Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bizarro World

I don't know what kind of Bizarro world I have somehow stumbled into...or why everything is suddenly seeming to go right. I have spent nearly this whole month floating in the clouds...and I don't want to come down anytime soon.

I think I have finally found a way to speak without ever having to open my mouth--through cooking. I have been able to express myself more than ever just through food. With cooking becoming my way of communication, it has also led me to meeting some really awesome people recently, and I am more inclined to actually physically open my mouth and speak when in the past I would choose to keep it shut. I guess you could consider cooking my conversation starter.

The most baffling thing to me recently is just seeing all of the puzzle pieces of my life starting to fall into place. There were so many things I was angry about, or confused by, but now I see some of the reasoning behind it and thank God for it everyday. 

I have a lot of updating to do on this blog...I have been kind of completely neglecting it, but for now I just want to leave it at the fact that at this moment, I am thankful and content.

I would also like to leave you with this clip in case you don't know what Bazarro world is.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My First Vegan Rant

 I have to rant.. First. Watch this video...

Did you watch it? All of it? I hope you did...and let me start off by saying...that I am really proud of The Doctors on this one for standing their ground...more specifically Dr. Lisa. Jillian kind of got cut off at the end but she is right on track with the grass-fed beef and etc. the look on her face throughout the video kind of lets you know exactly what her opinion is. So here is where my rant begins.

First off..I am sick and tired of diets that are not Vegan being considered as "lacking in nutrients" and vegetables. There are two sides of the spectrum. There are your unhealthy muffin-loving, cake-baking vegans that are addicted to sugar and chex mix, and then there are your vegans that really do eat whole foods and and are truly following a plant based diet. The same goes for a "meat based" ( I don't even like that term. ) diet. There are those who follow the standard American diet filled with processed foods, fast name it--they eat it. Then, there is the "meat based " diets that I would like to rename balanced plant based diets. I think I eat more vegetables than most vegans yet I still eat grass-fed beef, organic free-range chicken, fish, and eggs. Just because you are vegan doesn't mean you are healthy, and it is more than just the Vegan Vs. Meat Eaters debate that we need to look at.. in reality, the people who are the healthiest are those who stick to eating REAL FOOD. Food that is closest to it's original form. 

I had an experience closest to Jillians story. She tried to go vegan but she felt terrible..if you would like to read my story please go here. Dr. Wendy also talked about her experience with becoming anemic on a vegetarian diet. And Dr. Barnard follows up by saying that the milk in her vegetarian diet is the cause of her anemia...however, he is talking about conventional dairy and gives absolutely no mention of raw organic dairy from grass-fed cows.

The second part about this segment I would like to address is that this doctor pulls out a BMI chart study to prove that Veganism is "healthier." If you are even remotely involved in the health and fitness world you will already know that the BMI chart is very unreliable. Here is why: BMI takes in account your height to weight ratio. However, lets say you are a body builder. If you calculate your height to weight ratio using the lovely BMI chart you will most likely be put in the overweight category because you are carrying around extra weight..but that weight is coming in the form of muscle, not fat. The BMI chart does not take this into account. This doctors chart shows that Vegans are most likely to fit into the healthy weight category. BUT in my opinion that is because many vegans are lacking muscle. It seems that this doctor has never heard of the term "skinny fat" and relates health to "thinness". Thin, does not mean healthy Dr. Barnard. Vegans could very well be on the lighter side if they don't exercise and don't carry around much muscle.Then he pulls out the diabetes chart. So here is the chart that proves everything...but not exactly. Vegans are least likely to be diabetic, however, they are more likely to be younger...then count in the vegans that actually follow a true plant based diet and you have yourself proof that a vegan diet is the only way to beat diabetes. Instead of making a comparison between variations of the standard American diet and plant based vegan diet, how about we get a chart comparing followers of a Paleo diet, WAPF diet, Medditeranian diet, the standard American diet, and the junk food vegan diet ( Mmmm boca burgers and vegan french fries ). It makes me want to scream because of the way that these studies are presented on a chart and how it skews information to the public. I want to stress so badly the importance of people not just jumping into a vegan diet without doing their research. And as for dietary recommendations..the first foods out of this doctors mouth is brown rice and spaghetti. Brown rice and spaghetti have next to no nutrients. Good call Doc.

Again, Jillian's comment about going vegan and then feeling terrible. Have you noticed Jillian's physique? She is very muscular, lean, and fit. She needs more protein than your average Joe that might get in a 30 minute walk on their lunch hour. So perhaps, veganism is not well suited for people who strength train or have a mesomorph body type. 

One of the biggest arguments about the Vegan diet is that not getting enough protein is a "myth." Yes, this might very well be a myth but the real myth is that all the protein that you are eating is getting absorbed. Truth is, on paper it might show that your diet consists of enough grams of protein but it might not be getting completely absorbed by the body. Your body has to do a lot more work when your protein is all plant based compared to eating complete proteins from foods such as chicken, or fish. 

I think I am done ranting for now... but please. I beg you. If you are thinking about going vegan..especially for health reasons, I would explore other options. To all the Vegans that might read this...I still love you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

American Regional

It's hard to believe that I am already going on week 3 of this new quarter at school. It is going by so fast. Not only is it going by fast, but I am absolutely loving this class. I am taking American Regional Cuisine, which as you could probably figure out from the name- studies the cuisine across America. I know, you are probably thinking "American food? Doesn't American food suck? Isn't Jaimie Oliver trying to revolutionize our food?" Think again. Our food didn't always suck. Think pre-processed, pre- fast food America. What are we left with? You are about to find out. ( in case you really care ) Here is a little bit of what culinary school is like if you have ever wondered what it is we actually do. This is a clip straight from our class syllabus.
( Blog continues after the syllabus )

Weekly Outline:

                        Week 1

Overview of the History and Development of New England
Day 1, Menu 1:
 New England Clam Chowder
  Marinated Zucchini & Tomato Salad
New England Boiled Dinner
Peach and Blueberry Cobbler
+ clams casino from menu 2

Week 1 Due: Day Two:
      Print out the last page of the syllabus, sign it, and bring it to class.
      Print out instructions for the Indigenous Food report from doc.sharing, bring to class.

Day 2, Menu 2:
Cod Cakes with Tartar Sauce
Roasted Turkey Roulade with Giblet Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Green Beans with Fried Onions
Glazed Turnips
Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Week 1 Homework:
      Journal- New England
      Quiz on New England
      Put together the Notebook/Journal Binder
      Prepare Weekly Recipes

Week 2
Overview of the History and Development of the Mid Atlantic
Day 1, Menu 1:
Spicy Crab Soup with Crab Puffs
Egg, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad
Buffalo Chicken Wings
Roast Duck with Garlic and Honey (sub doc.sharing recipe for duck with cherry)
Roasted Potatoes and Pearl Onions
Applesauce Cake and Caramel Glaze (1/2 recipe!)

Week 2 Due: Day One:
      Journal on New England
      Quiz on New England

Day 2, Menu 2:
Beets, Belgian Endive, and Feta Salad
Scallops with Mushrooms and Asparagus
Croquette Potatoes
Potatoes Parmentier
Green Beans
Spaghetti Squash
Ginger Pound Cake with Warm Cranberries

Week 2 Due: Day Two:
      Journal/Notebook Binder

Week 2 Homework:
      Journal- Mid-Atlantic
      Quiz on Mid-Atlantic States
      Prepare Weekly Recipes

Week 3
Overview of the History and Development of the South
Day 1, Menu 3:
Watermelon & Watercress Salad with Shallot-Citrus Dressing
Fried Green Tomatoes with Blue Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Southern Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy
Pan-Roasted Butternut Squash and Turnips
Peach Cobbler
+ prep the pork for the pulled pork sandwiches

Week 3 Due: Day One:
      Journal on Mid-Atlantic States
      Quiz on Mid-Atlantic States

Day 2, Menu 2:
Hoppin’ John Salad with Pecan Vinaigrette
Sweet Onion Tart with Roasted Tomato Sauce and Green Onion- Basil Oil
Shrimp Perloo
Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich
Sandwich Slaw
Potato Salad
Banana Pudding

Week 3 Homework:        
      Journal on Southern Cuisine
      Quiz on Southern Cuisine
      Indigenous Food report (due week 4 day 2)
      Prepare Weekly Recipes

Week 4
Overview of the History and Development of the Cuisine of Florida
Day 1, Menu 1:
 Black Bean Soup
Ceviche of Shrimp and Floribbean Slaw
Chicken with Tamarind Ginger Sauce
Stewed Pink Beans
Stuffed Chayote with Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Cheese
Candied Sweet Potatoes

Week 4 Due: Day One:
      Journal on Southern Cuisine
      Quiz on Southern Cuisine

Day 2, Menu 2:
Key West Conch Chowder
Hearts of Palm Salad
Pan Seared Grouper with Black Bean, Jicama, and Corn Relish
Tropical Fruit Salsa
Corn Custard
Key Lime Pie

Week 4 Due: Day Two:
      Indigenous Food report due

Week 4 Homework:
      Journal on Floribbean Cuisine
      Quiz on Floribbean Cuisine
      Prepare Weekly Recipes

Week 5
Overview of the History and Development of Cajun and Creole Cuisine
Day 1, Menu 1:
Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo (sub gumbo recipe on doc.sharing)
Tomato and Haricot Vert Salad
Fried Fish with Pearly Meal and Remoulade Sauce
Crawfish Etouffèe
Boiled Rice
Smothered Okra
Bread Pudding with Whisky Sauce

Week 5 Due: Day One:
      Journal on Floribbean Cuisine
      Quiz on Floribbean Cuisine


Day 2, Menu 2:
Red Beans and Rice
Green Salad with Vinaigrette
Baked Cheese Grits
Braised Beef Daube
Glazed Carrots
Sugar Snap Peas
Fried Oyster Po Boy
Pecan Pralines

Week 5 Homework:
      Journal on Cajun and Creole
      Quiz on Cajun and Creole Cuisine
      Prepare Weekly Recipes

Week 6
Overview of the History and Development of the Cuisine of the Central Plains
Day 1, Menu 1:
Wisconsin Cheddar and Beer Soup
Beet and Apple Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette
Planked Whitefish with Green Onion Butter
Mashed Celeriac and Potatoes
Pickled Pearl Onions
Sautéed Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes
Brownie Pudding Cake
+ prep ribs for day 2 & soak beans

Week 6 Due: Day One:
      Journal on Cajun and Creole
      Quiz on Cajun and Creole Cuisine

Day 2, Menu 2:
Barley Beef Soup
Steak Fries
Cannellini Beans with Tomatoes and Basil
Roast Chicken with Wild Rice, Walnuts, and Dried Fruit Stuffing
Winter Vegetables with Thyme, and Broccoli Florets
+ Sour Cream Coffee Cake from menu 3

Week 6 Homework:
      Journal on Cuisine of the Central Plains
      Quiz on Cuisine of the Central Plains
      Begin Menu Planning Project
      Prepare Weekly Recipes

Week 7
Overview of the History and Development of Tex-Mex Cuisine
Day 1, Menu 1:
LBJ Pedernales Chili
Jalapeno Cornbread
Crab Quesadillas with Green Chili Chutney
Lone Star Chicken-Fried Steak with Cream Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Black-Eyed Peas
Mexican Wedding Cookies

Week 7 Due: Day One:
      Journal on Cuisine of the Central Plains
      Quiz on Cuisine of the Central Plains

Day 2, Menu 2:
Caldo de Res (sub recipe from doc.sharing)
Pork Flautas
Pico de Gallo
Shrimp Tacos with Green Chili Sauce
Cheese Enchiladas
Arroz a la Mexicana
Refried Beans

Week 6 Homework:
      Journal on Tex-Mex Cuisine due
      Quiz on Texas and Tex-Mex Cuisine
      Menu Planning Project (due week 8 day 2)
      Prepare Weekly Recipes

Week 8
Overview of the History and Development of the Cuisines of the Southwest and Rocky Mountains
Day 1, Menu 1:
Tortilla Chips, Salsa Fresca, and Tomatillo Salsa
Poblano and Potato Soup with Tortilla Chips
Marinated Quail on Spinach Salad
Pumpkin Seed Crusted Trout
Calabacitas con Maize
Annatto Rice and Queso Fresco
Tres Leches Cake
+ sopaipillas recipe from doc.sharing (not from the book)

Week 8 Due: Day One:
      Journal on Tex-Mex Cuisine due
      Quiz on Texas and Tex-Mex Cuisine

Day 2, Menu 2:
Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho
Spicy Pork Empanadas with Marinated Dried Bean Salad Colorado
Lamb Shoulder with Cilantro Pesto and Jalapeno Preserves
Broccoli with Candied Pecans
Fingerlings with Parsley-Basil Dressing
Lemon Chess Pie

Week 8 Due: Day Two:
      Menu Planning Project

Week 7 Homework:
      Journal on Cuisine of the Southwest
      Quiz on the Cuisines of the Southwest
      Prepare Weekly Recipes

Week 9
Overview of the History and Development of the Cuisine of California
Day 1, Menu 1:
Chilled Avocado and Cucumber Soup
Warm Scallop Salad with Tomato, Mind, and Lime Dressing
Sautéed Duck Breast with a Port Wine Reduction
Monterey Jack and Green Chile Polenta
Fried Fennel
Creamed Spinach
+ Strawberry Shortcake from Menu 2
+ make sponge for the focaccia

Week 9 Due: Day One: (drop box them)
      Journal on Cuisine of the Southwest
      Quiz on the Cuisines of the Southwest

Day 2, Menu 3:
Dilled Carrot Soup
Caesar Salad
Hangtown Fry
San Francisco Cioppino
Kiwifruit and Grape Rice Pudding
+ Rosemary Focaccia (from “other recipes”- California chapter)


Week 9 Homework:
      Journal on California
      Quiz on California
      Prepare Weekly Recipes

Week 10
Overview of the History and Development of the Cuisine of the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii

Day 1, Menu 1: (The Pacific Northwest)
Red Lentil Soup with Sweet Onion Marmalade
Mussels in Thai Curry Coconut Broth
Pear and Hazelnut Salad with Oregon Blue Cheese
Sautéed Halibut with Warm Apple and Dried Cherry Compote
Gai Lan and Crispy Garlic
+ Chocolate Flourless Cake with Coffee Crème Anglaise from Menu 3

Week 10 Due: Day One:
      Journal on California
      Quiz on California

Day 2, Menu 1: (Hawaii)
Ahi Poke
Spam Musubi
Daikon Cakes with Salad Greens and Spicy Plum Dressing
Saimin with Teriyaki Meat Sticks
Char Su
Deep-Fried Calamari Salad
Pineapple Fritters with Maui Mango Sauce

Week 10 Homework:
      Journal on Pacific Northwest & Hawaiian Cuisine
      Quiz on Pacific Northwest & Hawaiian Cuisine
      Prepare for Final Exam- recipes and timeline
      Prepare Final Notebook & Journal- print, organize, and professionalize

Week 11
Final Practical Exam
Individual Student Cooking Test
4 Courses – 2 portions
Soup, Salad, Entrée, Dessert – Chef assigns from the Textbook –

Lab Cleaning

If you actually looked at the syllabus ( unlike a real student ) then you will see that not only does America have amazing food, but we also have real homework. Who knew culinary school was more than just cooking? Well it is, but I love it.
Another awesome detail about this class is that our chef instructor is awesome. She is way more relaxed than our last instructor--who loved to single people out in front of the whole class for things that we really didn't know any better. I narrowly escaped ever being singled out in front of the class but that doesn't mean that I didn't want to vomit just thinking about the possibility. I am not afraid of this instructor, and her food critiques are a lot more detailed and attention oriented. She has a way better pallet and has a taste for things other than salt. ( For our lass instructor you had to salt things according to how you would eat it, and then salt it some more. ) I guess you could say she is a tougher grader, but I like that--it is necessary for improvement, and it is always done in a constructive way.

So who's coming over for dinner?