Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Very Best Banana Bread


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2-3 very ripe bananas (about 1and 1/2 cups)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9” by 5” loaf pan.  In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly after each addition.  Add the bananas and continue to beat until smooth.  Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract and beat until combined. 

Sift together the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground nutmeg and salt.  Add dry ingredients gradually to the banana batter and beat until just combined.  Stir in the nuts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix a bit more to be sure all of the ingredients are combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, making sure that it is no more that two-thirds full.  Bake for 55-60 minutes.  Insert a cake tester into the center of the loaf.  It should come out clean.  The loaf should be should be golden brown and dry to the touch.  Let the loaf rest in the pan on a rack for about 5 minutes and then remove it from the pan and let it cool completely.  Cut into thick slices to serve.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How to Make Delicious Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan
1-pound chicken cutlets or tenderloins trimmed of all fat
1-cup flour
1-egg plus 1-tablespoon water whisked together to make an egg wash
1-cup breadcrumbs, homemade preferred
Salt and pepper
¾ cup peanut oil
½ cup Parmesan cheese
½ pound mozzarella cheese sliced
2 cups homemade Italian tomato sauce (Recipe on The Garlic Rose Blog)

1.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  When it reaches 350 turn the broiler on.
2.      Gather and prepare all of the ingredients.  Place the flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs in three separate dishes.  Add a pinch of salt to each dish. 
3.     Lightly salt and pepper each piece of chicken.   Coat the chicken cutlets with a fine dusting of flour. Dip each one in the egg wash, letting any excess egg wash drain off.  Then coat them with the breadcrumbs. 
4.     Place the cutlets on a tray, preferably with a rack and set them aside for about five minutes to allow the coating to set. 
5.     Heat a large sauté pan, add about ¼” of peanut oil.  Fry the chicken cutlets, being careful not to crowd the pan until golden brown, .  Fry them in several batches if necessary.  Drain the cutlets on paper towels. 
6.     Put a layer of the homemade tomato in an ovenproof baking dish.  Put one layer of the fried chicken cutlets on top of the sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place a slice of mozzarella cheese over each piece of chicken. And a small dab of sauce over each piece of cheese – but don’t cover with sauce.
7.     Place in oven, under broiler for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to turn a light golden brown

Italian Red Sauce


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions medium diced
2 tablespoons garlic finely diced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 – 28 ounce cans whole peeled imported san marzano tomatoes
¼ cup fresh basil roughly chopped


1.    Heat a saucepan over medium heat.
2.    Add olive oil and when it is barely hot and beginning to shimmer, add the onion and sauté until they are translucent and soft. 
3.    Add the finely chopped garlic stirring for just a minute.  
4.    Add the salt, pepper and thyme. 
5.    Add the canned tomatoes and crush them with a spoon or potato masher. 
6.    Simmer for about an hour, stirring frequently. 
7.    Roughly chop the basil and add it to the sauce.
8.    Simmer for an additional 10 – 15 minutes.
9.    Pass all of the sauce through a food mill, scraping the bottom occasionally. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ten things I've learned so far in culinary school.

I have just completed the first month of culinary school.  I love everything about it and I've learned so much in such a short time. Chef Ted is like a walking encyclopedia of culinary intelligence and in addition to the lesson plans that are a required part of the curriculum; he is very generous in sharing little nuggets of kitchen wisdom with us in every class.

Many of the things that we have worked on are things that I knew already and the techniques are like second nature to me.  I've learned "why" these techniques are best and the reasons why they work. Some of the subjects that we've covered are things I had a vague knowledge of and now I have a much clearer understanding.  And of course, much of what we've learned has been a complete revelation to me!

Here are 10 observations that will forever change the way I work in the kitchen:

·      I will always have clarified butter in the refrigerator.

·      I will make chicken stock more often and freeze it in smaller containers so that it is available for quick sauces and soups.

·      I will start making brown veal stock regularly as well, so it also will be available when needed for sauces and soups.

·      I will never make mashed potatoes with an electric mixer again.

·      I will be better at "mise en place", gathering and prepping all of the ingredients, tools and equipment before I begin to cook.

·      I will keep a colander in the sink as I prep ingredients and cook meals to catch small bits of food that would otherwise dirty the sink or get washed down the drain.

·      I will try to always have a container of water next to the stove to keep the utensils that I am using, changing the water as needed.

·      I will be more vigilant in practicing food safety and avoiding cross contamination when working with raw protein. (Plastic gloves are my friends.)

·      I will continue to always let washed dishes air dry to avoid cross contamination. I always knew there was a good reason for not ever wanting to towel dry the clean dishes!

·      I will stop buying meat in the smallest, most expensive marketed form. (think chicken cutlets).  The most important thing I learned in the lessons on meat and fish fabrication was how easy it is to take a larger, less expensive piece of meat and divide it into it's smaller more desirably cuts.

  I was afraid that the lessons on meat butchering would be impossible for me, considering that i didn't eat meat for over a decade.  I thought I wouldn't be able to look at or even touch some of the proteins that we worked with.  I was fascinated though at how easy it is to separate cuts of meat on many different kinds of animals.  As the chef taught us how to locate the connective tissue, collagen and fat that was separating the muscle tissue I lost any queasy, grossed out feelings that I normally would of had. 

Nothing earth shattering here, right?  It’s all just common sense things that will make life in the kitchen easier.

Until then,
The Garlic Rose

Monday, April 4, 2011

Culinary Update: Fish, Shellfish, Beef, Pork and Veal

It's been a few weeks since I've posted an update on what is happening at culinary school. On the academic front it's been pretty intense. We have completed a couple of research papers and tests and tons of reading assignments that are completed at home during the week. It seems that all I do everyday is study and read and take notes. I'm learning a lot though so no complaints here!

During school we have "knife drills" each day. We work mostly with potatoes and the goal is to cut perfect squares that are exactly 1/2" X 1/2" X 1/2".  All of the squares have to be identical. No rectangles, triangles or trapezoids.  Perfect squares, quickly! We have little plastic models to compare our cut squares to. It's challenging but it's so pretty to see a bowl full of perfectly cut little squares of potatoes.  Eventually we will progress to cutting squares that are 1/4" X 1/4" X 1/4".  Quickly and perfectly.
The last 2 weeks have been jam packed with all things protein. Last weekend we worked with seafood. We learned how to correctly gut and filet a flounder, a striped bass, salmon and a mackerel. We saved the bones of the flounder and bass and added lobster and shrimp shells to make a fish stock. Later, we made a fish stew with the stock.

Dispatching a lobster video.
It's graphic.... so view at your own risk:)

We "dispatched" a lobster with the point of a knife to the head. Evidently this is the more humane way to kill a lobster, rather than dropping them into a pot of boiling water. We also cleaned shrimp, squid, clams, mussels and scallops. All of these were used to prepare the fish stew. It was so yummy that I brought a quart home for Bob's dinner.  He loved it!  I'll post a similar recipe along with preparation pictures in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

This past weekend we continued to learn about stocks. We made chicken stock and brown veal stock. We will use both of these stocks next week as we learn about the five "mother sauces" and all of their derivative sauces.  I'm very excited to learn the mysteries of sauce making!

We butchered whole chickens and ducks, and learned several alternate techniques to properly fabricate the breast, legs and other parts of these birds.  It was very interesting to learn that the proteins that we know as meat are simply the muscles of the animals, separated by the fat, connective tissue and collagen that are holding them together. These muscles are fabricated into cuts of meat by separating the layers of fat, connective tissue or collagen with the tip of you knife. Once you can see the roadmap of the layers of muscle and connective tissue and fat, it's very simple to know where to cut.

We were given large sections of beef and pork that we fabricated into their smaller marketed forms. We cut beef into prime rib, strip steaks, tenderloin, filets, and other various cuts.

We worked with a whole pork loin and cut all of the various market forms that are derived from it. We took a Boston Butt and divided it up by carefully making our way through all of the various layers of fat, silver skin and collagen. We fabricated a rack of veal and then cut the ribs into veal chops. We pounded out veal scaloppini that we will cook in a future class. We also butchered a lamb and a rabbit.

By the time we worked on the rabbits, which were very small, 2 to 3 pounds each, we completely understood the concept of layers of muscle that are divided by connective tissue and fat and bones. This knowledge will forever change the way I see meat.

Until next time,
The Garlic Rose

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chicken Scalipinni Saltimboca

I was making a family favorite last night and I decided to snap some pictures so I could post the recipe. This dish is traditionally made with veal cutlets but we prefer chicken.  Although I've tweaked this recipe over the years, it originally came from a class I attended a few years ago at a restaurant in Hilton Head, SC, called Michael Anthony's. This is probably our favorite place to eat on the island, and definitely the best Italian restaurant in the area. Michael has a small school on the second floor of his building where you can always count on learning some yummy new skills while your husband is on the golf course.

Gather, prepare and measure all of the following ingredients before you begin to cook
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 fresh whole sage leaves
  • 4 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 4 Tbsp grape-seed oil
  • 1/2 cup flour for dusting
  • 1 Tbsp garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup homemade chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1-2 Tbsp butter

  • Preheat oven to 450* F.

Prepare the chicken:

  • Slice each of the chicken breast in half horizontally to make 4 cutlets.
  • Place the cutlets between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a mallet to create scaloppine that are of equal thickness.
  • Lightly season the cutlets with salt and freshly ground pepper.

  • Place a sage leaf on each piece of chicken and then place a slice of prosciutto on top, wrapping the prosciutto around the sides of the cutlet if necessary.

  • Tap lightly to make sure that that the prosciutto is adhered to the chicken.
  • Lightly dust the chicken with flour and shake it gently to eliminate any excess flour.

Sauté the chicken:

  • Heat the grape seed oil in a large sauté pan to a medium to medium high heat. The oil will start to shimmer right before it begins to smoke. Place the scaloppini in the pan just as it begins it shimmer, with the prosciutto side down.
  • Sauté the chicken until golden brown then flip to the other side. The timing will be about two minutes on either side.

  • Sauté the chicken in two batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan as soon as it is golden.

Prepare the sauce:

  • After all of the chicken has cooked, add the garlic to the same pan.
  • Quickly sauté the garlic being careful to not brown it.
  • Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine and and scraping all of the bits of garlic and pan drippings from the bottom of the pan as the wine reduces to about 1/2 of the original volume.

  • Add the stock and continue to cook until the sauce is beginning to reduce. Add the minced parsley. Return the chicken to the pan.

  • Place the pan in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven. Place it back on the burner with a medium high flame and simmer for just a minute or two until the sauce is smooth and sightly thickened.
  • Just before serving quickly swirl 1-2 tablespoons of butter into the sauce.
  • Serve the scaloppine and sauce over pasta.

The Garlic Rose

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 1 - Kitchen 1402

The first day!  It would have to be the day we "spring forward" for daylight savings time. I arrived early though and checked in, got my books and locker. I changed into my uniform and went to class. The maximum class size is 16 students but we only have 9 in our class. Five men and four women. Being in a smaller class is going to be great, I think.

The first two hours was an orientation. We received our (seriously sharp) knife kit. Then we were introduced to Chef Ted. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America and has been a chef for over 30 years at locations all over the country. He has been teaching at The Institute of Culinary Education for the past 10 years. He will be our Chef Instructor for the first two terms, which ends on June 25th.

No cooking yet:(   Today's lessons were about sanitation and food and kitchen safety. We talked about biological, chemical and physical hazards relating to the food service industry. Food borne illnesses, parasites and how to avoid them. We discussed the safe handling of food and the health laws that govern how restaurants store, handle and prepare food. Evidently the New York Restaurant Health Code is the most stringent in the country. That's good to know!

All in all it was not very exciting stuff but it's information that we need to know. Next week we'll have our first exam so I'm glad I took lots of notes. I have tons of reading homework.

Next week's lessons:

  • Knife safety and skills. We'll make salsas with all of the vegetables that we chop.
  • Nutrition, vegetable and herb identification.
  • Cheese identification and the attributes of a variety of cheeses. I'm not a fan of cheese but I've decided that I will have an open mind about eating things that I normally won't even look at. (sweetbreads and calamari - yuck)
  • We will practice our knife skills again on vegetables.
  • Next - Boiling, blanching, shocking and pureeing vegetables.
  • We will make a vegetable puree soup.
  • We will begin culinary math.
  • Vinegar, oils and cooking wines will be discussed.
  • We will wash lettuces and make a simple vinaigrette
  • We will cook several different types of greens.

It sounds ambitious! I can't wait:),
The Garlic Rose

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tools of the Trade

Yesterday I was in Manhattan. Before I headed home I decided to go downtown and pick up my uniforms and culinary kit. The kit is a fun little collection of tools and utensils. We are required to have it at school everyday. It's quite heavy so I'm hoping we can leave it in our locker.

The uniform is super cool. I couldn't wait to get home and try it on. The black checked pants were about a foot to long for me so I pulled out the sewing machine and hemmed both pair right away. When Bob came home I was completely decked out. He snapped a few pictures. I'm almost ready to begin.

This video is a tour of one of the kitchens that are used in
the Career Pastry courses. It is very similar to the kitchens
used by the Career Culinary Arts students

Only one more week,
The Garlic Rose

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Promise Kept. Culinary School, Here I Come!

Hello World!  

Ok, I guess the best way to start is to tell my story.  Many years ago, (actually about 20 years ago) I was just getting started in fulfilling one of my wildest dreams which was to attend culinary school.  I was completing the techniques course at a school in NYC and I was ready for the professional culinary course to begin after the Christmas break. The schedule worked perfectly with my children's school schedule. I could get everyone on the bus in the morning, run into the city for my classes and be back before they got home from school.  I was totally up for the challenge and with my husband occasionally filling in for me, we were prepared to make this work!

Over the Christmas break, one of my children got sick.  It's a long and not so exciting story, but it became clear that I needed to be at home - all of the time. There were many doctors and hospital visits and scary times.  I needed to make sure that he was getting the best treatment, the best doctors and medication. I needed to make sure that his education was kept on track even though there were many days of school missed and medication that had scary side effects. Trying to make my little buddy's life as healthy and happy as possible became a major part of my days.  I happily gave up the idea of culinary school to make sure that he had all that he needed to get through his challenges.

He was 5 years old when he first became sick and now he is almost 25 - an adult. sort of. sometimes:) I'm happy to say that although he still has a few medical issues and still needs medication to keep himself healthy, he was successful at school and is now attending college. 

So here we are in 2011 and my husband is about to retire. We will be moving south by the end of the year.  Over the years we have often talked about "when I finally am able to go back to culinary school".  Now that the end is near and we will soon be living not so close to New York, we've talked about it a lot!  He has always promised that I would be able to do it before we moved away. So a few weeks ago, a few things happened in our lives that made us realize that it was now or never!  There was a small window of opportunity.  

So we went into the city so that he could check out the school that I had visited several times.  It's actually the same school that I attended many years ago but it is much bigger and better.  It has a new name, a new location, new owners and a great reputation. In the last 20 years they've come a long way.  While we were there, I enrolled in the Culinary Arts Career Training Program! I was fitted for my uniforms. How fun is that!  I was given vouchers for my culinary kit and uniforms and books and knives, with instructions on where to pick up all of this fun stuff.  

So in the middle of March I will start culinary school.  I don't expect it to be easy. I want to be completely challenged. I plan to soak up everything that is there to be learned - every last drop!  

Thanks Babe! You're the very best.  I promise to make you proud!  And provide you with never ending platters of scrumptious food:)

The Garlic Rose

Background Music:
The Luckiest by Ben Folds