The holidays are ending and so is the mild weather. We had a snow storm the other night and now the world is covered in a blanket of white. Winter is here.
In order to continue with my exercise program throughout the winter I have taken up skating and will soon be trying downhill skiing for the first time in years. I cannot wait!
I am also going to take classes in Culinary Arts. Since enrolling in the Culinary Arts program at Toronto’s George Brown College I have been busy preparing for classes that start January 8. In Culinary Arts 1 we will be learning the basic skills to prepare and cook food in a similar way to how chefs are trained. From there I can take a number of other courses to expand my repertoire and eventually earn a certificate.
We were given a list of required tools that we need to bring to class. I had most of them in my kitchen but needed to source a few items from local cooking stores.
Culinary Arts 1 Tools List:
1 GBC approved uniform and black safety approved shoes
1 Set of knives (10”-12” French, Serrated and Boning)
2 Paring Knives
1 Knife bag or toolbox
2 Wooden spoons
1 Metal spoon
1 Rubber spatula
1 Vegetable peeler
1 Ladle (3 ounce)
1 Pastry brush
2 Dessert spoons
1 Bib apron
3-4 Side towels
1 Plastic/canvas bag (to bring product home in)
1 Measuring Spoons
1 Measuring Cup
We will be given the George Brown College continuing education chef’s uniform in class but have been asked to buy a pair of black non skid shoes to wear in the professional kitchens. I chose some great black Danko clogs that many chefs use.
I am getting very excited about this course and the experience of being in a professional kitchen. It will challenge me and provide me with an interesting way to pass the winter months. I am a huge believer in life long learning and in expanding my skills.
I will also blog about what we make each week and about my experience in cooking school.
When it gets cold outside there is nothing like a bowl of homemade soup. I recently picked up a copy of Splendid Soups by James Peterson so I could try some of his great recipes. This roasted garlic and acorn squash soup is hearty and rich with flavour; it warms you from the inside out. I served it with a small dollop of goat cheese which provided and excellent garnish.
Roasted Garlic and Acorn Squash Soup
Makes 8 servings
3 acorn squash, about 1 pound each
4 heads of garlic
2 medium-sized red onions, peeled and halved
3 medium-sized carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
¼ cup olive oil
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 fresh sage leaves
4 cups chicken broth
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut the squash crosswise in half and scoop out the seeds. Break the garlic into cloves but do not peel them. Toss the onions, carrots, and garlic in the olive oil and put everything in the bottom of a roasting pan with the squash halves flat side up. The pan should be just large enough to hold the vegetables in a single layer. Roast for about 1 ½ hours, stirring the vegetables (except the squash) every 20 minutes so they brown and cook evenly. Add the thyme to the pan for the last 10 minutes of roasting.
When the squash is easily penetrated with a knife or a skewer let it cool and scoop the pulp into a mixing bowl and discard the peels. Combine the squash with the roasted vegetables and herbs, and enough broth to get it to turn around in a blender or a food processor and, working in batches, puree until smooth. Work the puree through a food mill or strainer into a clean pot. Add the rest of the broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you want the soup to be silky smooth, strain it again through a fine-mesh strainer. Ladle into heated bowls and serve.
Recipe from Splendid Soups by James Peterson