Clapping On The Down Beat

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A vegetarian walks into a butcher shop…… May 22, 2014

Filed under: 2011 Cooking 101 the basics,Interests — clappingonthedownbeat @ 9:38 PM

It’s embarrassing to think how long it has been since I have written.  So here is a quick recap:

(1) Took Fundamentals of Baking.  That will be a separate post on its own.  Baking had the heaviest workload of any class I have taken so far.

(2) Because I have been doing some catering events, I decided to take a second class and enrolled in Catering class.

(3) Met with the Culinary and Hospitality Department Head and have decided to declare the degree program in the fall.  Why not?  Hoping to finish in another year and a half with a degree in Culinary as a Certified Chef

(4) Took the Food Managers Food Safety Certification exam.  (just got my score that I passed too!)

Back to the present…..

Took the Hubby with me to a Steak 101 class taught by Matt the Butcher.  This class was recommended by Chef Robert from Patina Green.  Lots of good info (some scary- as to what has happened to our food over the years) and the best part was the steak breakdown.

DSC07335 This is Matt.  He is from OK.  He is cowboy through and through.

DSC07342 This is half a cow that is dry aging.

DSC07339  DSC07341  DSC07340  This is how they begin to cut the steaks.  The major cut is made between the 12th and 13th rib.

DSC07337 This is a crown roast before the bones are cleaned.

DSC07336These are all the different cuts of meat that come from the primal (major) cuts from the cow.

DSC07338 This was the best part of class learning all the different types of steak.  And I will be going back for more fabricating lessons!  I may not eat a lot of it, but I do want to know about it and how to cook it.


MIDTERM February 20, 2013

Filed under: 2011 Cooking 101 the basics,Interests — clappingonthedownbeat @ 8:09 AM

I have been MIA from writing because I have been busy between classes, kids activities and planning a 3 year olds party.

Saturday I practiced at home for the practical part of the midterm, the written portion is tonight over breakfast, chicken, fish, cheese and beverages.  The midterm dish was Chicken Fricassee with tourne potatoes and blanched asparagus.  It is very nerve-racking to be graded on presentation, taste, texture, temperature, seasoning, time, accuracy of recipe and skill and technique.  This dish, although not spectacular or fancy, does require technique.

To begin:

0-1  Josh took this picture as I reviewed the recipe

I bought a whole, organic, free range chicken and then quartered it, and deboned the breasts.

0-9  I then started making chicken stock.  I mentioned I spent all saturday afternoon cooking, right?

0-6  Mire Poix (1/2 onion, 1/4 carrot, 1/4 celery, 8 parsley stems, 1 bay leaf, 8 peppercorns)

0-7 Add chicken carcass and fill pot with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer.

Mise en place for the rest of the dish.  Tourne potatoes are potatoes cut into a “football” shape that are 3/4″ in diameter, 2″ long and have 7 even sides.

0-10  Hard to see in this picture, but Chef counts and measures.  The one at the top right is probably the best.

Make a sachet (celery, parsley stems, bay leaf)




Then melt clarified butter in a sauce pan (at home I have enamel coated cast iron, I made the mistake in class of using an aluminum pan which turned my sauce slightly gray 😦

Add onions cut in bruniose (tiny dice).  Add chicken legs (do not brown!) just a quick sear.  Then add flour to make roux.  Cook just until the flour taste it gone and then add stock and sachet.  Bring to a simmer and thicken sauce slightly.  Cover and place into a 300 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.  Chicken Fricassee is a white stew.

0-5  0-11  I made 2- the two pots in back, stock in front left, blanching asparagus bottom right.

When the chicken comes out, remove and keep warm.  Reduce sauce and strain.  Then make a liaison.  1 egg yolk and 1 cup cream.  Temper the liaison with a little of the hot sauce, then add to sauce (so the egg doesn’t curdle).  Simmer (so not boil- sauce will break) also do not turn your back on the sauce.  In class I turned for a second and my sauce thickened quick.  It should be a thin sauce just clinging to the back of a fork.  It came out well at home- too bad I can’t just show my pictures to Chef.



Hopefully, I will find out my grade tonight.  He did like my presentation and flavor in class so hopefully that makes up for the thick sauce, using an aluminum pan  and not cutting the thigh from the leg.  He did watch us cooking like a hawk to observe technique and skill.



Culinary Class: week in review February 2, 2013

Filed under: 2011 Cooking 101 the basics,Interests — clappingonthedownbeat @ 7:13 PM

I can’t believe I am back in culinary school again.  I am very excited, but new instructor and every Chef has their own set of kitchen rules.  It takes a little while to get used to the Chef and homework, oh and the late nights.

We started with eggs.  The rule used to be that when chefs went in for a job interview they were asked to make a 3 egg french omelet and a fried egg.  That used to be the test.  If you couldn’t cook eggs than you couldn’t cook at all.

You know what?  Perfect eggs to order, are hard to cook.  Especially when you get graded on presentation.


The egg at 4 o’clock is a prefect egg.

We also cooked huevos rancheros with an amazing Salsa Roja, pancakes, and waffles.


There are also lots of things you can do with eggs, they are not just for breakfast.  Quiche, soufles, and used as leavening agents eggs are full of protein and very versatile.


Quiche is essentially a custard and should come out still jiggly with very few air bubbles.


Of course, not everything comes out perfect.  We work in teams of 4 and we learned 2 lessons this night.  First, when using a convection oven, the temperature needs to be reduced by 25 degrees from what the recipe calls.  Secondly, soufles need HOT ovens with bottom heat, and need to be babysat.  Although the inside looked good, it overflowed and burned.


The next class we moved on to poultry.  I had already learned to break down and cut up a chicken in Basic, but this time I learned a new cut for presentation, the airline breast.  It is a boneless breast with the ” drummie” attached and the joint exposed and cleaned.  As it cooks the bone sticks straight up and then a paper garnish “boot” is placed on.     I think I practiced butchering about 4 whole chickens.  Then we moved on to the meals; Grilled Chicken and Yogurt with cucumber raita (I could have drunk the sauce!), poached chicken breast princesse with blanched asparagus, and Vietnamese stir-fry Chicken with steamed Basmanti rice.








Mambo Italiano September 4, 2012

Filed under: 2011 Cooking 101 the basics,Meal Planning — clappingonthedownbeat @ 8:36 PM

 Rosemary Clooney singing Mambo Italiano

The lyrics don’t make any sense to me, but I like the song, especially when I am cooking.

Mambo Italiano restaurants are authentic modern italian restaurants specializing in espresso style cooking (we cook it just right, fresh to order).

I noticed lots of cooking magazines are featuring and highlighting Italian cuisine.  So feeling especially inspired, I made homemade pasta.  It’s relatively easy and quick.  This time however, I tried using a roasted beet instead of one of the eggs.

Egg Pasta:

4 whole eggs

2 1/2 c. flour

Make a well with the flour and drop the eggs in the center.  Scramble the eggs with a fork and gradually draw in flour to make a dough.  OR put it all in a cuisinart and process till it comes together in ball.  Then press out or shape.

First I roasted some beets in a drizzle of olive oil at 425 for 90 minutes till soft.

Then I peeled one of the beets when it was cooled and put it in the food processor and pureed it.  I then added 2 whole eggs and one egg white and mixed it in with the beet.  Then I added 2 1/2 c. flour in the processor and pulsed till it came together.  I have a pasta machine, so Josh and I cranked out sheets of pasta.  He was really good at it.

Look  how pretty our pasta dough is!

We made fettuccine, mainly because I like how Josh says it.  He sounds like a little old Italian man.  I like how he says Francisco Bernoulli from Cars 2 as well!

Fresh pasta cooks in boiling water for about 2 minutes.  However a lot of our purple color came out in the water and our pasta was pink in the end.  It looks like sliced ham.  It did not have a beet flavor at all either.  The beet served mostly for color.  I added brown butter and parmesan.  YUM YUM.  We had sliced sautéed zucchini too.

The best part is Josh loves to clean and use a vacuum.

I am training this one well.  Cooking and cleaning.


  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or rigatoni
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan)
  • 1/4 pound pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Freshly grated Romano cheese
  • Handful of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

1. Put a large saucepot of water on to boil. Add a liberal amount of salt and the pasta. Cook to al dente, about 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta. Brown pancetta 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add wine and stir up all the pan drippings.

3. In a separate bowl, beat yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.

4. Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with pancetta and oil. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Toss rapidly to coat the pasta without cooking the egg. Remove pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper, and a little salt. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up egg mixture and thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with parsley and extra grated Romano.

Pasta Puttanesca

  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tin flat anchovy fillets, drained
  • 1 /2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 20 oil-cured black olives, cracked away from pit and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 (32-ounce) can chunky style crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 1/4 cup  flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked to al dente

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, garlic, anchovies, and crushed pepper. Saute mixture until anchovies melt into oil and completely dissolve and garlic is tender, about 3 minutes.  Add olives, capers, tomatoes, black pepper, and parsley. Bring sauce to a bubble, reduce heat, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes.

Toss sauce with cooked pasta.   Serve with grated cheese and bread.

Get your olives from the bulk bins in the market, rather than buying a jar. The unit price is always much less per pound and you can get just what you need for each recipe.

Asparagus and Pistachio Pesto Pasta

  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves or 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons toasted pistachios
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or made into a paste
  • Juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1 cup fresh shelled peas or defrosted frozen organic peas
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
Trim the tough ends from the asparagus. Store half of the spears upright in a glass filled halfway with water to keep it fresh for a few days or until ready to serve. Chop the remaining asparagus and place it in a food processor. Add the mint, parsley, tarragon, cheese, pistachios, garlic and lime juice. Add the olive oil, pouring to a count of 6 (1/3 to 1/2 cup). Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until the pesto comes together. Place in a small container and store in the refrigerator if not using immediately.To serve, bring the pesto to room temperature and place it in a large, shallow serving bowl. Slice the reserved asparagus spears on an angle into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta and season with salt. Cook the pasta for 5 minutes, then add the peas and chopped asparagus and cook 2 to 3 more minutes. Scoop out 1 cup of the cooking water and add it to the serving bowl to thin the pesto. Drain the pasta, peas and asparagus and add to the bowl. Toss 1 to 2 minutes to combine. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the shaved cheese


Simmer Down August 25, 2012

Filed under: 2011 Cooking 101 the basics,Meal Planning — clappingonthedownbeat @ 9:25 PM

It’s Saturday night and I have a mess of pots in my kitchen.

I like to cook, a lot, on the weekends.  First off, I have the time to be around at home usually to let things simmer, roast, stew, and bake.  Secondly, with two kids now in sports I can prepare meals ahead for the week.

We had a roasted chicken friday night.  I then made stock from the bones.  Today I made chicken noodle soup.  A lot.  You may be a recipient of soup this weekend if I run into you.

I then made a pot of whole grain soup (pancetta, lentils, barley, pasta….it’s my go to soup)

At Costco I saw these cans of tomatoes.

    oh yeah, that’s 12 pounds of tomatoes!

I am making a HUGE pot of marinara.  I am using up all the rest of my potted herbs to make the sauce.  I also realized it is so much easier to store the tomato sauce in gallon zip lock bags and then freeze them flat.  Then I can stack them easily in the freezer and when I pull them out they defrost really quick since they have a large surface area vs. in a container.

Last week we were at the Great Wolf Lodge.  We had a really good time.  If you haven’t been it is EXTREMELY family friendly.  Brian’s white blood cell count had dropped and he had to get an immune boost shot.  It caused him a great deal of throbbing pain and discomfort, but he managed through taking afternoon naps with Josh.  The immune shot forced the body to produce more white blood cells (in the bone marrow hips, sternum, femur).  He said it felt like he was growing new bones.



Adeventures in Eating March 13, 2012

Filed under: 2011 Cooking 101 the basics — clappingonthedownbeat @ 3:15 PM

So, tomorrow is my birthday and I am going to take the week off from posting a meal plan.  Besides it is spring break here, a chemo week for Hubby (he doesn’t eat much then) and they are leaving to go camping on thursday and I am making breakfast casseroles for them.  SO I have something fun for tomorrow instead.  Plus you’ll want to see my crazy birthday dinner…..You’ll definetly want to check it out!

However, I am pushing the kids to try more foods.  Sunday night I made kabobs (think hamburger on a stick), black lentils and baked kale chips.   I loved them and finished the pan off.

Here is the kid’s plate:

Guess what?  They ate it.  A  L  L.  My daughter had half a kebab, but she is not a big meat eater.

Here’s what I did.


• 1 pound ground  turkey

• 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, plus more for serving

• 2 Tbs fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

• 1 egg, lightly beaten

• 1 lemon

• 1 large shallot, minced

• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

• Vegetable oil, for brushing

• Grilled naan bread, for serving

Combine the ground turkey, yogurt, herbs, cinnamon, garlic, egg, the finely grated zest of the lemon, shallot, some salt and lots of pepper in a large bowl. Form one-eighth of the meat mixture around each of 8 wooden chopsticks or skewers (if you don’t have skewers, you can form it into patties). Brush with vegetable oil.  Heat a grill pan or griddle over medium-high heat until very hot, then spray with cooking spray. Add the kabobs and cook, gently turning occasionally, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.  Cut the lemon into wedges. Serve the kabobs with the warm naan, lemon wedges, and yogurt.


I made the lentils according the package 1 c. lentils to 4 c. chicken broth/stock/water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer 20-25 minutes till tender.


1 bunch kale or 1/2 a bag

1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl then sprinkle with salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool.



You Don’t Know Jack February 6, 2012

Filed under: 2011 Cooking 101 the basics,Interests — clappingonthedownbeat @ 5:24 PM

How was your Superbowl?  Did your team win?  I didn’t watch the game, but I did cook a feast.


We had zucchini fries, sundried tomato cheese balls, chips with salsa and roasted garlic guacamole, buffalo chicken sliders, whiskey winnies, and knock you naked brownies.  The whiskey winnies reminded me of last summer watching a History Channel show on Jack Daniels whiskey.  (History of Jack Daniels)  It was really interesting.  I am by no means a whiskey drinker, but I have come across some great recipes with whiskey.  A while ago I posted a chocolate whiskey cake.  I started thinking, “I have a huge bottle of whiskey that I don’t drink , what can I use to cook with it”?

Here is what I have come across:

Apple Crisp Coffee Cake

Crisp Topping

1 cup chopped pecans

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt


2 cups self-rising flour

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 cup sour cream

3 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and diced

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Combine all the Crisp Topping ingredients in a mixing bowl with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.

Combine flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir in butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Pour into the greased pan. Sprinkle with apples, then the Crisp Topping. Bake 30 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 16 servings.

Miss Mary’s Chicken with Pastry

 1 (2 ½ to 3 pounds) chicken

1 large onion

1 rib celery

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup water

Salt and pepper, to taste


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 to 3/4 cup lard (more lard makes a more tender crust)

¼ cup ice cold water

Place chicken, onion, celery, and salt in a large pot. Add enough water to completely cover the chicken. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 1 hour. While chicken cooks, make the pastry.

Remove the chicken from the broth so chicken can cool enough to handle. Pick chicken off the bones, discarding bones and skin. Spread chicken in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside. Remove celery and onion from broth. Measure broth and return 3 cups to the pot. Combine the ¼ cup flour with ¼ cup water in a small bowl. Blend to make a smooth paste. Stir into the hot broth. Cook 5 to 10 minutes or until the broth is thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken. Top with strips of pastry and bake at 400°F about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

To make the pastry: Combine flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Sprinkle with cold water and mix until dough holds together and will form a ball. Roll out on a floured board or pastry cloth to about ¼ inch thickness. Cut into 2 x 13-inch strips. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tennessee Whiskey Burgers

1 ½ pounds ground beef

6 slices cheese (optional)

6 strips cooked bacon (optional)

6 buns or English muffins

Smoky Jack Burger Sauce

3 tablespoons Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Whiskey

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons garlic salt

2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke

Chili Jack Burger Sauce

3 tablespoons Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Whiskey

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons garlic salt

2 teaspoons chili powder

For either burger recipe, combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the whiskey sauce to the ground beef in a large mixing bowl. Blend well with your hands and form into 6 patties. Sear the patties about 2 to 3 minutes per side directly over high heat. Reduce heat to medium or move to a cooler area of the grill. Baste both sides with the remaining sauce and grill until the burgers are cooked through. During the last minutes of cooking, top with cheese and bacon, both optional, and lightly toast the buns or English muffins over medium heat. Makes 6 servings.

Oven BBQ Tennessee Port Tenderloin

¼ cup Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Whiskey

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup ketchup

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon garlic powder

2 pounds pork tenderloin

Heat the oven to 450°F. Combine all ingredients except the pork tenderloin in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Place the tenderloin on a foil-lined baking or roasting pan. Brush with the sauce. Roast for about 30 minutes until the internal temperature is 150°F. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest about 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 6 servings.

Jack Hot Wings

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds chicken drumettes

Vegetable oil


½ cup (1 stick) butter

½ cup Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Whiskey

¼ cup ketchup

1/3 cup hot pepper sauce, or to taste

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Coat the wings with the flour mixture. Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a fryer or heavy pot to 365°F. Fry wings, a few at a time, until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Dip cooked wings in the sauce. Serve with blue cheese dressing and fresh celery and carrot sticks. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

To bake the wings, place them in a roasting pan. Brush wings with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a 450°F oven until lightly browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Don’t forget you can grill the wings over medium heat for about 30 minutes, turning frequently.

Jack Black Bean Dip

 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cans (about 15 ounces each) black beans, drained

¼ cup Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Whiskey

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Hot pepper sauce, to taste

Suggested Toppings: sour cream, chopped avocado, chopped tomato, sliced green onions, jalapeño peppers, chopped cilantro.

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook over medium heat until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in beans, Jack Daniel’s®, and cumin. Cook until bubbly and heated through. Mash beans lightly with a wooden spoon or a fork. Stir in lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature in a serving dish topped with your choice of the suggested toppings. Makes about 2 ½ cups.

Try making cheesy Mini Corncakes to serve with this dip.

I did drink this French drink, a Panache.  It is equal parts pale beer and sparkling lemonade.  It was very refreshing.

Meal plan for this week will be SKINNY meals for all those MN readers and others who are looking for lite bites!