Friday, September 12, 2014

Basic Food Preparation and Pureed Soups

At Alvin Community College our culinary arts program is segmented into 8 separate lab classes.  One of those classes is basic food preparation.  It occurs at the beginning of the lab class sequence.  Much as you would expect from a class titled basic food preparation we do some very basic things in this class.  Last night, we made puree soups.  This gave us the chance to break out some appliances we had not used since last year.

 In the picture above from left to right: Rebecca and Morgan are test driving our immersion blender.
Below is a picture of Rhonda driving our Vitamix blender.  Thank you Vitamix and Waring for your support.  Hiding behind Rhonda is Amber and Shelby is visible in the background to the right.

The students produced split pea soup, cream of carrot and black bean soup.  It was a job well done by all.  Thanks.

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

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ice Carving At Alvin College Culinary Arts

Every spring, as the school year is coming to an end, at Alvin College, our culinary arts program does ice carving as a part of our garde manger class.  The students are divided into groups and each group carves an angel fish.  Last may, a video was made of the evenings class.  The video is too large to post here.  But, you can follow this link to watch the video on the ACC culinary arts web page:  Alvin Culinary Arts Ice Carving.  
I hope you enjoy the video.

Until next time:
Bon Appetit Y'all

Chef Leslie Bartosh
Alvin College Culinary Arts

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bean Sprouts

The Culinary Arts program at Alvin Community College often needs bean sprouts for some classes in International Cuisine.  If you have tried to find bean sprouts in grocery stores, recently, you know this can be a futile exercise.  Most stores do not carry them anymore due to food borne illness outbreaks associated with sprouts.
There are canned bean sprouts available, shudder, but their texture and flavor is not correct.  So, when we need sprouts, we wind up sprouting our own.  We can control the growing conditions giving us the ability to limit the chances of bacterial growth.
A local grocery store carried organic mung beans.  A half cup of raw mung beans generates a gallon of sprouts.
The following pictures are from a recent batch of sprouts.
Day one:  Raw Mung beans.  At this stage the beans are washed, drained and then covered with cold water.  They are left to soak overnight.
After soaking overnight, the beans are drained, rinsed and drained again.  At this stage you can see the beans are starting to lose their outer cover as they start spouting.  From this time the beans/sprouts
are rinsed and drained twice a day.
This is day three of the process.  You can easily see the sprouting process occurring.
Day four the process is further along.
Day five the sprouts are developing nicely.
Day six they are ready for use.
Ahh, a nice bowl of Pho.

I hope you enjoyed this journey in the life of a sprout.  The end results were quite tasty!

Until next time:
Bon Appetit Ya'll
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Monday, May 12, 2014

Awards Day

This year the Alvin Community College Culinary Arts program was fortunate to be able to award three different scholarships.  The scholarships were presented at our annual awards day, held on April 28.
The scholarship funds were generated by activities in events sponsored by culinary/wine organizations in our area.  Each of the organizations is noted in the scholarships name.
The awards are noted below each photograph.
 Meagan Marchant (center) was the recipient of the Chaine des Rotisseurs culinary arts scholarship.  She is pictured with Chef Mary Bass (instructor) and Chef Leslie Bartosh (program chair).
Ben Talley (center) was the recipient of the Haak Vineyards culinary arts scholarship.  He is pictured with Cecilia Gabba, General manager of Haak Vineyards and Leslie Bartosh, (program chair).

Also receiving a scholarship was Rebecca Brohawn.  She received the Professionals in Culinary Arts scholarship.  Unfortunately, she had to leave before her picture could be taken.

We are excited for our students and for the opportunity to recognize them.

Until next time:
Bon Appetit Ya'll
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ice Carving

At Alvin Community College our culinary program does hands on ice carving as a part of our garde manger class. In most cases, our students have never seen ice carved or carved ice themselves.  This year, our class did an exceptional job of carving.  I am glad to be able to share these photos with you.

Each group receives a half block of ice and carves the same item.  The idea is for everyone to have the level of difficulty in their carving.

Due to the nature of ice carving, this is the one exception we have to our mandatory uniform policy.
I hope you enjoy the pictures of the groups and their finished sculptures.
Left to right:  Zach, Meagan, Ben, Briana
Left to right:  Karen, Sokphak, Kaitlyn, Mireya

Left to right:  Rebecca, Randi, Jordan, Matt

If you see these young chefs, be sure to tell them about seeing the carving.  It will mean a great deal.

Until next time.
Bon Appetit Ya"ll

Chef Leslie Bartosh

Friday, March 21, 2014

Garde Manger Class

One of the current classes is Garde Manger.  As a part of the class they make the seven families of Hors d oeuvres.  Here is one from last nights class.

Herbed pâté brise base, garlic herb butter smear, corn and red onion hash, candied bacon shard. By @xzacktprihoda.

Until next time:

Con Appetit Ya'll, 
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Silent Auction Scholarship Fund Raiser

On Saturday, March 15, 2014, a silent auction was held in conjunction with a food truck festival at Haak Vineyards in Santa Fe, Texas.   The silent auction benefited the Alvin Community College Culinary Arts Scholarship fund.  The fund raiser was the second held this year at Haak Vineyards. 
As often happens this time of year the weather was less than cooperative.  None the less, the event and silent auction were a huge success.
The picture below shows students from four different classes who came out to show their support for the event.  Also pictured is chef Mary Bass who organized the event.

Left to right:
Tyler Henderson (2013), Matt Huerta (2014), Curtis Smith (2013), Alicia Prejean (2012), Zach Prihoda (2014), Briana Arehart (2014), Chef Mary Bass, Ben Talley (2014), Meagan Marchant (2014), and Marilyn Ramirez (2011). 

Guys, thanks for your support on a rainy day!

Until next time,
Bon Appetit Ya'll
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Monday, February 3, 2014

51st Annual Chefs Ball

Last weekend was privileged to attend the 51st Annual Chefs Ball, of the American Culinary Federation Texas Chefs Association Houston Chapter.  The event was held at the River Oaks Country Club.  It was simply outstanding.  My photos do not do the food justice.

Le Menu
 Chefs, thank you for out standing meal.

chef Leslie Bartosh

Alvin Community College Culinary Arts International Cuisine.

Over the next few weeks I will post some pictures of work by our students along with the recipe for the dish. In our classes Culinary Arts Classes at Alvin Community College we typically have the appropriate desserts and breads for the countries we "visit". So, to start things off, here is a photo of a dessert from our class on Scandinavian cuisine, Mazarintarta.  Mireya did an outstanding job.  The recipe follows.

Mazarintårta (Sweden)
Swedish Almond Raspberry Torte
Yield 12 – 16 servings; 1 9 inch fluted tart or 9 inch spring form pan

5 ¼ oz flour, all purpose, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
2 ¾ oz sugar
4 oz butter, unsalted cold
1 each egg
2 oz butter, unsalted
5 ½ oz sugar
3 ½ oz almonds, blanched, ground
½ tsp vanilla
2 each egg
7 ½ oz raspberry preserves
4 oz powdered sugar, sifted
½ oz lemon juice fresh
1 tsp water

For the dough:
Sift together: flour, sugar and baking powder.
Place in bowl of food processor and pulse to mix.
Cut butter into 10 pieces.  Place on top of dry ingredients in processor bowl.
Pulse to cut in the butter until the size of peas.
Add egg and process until dough comes together.
Remove from processor and knead to form ball.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

For the filling:
Cream butter and sugar using paddle attachment of mixer.  Beat until fluffy.
Add almonds and vanilla.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

To assemble:
Roll chilled dough between sheets of parchment to make 10 inch circle.
Invert into pan.  Press evenly into bottom and 1 inch up sides.  Make sure all holes are covered.
Spread ½ raspberry preserves over bottom. 
Top with filling.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 40 minutes or until torte tests done.
Cool ten minutes, remove sides of pan and cool completely.

For topping:
Mix powdered sugar with lemon juice.  Add water a few drops at a time until spreading consistency.
Let topping rest 5 – 10 minutes.
Spread remaining raspberry preserves over cooled torte.  Drizzle topping over torte.

I hope you enjoy.

Bon Appetit Ya'll
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tasso for the holidays

Normally the Christmas break gives me the chance to make several batches of sausage.  I even planned on doing so this year.  But, we all know about the best laid plans of mice, men and chefs.  All I managed to get done this year was a batch of Tasso, which I had also planned on.  None the less, I will not complain.  The 5 pounds of Tasso will make for some good eating.

Tasso is used primarily as a seasoning meat, much like you would use bacon in a pot of beans.  I must admit that I also like to eat it as is as a snack.  Think of thick cut, highly seasoned, smoked, pork jerky!  To me this is the best description I can think of.

It takes four days to make Tasso from start to finish.  Most of that time the Tasso is resting in the refrigerator curing.  I smoke mine using Mesquite lump charcoal for heat and pecan wood for smoke.
Here are some pictures of what it looks like during the process.
This picture shows the Tasso after it has cured in the refrigerator for three days and has air dried for two hours.
Here is a close up of the Tasso before it is put into the smoker.
A photo of the Tasso in the smoker.  Note the thermometer probe.  I smoked the Tasso at 160 degrees for about 4 hours and then increased the heat to 190 degrees for another two hours.
A view of the batch after it was smoked.
A close up view of some of the smoked Tasso.

Here is the recipe:

Homemade Tasso Recipe

5 lbs Pork loin cut into 1 inch square by 5 inch long pieces

3 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 Tsp Cayenne or To Taste
4 Tbsp Paprika
2 Tbsp Fresh Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp White Pepper
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Mix the seasoning together well. Rub the seasoning into the meat, you want a lot on there, call it 1/8 inch, use it all. Place on a plate or tray, cover and refrigerate 3 days.

Before smoking put the Tasso on an elevated rack so that air can circulate around it this allows it start drying and form a pellicle.  Allow it to dry for at least two hours.   You can do this in the refrigerator.

I used mesquite lump charcoal for the heat and pecan wood for the smoke.
I smoked it for about 4 hours at approximately 160 degrees and then increased the heat to 190 degrees for 2 hours.

I hope you enjoy.

Until next time.

Bon Appetit Ya"ll

Chef Leslie Bartosh

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thai Red Curry Spareribs

I was searching my files for some recipes the other day and ran across this one.  It is from circa 2009.  I do not know the original source.  I do know it was published fairly widely.  I like Thai food, so I thought what the heck?  Let's try it.  It works surprisingly well for how simple it is to put together.
I will post my notes and thoughts after the recipe.  Here is a photo of the dish.
Here is the recipe:

Thai Red Curry Spareribs
Yield: approximately four servings 

3 tablespoons red curry paste
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 to 4 dried red chilies, chopped
Pinch salt
15-ounce can coconut milk
1 rack baby back pork ribs (about 2 to 3 pounds), membrane removed
1 cup long-grain white rice
Pinch saffron threads
1 ½ cups water
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a blender, combine the curry paste, tamarind paste, oil, fish sauce, sugar, chilies, salt and coconut milk. Puree until smooth, then set aside.
Cut the ribs into 3- to 4-rib portions, then arrange them in a large non-reactive bowl. Pour the curry paste mixture over the ribs, then use your hands to rub it in and ensure all surfaces are coated.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Transfer the ribs to a roasting pan, spreading over them any marinade that has collected in the bowl. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hours, or until the meat begins to pull away from the bone.
After 30 minutes of baking, in a medium saucepan combine the rice, saffron and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Serve the ribs with saffron rice. Garnish everything with cilantro.
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes (15 minutes active). Serves 2 to 3.

 1.  the recipe makes it sound like the marinade is fairly dry.  It is not.  It is a very thick liquid.  There is a lot of it for the amount of meat.  Don't worry follow the recipe.
2.  If you look at the photo you will notice that the rib on the left looks dry.  I  scraped some of the marinade/basting liquid off of some of the ribs and broiled them for color.  My suggestion is follow the recipe as far as leaving the marinade/basting liquid on them.  The ribs will taste better and be moist.
3.  I do suggest finishing the ribs under the broiler for a little color and caramelizing of the sauce ingredients.
4.  The ribs were not spicy to me.  The heat in the marinade comes from the dried chiles and the curry paste.  Taste the marinade when you first mix it.  It will be slightly spicy.  If you want it hotter add more red curry paste.  Keep in mind that when it is on food it not taste as spicy.
5.  I had a rack of St. Louis style pork ribs in my freezer so that is what I used instead of the baby back ribs.  My rack of ribs was about 3.5 lbs.  I cut the rack into two rib sections.
6.  As you can see I had steamed sticky rice and steamed broccoli with the ribs.  
7.  Most of the ingredients are available at most grocery stores.  The one item that may be difficult is the tamarind paste.  You can make your own from fresh tamarind if you can not find the paste.
8.  You can marinate the ribs in a zip lock bag to reduce the dirty dish load.
9.  If your roasting pan is non reactive (stainless steel) you can marinate and cook the ribs in the same pan.  Even Pyrex should work, but, think about getting it to room temperature before putting it into the hot oven to avoid shocking the glass (just for safety).
10.  Don't overcrowd the roasting pan.  Leave some space between the rib sections.
11.  This recipe has earned a place in the rotation in our home.

I hope you enjoy.
Until next time:
Bon Appetit Ya'll
Chef Leslie Bartosh