something i love

i have always had a fondness for awesome, unique, pub-style bars to go eat and drink. one of my favorites is in downtown edmonton, called mercer tavern. the building itself is a 100-year old warehouse that has now been transformed into a functional space housing numerous business’ and maintains the beauty of the original building. among them, a digital arts college, a barber shop, a flower shop, and a fantastic tavern.

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one of my best friends, s, goes to school at guru digital arts college and we’ve given ourselves the personal challenge of trying all the beer they have before she finishes school. i think we are completely capable!

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so far all of the food I’ve had, from the caprese salad to the nachos to the fish and chips have all been amazing! the atmosphere and décor highlight the “warehouse feel”, while still being comfortable. if you’re ever in the area and want a classy, yet awesome time, i highly recommend mercer! (mercertavern.com)

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at school i learned…

the last few days at school we’ve been focusing on how to highlight specific flavors, what flavors will work together, what will not, and how to achieve complex combinations. we’ve spend a lot of time tasting ordinary ingredients, everything from chocolate to cinnamon to raw onions and bacon, trying to understand what makes up their flavor, and how it can be changed.

one assignment that i really enjoyed was making sauces. we used simple ingredients in different amounts to try and achieve something beyond a basic pasta sauce or spring roll sauce. it is really interesting to me how the twelve people in my class can be split into teams, and come up with such different versions of the same basic concept.

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today we had our first assessment in the cold kitchen. we all were given a piece of pork tenderloin, two hours, any ingredients we wanted, except for lemon/lime, vinegar and salt/pepper, and the challenge of creating a dish that had awesome, dynamic flavor. it was kind of like the worst episode of chopped ever! lol. some really great, and some not so great dishes were presented. my favorites were the breaded, schnitzel-like dishes…way better, and completely different than what i made of corse!  i made a spicy orange pork and leek stir-fry. i got a “very good” from the chef…we will see what that translates into grades wise.

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the last kind of on-going project that we’re working on in class is lard sculptures! yes, exactly as it sounds. lard. we were given any material we wanted to build the structure…coat hangers, chicken wire, doweling, styrofoam…anything…and we had to some up with something to cover in lard. the whole concept is very bizarre at first, but just like anything else, the further you get into it, the more normal it becomes. my friend amanda and i wanted to do something that had a lot of movement so we decided on a squid-kracken creature. ive reached the point of normalcy in the statement “im making the kracken out of lard”.

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not only has the lard sculpting portion of my day become normal, but also the whole culinary school experience, at least to this point. i’ve become comfortable in the environment, with the people, the uniform, the tools, and even the early mornings (which I have down to an exact science, lol). as soon as I started seriously considering going to culinary school, it made complete sense for the type of person and learner that I am, but it has only recently started to feel real, and like i fit there. It’s kinda exciting! 

found recipe monday

there is something about being in school that makes me miss having guilt-free free time! i know its ironic that I traded working for the last four months and not having any major commitments for a very specific schedule, but it is making me miss being free!

while procrastinating, i recently discovered the local palate magazine & blog…and I must say, i.am.in.love!!! the whole website and blog is beautiful, not only in its appearance, but in the ideas, recipes, and general approach to food and drinks. this publication is the perfect combination of simple, classic & classy theories of food and drinks. while looking through the website, I found the drinks section…perfection! I love the way that they’ve organized everything, making it super easy to find an awesome, simple, and delicious-looking cocktail!

I wanted to share three that I found, that I really want to try!

cameron’s kick

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(http://www.localpalatemag.com/cocktails/item/cameron-s-kick.html)

blood and sand

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(http://www.localpalatemag.com/cocktails/item/blood-and-sand.html)

and, indian summer

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(http://www.localpalatemag.com/cocktails/item/indian-summer.html?category_id=132)

at school i learned…

today was my first full day of cold kitchen lab! the instructor i have is quite intense, which is a little intimidating on a personal level, but I think I’ll get used to his teaching style as we get further on.

the whole point of the “cold kitchen” lab is to learn about everything from garnishing to making cheese. we will focus a lot on making salad dressings from scratch, the entire process of making various condiments and sauces, and making all of our plates and displays beautiful and appealing.

today we stared with some basic garnishing techniques…turning fruit and vegetables into flowers and birds…all the little techniques that make things like buffet tables so impressive. it is much harder than it looks! i managed to take a few pictures of what I worked on today, and thankfully i have many more opportunities to practice!

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found recipes

this week is my first full week of school! this whole getting up reeeally early thing is getting a little easier but it’s still pretty painful!

in class we’ve been learning how to properly cut vegetables and not chop our fingers. bait puts a lot of thought into how to use as much as possible of a product. we’ve been talking a bunch about using the “pretty” parts for serving and using the “spare parts” for stock, or soup in creative and interesting way. it really interests me to think of the most effective ways to use not only vegetables, but all raw food products.

all of the vegetable chopping and soup talk has made me think of some comfort-style soups. here is three soup recipes that look awesome!

this tortellini soup from glitter and gloss (http://www.glitterandglossblog.com/2013/12/creamy-tortellini-soup-recipe.html)

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this quinoa and chicken soup from iowa girl eats (http://iowagirleats.com/2012/10/09/harvest-chicken-quinoa-soup/ 

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and finally, one of my favourites, broccoli and cheese soup from good house keeping (http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.za/en/recipes/broccoli-and-cheddar-cheese-soup/ 

 

all recipes found via pinterest 

first days of school

i started school this week and it was insane! i start at the crack of dawn…literally…7:15…ouch! and I live about an hour, by bus, away from the school, so i am getting up at 4:30am. as a notorious fan of sleeping in, getting up that early is painful,l to say the least. im really hoping it gets easier.

as far as actual classes go it is pretty exciting already! my knives are already one of my favorite parts! there is something exhilarating about being able to properly wield a razor sharp piece of stainless steel. we haven’t done much other that learn to chop vegetables but the real cooking comes next week and I couldn’t be more stoked! 

 

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so far ive only bought one of the many textbooks i need…“professional cooking”. this book has been explained as the most important book we will need for our two years, and it certainly holds its importance in its weight…over 1000 pages! it holds a lot of explanations of techniques, pictures and recipes. im excited to become more familiar with the wonders in the pages of this monstrosity! 

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found recipe monday

for monday’s weekly feature I wanted to introduce found recipe monday! i thought sharing some new recipes would be an inspiring way to start off the week!

i have always had a fondness for rosemary. definitely my favorite spice! this week I wanted to share some cozy comfort food recipes that feature rosemary!

First from tasty temptations, this delicious-sounding macaroni and cheese! (http://callistobugfood.blogspot.ca/2013/04/goat-cheese-pasta-with-chicken-and.html)

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next, this soup from justinlovewithberni (http://justinlovewithberni.com/2013/04/12/fire-roasted-tomato-and-mushroom-soup-with-rosemary/)

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and finally, these carrots from oh my veggies (http://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-rosemary-roasted-carrots/)

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 all recipes found via pinterest 

 

ten random facts

for my first post i wanted to share a little about who i am, and some random facts about myself.

i am 23, almost 24 in march. i attended grant macewan university and the university of alberta in edmonton, alberta. i worked towards my bachelor of arts, in anthropology and gender studies. as much as i loved being in university and learning some of the crazy things that the world has to offer, i learned that i am much better with my hands and creativity than i am with a textbook! i will be starting at nait in just under a week, and i am excited, nervous and filled with anticipation all at the same time!

i will try my very best to keep up with sharing as many details as i can from school and life. as a start here is some random things about me!

10 random things about me…

1. i love the new england patriots and the boston red sox.

2. i am obsessed with painting my nails, sometimes a color…for about a day, then usually revert to back to black.

3. i constantly buy new and interesting notebooks and journals that I will probably never fill, but just have to have!

4. i believe leather is the best fabric for most things.

5. i have one sister, she is five years younger than me, and one of my favorite people in the world.

6. i love old, vintage, and antique-y things.

7. i love travelling and going anywhere on a plane. Im a sucker for disneyland…ive been 7 times .

8. when I find a t.v. show I like, (usually on netflix) I obsessively watch every episode I can find.

9.  i think the ampersand is the most beautiful punctuation.

10.  i hate getting up early