Archive for the 'Entrees' Category

Caprese Salad

October 6th, 2013

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier, they do! It seems like our trajectory here is defying all laws of logic. Like Exhibit A. I just found out that our prices are going up. Which was shocking to me since we didn’t raise them. But apparently, market pressures are driving them up. I didn’t even think that happened, but here we are. Am I in a movie? This feels like a movie right now.

In other news, I just posted a new video to our video page. For a CAPRESE SALAD. I am totally hooked on these right now. And tomatoes are in peak season. This recipe takes 5 minutes to make too. So if you haven’t done so already, you should CHECK IT OUT. You won’t be sorry.

I have much more to tell you, but not enough hours in a day. More updates coming soon!


Sunday Supper: Alissa

February 23rd, 2010

Well, my Sunday Supper went off without a hitch. I was much more prepared than I anticipated (though part of that might have been that not many people came). The weather was bad, and business was slower than usual.  RUSSELL brought his camera though and took some really nice pictures (He took all of these except the one below).  I WANT one of those cameras.


photo by Helen Castillo

I did have two very important guests…my parents! This photo was taken by my classmate, HELEN, who sat with my parents at dinner and was apparently very charming. You can read all about her experience on her BLOG.

My parents have been a bit skeptical about raw food. So I was really looking at this dinner as an opportunity to bridge the gap. After all, food brings families together. My mother really appreciates traditional Japanese cuisine. Though for the most part, she hates Asian fusion or any kind of bastardization of what she considers ‘real’ Japanese food.  My father has not liked much of anything I’ve made so far.  So, I would have considered getting him to eat anything a success.

gyozaThe first course was gyoza. Traditionally, this is served as a fried or steamed dumpling filled with pork, cabbage, and garlic. The raw version featured applewood smoked tofu, cabbage, green onion, and bean sprouts. To my surprise, my mom LIKED them! My dad was a little reluctant. But once he saw that everyone else was eating them, he went for it. I was really surprised that they liked them! The flavor profile on this dish was probably the least traditional of the three.

The main course featured this green spider roll. The roll was filled with asparagus, avocado, red pepper, sprouts, cucumber, and a ‘tempura battered’ eggplant. It came with an arugula salad garnished with shiso, hijiki, crispy fennel, sprouts, and a sweet miso dressing. I thought I was really pushing boundaries with a sweet arugula salad but NO! When I saw that my dad cleaned his plate, my face started turning red! I was so excited.

The dessert was a ‘zen trio’. It featured a green tea mochi ice cream bite, bubble tea pudding with chia seeds, and a raspberry wasabi truffle. I made white chocolate garnishes with candied ginger and sesame seed accents that spelled my name in Japanese (or so I thought). This was especially for my mom. She was SO HAPPY when I brought it out to her (even though I spelled my name wrong – DOH!!). My parents enjoyed it so much that they even called an hour after they left to let me know how much they like it again. It was truly a wonderful success (for me). My dad said that this meal was much better than the LAST ONE they tried. To which I replied, ‘I guess I must have learned something then.’

The rest of the night went pretty well, I think. There weren’t a lot of orders, but I noticed that everyone who did order the feature cleaned all three plates. One table told their server to send me a message…’Domo Arigato’! So overall, I think it went well. I was happy with it, and I learned a lot from the process. HOORAY!


Menu Planning

February 20th, 2010

matthew and russell
This week has been BUSY. We started a new project with MATTHEW. But since he’s been out of town, RUSSELL has been meeting with us too. Basically, we were each assigned a menu item from the spring menu to develop. I was assigned the green spider roll which was kind of cosmic given that this week is also my SUNDAY SUPPER, and I had planned on doing a Japanese themed menu (my mom is coming and I’m trying to impress her).

arisa garnish
This was the garnish for the dessert dish. It’s white chocolate with candied ginger and sesame seeds. It says ‘Alissa’ in Japanese (It’s the only thing I can remember how to write). Russell gave me a hard time about it. He said that on his next dessert, he’s going to write Russell on the plate in English. Har Har. 🙂

filling chocs
The dessert plate also features these little chocolates. They’re raspberry wasabi flavored. Matthew said, ‘They’re really weird, but I can’t stop eating them.’ I’m really racking up the bonus points with my instructors this week. Maybe I should have figured out how to write ‘weird’ in Japanese instead. 🙂

If you’re in Oklahoma City, you should come to my Sunday Supper tomorrow. Here is a sneak preview. Russell took some really nice pictures of the practice meal I made for the class on Friday. He also gave the class a little demo on taking good food photos. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pics he took. This is my appetizer. It’s gyoza featuring SMOKED TOFU.

This is the green spider roll (my spring menu assignment). It features tempura battered eggplant and asparagus.

The dessert is a trio featuring a green tea mochi bite, bubble tea pudding, and a raspberry wasabi truffle. Wish me luck! I’ve been working way too hard on it. Kind of bordering on obsessive. EVERYONE kept telling me to go home today, but there’s always one more thing. I’ll let you know how it goes…


Level One Graduation

November 27th, 2009

Well…it’s official now. I’m a raw food chef certified by 105 DEGREES ACADEMY. Here is a picture of the menu I created for our graduation on Tuesday.

We actually went through a series of tests on Monday and Tuesday before we graduated. This was part of our ID test.

knife skills
We were also tested on our knife skills…

…here were my julienned carrots.

Aside from the testing, we spent most of Monday and Tuesday prepping our meals…

…for the coup de grace which was the creation of our own three course menu. Mine was:

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with hint of pear and maca spiced pecans

plated mush
Truffle Portabella and Pignoli Polenta with organic spinach and porcini cream

Pistachio Flan with pecan crust and pomegranate reduction

My entire family came to our dinner. I was shocked that my NEPHEW ate his entire raw pizza.

meya and papa
My niece guzzled this raspberry smoothie. She came over to sit with papa for better access.

The only sad part of the evening was saying goodbye to my classmates, Brad and ANN. (Elizabeth graduated a few days EARLY). Hopefully I’ll be crossing paths with these folks again soon.

the line
Now that I’m graduated, I’ll be working on the line with these folks (Gonzalo, JET, AND DONNIE) through December until Level Two (the professional chef series) starts in January. We’re gearing up for a big menu change on December 14th (the start of the winter menu). I’ll keep you posted on developments…


Recipe Testing and Menu Planning

November 22nd, 2009

This week was all about planning our menus for our final. We were given a basic structure (first course, second course, and dessert). After that, it was the wild, wild west (I heard this phrase uttered a lot this week). This is probably the hardest time to be the teacher and the funnest time to be the student. Ladan and Chelsea seemed baffled at times by the issues that arose. Though admittedly, it was rather amusing to watch the whole thing play out.

corn and pom
At first, it’s a little overwhelming. No recipes? No parameters? What will I do? It’s interesting how when you just sit back and let things unfold, a natural order emerges. Chaos actually has a rather elegant structure. Things that are seemingly unrelated actually have a recurring theme. Mother nature actually went to great lengths to leave us some clues. Here’s one she left for me.

pom reduction
I spent a lot of time scraping seeds out of pomegranates to make this pomegranate reduction sauce.

marinated veggies
I’ll wait until tuesday to tell you what my menu is. But here is a sneak preview of some of my prep.

This was a first run of my entree. I think I’m on the right track, but I want to make a few improvements…

One of my classmates, Elizabeth, had to take her final early. So, we got a preview of the process.

She made the most amazing empanadas! She also made tostadas with ‘beans’ and ‘rice’.

mole ice cream
For dessert, she served cacao mole ice cream.

me and elizabeth
I was sad to see her go. We’ve had a wonderful experience together.


Appetizers and Special Guests

November 18th, 2009

This is an appetizer tray that we served to one of our special guests today. We have started menu planning for our final. So we did some examples of appetizers. Here we have some hummus with walnut toast, kale chips, and cream of celery soup. I gobbled the kale chips down. Though I have to say that I think I prefer my RECIPE. This one uses red bell pepper, and I think I prefer mine spicier.

shitake pagoda
The other appetizer we made turned into an entree. We had intended on making shitake dumplings. But after dehydrating overnight, the wrappers were too brittle. So we made a shitake pagoda.

Jackie Morton from OM GARDENS came to talk to us about mushrooms. She is a local grower who specializes in mushrooms. She brought several varieties to show us.

The beautiful maitake mushroom.

golden oyster
This is a golden oyster mushroom. Everyone kept commenting about how much they look like underwater coral.

lion's mane
This is lion’s mane. It looks like a little hedgehog.

The biggest shitake mushroom I’ve ever seen.

matthew kenney
Finally, Matthew Kenney came to speak to us about the new menu and the business aspects of raw food. They change the menu here once every three months to stay in sync with the seasons. The new menu sounds pretty fabulous. I’ll keep you posted on that. In the meantime, I need to try everything on the current menu. Because once it’s gone, it’s GONE.


Ayurvedic Dishes

November 17th, 2009

Saturday, we did an overview of the intention behind Ayurveda and how that applies to food. Ayurveda is a tradition that personalizes one’s diet based on their own specific body type. There are three types: vata, pitta, and kapha. You can be predominantly one type or a combination of two or even three types. I’m predominantly a vata. Sweet, sour, and salty foods are naturally balancing foods for a vata. This is interesting since those are the flavors I crave the most. Pictured above are my dosas (our ayurvedic meal).

marinating veggies
We started by marinating some veggies in a green curry sauce and dehydrating them slightly.

cucumber raita
We also made cucumber raita – a cooling element.

apricot chutney
Everyone in class made their own chutney to serve as the sweet element. Mine was a turkish apricot and coconut chutney with a little mint and cilantro. I really like how it turned out.

We also learned how to make an infusion for chai (one of my favorite drinks). First, we infused a black tea with herbs (clove, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, vanilla). Then we added a little almond milk.

You may have noticed that I’m a couple days behind on my posts. I actually had thought I lost my camera. But yesterday, I came in and found it was neatly tucked away in Ladan’s station. Someone had found it and put it back. When I turned it on, i was greeted with this lovely picture. This is Jet. He works in the kitchen. He also plays guitar. As you can see, he’s a freak!

There was also a new picture of Donnie, the sous chef. He looks like he’s working hard planning the smoothie class. I guess they must have found my camera. HOORAY!


Tostadas and Tamales

November 14th, 2009

tostadas and tamales
Yesterday, we worked on latin flavors. We had been prepping a couple recipes that culminated a HUGE meal. I had big ambitions to finish them both. But alas, for I could not.

jicama salsa
We started the day prepping sides. This was the jicama mango salsa.

mango guacamole
We also made one of my favorites…MANGO GUACAMOLE.

dehydrated masa
The night before we had dehydrated our masa which was our tamale filling.

making masa
This was made by combining a corn and squash mixture with a sundried tomato and pine nut mixture. This was spread on teflex and dehydrated overnight.

working the masa
The next morning, we reconstituted the masa by working a little oil in with our hands. We wrapped the reconstituted masa in dried corn husks.

Now we have tamales! These were put back in the dehydrator to stay warm utnil we were ready for plating.

making tostadas
We also made blue corn tostada shells from scratch…

…to go with our blue corn tostada. This featured a red pepper cream sauce, marinated portobello mushrooms, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and a pine nut sour cream.

The tamales were garnished with the most delicious mole sauce.

class plates
Here are all our plates lined up for review. Gotta run. I’m working in the restaurant tonight. Last night was my first night working my own station. So, I guess you can call me a chef now…or at least a line cook. 🙂



November 12th, 2009

tradroll close
Yesterday, we spent most of the day working on one of my favorite things…SUSHI! We made a couple different rolls. One was a more traditional roll, and one was an inside out roll. They were both raw and vegan, of course.

making rice
First, we set about making the rice. We used a combination of jicama with pine nuts. We processed the jicama and strained the water out. Then, we combined it with the pine nuts and put it in the dehydrator for a few hours.

saran mat
We wrapped our mats in saran wrap for easy clean up.

Then, we got our mise en place ready.

We also pickled ginger and died it with beet juice.

sushi guts
This was the inside of my traditional roll.

first roll
My first sushi roll.

I had a bit of an accident with my caterpillar roll.

class plates
Now, we’re ready for lunch! I gobbled mine down pretty fast. I have to say that I actually prefer the flavor of the jicama pine nut rice. I wonder what my mother will think of it (my traditional Japanese mother). That will be the true test! I’ll keep you posted…


Third Time's A Charm

September 18th, 2009

This is my third attempt at making the lasagna from RAW FOOD REAL WORLD. I was inspired by the STUDENTS of 105 DEGREES and the abundance of tomatoes and zucchini in my GARDEN of late.

lasagna side
I suppose that now is as good a time as any to mention that I am the latest recruit to the 105 DEGREES ACADEMY. Or one of them anyway. Not entirely shocking, I suppose, given my penchant for following MATTHEW KENNEY recipes. That coupled with the fact that my entire family lives in Oklahoma makes it kind of a no brainer! Anyway, I’ll be there from Nov-Mar. YAY! (Speaking of Matthew Kenney, did you see the article yesterday in the NY TIMES? It’s kind of funny actually. The writer is clearly not a connoisseur of raw food. In fact, he’s still hung up on a pork chop he had in the mid-90’s. That pork chop really must have made an impression. This was particularly funny to me yesterday since we were having a discussion about how the EGGPLANT BACON didn’t really taste like bacon).

Anyway, back to the lasagna. Check out this black tomato I grew in my garden. It’s a NYAGOUS variety. They’re apparently highly sought after for their rich flavor. This is what I used for my tomato sauce. Things have come a long way from my FIRST LASAGNA which I cluelessly made in the middle of winter. Last year, I had at least figured out the SEASONS.

But this year, I was able to season my own homegrown zucchini with my own homegrown herbs!

caspian pink
I had quite a few varieties of tomatoes to choose from. Everyone said I wouldn’t be able to grow heirloom tomatoes in a community garden. Apparently, our garden had a fungus problem or something. I used some EFFECTIVE MICROORGANISMS in the soil. I’m not sure if that’s what did the trick, but they grew up beautifully. Anyway, these are some CASPIAN PINK tomatoes.

green zebra
Probably our most abundant tomotoes this year were the GREEN ZEBRAS (which is perfect for this recipe). Ours came up this beautiful golden color.

The tomatoes were layered with a pine nut pignoli, a basil and pistachio pesto, and the marinated zucchini in a casserole dish.

Bon Appetit! (I wonder if I’ll be talking about this lasagna in fifteen years 🙂 ).