Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cool weather recipe

I have been posting Meatless Monday recipes for the last couple of weeks.  But with cool weather approaching, I thought I would change the pace.  This recipe is pretty easy to prepare.  I like it because, I can make I can make it and freeze part of it for a quick week night meal.  Since it is a little time consuming, the weekend is the perfect time to make this recipe.  There are 3 parts to the recipe:  a dough, a meat filling and a broth.
The dumpling recipe came from the following website:  There is also information on the website for a vegetarian version called:  vareniki.  The website includes some nice step by step pictures on forming the dumplings.
According to the website, these dumplings would normally be accompanied by either satsebeli (a Georgian spicy tomato sauce) or sour cream.  I saw them served with brown butter.  But for my taste, serving the dumplings in a broth is the way to go.  Here is a picture of my rendition. The recipe follows.
Here is the dumpling recipe.  I will follow the recipe with my serving suggestion and notes.

Pelmeni Siberian Dumplings
Ingredients (makes about 100 pelmeni):
For the dough
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 70 grams of butter (2.5 ounces or 5 Tablespoons)
  • 1 cup ice water
  • pinch of salt
For the filling
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • (traditionally) 1 small onion, pureed in food processor
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Combine flour and 1 egg
  • Add butter (cutting it into little pieces will help with incorporating it into the mixture)
  • Add a pinch of salt
  • Now add the water, hold some of it.
  • With the hook attachment, let your Kitchen Aid do the mixing for you; add the rest of the water if needed (you’ll see if your dough is too dry and there is still flour that won’t incorporate).
  • Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes. This will help the gluten to develop (i.e. your dough will be smoother with less air pockets if you cut into it).
  • While the dough is resting, prepare your meat filling. Combine your 2 kinds of meat (and pureed onions, if using) with your hands (<– the easiest “tool”). Add salt and pepper to taste – we added about 1T. Voila, your filling is done!
  • Time to make the dumplings! Flour your surface, and cut the dough into about 8 pieces. You'll need to work with 1 ball at a time, covering the rest so they won’t dry out.
  • Roll the dough out – work from the middle out. This dough is pretty dry and flexible and quite easy to work with. Roll each dough ball as thinly as possible.
  • Cut 4″ circles out of the dough – you can use a fancy cookie cutter or a glass with sharp edges.
  • To make the traditional Siberian shape, pinch the 2 sides together all around, and connect the 2 bottom corners together
  • After you’ve used up all your dough and filling – and are ready to eat – boil yourself a serving! Boil water, then add some pelmeni and boil for 7 minutes – do not overcrowd the pot! Once the first servings is done, let the water come to boil again and then start your 7-minute timer for the next batch.
  • Enjoy a nice big bowl of pelmeni with your choice of sauce! [The Georgian satsebeli (spicy tomato) sauce is delicious (can be found in Russian stores); I also like it with just tomato paste. Sour cream is probably the most popular accompaniment and adds a nice creaminess to these meaty beauties :) ]
*If you’re not eating the whole batch, these freeze great! Just freeze them flat on a cookie sheet or a plate overnight and transfer to a freezer bag the next day. They cook in 8 minutes from frozen – perfect for a busy night (and you’ll know you’ll still be eating real food you made yourself!).*
For more step by step photos and details, check out

The recipe works quite well.  I did use the optional onion.  You can also add a little garlic, as I did.  Be sure to cook a small sample of the filling by forming a patty and sauteing it.  This allows you to test it for seasoning.  I do not have a cutter so a sharp glass was my choice for cutting the dough.
I served mine dumplings in a hot broth with diced carrot and celery.  I combined approximately equal parts of chicken and beef stock in a pan and added the diced vegetables as I brought it to a boil.  Salt and pepper seasoned the broth.  When I topped the hot cooked dumplings with the broth I added a sprinkle of sliced green onion.

I hope you will try this recipe.  It is hearty but light at the same time and quite satisfying.

Until next time:
Bon Appetit Y"all
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Alvin Culinary Arts Young Baker of the Year

I am very pleased to announce that Amber was selected as the Baker of the Year in our Fundamentals Baking class.  As a result of her work Amber was presented with a baking gift basket that was donated by one of our alums, Curtis.  Well done!

Until next time.
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Friday, October 3, 2014

Meatless Monday recipe for October 3, 2014

I sometimes enjoy eating falafel.   But I must admit that I do not like the mess that comes with deep frying.  So when I saw this recipe for baked falafel I knew I had to try it.  The results of how this dish came out have earned it a spot in our menu rotation. 
Sorry, I do not have a photo. 

I believe the original source of this recipe was a web site:  The website will not come up so I do not know if it is network issues or that the website has gone the great ethernet graveyard in the cloud. 

Here is the recipe.  My serving method is at the end under notes.

Baked Falafel
Makes about 21 balls

1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Put in a medium sized bowl and smash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Form into small balls, about 1 1/2″ in diameter and slightly flatten. Place onto an oiled baking pan.
Bake for 15 minutes on each side, until nicely browned (since it’s baked, only the part actually touching the pan will be browned and crispy).
Serve with mini pita pockets, hummus, tahini sauce, tomatoes, lettuce and/or cucumber.

I am not a real big fan of some middle eastern food items so I came up with an alternative serving that suits my taste buds and improved the nutritional content.
For lack of better words, I make a "taco" with the falafel.  I use fat free whole wheat roti as the flatbread, add the baked falafel and top it with a slaw made from julienne cut jicama, cilantro and lime with a little salt and pepper.  When I make this dish I also shape the falafel in to "finger" shapes before baking them.  This facilitates eating wrapped it up in a "taco".  
 I think the next time I make this, I will also make some salsa from fresh red Fresno peppers for it.  This would make for a spicier and more colorful "taco".   If you can not find roti or do not wish to make your own, whole wheat flour tortillas can be substituted.

I hope you enjoy.
Until next time:
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sauteed Chicken Breast with Tarragon Sauce

In the basic food prep course at Alvin Community College, our culinary arts program teaches our students fundamental techniques, like how to saute.  The class is set up to introduce skills and then build on them as new competencies are introduced.
Last night, the class utilized the previous competencies of making saffron rice pilaf, glazed carrots and the making of veloute based soups.  The class made saffron rice pilaf, glazed carrots and made veloute sauce.  They then sauteed a boneless chicken breast and used the fond in the pan as they made tarragon sauce to go with the chicken.
This is what their plate looked like at the end of the night.  (The recipe follows).

Supremes A’lestragon
Yield: 4 servings

4 ea                  Chicken supreme
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Flour, as needed
4 tsp                 Shallots, minced
8 oz                  Wine, white, dry
8 oz                  Chicken velouté
4 oz                  Cream
2 tsp                 Tarragon

Dry the chicken breasts thoroughly (skin on or off) and dredge in flour.
Cook chicken according to the principles of sautéing in clarified butter.
Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
Degrease pan and sauté shallots until they are translucent.
Deglaze pan with the white wine, add tarragon and reduce until au sec.
Add the velouté, and cream.
Reduce to Nappe.
Adjust seasoning.

Nappe chicken with sauce.

I hope you enjoy.
Until next time.
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Friday, September 26, 2014

Meatless Monday Recipes continued

This recipe is one of my favorites.  We do this recipe in our International Cuisine class at Alvin College, in our Culinary Arts Program.
It combines many things I like into one dish.And for a gringo (like me ), it has just about all of the flavors I associate with Latin American Food. I hope you enjoy.

Porotos Granados (Grand Chile Stew)
Yield: 6 servings

1½ cups dried cranberry or pinto beans
as needed chicken stock
1 large onion, medium dice
4 each aji chiles (or jalapenos), seeds removed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, pureed
6 each tomatoes, concasse
2 cups winter squash, in ½” cubes
1 cup fresh corn kernels
To taste chopped cilantro, parsley
to taste salt and pepper

Cover the beans with cold water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and let sit for 1 hour.  Strain beans and cover with chicken stock; bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 hour.

In a large skillet, sauté the onion and chile in the oil. 
Add the garlic, tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. 
Simmer until mixture reduces slightly. 
Remove from heat.

Add squash to beans and cook until tender; add the tomato mixture and corn; simmer 30 minutes. 
Finish stew with fresh herbs and season to taste.

Until next time.
Bon Appetit Y'all
Chef Leslie Bartosh