Who Says Grilling Is A Man’s Job?

For starters, I make a mean steak!  We started off grilling and searing steaks, chickens, and fish during the first part of module 2.  I’ve actually never properly grilled before, but i love it!  Highly recommend it to my ladies out there. Take the reins and start grilling!  I learn many tricks of the trade in class, and decided to share this one with you! You’re welcome 🙂
How do you like your steak?  How do chefs get it so perfect (or not)?
Well, it takes tons of practice (and a lot of steak!) to completely be sure that your meat is done to the diners specific perfection.   After all, getting a steak with a slice down the middle loses a tad of the steaks appeal.  Of course, the easiest and smartest way to tell is a thermometer, but having a helping “hand” there can be very convenient and helpful! It also makes for a great party activity or a picker upper 😉

 1) Relax your hand.  Touch the part of your hand shown above with your pointer finger.  This is how the meat feels when you buy it from the store.RAW.

 2) Touch your pointer finger to your thumb.  This is how RARE feels.

 3) Touch your middle finger to your thumb.  This is how MEDIUM RARE feels.

 4) Touch your ring finger to your thumb.  This is how MEDIUM feels

5) Touch your pinky to your thumb.  This is how WELL DONE feels.

Brisk, Warm and Delicious

First, I would like to take a moment to direct your attention to the left side toolbar.  I put up pictures of things I made for fun and in school! 

I love Sukkot! It’s really one of my favorite Jewish holidays.  TONS of guests, we get to eat 
outside, and it’s even a mitzvah to be happy!  
The Jewish holidays turned out really well for me this year in regards to school.  The chagim fall out on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, while my school is Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Perfect? I think YES!
I was able to go home for the Sukkot, so I jumped at the opportunity!  Since we eat outside, I decided to really focus on warm and seasonal foods for the sukkah.  I made a braised lamb shank with a red wine reduction in class, and I couldn’t wait to try it out at home!  It was fantastic, the warm and cozy braised lamb contrasting the brisk and cool outside temperature…!
I also made a Cranberry, Almond and Caramel Tart, utilizing the seasonal cranberries.

Cranberry, Almond and Caramel Tart

Best Pie Crust Ever! (bake in a tart shell at 350 for 20 min)

Filling and assembly

1 1/4 Cups Almond Milk
1 Cup Earth Balance
Pinch of Salt
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 3/4 Cup Frozen Cranberries
2 Cups Unblanched Sliced Almonds

1. Keep (or preheat) the oven to 350 degrees. Measure the milk, salt and butter into a saucepan and heat it over low heat. When the butter has melted completely, remove from heat.

2. To make the caramel, spread the sugar evenly in a perfectly dry, deep 10-inch skillet and place it over medium-low heat.

3. The sugar should turn straw-colored, then gold and then a nutty-brown caramel after about 10 minutes. If the sugar cooks unevenly, gently tilt or swirl the pan to evenly distribute the sugar. Remove from heat and slowly whisk the milk and butter into the sugar, which can splatter as the cream is added (long sleeves are a good precaution). If the caramel seizes, return it to the heat and continue to stir until it is smooth and creamy. Strain the caramel into a bowl and cool it for 30 minutes.

4. Stir the vanilla, frozen cranberries and the almonds into the caramel and mix until all the fruit and nuts are coated. Spoon the filling into the baked tart dough mounding toward the center.

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the juices and the caramel are bubbling slowly around the edges. Remove from the oven and let stand for 1 hour, then gently lift the tart ring off the pastry.

6. Carefully transfer the tart to a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

What’s a Buckeye?

We know that the Ohio State’s mascot is the buckeye, but what is a buckeye?
It’s a white squirrel, obviously!  At least, that’s what my father told a newbie moving to Columbus.  Thank goodness we were close enough friends that she was able to forgive my father after announcing in front of many native Ohioans, that a buckeye is an albino squirrel!
The truth is, a buckeye is a poisonous nut that comes from the buckeye tree.  Buckeyes are deadly to humans but a great meal for squirrels.  We happen to have a lot of them in Ohio, hence being called “the buckeye state.”
We are all familiar with the phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”  So too, “When your mascot is the buckeye, make candy!”  The buckeye is a chocolate peanut butter confection made to resemble the buckeye nut.
So….in honor of Columbus Day (that’s Monday!), I made buckeyes!

Makes 40-50
1 1/2 Cups Smooth Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Earth Balance
1 lb Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 C. Chocolate Chips
2-3 Tbs. Canola Oil

Mix peanut butter, earth balance, powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl.  Roll into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.  Refrigerate.  Melt chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave and add oil when halfway melted.  Insert a toothpick into each peanut butter ball and dip halfway up with the melted chocolate.  Dab your finger in water and pat over hole that was made by the toothpick.  Put finished buckeyes on parchment paper and keep in freezer or refrigerator.