Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Garlic Paste

I am a huge fan of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food. I am lucky that there are many wonderful Mediterranean restaurants within 6 miles of my home. One of our favorite things about eating there is the fresh pita bread and garlic paste that they bring to every table as a starter. If you are a garlic lover, you will probably LOVE this recipe. If you're not a fan of garlic than you should stay far away from this recipe!

After the first time I had garlic paste I ran home and "Googled" G.A.R.L.I.C. P.A.S.T.E to see how to make it. I found this great video that shows step-by-step the proper technique for making it. It was a huge help in my quest to make the perfect garlic paste. After watching the video I knew exactly what I needed to do and it was a piece of cake. Mission complete!

I highly recommend you watch the video before attempting to make garlic paste. Here's the link: How To Make Garlic Paste

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pita Bread

Here's some great pita bread that I learned to make in class awhile back. It's great for sandwiches or for dipping into hummus or garlic paste. More on that later...

Have a great Monday!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Brioche's been my favorite thing to make in culinary school so far. I love portioning out the rolls/loaves, shaping them into uniform rolls or uniquely designed loaves, watching them double in size, and then pulling them out of the oven to smell that fresh bread smell. I am quite a carboholic as well. It's got to be my favorite food.

So here's yet another bread recipe we made in school. Brioche (bree-OHSH). Isn't it such a lovely name? Brioche is a rich, tender bread made with a generous amount of eggs and butter. It's great to eat right out of the oven, with sandwiches or french toast, or even as a PB&J sandwich. There are many ways to shape it as well.

For part of the recipe I used mini brioche pans (picture above). They almost look like little flowers. I also made some mini loaves as well as a regular size loaf of bread.

*I only made half of the recipe below and it still made a TON of bread! I ended up with 8 mini brioches, 7 mini loaves, and 1 regular loaf. Enough to share with my neighbor and my husband's coworkers!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Culinary School - Weeks 6 and 7

Just to give you an update as to what I've been baking in culinary school these last couple of weeks.

Last week we learned all about Pâte à Choux (pronounced paht ah shoo). I have to admit that when I first saw that term I thought, "What the heck is that?!?!" Come to find out, Pâte à Choux is another name for Éclair paste. Éclair paste is unique among doughs because it is cooked before baking.

Éclair Paste or Pâte à Choux bakes up into golden brown, crisp pastries. Inside these light pastries are mostly air pockets with a bit of moist dough. They can be filled with sweet cream, custard, fruit or even savory mixtures. We used the Pâte à Choux dough to pipe Paris Brest, Profiteroles, and Chocolate Éclairs. YUM!!!

Paris Brest are rings of baked éclair paste cut in half horizontally that we filled with Paris Brest Cream and topped with slivered almonds. Profiteroles are small cream puffs that we filled with chantilly cream and then dipped in caramel sauce. Éclairs are baked fingers of éclair paste filled with pastry cream and then topped with chocolate ganache.

We also made New York Style Cheesecake (delicious!), Strawberry Crepes Fitzgerald (amazing!) and Parmesan Sun-dried Tomato Crackers (ok). As you can tell...this was yet another week that was VERY hard on my waistline!

This week we focused on cakes and had a brief introduction on cake decorating. We made 2 pound cakes drizzled with lemon simple syrup, 5 high ratio yellow cakes decorated with a light chocolate buttercream, a Sacher Torte cake layered with jam and then coated with a chocolate ganache icing, and an orange chiffon cake decorated with an Italian buttercream.

Can you tell how much fun I am having making (and eating) all these amazing pastries?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Citrus Spritz Cookies

I have a cookie press or two that I always pull out around Christmas time. I recently learned that I don't need the extra piece of equipment to make fancy spritz cookies. With a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and a steady hand, I am now able to make cute, uniform spritz cookies by hand!

These little bite size cookies are fun to eat and the little dollop of strawberry jam in the middle makes these cookies quite attractive!

Monday, August 22, 2011

And the Winner is . . .

Congrats to entry #5, Sabrina @ Twiggles and Trunks who was chosen as the winner via
Sabrina, please email me your address so I can ship these adorable little tart pans to you!

Thanks for playing everyone! This contest is now closed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Wouldn't this fruit tart look adorable in mini personal size tarts too? I thought so...that's why I am giving away one set of mini tart pans (6 total) to one of my lucky readers! Without you I would have no reason to blog. Thank you for being such great readers!

To enter:
Leave a comment telling me what your favorite recipe on Kathie Cooks is.

Want extra entries? (Leave a separate comment for each.):
* "Like" Kathie Cooks on Facebook
* Share this giveaway on your blog or Facebook page
* Tell me something new you would like to see on Kathie Cooks
* Tell a friend about Kathie Cooks (someone who's never heard of it before)

You have until Sunday, August 21 at 8 pm EST to enter.

The winner will be picked at random and announced on Monday, August 22.

Good luck!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Refrigerator Pickles

I am thrilled that several of my friends are now bloggers and have such cute, inspiring blogs. If you haven't done so already, check out Lois Pearl Designs. She has all kinds of great recipe and crafty ideas. One of the most recent recipes she's made are Refrigerator Pickles. What a great way to use up those fresh summer cucumbers. This makes a great side dish and as Erin points out this dish is even better the next day!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zucchini Bread

Someone called me the other day and made my day! She told me that she had an abundance of zucchini in her garden and wondered if I could use some. I said, "YES! I would love some!!!" What a great friend she is! I don't have any zucchini growing in my garden but that is quite a surprise considering it is my second favorite vegetable. (Maybe next year...) Tomatoes are my all-time favorite veggie and I have FIVE tomato plants growing out back but I love making zucchini recipes in the summer too. They are so many different ways to use zucchini including these recipes that I posted last summer:

Stuffed Zucchini
Zucchini Hamburger with Rice
Cheesy Zucchini
Zucchini Cookies
Zucchini Fries

This is a bread recipe that we made in culinary school. It is delicious as well!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chai Iced Tea

My friend featured a Drink Week over at her blog Hanging On By A Thread a few weeks ago. After I saw that she posted a recipe for one of my all-time favorite drinks (Chai Iced Tea), I just knew I had to make it! I never knew all the spices that Chai tea consisted of but it ended up being easy to make and tasted very similar to the one I usually pay $3 or $4 dollars for at Starbucks and Panera Bread!

A couple of the spices were a little foreign to me - star anise and cardamom pods in particular. Luckily K pointed out that these can both be found at Whole Foods in the bulk bin spice aisle so I had no problem finding them.

What a great treat this was to drink on a hot summer day!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fruit Tart and My First Giveaway!

Is your mouth watering yet? If this picture doesn't make you drool a little bit then I don't know what will. :)

We learned all about making tarts and quiches in class last week. I enjoyed it so much that I had to come home and do a little online shopping to add a tart pan to my kitchen collection! These aren't the recipes we used in class but it's still the same idea. You make a sweet tart dough, fill it with pastry cream, top with fruit (let your artistic juices flow during this step) and then brush on a glaze. The sweet tart dough is sturdy enough that you can remove it from the pan before serving. It makes a very impressive dessert and you can use any fruits that your heart desires!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Culinary School - Weeks 4 and 5

This has been a busy couple of weeks for culinary school. Last week we learned all about pies and tarts! I can feel my pants getting tighter and tighter as the weeks progress. :) We made flaky pie dough, mealy pie dough, sweet tart dough, and quiche doughs from scratch. We also made a Dutch apple pie with streusel topping, a blueberry pie with a lattice top, a cherry pie with a double crust, a chocolate cream pie with crème chantilly, a pumpkin pie, a fresh berry tart with apricot glaze, quiche lorraine and French baguettes. Boy was it fun tasting our creations!

This week I had midterms! It's hard to believe that these classes are half way over already. On Wednesday I had my Baking & Pastry Practical. Each person had to make:

Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls
Citrus Spritz Cookies
Flaky pie dough
Pecan pie
Country Biscuits

I don't know my grade yet but I did pretty well. I felt like my things looked and tasted amazing but my teacher seemed to grade rather hard and always found something teeny, tiny wrong with them. Some things I felt were a personal preference. Such as my yeast dinner rolls. I (along with my team members) thought they were phenomenal yet my teacher said they were a bit too salty and could have been baked a tad longer. Oh well. I probably got a B on the practical. I'll find out next week.

Today I had the written part of the midterm for my lab class as well as a written exam for the Baking & Pastry Concepts class. I spent a lot of time studying for these and have already found out that I got an A on one of them.

I'm tired! Midterms have worn me out and I'm ready for a nice, relaxing weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Banana "Ice Cream"

Would you believe me if I told you that you could make ice cream with just one ingredient? What if I also told you it was healthy and completely dairy free? You probably think I've fallen off of my rocker and gone a little crazy, right? Well it's true!!!

I was pretty pessimistic when I first heard about this. It's quite the talk on Pinterest and several food blogs right now. But I was completely amazed and in awe at how creamy the frozen bananas became after just a minute or so in my food processer. It looks exactly like ice cream when it's done!

I found that it's best eaten right out of the food processor (after the blade is removed of course) and with some chocolate chips sprinkled on top. We did eat some leftovers the following day but it wasn't quite as good as the fresh batch.

Give it a try! You won't feel guilty eating this "ice cream"!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Here's a little something I learned in class last week and a little lesson for you...

Challah (pronounced HAH-la) is the traditional bread for Jewish Sabbath and holiday celebrations, rich with eggs and flavored with honey. Time-honored tradition dictates that challah be braided or formed into a turban-shaped loaf. Topped with poppy or sesame seeds, challah is excellent for toast or sandwiches.

This recipe makes enough for two loaves so I braided one...

...and made a turban braided loaf for the other.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thai Tea Pudding

A friend of mine posted pictures of some Thai Tea Pudding on her facebook page the other day. I begged her for the recipe since I am a huge fan of Thai Iced Tea. Sorry for the odd measurements. Some are in ounces, while other ingredients are in tablespoons, teaspoons, and even grams! My friend was so kind to translate the recipe from Thai to English so that I could interpret it. Luckily my digital scale will easily go back and forth from ounces to grams so I didn't have any issues in making it.

It wasn't sweet as I had imagined but none-the-less a great way to end dinner.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cedar Plank Salmon

This is my all-time favorite salmon recipe! We've made it many times before. This is just the first time we've been able to take a picture of it before someone started chowing down on it. Don't be intimidated by the cedar planks. They can be found in most grocery stores. We were lucky enough to buy a large package of them on last year. The planks give the salmon that much more flavor. Just make sure you soak the cedar planks in water for several hours; otherwise they will catch on fire while cooking on the grill.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Raspberry Vinaigrette

Here's the Raspberry Vinaigrette recipe I served with the Asiago Crisped Spinach and Raspberry Salad. I used some raspberries that we picked up from the farmer's market and it was so fresh and sweet tasting. Went great with the spinach and cheese crisps!

Raspberry Vinaigrette

1 1/3 c. fresh raspberries or thawed frozen unsweetened raspberries
1/3 c. chicken broth
2 T. sugar
1 T. cider vinegar
2 1/2 t. olive or canola oil
2 t. Dijon mustard
mixed salad greens or spinach

Press raspberries through a sieve, reserving juice; discard seeds. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the broth, sugar, vinegar, oil, mustard and reserved juice. Refrigerate. Shake before serving over salad greens.

Kathie's Note: I made this dressing by throwing everything into my blender and then straining out the seeds at the end. (It's amazing how many little seeds are in raspberries!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Asiago Crisped Spinach and Raspberry Salad

Look how fancy these little salads are! I just love these! They are pretty simple to make and they will turn your dinner into pure elegance! Besides...a "bowl" made out of cheese. What could be better?

Try this recipe the next time you want to impress your house guests. I know my in-laws were in awe when they saw and ate them! :)

Tomorrow I will post the raspberry vinaigrette recipe that I served with this salad.