Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wow! These last couple weeks have been busy!!! Where has the time gone? It's been a few weeks since I last updated you on my culinary classes so here it goes.

Last Thursday in my Sanitation and Safety class we took the ServeSafe certification. It's a pass or fail thing but I won't find out for another 2 or 3 weeks. I'm pretty confident I passed and it feels great to have that done and over with. There were lots of times, temperatures and terms memorized for that test!

Are you wondering what I've been cooking in class lately? Two weeks ago I learned how to debone a chicken, make coq au vin and sauteed chicken chardonnay. We also made grilled asparagus and fried chicken (which we dredged in flour FOUR times!)

This past Friday I burned my hand really bad. The "REALLY" in that previous sentence is not an understatement. It was bad. We were learning how to make Trout Meuniere and as I flipped over my piece of rainbow trout in the saute pan, the hot oil that it was cooking in came splashing back at me. It covered a large part of the top of my hand and going on up past my wrist. You can see exactly where all the splatter marks are. It hurt - bad! I immediately put some burn spray on it and have been keeping Neosporin on it as much as I can. Today it is starting to blister. My only hope is that it doesn't leave a big scar.

So last week we made potato dauphinois (like scalloped potatoes), trout meuniere (amazing!), beer battered onion rings, fish and chips, creamed spinach, grilled rainbow trout, braised chicken, as well as mayo, tartar sauce, and horseradish cream from scratch! I plan to put some of these recipes on my blog once I get a chance to make them at home.

Only 3 weeks left of this quarter and then I'll start all new classes. Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


I have a favorite drink for every type of cuisine. I am constantly adding my favorite drink recipes to this blog. Almost every time we go out for Mexican food my hubby and I will order Horchata to drink with our burritos or enchiladas. If you've never had one before, it takes like a sweet milky drink with a nice hint of cinnamon. Several years ago, I bought a powder mix to make the drink from. It was ok but not as good as what you get in a restaurant. So...of course, I decided it was time to make it from scratch. There are lots of horchata recipes out there. You probably have most, if not all, the ingredients already in your kitchen!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mini Taco Bowls

These little things turned out great! They look so fancy all dressed up on your plate but they were super simple to make. These would be fun to make for Cinco de Mayo or for any Mexican themed dinner party!

Check back in on Sunday to see a great drink to serve with these mini taco bowls!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thai Chicken Wraps with Peanut Sauce

This recipe was a great find. It was super easy to make and very good! I love the peanut sauce that goes along with it. Full of flavor and two thumbs up at our house!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Honey BBQ Cheesy Sloppy Joes

I made sloppy joes for a quick and yummy lunch this past weekend. I loved the added honey flavor from the BBQ sauce. Super easy to make and the whole family loved it!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict
Source: The Foundations of Professional Cooking: A Global Approach (textbook)

4 English muffins, split in half
8 Canadian bacon, 1/4-in slices
8 Eggs
1/2 c. Hollandaise sauce

Toast English muffins. Saute the Canadian bacon until hot. Bring 1 quart of water to a simmer (around 180 degrees) and poach eggs. (Click HERE to view my step by step instructions on how to poach an egg.)

Place each muffin on a plate and top with a hot slice of Canadian bacon. Place an egg on each slice of bacon and cover with 1 T. of Hollandaise sauce.

Friday, May 20, 2011

How To : Make Hollandaise Sauce

Here's one method of making hollandaise sauce. This is how Chef taught us to make it in class. You either like hollandaise sauce or you don't. There's really no in-between. I personally like it especially on top of Eggs Benedict!

There are 3 things you should taste when eating hollandaise sauce: 1) Lemon 2) Salt and 3) Butter.

Hollandaise Sauce
Source: Chef C.

3 egg yolks
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 oz. warm water

In medium or large metal bowl, beat egg yolks with whisk, then add lemon juice and warm water. Whisk again.

Bring a saucepan that is 1/3 of the way full of water to a boil. Place metal bowl on top of boiling water. (Have a towel on hand because the bowl will get hot!) Continuously whisk the egg mixture paying special attention to the edges of the bowl. You don't want any solid egg pieces to cook/scramble. If you need to, you can always remove the bowl from the heat to whisk for a couple seconds. Continue whisking until the eggs yolks are a bit thicker but still runny.

Next you will remove the metal bowl from the heat and add 8 oz. warm butter. To do this, you MUST whisk constantly while SLOWLY pouring in a continuous stream of the butter. (This is extremely important!) Season with a generous amount of salt and add more lemon juice if needed. Taste to make sure the amount of salt and lemon juice is correct and then serve immediately.

That's hollandaise sauce in a nutshell! Tomorrow I'll post a picture and recipe for Eggs Benedict! Yum!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Remember back in Week 3 of my cooking class, I told you we made seven different kinds of soups? Well this was my absolute favorite out of them all so I wanted to recreate it at home. I have several friends who can't stand mushrooms but we are a big fan of them in our house. My preschooler was begging to eat some of them raw while I was washing and slicing them in prep for the soup.

This soup is so full of flavor and so creamy! It was perfect for dinner last night since we had some rather chilly weather!

How To : Make Roux

Roux (roo) is a thickening agent made from clarified butter and an equal part by weight of flour. Clarified butter is used in most restaurants, but for the purpose of this blog and when cooking in my little kitchen at home, I just use whole butter.

For those of you wondering what clarified butter is... (I had never heard of it until a few weeks ago!) It is butter from which the milk solids and water have been removed.

4 oz. butter
4 oz. flour

Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the flour and mix thoroughly. Reduce the heat to low.

For white roux, stir constantly for about 5 minutes.
For blond roux, stir constantly for 8 to 10 minutes.
For brown roux, stir constantly until the roux is the color of peanut butter and has a nutty aroma, about 20 minutes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chef's Whites

Here's a quick lesson on chef's whites. I was a little embarrassed....or shy when I had to first model my new chef's whites (during my first class 6 weeks ago) but now I am getting quite used to it. This is how I am required to dress every time I go to class. If my outfit is not neatly ironed, clean, and complete the chef (teacher) has every right to send me home until it is corrected.

So what all do Chef's Whites consist of?

1. The traditional hat also known as the toque. Hair must also be restrained. For photo purpose only, I left my hair down; however, it is normally up in a ponytail and all hidden underneath the hat.

Different heights of hats oftentimes indicate rank within a kitchen. My teacher's hat is very high and pointy. As you can see, mine is rather short. :)

2. The double breasted jacket. It can be reversed to hide stains. Its thick cotton cloth protects from the heat of stove and oven and protects from splattering of boiling liquids. There is also a small pocket in the left arm to hold my pen, permanent marker (for labeling foods before putting them in the fridge) and my digital thermometer.

3. The black and white checkered-pattern trousers. While not the most attractive pants, they are great in camouflaging minor stains.

4. Plain white t-shirt worn under the jacket.

5. White apron - used to protect my outfit from splatters and stains.

6. Black, closed-heel, closed toe, non-skid chef shoes. I took the advice from a good friend and bought some Dansko shoes. They are mighty comfortable!

7. Last but not least, the awkward neckerchief. I'm not a big fan of this thing at all. I just don't like things around my neck like that. It took me a few weeks to get the hang of how to tie it but it is essentially just the same as tying a guy's tie. Neckerchiefs used to be worn to soak up the sweat of those working in hot kitchens but today they are mainly worn for aesthetic purposes.

8. One more thing I will show you is my knife kit. Although it is not part of my uniform, I am required to take it to class every day. It is a heavy black suitcase-like piece that houses all the tools that I need for class. Shown in the picture are my parisienne scoop, wooden spoon, pastry brush, kitchen scissors, pastry cutter, rubber spatula, whisk, and peeler. There are 3 other compartments in my knife kit. One compartment holds all my knives (hence the name) and another compartment holds things like my measuring cups, measuring spoons, kitchen ruler, pastry bags and tips, metal spatulas, etc. There are too many things in there to list them all!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Midterms Are Over!

Shew!!! Midterms are over and I did very well! All that studying and practicing in the kitchen seemed to have paid off!

In my cooking midterm yesterday we had to do the following in a 2-hour timeframe:
  • 2 Carrots, 1/4" small dice
  • 1 Onion, 1/4" small dice
  • 1 Potato, regular julienne 1/8" x 1/8" x 2"
  • 2 Tomato concassée, 1/4" small dice
  • 2 Celery, 1/2" medium dice
  • Parsley dust
  • Hollandaise sauce
  • Béchamel sauce
  • 1 Poached egg
  • Tourné 1 Potato (4 pieces) - Extra Credit

I am happy to announce that I got it all done in the allotted 2 hours and even had time to tourne the potato for extra credit!

Today we learned all about vegetables. Believe it or not, vegetables are one of my favorite food groups.  I'm very fortunate that my son seems to have that same love.  Here are the things we cooked today: sautéed green beans, roasted squash, cauliflower au gratin, sauteed spinach, ratatouille, braised collard greens and glazed rolled cut carrots. Yum! I had a big heaping plate full of veggies for my lunch today (we get to eat our masterpieces after we are done cooking) and everything was so good. The ratatouille was probably my favorite of them all; which also made me think of the cute Disney movie.

In 2 weeks I will be taking the big ServSafe certification test for my Sanitation & Safety class. That will require some additional studying! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Savory Cheddar Chive Bread

We have gotten so much rain lately! It has turned our brown grass into a nice bright green and has made the chives in our garden just shoot up! I seriously think they grew 12 inches in a matter of days!!!

I've been wanting to try this bread recipe for awhile but couldn't get myself to spend the money to buy chives at the grocery store since I knew I would have an abundance of them this spring and summer. It turned out really well and went great with our lasagna cupcakes. The only cheese I had on hand was string cheese so I used that instead of cheddar.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lasagna Cupcakes

I just love making entres where the portions are already divided out for you. Like my mini meat loaves for example. There's no need to cut into a big meatloaf because they are already the perfect size for everyone to put on their plates.

The same goes for these Lasagna Cupcakes. Just grab one or two (three if you're really hungry!), add some garlic bread and a salad then your dinner is served! These are fun to make with kids and make such a cute presentation on the plate!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blog Makeover!

Check out the new look of Kathie Cooks (previously Kathie's Kitchen)! I am so excited about the blog makeover that Designs By Kassie did for me! She does great work and her turnaround time is phenomenal. It was such a pleasure working with her.


I hope you will enjoy the new look of my site and continue reading it for many months to come!

Monday, May 9, 2011

How To : Poach an Egg

A couple weeks ago the Chef in my cooking class gave us a whole lesson in poaching eggs. Several of you requested that I share the tips and techniques on how to properly poach an egg. Below is the step-by-step approach. Try it out at home, with a little practice, you will become very comfortable with poaching eggs.

In another week or so, I will have a post for Eggs Benedict. This is a very popular breakfast item which requires a poached egg.

How to Poach an Egg

1. Simmer a pot of water to around 180 degrees. (Do not bring to a boil!!!)

2. Use cold, fresh eggs! (The colder and fresher the egg, the better it will stay together as it cooks in the water.)

3. Pre-crack egg into small bowl.

4. Get as close to the hot water as you can before gently dropping the egg into the water.

5. Since the egg is a protein, it will automatically want to try and attach to the bottom hot surface of the pan. Using a rubber spatula, gently work your way around the egg to make sure it is loose and free flowing in the water. Now, leave it alone while it cooks.

6. Let the egg cook. I can't tell you the exact time it will take for your egg to be done. The key is that you want the egg white to be cooked through but the egg yolk should still be nice and runny. If you take your egg out of the water, cut into the egg white and see that it's still a little raw. You can always put it back in the water so it can finish cooking.

7. While the egg is cooking, skim off the top of the water so that you can get a better look at your egg.

8. Use a slotted metal spoon to remove egg from water.

Tip: If not serving right away, you can put the eggs in an ice water bath until ready to eat. Then put them back in hot water for a few seconds to reheat it right before serving.

9. The egg white should be cooked through but the yolk should be runny.

Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pasta, Pasta, Pasta!!!!

Well, my midterm for my Sanitation and Safety class is over. I feel like I did pretty well on it and am excited to go to class next week to see my grade!

This week in my cooking lab we learned all about starches! I got to make my own fresh pasta dough, roll it out with a pasta machine, cut it and eat it! It was delish and a lot easier to do than I had imagined. That was a first for me!

I also got to make pirogies stuffed with potatoes, onions, and cheddar cheese, gnocchi, whipped potatoes, rice croquettes, risotto, and rice pilaf. It was such a reward to sit down and eat all of our hard efforts this week. I feel like I should have ran in the mini marathon today with many of my friends in Fishers, IN after eating all those carbs!!! :)

Next week is my lab midterm. We have to do a lot of different knife cuts, make a poached egg, make béchamel sauce, and tourné a potato for a grade. Should be fun!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rainbow Cupcakes

Here's a fun baking activity to do with younger kids. They will love helping to mix the food coloring in for all the different layers.

I love how bright and cheery these cupcakes are! What kid wouldn't want one of these for an afternoon snack or for their birthday party?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Teriyaki Sauce in 10 Minutes

Do I have any Teriyaki fans out there? One of the things I love most about trying new recipes is learning about what its ingredients are. I've eaten teriyaki sauce several times in my life but I've never stopped to think about what is actually in teriyaki sauce. It's surprisingly quite simple to make and it was amazing!!! My hubby grilled some boneless, skinless chicken thighs on the grill tonight then we drizzled this teriyaki sauce on top. My whole family gave it 12 stars out of 10! It was just that good! We paired it with some grilled asparagus and some white rice. I'm so excited that grilling season is amongst us once again!

This recipe makes 2 cups and it can be kept in the refrigerator for one week. Enjoy!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

Stop reading right now if you are dieting or evening attempting to eat healthy! I'm serious...reading further into this post is dangerous! You will gain weight just reading this post. :)

These rolls were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!! They are super duper sweet and rich and just scrumptious! Her recipe makes SEVEN round pie pans of cinnamon rolls! I guess I made mine a bit larger because I only got six pans but that was still plenty to share with our nanny, our neighbors, our out-of-town guests, and still have more to put in the freezer for another occasion.

If you like cinnamon rolls you should definitely try this recipe. I loved the maple flavored icing. Just make sure you have a nice big glass of milk ready to wash them down. You'll need it.