The second semester of culinary school.

The second semester of culinary school..

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The second semester of culinary school.

I will be honest,this semester of culinary school has been a challenging one. The reason being is some of my classes are online. I’m not a particular fan of this idea, nor would I encourage it. However, I have enjoyed my labs because I can freely create wonderful dishes while being critiqued on the flavor, texture, presentation and consistency of the meal. My food production II instructor has been a great resource for gaining knowledge in every aspect of the culinary field. I have learned to think like a professional chef and look for the details in every meal I produce for the consumer. The saying is true, ” I am only as good as the last meal that I served.”
Another factor that plays a role in the chaos this semester is being six months pregnant. Yes, it’s going to be a long couple of months. I feel tired but I know that I’m a step closer to fulfilling my dream. This is a constant reminder that it’s all going to be o.k. There are moments when I want to pull all my hair out and other times I feel completely drained. The funny thing is, I continually feel inspired to succeed and push forward through it all. My divine moment begins now and I’m going to take it.

Here’s a recent pic of the pregnancy bump:

My favorite restaurant

My favorite restaurant is Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro located in the downtown river market area. There is a unique personality and vibe exemplified throughout the restaurant. A handcrafted, wooden horse draped with purple and gold linen greets you as you walk in through the double doors. An eclectic energy fills the walls of this establishment. Colorful chandeliers hang from the ceiling above you. Pieces of fine art strung at random along the multi-colored walls. There is a comfortable outside seating giving it a relaxed atmosphere. An upscale casual dining experience, at it’s best.
The menu consists of everything from soups, salads, burgers, pasta dishes, and dessert. This place is always crowded with hungry people ready to engross themselves in European/American food. They do not take reservations for groups less than ten people. Parking space is also limited. This being said, it’s an advisable idea to arrive early. Their spinach-artichoke dip is a personal favorite of mine. The server brings it out on a hot plate big enough for two and lays it on the table. Served with a heaping basket of tortilla chips. The artichoke and creamy mayonnaise give it a nice, rich, full-bodied flavor. My only suggestion is to serve the chips warm because it tastes more fresh as opposed to room temperature. Their burgers served alongside crinkle cut french fries is also a secret fancy of mine. A recent choice was the black and bleu burger entree. Dripping in black truffle oil and bleu cheese sauce, your hands might be a little greasy afterwards. A toasted bun holds this monstrosity together, soaking up the juices it so willingly yields. The flavor is earthy and slightly tangy. You may want to ask for a to go box because this is one huge burger.
If your looking for a place to kick back and have a few drinks there is a bar stationed at the front of the house. The dining room is spacious providing a convenient way for guests to be seated quickly. The service is substantial but sometimes it takes awhile before your order is served. The ingredients are made fresh daily taking some time to prepare. In a contest of quality versus speed of service, I choose quality. As a customer, I want to know that my meal looks and tastes the same as my last visit. This creates a security that draws repeated business from many who also enjoy this standard, known as consistency. One of the many factors that keep me coming back to Dizzy’s is the presentation and detail fused into every meal. My eyes share just as much of the meal as my taste buds do. I expect the meal that I ordered to look just as appetizing as it tastes. There is never a time I have left this restaurant feeling hungry because they feed you a substantial amount. Let’s just say, they’re not stingy with their portion size. The prices are not too shabby either. One downfall to this establishment, is the fact that it’s not family friendly. While they may have a kid friendly menu it’s evident this restaurant isn’t set up for high energy children.
Dizzy’s provides a flexible schedule for those who may want to drop in for lunch or dinner. Their serving hours are Tuesday through Saturday. Opening at eleven a.m. and closing at ten p.m. However, they do not provide delivery or pickup service. The staff is always friendly and helpful providing an enjoyable evening for the guest. I know I’m going to be provided excellent service every time I visit. There is an endless array of professionals checking on you to make sure your experience is satisfactory. As the customer, I want to leave feeling it was worth my time and Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro provides that opportunity as soon as I walk through it’s doors.

Chicken Grandma’s Cooking.

My English Composition I: Culinary class was asked to write about the best cook in the family: Here’s mine.

Natalie Porter
Mr. Gregan
English Composition I: Culinary
24 September 2012
Chicken Grandma’s Cooking
Chicken Grandma was and always will be the cook in the family. Lura Bell Schlesier was her given name but her grandchildren called her chicken grandma. She raised chickens, pigs, and three beautiful gardens. You may ask why we called her this? Chicken and dumplings we’re her signature dish. They we’re savory, rich, and creamy. It continues to be the yardstick, I measure all chicken and dumplings to, even today. My sisters and I would always say to each other that we could smell grandma’s cooking a mile away. The lessons she left behind lit the way for a future generation. She was a rare jewel to all who knew her in so many ways. There was always time to care for others before herself. She painted a picture of what true stewardship means.
There was a unique balance she kept in her kitchen for years. Rules we’re laid out and we’re required to be followed. She didn’t believe in wasting good food. So, whatever she prepared as the meal was eaten. Her kitchen was her sanctuary. A place for the cook to explore the ingredients and create a lasting impression on the guest. Her cooking method was creative yet resourceful in using what was available in the pantry. She wasn’t a fan of sharing the kitchen with someone else. Her belief was: ” The kitchen belonged to the cook and it was the right to have privacy”. As the guest, you we’re always served the meal first. The cook didn’t sit down until everyone was given their food. There was a close attention paid to detail and presentation. A prayer was always said before enjoying the meal. Everyone was welcome at her home whether family, friend, or stranger. She believed that true hospitality is selfless.
Grandma gave us opportunities to learn through her cooking. Every meal at her house was to be enjoyed with a heart full of thankfulness. If your hands weren’t laboring in some way, then your plate was an empty vessel. She taught us that only the happiest of cooks prepare the best meals. We learned that fellowship and family are the best accompaniments to any meal. Last of all, anyone that considers himself to be a good cook, must first learn to be a steward.
Routinely, she made a pie every three days. The ingredients we’re simple: pie crust, fruit preserves, butter and sugar. There is no greater splendor in this world than a fresh, hot, apple pie right from the oven. Breakfast was served every morning, regardless if you we’re hungry or not. This meal consisted of farm-fresh eggs, bacon, sausage links, and biscuits with peppered gravy. Grandma was well-known for her homemade giblet gravy. A southern, hearty, dish she served with dressing or sliced turkey. The main ingredient she used was love and you could taste it in every bite.
Dedication and hard work is what she lived by. She maintained three vegetable gardens every year. Half of the produce was sold to local stores for profit. Pigs and chickens we’re the main source of livestock. Everyday she would feed the animals and tend to the garden. She raised all three of her grandchildren after their mother left. Grandma had to carry the weight in the Schlesier household because Grandpa lacked motivation. If there was something to be mended or fixed, she faithfully tackled the task. Her attitude towards life and it’s many gains and losses was something to be admired. Behind every great cook is a legacy waiting to be told through food. My grandma’s spoke a multitude of love, truth and stewardship.

Fall is just around the corner.

Today, I woke up made me a cup of coffee like any other day, but something was different about this day. I stepped outside and it felt wonderful. Breezy enough to wear a jacket and just a hint of sunshine. What a refreshing discovery to find that fall is finally here in Arkansas. This is my favorite time of the year. The fall brings with it a special kind of charm. A magic, that sweeps in along with the falling leaves’. There is such a comfort found in this time of year between the woodsy smells that fill the air, hay rides, picking pumpkins for carving, and enjoying a nice cup of hot cocoa while swinging on the front porch. I’m particularly excited because I can finally enjoy some cooler weather while being pregnant. Summers in Arkansas tend to be on the humid side. In my opinion, there is not a better time to visit or just enjoy Arkansas than in the fall. Nature has re-created itself into something of a fairy-tale. Tree’s swaying in rhythm while the wind sings her song,as families gather together for a special celebration of thanksgiving.

My 2nd semester of culinary school has begun.

My 2nd semester of culinary school has begun..

My 2nd semester of culinary school has begun.

I have been in school for a couple of weeks now. I’m considered a full-time student. Currently, I’m taking Food Production II, Hospitality and English Comp I:Culinary. I’m enjoying myself and all the marvelous food I get to prepare and eat in my Food Production II class. My hospitality class covers the basics of stewardship and pleasing the customer always. As far as my English Comp I: Culinary class there has been alot of writing about food, cooks in the family, tradition ect… This will be an adventure finishing school by the time I’m 8mo’s pregnant. I’m excited and ready to share with all of you my endeavors this semester. So come along with me and enjoy the ride!

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