Well I survived another week of my Culinary Arts classes.
This week we all showed up in class donning our crisp white chef’s uniforms and our steel toe safety shoes. We all looked professional compared to the first week.
The atmosphere was filled with excitement and perhaps a little fear. Here we were in a professional kitchen waiting anxiously for the moment that we would start cooking.
The instructor demonstrated 3 different salads for us, Tuscan Bean, Cucumber and Onion, and Pacific Rim Beef. We watched this master chef as he breezed through the dishes showing us how to cut vegetables and herbs properly and the differences between the various types of cuts. He gave us tips on how to make each recipe and how to test the wellness of the steak as it pan-fried. Then we sampled each of the beautifully plated dishes so we would understand what the finished product should taste like.
Next it was time for us to step up to our stations and get to work. I loved the energy in the room as 24 cooks set about to make the same dish; each person adding a little of their own personality but still careful to practice the correct technique and knife skills. At the end of the evening we cleaned up and took our finished products home to share with our families.
I think this course is about as close to Top Chef as I will ever get. The most important thing is that I am having a good time and I am learning.
Tuscan Bean Salad
Makes 8-10 servings
1 ½ cups (340 g) white navy beans, presoaked and cooked
1 cup (230 g) Prosciutto, Julienne
6 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and Julienne
1 cup (230 g) Asiago cheese, grated
1 green pepper, Julienne
1 yellow Pepper, Julienne
1 red pepper, Julienne
1/2 medium red onion, Julienne
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (90 ml) red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
6 black sun-dried olives, sliced
4 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
6 sprigs fresh Basil, chopped
4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 sprig fresh Flat-leaf Parsley stems
1 Bay leaf
3-4 black peppercorns
1 whole clove
Soak the navy beans overnight in enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Drain and rinse.
Place the beans in a medium pot and cover with water to 1 inch above the beans. Add the sachet to the water.
Simmer over medium heat until the beans are tender, approximately 35 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
Whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic and lemon juice. Marinate the peppers, onion, cheese and tomatoes in the dressing and fresh herbs for approximately 30 minutes.
Add the beans to the marinated vegetables and add the prosciutto.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe modified from the George Brown College Culinary Arts 1 syllabus.