Parmesan salad. Easy to make (minimal baking required), rich and tangy (thanks to the dressing), well-flavored (sweet pear enhances the dressing, while the savory parmesan medallions and salty fried onions boost the savory side of the salad), and well textured (the many ingredients provide a myriad of crunchy, soft, and crisp textures). This salad will be sure to satisfy all your taste buds.

The base of the salad is easy to make: simply combine ingredients and dressing and toss together. The top of the salad is up to you to design! Want to make your salad fancy? Try fanning out slices of fruit and meat over the top of the salad; it will add restaurant-quality elegance to the overall aesthetic of your salad. Feel like scattering the toppings free-style? Go ahead! The salad is your blank canvas; any way you arrange the toppings, your salad will turn out delicious. Enjoy the fresh and creamy flavors of this salad and have fun making it.

Creamy Parmesan Salad

Ingredients

For the Cheese Medallions:

½ c. parmesan cheese

For the chicken:

1 chicken tenderloin

salt and pepper to taste

Oil

For the Dressing:

1 c. mayonnaise

½ c. sour cream

2 tbsp. milk

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. white wine vinegar

½ c. parmesan cheese

¼ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

For the Salad:

1 heart romaine lettuce

1 Asian pear

½ c. fried onions

½ c. croutons

Instructions

        Preheat oven to 350o. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Divide ½ c. cheese into 3 mounds, spread 2 inches apart from each other on the pan; press mounds into disks. Place pan in the oven and bake for 9 minutes or until golden brown. Take out and let sit for 5 minutes. Set finished medallions aside.

        Start a pan on medium heat. Add oil to the pan. Rub chicken with spices and cook (grill, saute, fry, or bake) until the inside of the chicken is no longer pink. Let sit for 5 minutes.

        Cut the chicken into strips and put in the refrigerator.

        Prepare the dressing: in the container, mix mayo and sour cream. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for later use.

        Prepare the lettuce: wash the lettuce in a salad spinner or rinse in a colander. Get out a new knife and cutting board.

        Cut the heart of romaine: take off the outermost leaves of the romaine and discard. Cut vertical strips down the length of the romaine. Then, cut thin horizontal strips through the romaine, so that thin strips of lettuce come off the heart. Place in a large bowl and repeat until 1 inch from the bottom of the heart of romaine. Put chopped lettuce in the refrigerator for later use.

Cut the pear: Get out a new knife and cutting board. Core the pear and cut the pear in half, laying the flat side of the halves on the cutting board. Cut half of the pear into slices and half of the pear into small cubes, making sure to discard the middle. Set aside.

Make the salad base: In a new large bowl, combine the chopped lettuce, cubed pear, fried onions, and croutons (if serving immediately; if not, omit fried onions and croutons and add both when salad will be served). Add ½ of dressing to the base (add more or less if desired); toss with tongs until dressing coats all the ingredients.

        Turn salad base onto a plate or bowl. Fan out chicken slices on top and artfully arrange cheese medallions, sliced pear, and fried onions on top of the salad base. Serve.

*With credit to Chef Liddick of CTC.

Tools Needed

Dry and liquid measuring utensils, parchment paper, small sheet pan, small skillet, bowl, medium container with spill-proof lid, fork, salad spinner or colander, 3 knives, 3 cutting boards, 2 large bowls, tongs, large plate or bowl.

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer

Finally, May brings the warm weather we’ve all been waiting on! This winter was incredibly long. It was a great time to experiment with hearty dishes like chilis, soups, and stews. But with warmer temperatures, comes more fresh dishes that utilize the grill and other outdoor cooking techniques (like roasting over the fire). And, let’s not forget Memorial Day! A time to honor those in the military who died in combat and to celebrate our personal freedoms given to us from their sacrifices. Memorial Day offers the opportunity to exercise our personal freedoms as Americans, as we get to talk to friends and family about whatever we want, dress however we want (let’s hear it for shorts season), and grill whatever we want from the resources readily available from our grocery stores (you want 50 pounds of squid? Go ahead! Your personal freedoms allow you to do that!). Speaking of the famous Memorial Day BBQ, today’s dishes are great main and side dishes that compliment each other nicely: BBQ Pork and Mashed potato fries!

Sweet and tangy, complimented with crunchy and salty, these dishes are easy to make and delicious.

The mashed potato fries may seem confusing. Why go the extra length to make mashed potatoes and then fry them? Boiling the potatoes first ensures that the potatoes will be tender and not undercooked when in fry form. By adding cornstarch to the mashed potatoes, the fries can be more easily shaped (and customized into whatever shape you want) and handled.

Another ingredient that may be questionable is using Cola for the pork. Cola (surprisingly) makes a great marinade for pork. The acidity of the soda helps break down the meat, while the sugars in the soda enhance the sweetness of the BBQ sauce. Cooking the meat in cola also ensures that the meat doesn’t dry out and that it remains both tender and juicy. Enjoy your Memorial Day, flavorfully!

BBQ Pork & Mashed Potato Fries

Ingredients

For the Pork

1 pork shoulder

1 tsp. brown sugar

1 cup BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)

1 liter Cola (any brand)

¼ tsp. black pepper (more or less, depending on preference)

2 tsp. garlic powder (more or less, depending on preference)

2 tsp. onion powder (more or less, depending on preference)

1 tsp. salt (more or less, depending on preference)

For the Fries

2 potatoes

3 tbsp. cornstarch

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup oil (canola or vegetable) for frying

Salt (for after the fries are finished frying)

Optional: cheese, other seasonings (such as onion powder, garlic powder, or chives)

Tools Needed

Crock pot or dutch oven, liquid and dry measuring utensils, pan, bowl, spoon, knife, cutting board, peeler, medium pot (for boiling potatoes), strainer, bowl, mixer or masher, medium pot or fryer, large sheet pan (or clean surface), knife, rolling pin, pan/plate layered with a bed of paper towels.

Instructions

1.   Make the pork:

a. In the oven: Preheat oven 325o. Place pork shoulder in the dutch oven. Rub top and sides with dry seasonings; then pour half of BBQ sauce and cola on the pork (it should be covered in liquid; this will ensure the pork doesn’t dry out). Cover with the lid and bake in the oven for 2 hours.

b. In the crock pot: Place meat in a medium-heat crock pot. Rub top and sides with dry seasonings; pour half of BBQ sauce and cola on the pork (should be covered in liquid). Cover and let cook 4 hours.

2.   Once finished cooking (the meat should be easy to pull off with a fork), take out of the oven/crock pot and place on a pan. Take as much of the fat off as possible. Place meat in the bowl.

3.   Shred the meat, pulling against the grain. Once shredded, add the rest of the sauce and mix with a spoon. Serve on a bun or alone.

4.   Make the fries: Set water to boil in a medium pot. Peel and cut out the eyes of the potatoes. Dice the potatoes into small cubes.

5.   Place diced potatoes in boiling water and cook until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Strain once cooked and place in a bowl.

6.   Add salt and pepper (and desired other seasonings/ingredients) and mix/mash until potatoes have a smooth consistency.

7.   Add cornstarch and mix until cornstarch is well incorporated.

8.   Take the mixture out of the bowl (it should be the consistency of play-doh) and turn onto a clean work surface floured with cornstarch. Roll out to medium thickness; cut into long strips (you can shape the dough into shapes if preferred).

9.   Start a medium pot full of oil or a fryer on medium heat. Once hot, gently place fries into oil. Cook, flipping the fries after 1-2 minutes (or until golden brown).

10. Place finished fries on a bed of paper towels and salt immediately. Repeat with remaining uncooked fries.

11. Place finished fries on a plate/bowl and serve.

*With credit to With credit to Chef Liddick of CTC and user Kim’s Coca Cola Pulled Pork recipe on insanelygoodrecipes.org for ingredient proportions; information on how cola affects meat gleaned from How Soda Affects Meat, by Kim Grundy, PT on Livestrong.com.

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer

Ah, Easter! The holiday everyone has been waiting for. The Easter dinner is all set up, everyone has brought a dish for others to enjoy, and everyone seems to be present. But, wait! What about the Easter Bunny? Isn’t he tired of the same old basic carrots? That’s where today’s recipe comes in: Carrot Cake Cupcakes!

Sweet, spicy, textured (thanks to the shredded carrot), and tangy (with a rich cream cheese frosting), this cake definitely gives carrots a good name.

Additionally, these carrot cake cupcakes are great for celebrations and Easter activities. Kids eagerly awaiting Easter can have a great time creating and decorating cupcakes with you. Easter Bunny meet-and-greets can be made all the sweeter with these small and portable cupcakes.

Enjoy creating these delectable cupcakes (whether alone or with a helper or two) and have a happy Easter!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the Cake

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. ginger

⅛ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. salt

¾ c. vegetable oil

2 eggs

¼ c. apple sauce

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¾ c. brown sugar

¼ c. sugar

1 ½ c. shredded carrots

For the Filling

4 oz (1 c.) cream cheese

½ stick unsalted butter

1 c. powdered sugar

½ tsp. vanilla extract

Green food coloring

Orange food coloring

Tools Needed

Liquid and dry measuring cups, 3 bowls, mixer and beaters, spatula, cupcake bag and liners, piping bag, tips, two small bowls, and two forks

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In 1 bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, apple sauce, and extract. Beat until well combined. Add sugars and shredded carrot to the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula; add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients mixture. Beat until everything is well combined, intermittently scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Line cupcake pan with liners (or grease the cake pan). Pour in batter.

Place in oven and bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake/cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: Place butter and cream cheese in a bowl and soften them (the surface should give to pressure but should not be melted). Add sugar and extract and beat until smooth. Once done, take out and let cool.

Separate into 3 separate bowls: one bowl should have very little and the other bowls should split the rest of the icing equally. Put each color in a piping bag and fit with a tip.

In the bowl with the least icing, add green food coloring. In another bowl, add orange food coloring. One bowl should have completely white icing.

Icing the cupcakes: making sure the cupcakes are room temperature, pipe on (or put on with a knife) the white icing on the entire surface of the cupcakes (including the edge; this ensures the surface doesn’t dry out).

Pipe on an orange carrot (a simple triangle will work, but be as creative as you want!). Pipe on the green leaves at the top. Serve.

*You can also use candy to decorate the cupcake if desired.

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer

Happy March! Miss the rich flavors of the holidays (Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras)? Can’t wait for the delicious Easter Sunday dinner of next month? Today’s dish will let you be satisfied with waiting (while also being meat-free and rich): Fresh Ravioli!

It may seem like too much work for something so small, but homemade ravioli is much better than your classic restaurant entree. The fresh pasta alone will leave you wondering why you’ve been avoiding making it. The rich filling is also much more fresh when you make it, and it allows you to play with the flavor a bit more. Not a cheese fan? You can simply replace it with ground beef if you prefer!

Making ravioli is a work-heavy feat, so if you have a bored family member or interested child, invite them to help you make it! It’s a great way to bond and learn to cook together. Even the most novice chef can help!

May this rich and delicious ravioli bring you good times and warmth in this chilly month with your family, whether in the kitchen or in the dining room.

Fresh Ravioli

Ingredients

For the Pasta

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups semolina flour

1 pinch salt

6 large eggs

2 tbsp. olive oil

For the Filling

15 oz. (1 carton) ricotta cheese

2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/3  cup grated parmesan cheese

1 large egg, beaten

2 tsp. minced fresh basil (or 1 tsp. dried)

1 tsp. minced fresh parsley (or ½ tsp. dried)

1 tsp. minced fresh oregano (or ½ tsp. dried)

¼ tsp. garlic powder

1/tsp. salt

1/tsp. pepper

oil

Tools Needed

Large sheet pan (to make pasta on), sifter, fork, bowl, wet paper towel, medium bowl, liquid and solid measuring utensils, spatula, pastry wheel/ravioli cutter, rolling pin or pasta roller, two spoons, large pot, bowl.

Instructions

Make the pasta:

On the sheet pan, sift flour, semolina flour, and salt together.

Make a well in the middle; add olive oil and cracked open eggs into the well.

Gently beat eggs with a fork, gradually adding more and more flour from the sides.

Once dough becomes thick, knead by hand until all ingredients are incorporated.

Knead the dough for 8-12 minutes or until smooth and elastic, gradually adding flour if the mixture becomes sticky.

Once kneaded, put in a bowl and cover in plastic wrap. Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Make the filling:

In the medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the filling, mixing well with the spatula.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Directions:

Once pasta has finished resting, fill the large pot with water and set to boil.

Divide the dough into four portions. Roll out one portion to 1/16 in. thickness on a floured surface. Put the other portions back in the bowl under a damp paper towel.

Take out filling.

On half of the pasta sheet, put rounded spoonfuls of filling 1 inch apart.

Fold the pasta sheet over so that the filling is covered by the pasta sheet completely.

Press around the rounds of filling so that the filling is sealed in. Cut into squares with the ravioli cutter. Set aside finished raviolis and repeat with remaining filling and dough.

Salt the boiling water. Add ravioli gently to the water one at a time and reduce heat so that the water is simmering.

Cook until the ravioli floats to the top, about 1-2 minutes.

Take out with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.

Add olive oil to ensure the raviolis don’t stick together.

Repeat with remaining ravioli.

Garnish with fresh herbs, sauce, or cheese and serve.

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer

Happy February! Today’s recipe will be celebrating the Lunar New Year (Happy Year of the Tiger): Egg rolls! An American take on an Asian classic (the traditional spring roll generally includes a vegetable filling and a thin wrapper; egg rolls, created by Asian immigrants to appeal to American customers, includes a filling of meat and vegetables and has a thicker wrapper). The egg roll is both versatile (the filling and flavor profile can change based on the whims of the chef) and delicious. It can also be the perfect appetizer for your Super Bowl feast. It’s small size and package-like form allows you to get a quick burst of flavor in a mess-free package. Enjoy making (and eating) these egg rolls.

Egg Rolls

Ingredients

For the Soy Sauce Reduction

¼ cup soy sauce

½ tsp. minced garlic

½ tsp. shredded ginger

2 tsp. sugar

2 tbsp. rice vinegar

¼ tsp. sesame oil

salt & pepper to taste

For the Filling

1 lb. pork or chicken

1 tbsp. oil

salt & pepper to taste

½ head of cabbage

½ onion

1 large carrot

1 clove garlic

½ pkg. rice noodles (or about 1 cup cooked)

8 egg roll wrappers

2 eggs

1 quart oil (vegetable or peanut)

Tools Needed

Small pot, medium pot, bowl, liquid and solid measuring utensils, knife, cutting board, medium pan, large pan, lid, steamer and pot (can use a traditional steamer or use a wire cooling rack over a pan of boiling water), large pot, large bowl, pastry brush, bowl, fork, wet paper towel, plate, 2 sets of tongs, plate, many paper towels.

Instructions

Fill a medium pot with water and set to boil. In the small pot, combine the ingredients for the soy sauce reduction. Bring to a boil and let simmer until thickened.

Once water is boiling in the medium pot, add rice noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Immediately strain afterward and place aside in a separate bowl.

Start a medium pan on medium heat. Add oil. Cook the meat until inside is no longer pink, about 5-10 minutes. Once cooled, finely shred. Set aside.

Cut the vegetables: dice the onion into thin strips. Finely cut the cabbage into very thin, long strips (making sure to remove the outside and innermost leaves). Cut the carrot into very thin carrot sticks. Mince garlic.

Start a large pan on medium heat. Oil and add onions, tossing to coat. Sweat them and allow them to cook 2-3 minutes.

Add carrots and place the lid on. Let cook for 5-7 minutes or until carrots are tender. Add garlic, then add cabbage and allow to cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes.

In the large bowl, combine rice noodles and meat. Add vegetables and soy sauce reduction. Mix well, making sure all ingredients are coated in reduction.

Add water to the large pot for steaming and set to boil on high heat. Add oil to a large pot and start on medium heat.

Make the egg rolls: Get out egg roll wrappers and a wet paper towel. Remove one sheet and cover whatever wrappers that aren’t being used with the wet paper towel.

On a clean workspace, place the egg roll wrapper on a plate. Brush sheet with egg wash.

Add 2 spoonfuls of filling, making sure not to add any 1 inch from the edges. Wet edges with water.

Roll to form a log; fold the edges inwards in order to seal off the sides. Repeat until there is no filling left.

Place in a steamer (or put on a wire cooling rack and put a lid over it) 5-10 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Gently place egg rolls in hot oil, flipping after 2 minutes (or until the side is brown). Take out once the entire roll is fried and place on a bed of paper towels.

Serve with soy sauce or preferred dipping sauce.

*With credit to Credit to Chef Liddick of CTC and Michele Urvater’s Soy Ginger reduction recipe on foodnetwork.com; history information gleaned from “Spring Roll vs. Egg Roll: What’s the Difference?” By Lindsay D. Mattison on Taste of Home

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer

Today’s recipe is simple, yet elegant and delicious: Baked Brie. Baked brie marries together many flavors and textures in one delicious package. Creamy and savory brie is contrasted with the crunchy, salty flavors of the puff pastry. The sweet garnishes (honey, craisins) enhance the creaminess of the brie and contrast well against the savory puff pastry sheet.

This dish is also incredibly versatile. Have a pairing you prefer with brie? Use it as a garnish! Some alternative ingredients could include pear or apple slices, almonds, drizzling on balsamic vinegar (for a sweet, yet sharp contrast) or raspberry melba, or brushing the sheet with brown sugar. Or you could try using a different vehicle (instead of french bread) to get the melted cheese to your mouth, such as seasoned toast points or crackers.

Enjoy cracking open this delicious gourmet treat, and may the melty brie warm your soul during this long winter!

Baked Brie

Ingredients

1 triangle brie cheese

¼ sheet puff pastry

1 egg

⅛ cup honey

2 tbsp. Craisins

¼ cup walnuts

¼ loaf french bread

Makes 1 serving

Tools Needed

Small bowl, fork, pastry brush, parchment paper, small sheet pan, serrated knife, cutting board, dry measuring utensils

Instructions

Preheat oven to 4250.

Cut parchment paper to size on the sheet pan. Cut the loaf of french bread into thin rounds.

Place a puff pastry sheet on the prepared pan. Prep the egg wash.

Brush the inside of the puff pastry with the egg wash.

Place the triangle of cheese diagonally on the puff pastry sheet, so that the tip of the cheese is pointing at the top left corner and the round end of the cheese is facing the bottom right corner.

Fold the puff pastry around the cheese, slightly stretching the sheet. Make sure all holes are sealed (pinch the holes closed) and the cheese is completely covered by the puff pastry.

Egg wash the outside of the puff pastry. Place cut rounds on sheet and put in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes (taking it off the pan after toasted, 3-5 minutes) or until the outside is golden brown.

Meanwhile, measure and prepare other ingredients.

Once finished, take out and let sit 5 minutes; move to a serving plate.

Immediately drizzle on honey and garnish with craisins and walnuts.

Serve.

*With credit to Chef Liddick of CTC

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer

Happy December! Christmas is coming, and with it, the creation of many delicious pastries. Cookies-galore colorfully accent dessert trays and plates. Rich chocolates hide in tins and wrappings, and gingerbread fills many a kitchen with delectably spicy aromas. Today’s pastry, however, is unlike any other traditional Christmas pastry: angel food cake!

Light, airy, and simply flavored, angel food cake is a great alternative to the predictable and rich cookies and candy. However, it can still be decorated. It’s light color allows it to easily be changed by food dye (cool swirl effect with red and green dye, anyone?) or include colorful candies or sprinkles (crushed candy cane, gumdrops, or cut up pieces of the fabled sugar plums). No heavy icings needed; a simple glaze or drizzle elegantly flavors the outside of this cake.

Though making this cake involves great care (lots of whipping is needed), it will ensure that St. Nicholas will soon be there in your kitchen wanting a bite (the whipping incorporates air, which allows for the cake to be light and airy).

With a festive name and a versatility graced by delicate lightness (no cookies weighing your stomach down), angel food cake will soon become one of your Christmas favorites! Have a happy holiday, everyone!

Heavenly Angel Food Cake

Ingredients

1 ¼  cups egg whites at room temperature (about 10-12 eggs)

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup cake flour (can be substituted with 1 c.- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour and 2 tbsp. cornstarch, sifted together)

1 ¼  tsp. cream of tartar*

¼  tsp. salt

1 tsp. almond extract (you can use different extracts, if desired)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

*Cream of Tartar stabilizes the egg whites, ensuring that the cake does not collapse

Instructions

Preheat oven to 3500. Measure and set out egg whites. In 1 bowl, sift cake flour 2 times. Next, measure out and combine cream of tartar and salt. Combine with flour. Set aside.

Once egg whites are room temperature, put in another bowl. Whip egg whites until whites are frothy. Add extracts and mix.

Add sugar bit by bit, mixing well after each addition.

Whip until soft (going on stiff) peaks form.

Sprinkle small amounts of the flour mixture on top of the egg white mixture, folding with the spatula after each addition to incorporate. Repeat 4-5 times, eventually incorporating all of the flour (make sure not to overfold).

Fold in desired colors or sprinkles.

Pour into angel food cake pan or cupcake pan (Do NOT grease). Shake the pan slightly to ensure the batter is evenly distributed.

Place in the oven and bake until lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes.

Once cooked, take out and immediately flip the cake onto a plate (this is essential; it prevents the cake from collapsing). Let cool for 1 hr.

Garnish; cut with a serrated knife and serve.

Tools Needed

2 large bowls, fine mesh sieve or sifter, liquid and dry measuring utensils, beaters and mixer, spatula, angel food cake pan or cupcake pan.

*With credit to Amy Finley’s Gougeres recipe on Foodnetwork.com and Chef Liddick of CTC.

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer

I’m also thankful for Thanksgiving as a holiday. It’s a great way for beginners to learn from the masters, cooking-wise.

A variety of cooking techniques and flavors ensure everyone can contribute and enjoy a Thanksgiving feast to the fullest.

Today’s recipe is unlike the traditional dishes and side dishes of Thanksgiving and integrates a unique cooking technique: gougères.

Deluxe in nature, gougères are a great Thanksgiving accompaniment. Elements of gruyère and black pepper provide richness, while the puffy nature of the pâte à choux allows the gougères to be deliciously delicate and airy (not weighing down your stomach like most dinner rolls).

Additionally, the base of the gougères  (called pâte à choux) is easy to make and is utilized for many pastries (such as cream puffs and eclairs). It is the key element in ensuring that the gougères are soft but delicately crunchy.  Your in-laws will be impressed and begging for more! Enjoy your Thanksgiving deliciously, and have fun cooking up a storm!

Gougères

Ingredients

1 c. water

1 stick butter

2 tbsp. sugar

1 c. flour

3 eggs, pre-cracked in separate bowls

¾ c. grated gruyère (can add more if preferred)

1 tsp. salt

½  tsp. black pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat water on medium heat in the pot until warm. Add butter and cook until melted.

Once melted, add flour and mix well. It should form a clumpy paste. Cook 1-2 minutes in order to cook out the flour.

Move mixture to the bowl. Mix with a mixer in order to cool the mixture down for about 1-2 minutes.

Once cooled, add eggs one at a time. Mix well after each addition.

Add grated cheese, salt, and pepper to the mixture; mix until well incorporated. Intermittently scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Layer the sheet pan with parchment paper. Pipe or spoon 1-inch rounds onto the pan, 2 inches apart.

Put in the oven and let cook for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed.

Take out of the oven and put on the cooling rack. Cut open with a serrated knife while warm. Let cool and serve.

Tools Needed

Medium pot, (optional) cheese grater, solid and liquid measuring utensils, mixer and beaters, bowl, fork, piping bag or 2 spoons, small bowl, parchment paper, large sheet pan, serrated knife, cooling rack.

*With credit to Amy Finley’s Gougeres recipe on Foodnetwork.com and Chef Liddick of CTC.

by Ava Morlier

Happy October! Since the holiday of this month provides many sweet flavors (halloween candy, anyone?), today’s dish is savory and warm (to fight the coming chilly temperatures): rice pilaf.

Though pilaf can seem pretty basic, its basic nature allows this dish to be versatile and easy to make. No constant incorporation of liquid is needed (much unlike a risotto); the toasted rice (providing a richer flavor) is added to liquid all at once. Today’s recipe plays up the versatile nature of the dish, taking flavor cues from Mediterranian tastes. Ingredients such as curry powder (provides a subtle flavor boost to the dish, perfect for those wanting to try a traditional pilaf dish but aren’t fans of regular curry), golden raisins (adds elements of color, chewiness, and sweet contrast to the mainly savory flavors of this dish), and the addition of chopped cashews (brings a boost of texture and a slightly sweet creamy flavor) may seem different, but provides a powerful flavor punch that boosts this dish from mundane to mouthwatering.

Enjoy your October, and may this dish warm you and your family in these increasingly colder days!

Rice Pilaf with Raisins and Veggies

Ingredients

3 cups chicken broth

2 tbsp. butter or olive oil

4 stalks celery

½ large onion

4 green onions

3 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. curry powder

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups rice (white or brown)

½ c. golden raisins

¼ cups chopped cashews (optional)

Instructions

Put the pot on medium heat and add chicken broth; let simmer. Heat pan on medium heat. Wash and chop celery, onion. and green onions (divide the green and white parts and chop); mince garlic. Measure out rice and set aside.

Once the pot is warm, melt butter (or add oil). Add celery, white part of green onion, and onion to pan; season with curry powder and salt and cook until tender (5 minutes). Add garlic and cook until aromatic (10 seconds).

Take vegetables out of the pan and set aside. Turn heat down to medium-low. Add rice to pan and let cook until lightly toasted (3 minutes). Make sure rice is evenly distributed throughout the pan in order to ensure every grain is toasted and not burnt.

Once toasted, add to simmering chicken stock. Turn heat down to medium-low. Let cook for about 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed by the rice. Take off of the heat.

Add vegetables, golden raisins, and the chopped green onion tops. Stir until well combined; serve.

Tools Needed

1 large pot, 1 skillet, spatula, cutting board, chef’s knife, liquid and solid measuring utensils, spoon, fork, medium bowl.

*With Credit to Jaquine’s Rice Pilaf with Raisins and Veggies recipe on allrecipes.com.

by Ava Morlier

Happy September! Today’s dish will be celebrating the rich culture and flavors of Oktoberfest: Soft pretzels!

Brought to America by German immigrants, the soft pretzel carries great German history with it. Used as a symbol of prosperity and good luck, pretzels were enjoyed by both the rich (used as a symbol for undying love for aristocratic couples) and the poor (monks baked and distributed pretzels to those living in poverty). Today, the pretzel reaches many audiences as well, both culturally (enjoyed by Americans and Europeans) and flavor-wise (can be customized with both sweet and savory seasonings, thanks to the minimally-flavored dough).

Pretzels are relatively easy to make, and you can customize them with the flavor of your choice. One step of this recipe may be confusing: boiling the pretzel in baking soda. Why? Boiling the pretzel gives it the puffy shape, and the baking soda gives the pretzel its iconic brown outside. Though it takes a bit more time than simply folding and baking the pretzel, the outcome is worth it: a soft, iconically brown pretzel.

Enjoy your Oktoberfest! May these soft pretzels indeed grant you luck and prosperity, and Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit!