Cut the Cheese

Hey, everyone! The time has finally come for my cheese to be tasted! After two and a half months, I just couldn’t wait any longer. I knew that during the process of aging, my cheese formed a somewhat deep rind and dried out probably more than I had wanted it to. I amended this problem quickly enough to save the cheese from cracking though, and I’m really pleased with the result. While it is drier than I had seen in other results, it is still creamy for a semi-hard cheese. The color and texture are very much like gruyère and share a very similar flavor profile as well. If I could describe its flavor in three words, those words would be nutty, milky, and tangy. I think that with age, the tangy characteristic would turn into the mild sharpness that a comté or gruyère has. This was by far one of the most eagerly awaited things I’ve ever made. Hopefully, in the near future, I’ll be able to enjoy my blueberry wine with my tomme-style cheese!

Above is some footage of the cheese after I split it in two, then four. Looking back at all the photos I’ve taken during this process makes me feel lucky to have learned so much about this craft. I really appreciate the beautiful cheese press that Chef Slonaker made, and for inspiring me to really pursue this. After finally finishing this first cheese, I’m really hungry for more, and I hope to share more cheesemaking adventures on here. I really urge you all to try making that one thing you love to eat. Try learning how to do that thing you’ve always thought about doing. I’m someone who’s all too familiar with putting things like this off, but this was one of the most rewarding culinary experiences I’ve ever had. I’m very eager to start another project and to apply what I’ve learned from this run to the next. One of my favorite things in life is to learn something new, and I’m glad that I got to document and share my experience!


Under the weather? Get well soon with Grandma’s Chicken Soup.

Hey, everyone! I hope you’ve been keeping healthy during this season of head colds and stomach bugs. I personally came down with a head cold, and it was a nuisance to get over. Whenever I get sick, it feels like a wrench has been thrown into the multi-part machine that is my everyday life. My strategy is to get better as quickly as possible. Nothing is better than quality rest and lots of fluids, but I do have some home remedies that at least make me feel better. It’s these little things that help me get better as quickly as I can.

Growing up, there were many occasions during which Grandma’s matzah ball soup was eagerly awaited. Everyone in my family loves it, and my grandmother is always so kind as to make enough for everyone to take some home. To this day, this soup is what I look for when I’m feeling under the weather. There’s just something about properly done matzah ball chicken soup that revitalizes me and kicks the sickness right out. When my grandmother gave me her recipe, I hesitated at first to make it. I don’t mean to offend anyone whose matzah ball chicken soup I’ve had in my lifetime, but it has never held a candle to hers. I was worried that mine would never be able to measure up to the soup I remembered growing up. Recently, I changed my mind and figured I should start attempting to make it. Maybe in time, I can come close to the original!

One of the things that I love about this recipe is that it’s simple. Like many good things, time is the key to this soup’s success. Good preparation also makes this dish much easier to produce, which makes for an easier cleanup as well. The recipe for roughly six quarts of soup is below, and I really do recommend not trying to scale this down. If you have freezer space, you can make very large batches of this soup, which makes for fantastic eats throughout the year. Last, as you may notice in the recipe below, the chicken is roasted whole and then split in two. Again, I recommend using this technique, but, if necessary, pieces can be used as a substitute.

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, fryer (2 ½ – 4 ½)

1 gallon cold water

4 celery hearts

1 large onion

2 parsnips, quartered

1 cup chicken broth

1 bunch dill

Preparation:

  1. Roast chicken with vegetables to lightly color chicken (15-20 minutes at 400°F).
  2. Cut chicken in half. (I use kitchen scissors.)
  3. Place remaining ingredients in small stock pot, bring to a boil, then simmer 2-3 hours covered.
  4. Once finished, remove meat at room temperature and pull chicken/remove bones.
  5. Add chicken back to soup and serve. (Season at the table!)

One of the reasons you should keep the chicken in halves, if not whole, is that this allows you to imbue so much flavor into the broth during its cooking process. It is also much more pleasant in the final dish if the meat is torn instead of diced or chopped. This soup is usually accompanied by light, fluffy matzah balls, which elevates this soup immensely. I feel as though this soup would also be great with rice or some type of noodle. This turned out to be very fun to make, and I’ve learned a lot about one of my favorite dishes. I feel lucky to have people in my life who can pass on such great things to me. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and, if you’re sick, get well soon!


Good Cheese and Fine Wine

Hey, everyone! This week, I wanted to do something similar to the last post. I am a huge believer that wine and cheese have this magical, soul-healing power when paired together. Maybe that’s just me! Anyway, this past summer, my friend Zach invited me over to his dad’s house to sort through and make jam out of farm-fresh blueberries. We had our work cut out for us, seeing as though it was over 20 pounds of blueberries. We gave it our best shot and ended up canning 24 jars of jam. However, there were still loads of blueberries left and not enough time in the day for jam. I was sent on my way home with 7 ½ pounds of blueberries, and the wheels in my head began to turn. Having made fruit wine before, I thought this would be a great idea for those super sweet, plump blueberries. I did a little research and talked to some people who had experience in making country and fruit wines to figure out the best approach for this. I wanted to gauge others to see what their ratios of fruit, sugar, water, and yeast were. After devising a plan, I got to work!

Just like with making cheese, winemaking calls for scrupulous sanitation. I use a solution called Star San to sanitize my equipment before I do anything like this. I washed all of my blueberries and then added six pounds of sugar into my five-gallon food-grade bucket. I then took a potato masher and created a syrupy mash by smashing the berries into the sugar. To this, I added 2 ½ gallons of boiling water and let it come to 98 degrees Fahrenheit. The next step was pitching the yeast, which requires water between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I used a variety of wine yeast called “71B,” which is recommended for country and fruit wines. It’s as simple as letting one packet of yeast hydrate for a minute in your water and then stirring with a sanitized utensil. The packet of yeast that I bought ferments up to five gallons of must. Once that was done, I added the yeast to my must and stirred with a top-down motion. After a minute of stirring, I covered my must with cheesecloth, tied it with twine, and began my first fermentation. My work was complete until the following week, when I would have to strain my must into sanitized carboys.

While there are oftentimes just a few ingredients in the winemaking process, it is the actual process itself that can trip people up. Sanitation is really the biggest factor in this process, so I typically wash my tools and containers first and then sanitize with solution. Following this method, I cleaned all of my carboys, rubber bungs, air locks, and other items I used to get the wine from the bucket to the carboys. This process involved lining a sieve with cheesecloth, placing a funnel underneath the sieve, and pouring slowly into my carboys. As a side note, leaving headspace is very important when brewing wine. It would be an incredible waste to leave a half gallon’s worth of headspace in a gallon carboy and have your wine oxidize. I usually stick to about two or three inches from the rubber bung and airlock. Even though wine is partially protected from oxidization while brewing by a barrier of CO2, once you kill the yeast off, you run the risk of oxidizing your wine. There are ways to fix a headspace problem, but nothing is more surefire than using the right-sized container from the start.

The rest of the process is up to time and patience. It is important to monitor the development of the wine and make sure that your airlocks are properly filled and show signs of carbonation below. My wine is currently at its final stages of the brewing process, and I have added Potassium Metabisulphite to kill off any remaining yeast. This takes a few days to fully take effect, and it’s important to let the fermentation drastically slow, if not stop, before doing this. Without ensuring that the fermentation has finished, you could have re-fermentation occur after the bottling process. This leads to corks popping on their own and makes for a messy cellar! I hope that this post has inspired some of you to look into winemaking and viticulture. It is just incredible what fresh, juicy fruit and the right conditions can create. I actually had some left-over must from the winemaking process and decided to make my own blueberry vinegar using a small amount of “mother” from apple cider vinegar. The result was fantastic, and I will share pictures below along with my process for making the blueberry wine! Thanks for reading!


Make your own cheese at home!

Hey, everybody! This week, I wanted to try something new with the blog posts. Summer was very eventful in the kitchen for me, and I learned a lot about pastry as well as some other tasty things. One thing that I had been planning for a while was to go to a local dairy farm, buy some of their milk, and make myself a wheel of cheese! Thanks to the canning, jarring, and cheesemaking class that I took this past term, I had the confidence to invest the money in a cheese-making setup. I am an absolute cheese nut, so the thought of this was like a dream come true. I had recently asked Chef Slonaker if he would fashion me a cheese press so that I could make this happen, and he delivered something really beautiful and functional. I am very lucky to have this piece of equipment, and it will see many more presses to come. 

Even though I have some confidence in making cheese, I am very much an amateur. I wanted to find a recipe that wasn’t too daunting but still pushed the boundaries of what I had already done. New England Cheese Making Supply Company has many different recipes from beginner to advanced. They also sell a large selection of items ranging from cheese molds to cultures for making cheese. They turned out to be a great resource, and the recipe I chose was a tomme-style cheese. Tomme is an alpine-style cheese that was typically made when there was an excess of skim milk left over from skimming cream for butter or making other sorts of richer cheeses. This recipe called for thermophilic and mesophilic cultures as well as animal rennet and calcium chloride. The recipe seemed simple enough, but I wanted to attempt making a four-pound wheel.

I gathered my supplies, and, when I finally had the time, I drove out to a dairy in my area. Baily’s Dairy is a small family-run farm that offers beautifully sweet milk and an array of other dairy products. The family I met there was very kind, and the farm shop was fun to browse. One of the best things about sourcing your ingredients locally is getting to know the people putting in the effort to produce the ingredients you’re buying. I really look forward to going back for more milk and possibly some other goodies! Below you’ll see a short video that I have put together so that you can get a sense of what the process was like for me making the cheese. One of the best parts about something like this for me is that I can keep constantly improving and honing my craft. There are plenty of things that could have gone better, but I am thrilled with the result and had an amazing time making it. I have learned a lot from this adventure, and I am currently trying to decide what cheese to attempt next! This tomme-style cheese will age in my “cellar” for two to six months, then I’ll crack into it and post the result. Here’s the recipe for this cheese so that anyone who wants to make this at home can!


Bingsu, a refreshing treat just in time for summer

Hello, everyone! This week, I wanted to share a really refreshing, summer treat. This past summer, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to travel to South Korea. The reason for the trip was to meet my wife’s family, which was an absolutely amazing experience. While there, I was introduced to so many different kinds of foods I had never seen before. From fishcakes to mulhwae, I was having all of these delicious things one after another. One of the biggest surprises for me, however, was the heat that everyone had to endure during the summer! This didn’t seem to faze anyone except for me, and to be honest, I struggled a little at first to cope with it. It seemed as though everyone had their own way of dealing with the heat, and at first, I had no idea where to look for something that would cool me off. It wasn’t until the third night that I was in Seoul that my wife suggested to me that we try Bingsu. At first, of course, I had absolutely no idea what this was. She explained to me that this was a really popular snack or treat in Korea that is perfect for a scorching summer’s day. Bingsu comes in many different forms and flavors, but simply, it is a base liquid or fruit that has been blended and frozen to form a soft, frozen ice. This is then topped with all sorts of goodies such as sweet red bean, sweet rice cakes, matcha green tea powder, and many others!

That night, we went out to a cafe with one of my wife’s friends, and while they caught up, I got to know Bingsu a little better. Finally, something that will cool me down! I couldn’t get over the fact that such a simple dish could be so flavorful and refreshing at the same time. My wife and I ordered the Injeolmi Bingsu, which was a sweet milk ice topped with sweet rice cake, honey, toasted almonds, and dried bean powder. I really mean this when I say it, I was in culinary Nirvana for the duration of that visit. There was something so incredibly satisfying about the cooling sensation of the milk ice paired with the chewy and sweet rice cakes. The combination was divine and from that point on, I heavily sought out Bingsu. For the rest of my trip there it was, my cooling agent, and I was able to try so many other variations as well. One of my other favorites from that trip was a classic treat called Patbingsu. This variation of the ice was topped with sweet red bean and matcha green tea powder, which was all it really needed. Needless to say, I was a happy man and wanted to continue my relationship with Bingsu back home!

This past May, my wife and I decided that it was time we tried our hand at Bingsu. Even though we didn’t have any sort of ice cream maker or sorbet maker, we wanted to have Bingsu again. After sitting down and brainstorming for a while, we decided to try something new. The result of this turned out better than we had expected, and we decided to keep our original recipe the same. Instead of using milk primarily for the ice, we thought it would be fun to try using fruit that had a very high water and sugar content. Melons were the first thing that came to mind, and we settled on using watermelon and honeydew. This, we thought, would pair nicely with some sort of creamy element, but we didn’t want the complementary flavor to be overpowering, so we went with a mixture of coconut milk and whole milk. We both love sweetened condensed milk, so we decided that this would play the role of the sweetener as well as a thickener. We were thrilled with the way this turned out, and it was amazing how easy it was to make. All you needed was time and a little patience! Below is our recipe for a simple, homemade Melon Bingsu!

Ingredients:

  • 1 watermelon
  • 1 honeydew
  • 10 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Ready to make Bingsu!

Procedure:

  • Halve the melons, remove the seeds from the honeydew, and discard.
  • Reserve two melon halves for melon balls.
  • Remove the flesh of the melons and place in a blender.
  • Melon ball other melons and scrape the remaining flesh into the blender with other melon.
  • Reserve melon balls for later as garnish. Freeze for 2 hours.
  • Add lemon juice and 1 ounce of sweetened condensed milk.
  • Pulse mixture until combined. Do not over blend.
  • Place mixture in a metal bowl and freeze, checking every hour.
  • In a metal bowl, add milk, coconut milk, and 8 ounces of sweetened condensed milk.
  • Whisk until combined and place in freezer, checking every hour.
  • Once mixtures are mostly frozen, mash or mix with a metal spoon or potato masher.*
  • Continue this process until the texture is a thick slush.
  • In parfait glasses or cups, alternately layer coconut cream ice and melon ice.
  • Top the ices with frozen melon balls, and drizzle remaining sweetened condensed milk on top.
The final result!

This type of Bingsu is referred to as Gwhayil Bingsu, or fruit Bingsu. It is an incredibly refreshing dessert that takes very little effort to make. I found that using a potato masher works really well when making the slush. The consistency of the slush should be solid enough so that it can be scooped but soft enough to eat with a spoon. The amount of sweetened condensed milk used can also be changed depending on how sweet the melons are and how sweet you prefer your treats! I’m sure that this recipe can be altered to use different fruits, and I look forward to doing my own experimentation this summer. I hope that you enjoy this recipe and that it cools you off during this upcoming summer heat!

-Steven Walsh, Walnut Hill College Student Leader

Read Steven’s bio


Ready for rhubarb!

Hey, everyone! It’s rhubarb season! I always get excited around this time of year because I can buy or harvest fresh rhubarb for jams, preserves, pies, and more! If you’ve never had it before, it has a very distinct flavor. Raw, the smell can be likened to that of a tart, unripe pear. However, its flavor is one of a kind and is sour, savory, and slightly sweet! It is almost always cooked and can also be compressed in a vacuum sealer for a nice dessert addition. One of my favorite things to do with rhubarb is make strawberry rhubarb pie. The seasons for both of these plants overlap, which results in a naturally sweet and incredibly flavorful pie. One of the best things about rhubarb is that it does not need a lot of doctoring to taste good. With just enough seasoning, rhubarb becomes an incredibly complex element in any dish.

My memories of rhubarb start with stories from my father’s childhood. My father grew up in the north of England, and there, it was customary to see rhubarb in family gardens, growing in a thick bunch of stalks. One of the most memorable rhubarb dishes he remembers having as a child was rhubarb pie. Pastry, sugar, butter, and rhubarb are essentially what comprised this dish, and apparently the flavor was something to behold. When my dad moved to Philadelphia for work, he sought it out but realized there was little to no interest in rhubarb here. It was essentially inaccessible, and for a long time, he just went without it. As classic and once thought of as “out-of-fashion” fruits and vegetables began to come back into popularity, items such as rhubarb and previously ignored vegetables became more accessible and even more desired in mainstream eateries and grocery stores. Growing up, my family had access to rhubarb, but no one had the time or patience to make rhubarb pie. We always ate the store-bought strawberry rhubarb pies, but to me, they were incredible nonetheless. The sweet, savory, and tangy notes of the rhubarb paired so nicely with the sweet strawberry and crumbly crust. It was a rarity for that pie to last even a couple of days in the Walsh household.

After spending some time in culinary school, I’ve learned to have the patience and carve out the time to make a homemade pie. Nothing fills your house quite like the smell of homemade pastry and baked fruit. This is also a great way to use up harvested fruit that isn’t pretty enough for the table or is maybe a little underripe. Below is my very simple recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie, and it is open for adaptation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz. cold, unsalted butter
  • 7-10 tablespoons ice water
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 ½ cups fresh strawberries, halved
  • 2 ½ cups fresh rhubarb, large chop
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 2 tablespoons butter for dotting pie

Procedure:

  • Cut butter into cubes, and refrigerate until hard and cold.
  • Place a few ice cubes in 2 cups of water.
  • Once cold, pinch butter into flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Use the tips of your fingers to avoid adding excess heat.
  • Once butter is pea-sized and flour is somewhat mealy, stop pinching.
  • One tablespoon at a time, add the ice water. *Humidity and temperature are important factors to consider before adding all of the water at once. I tend to add 7 tablespoons of water when it’s warm and 9-10 when it’s cold out.
  • Do not overmix dough. Once combined, wrap in plastic and set in the fridge 30 minutes to an hour. *Pie dough can be held in the fridge longer and also frozen.
  • Set oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once chilled, flour a surface for rolling, and cut the pie dough into 2/3 and 1/3 pieces with a bench knife.
  • Roll the dough to 1/8 of an inch thick.
  • Lightly butter a 9-inch pie dish, and press the larger rolled out piece of dough to the sides and bottom.
  • Once tightly fit to the dish, refrigerate for another 20-30 minutes.
  • Toss strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, tapioca starch, and lemon juice together and place into pie shell.
  • Roll the rest of the pie dough on top of the pie, cut excess, and secure top to base with water.
  • Tuck the crust underneath itself once to form a strong seal and flaky edge.
  • Crimp as you see fit. I usually use the tips of my fingers and pinch every ¼ inch with my thumb between my other thumb and index finger.
  • If you have a pie collar, use it. If not, make a collar for your pie out of foil.
  • Slice a small “x” into the center of the pie’s lid, so that steam can escape.
  • Egg washing the pie is optional; I usually don’t.
  • Bake pie for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and flaky.
  • For the final 10 minutes, remove the pie collar or foil.
  • Allow pie to cool on a rack for at least 1 hour. The longer it cools, the better!
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Once you have made this recipe a couple of times, it becomes second nature. When working with rhubarb, it is customary to peel off the outside layer, which comes off easily. Large pieces also help to maintain a filling with body, so that each piece of fruit is identifiable. Last, thoroughly chilling the ingredients for your dough, working efficiently, and getting the ingredients ready before you start will lead to a beautiful and flaky pie crust. One of the best things about this pie is that there are only a few ingredients and the flavors of the fruit are the highlight of the dish. For another interesting way to use rhubarb, it can be peeled, compressed in a vacuum sealer, and circulated in a hot water bath with various types of vinegars, sugars, herbs, and spices! Below is a quick compressed rhubarb recipe that livens up any plate!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rhubarb, 2-inch pieces, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon picked thyme
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Procedure:

  • Place ingredients in a vacuum seal bag.
  • Seal and remove any air within.
  • Circulate in a water bath at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.
  • Remove contents from bag and enjoy.

I hope that these recipes come in handy, and they can also be changed in a number of ways. I always have a lot of fun making pie, and it’s always a crowd pleaser. I urge anyone reading this to experiment and play around with rhubarb while it’s in season. It has such a wonderful flavor profile and really rounds out overly sweet and extremely rich foods. Try adding it to the next batch of jam you make, or maybe add it to a really meaty stew for a refreshing tang. The possibilities with rhubarb are limitless, and I hope this has shed some light on an amazing plant!

-Steven Walsh, Walnut Hill College Student Leader

Read Steven’s bio


Japchae: A quick and easy side dish

Hey, everyone! This week, I really wanted to share a dish that is perfect for the summer. When it starts to get warm out, I find myself making all sorts of picnic foods to enjoy outside. I live right near Ridley Creek State Park, and whenever I have a free moment, I like to go for hikes and a quick picnic. The dishes I usually gravitate towards are ones that are especially tasty at room temperature. I like to have many options while eating, but, when I’m hiking, it isn’t always practical to bring loads of side dishes. One thing that I really like to do is make a dish that has many ingredients and can tide me over until I get back home. Stir-fries or ploughman’s lunches are always a great choice for outdoor eating. One recipe in particular that I really enjoy is called Japchae.

Japchae is a side dish from South Korea that is made up of sweet potato noodles, beef, a variety of mushrooms, and other vegetables. Especially during this time of year, when vegetables are flavorful and fresh, this dish really highlights each ingredient. I first came across this dish when I met my wife, Minju. I was amazed at how each flavor was preserved and the cooking procedure that went along with this. There is a very specific way to make Japchae, and each ingredient must be cooked separately according to its color and how long it takes to cook. This procedural cooking process, in my opinion, makes each flavor truly independent but in harmony with the others. Oftentimes, the flavor of a vegetable gets lost in the cooking process, but this does not seem to be the case with properly made Japchae.

The best Japchae I have ever had was at my wife’s family’s house in Seoul, South Korea. I was lucky enough to make a trip last August and experienced such an amazing and beautiful culture in person. I was amazed at how much care my jangmonim (mother-in-law) put into her cooking and how incredible her ingredients were. She served an enormous mixing bowl’s worth of Japchae that night, and it was accompanied by numerous side dishes and my jangin eoreun’s (father-in-law’s) homemade grape wine. I hope that you enjoy this recipe and that it shows just how versatile a handful of vegetables can really be!

Ingredients:
• 1 pound top round beef, sliced
• 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
• ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon mirin
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 large onion, julienne
• 1 cup oyster mushrooms, torn
• 1 cup fresh or rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, baton
• 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
• 350 grams dry sweet potato noodles
• 3 cups baby spinach
• 1 large carrot, julienne
• 1 red bell pepper, julienne
• 1 jalapeño pepper, ¼ moons
• Grapeseed oil or favorite high-heat cooking oil, as needed

Japchae ingredients

Procedure:
• Slice beef thinly and marinate first six ingredients for up to 24 hours. (Use only ½ the sugar and ¼ cup soy sauce for marinade.)
• Prepare vegetables and arrange so that they are separated and easily accessible.
• Set up a 12-inch sauté pan, a large mixing bowl, and a pot of boiling, salted water.
• Soak sweet potato noodles in cold water for 20 minutes.
• Blanch spinach, only so that it wilts and turns a vibrant, green color (15-30 seconds).
• Squeeze the liquid out of the spinach so that the color doesn’t run.
• At medium-high heat, cook beef, onions, garlic, and marinade in sauté pan.
• Once beef is cooked throughout, remove from pan.
• Remove remaining ingredients and sauce from pan once onions are tender.
• Add mushrooms to pan, along with enough oil to stir fry.
• Once mushrooms are cooked and pan is deglazed, remove from pan.
• Add carrots to pan with more oil, if needed.
• Remove carrots from pan once tender.
• Add red pepper to pan with more oil, if needed.
• After sweating the pepper, add the jalapeño, and cook until both are tender yet slightly crunchy.
• Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and hold.
• Transfer noodles to boiling water, and cook until tender but chewy.
• Rinse the noodles in cold water and drain.
• Add the noodles to the mixing bowl, and cut in half with scissors, if necessary.
• Add remaining sugar, toasted sesame seed oil, and soy sauce.
• With gloved hands, mix the sweet potato noodle stir-fry until combined.
• Serve immediately, or refrigerate and reheat.

A delicious stir-fry dinner ready to eat!

Some important things to note for Japchae are that the vegetables should still be slightly crunchy. As with any stir-fry, you do not want mushy, overcooked vegetables. The contrast in textures and flavors in this dish is very satisfying and is partially what makes it so great. Another tip for good Japchae is not to overcook the beef, as it will get very chewy. Finally, good temperature control in your sauté pan is essential to the outcome of this dish. You do not want to brown or add color to the vegetables. This dish is meant to be vibrant and bursting with fresh, defined colors.

This stir-fry goes really well with most foods and can also be a great side dish. In Korea, it is customary to use the wood ear and shiitake mushrooms for this dish. Wood ear mushrooms are thin and wavy black mushrooms that have a distinct but mild flavor. You can buy them dried at most Asian supermarkets. Because of the fact that it is less accessible and more expensive than other mushroom types, I like to use torn oyster mushrooms instead of the wood ear. This recipe can easily be doubled or adjusted for how many people are eating, so I hope that you enjoy it on your own or try making it for a potluck!

-Steven Walsh, Walnut Hill College Student Leader

Read Steven’s bio


Celebrate Cinco de “May-o” with these delicious mayonnaise recipes!

By Steven Walsh

Hey, everyone! My name is Steven Walsh, and you’re currently reading the new WHC Food Blog. In this, I hope to show some of the recipes and techniques that I use at home and have used in professional settings. I, as well as lots of others here, love to cook and am passionate about food. Since starting at Walnut Hill College, I’ve wanted to create a forum and blog that allows people to communicate and share the things they love. As I learn more on my culinary journey, I aim to share what I like best with everyone reading. There are few things that I am not fond of, but there is nothing that I won’t try. I’m really excited to get this started, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and comments once this takes off. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy!

This week, I wanted to share two recipes that I use a lot at home. Despite my lack of pastry experience, this is partially a post about baking! To start though, I’ll be sharing a mayonnaise recipe that completely changed my mind about mayo.

Growing up, there were no ifs, ands, or buts, I hated mayonnaise. I didn’t like the concept, and I sure didn’t like the taste. Something seemed to be bitter or rancid every time I tried it, so I stopped trying it. As all of us do, I expanded my palate as I grew up and began to tolerate mayonnaise. It still wasn’t my preference, but it seemed like an alright substitute for butter on a sandwich. This opinion of mine would be completely flipped as I started to learn more about mayonnaise. As I began my education at WHC, I was given the task many times to make mayonnaise. Each time I made it, I liked it, but there was always that background rancid flavor. I had finally had enough and started to do some research on different oils and their properties. After playing around with different ideas, to make a long story short, I began to realize that the heat tolerance and neutral flavor of the oil was what had the biggest impact on the mayonnaise’s outcome. I wanted to test this, so I used my all-time favorite high-heat cooking oil, grapeseed oil.

“Whoa.” This was all I could think after what had just happened. It was a Saturday that I had off from work, and I was playing around in the kitchen as I often do. With the thoughts of grapeseed oil still fresh in my mind, I substituted the usual canola oil with it and made my mayonnaise. As a disclosure, I have tools at home that not everyone may have access to in a home kitchen. However, these recipes are adaptable, and I will always do my best to provide alternative methods. 😊

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Procedure:

  • Add ¼ cup of grapeseed oil, egg, mustard powder, and salt into food processor.
  • Blend until smooth and pale (20-30 seconds).
  • Add remaining oil in a continuous, thin stream while still blending.
  • Once finished with the oil, add the lemon juice and blend only to combine.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as preferred.
Make your own delicious homemade mayonnaise today!

I was instantly in love with this recipe. Food processor mayonnaise is a great way to save time and energy when making mayo. I actually like to use my whisk attachment on my stick blender to make this. I add the ingredients to a blender cup and use the electric whisk instead of a food processor. This recipe is really versatile, and I love using it for different things. I use it for cakes, dipping sauces, salad dressings, and more! One of my favorite mayonnaise recipes is my double chocolate mayo cake. I use small loaf tins for baking the cake and slice the cakes for dessert with some ice cream and fresh fruit!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grapeseed oil mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels (I use Ghirardelli)

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Whisk together mayonnaise, vanilla, milk, and water.
  • Combine salt and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  • Sift flour, cocoa, and baking powder into dry ingredients.
  • Evenly mix with a dry, wooden spoon.
  • In three stages, incorporate your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Oil 4 mini loaf tins with vegetable oil.
  • Cut strips of parchment paper long enough so that they hang out of the tins.
  • Evenly pour the batter into the tins and smooth for even baking.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until a tester toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool and serve.
Double Chocolate Mayo Cake

There are so many variations that can be made to both of these recipes, and I hope you get a chance to try them out. I would love to hear feedback, and pictures of cake and mayo are obviously welcome!

-Steven Walsh, Walnut Hill College Student Leader

Read Steven’s bio


Advice for your trips to France, Florida and the Bahamas

By Katie Smith, Rachel Bland, Patrick Gendaszek, and Morgan Getler

It’s an exciting time of year for many of the Sophomore 3s… it’s time to start getting ready for your trips! These trips are unique experiences that will stay with you for the rest of your life, where you will learn insights, and visit amazing places. It is important to remember though, while you will go to dinners, wine tastings, and have free time, this is a course just as important as your lecture or kitchen classes and it should be taken seriously.

For the culinary and pastry students, in the coming months, you will be going to France. You will be visiting various regions and towns in France. The trip is considered a class, so you will be graded, but it’s also a once in a lifetime trip to explore a foreign country. You will be going on special tours that you can’t find in any travel guide. The trip is a unique opportunity to visit a foreign country.

If you’ve never traveled to a foreign country before, there are a few things to expect: For one, it’s good to know a small amount of the language. Knowing simple phrases such as good morning, good evening, thank you, and do you speak English, can make communicating easier. For the duration of the trip, you will be stopping in towns where you will have a few hours (usually 2-4), where you can walk around and explore. During this time you shouldn’t be afraid to go and walk around the town. We suggest walking around with a few other students and just wander.

Of course, this isn’t the only way to do it! During your class before the trip, you will research and learn about points of interest. It helps to go to a town with at least a vague idea of where you’d like to go, what you’d like to see, that way you don’t miss out on great sights! It also helps to be prepared in other areas, like going to the bank for currency exchange before you go, making sure you have an adapter, and double checking that you know the meetup times every day before you go off on your own.

Management students, unite and get ready for your trip to Florida and the Bahamas! As excited as you may be to be somewhere sunny and warm, it is imperative you pack appropriately. Packing can be one of the most stressful aspects of the trip; you don’t want to over pack, you don’t want to under pack, you don’t want to bring too many casual outfits, and you don’t want to bring exclusively business clothes.

A suggestion is to coordinate with a few friends and rotate pieces (blazers, skirts, shoes, etc.) in order to mix and match outfits without anyone realizing. We suggest (example, 3 friends) you each only three full business outfits and three casual outfits, obviously your own fancy dresses and suits for Victoria and Albert’s. Use your resources! Pack reasonably and enough, but do not overdo it as you will not be able to fit everything back in your suitcase. Don’t forget to leave room for souvenirs!

So when going on your trip to Florida and the Bahamas a few things are needed; for example, shorts. One of my fellow students when packing forgot shorts. This means that when we had time to walk around the very warm island, they were in a pair of khakis and spent the first hour looking for shorts before paying $50 for a pair. Do not end up like that! Pack ahead of time and double check the night before.

The thing we feel is most needed is what Dean Morrow always tells people to bring… patience and an open mind. The open mind is for trying new foods and doing new things. Do not go and do something just because someone else is. Think of the places you want to see. Try a new dish. How many times are you going to get the chance to walk around an island you have never been to before? The patience is so that you understand from time to time there will be a line and waiting. In general, the trip is amazing and we hope you enjoy it!

Rachel Bland, Student Leader

Culinary Arts, Graduating Class of July 2019

 

Morgan Getler, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Graduating Class of July 2019

 

Patrick Gendaszek, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Graduating Class of March 2019

 

Katie Smith, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of March 2020


Freshman Showcase October 2018: Advice for the first-term freshmen

By Mercy Tolbert, Omar Diaz, Kierstin Jester, and Victoria Green

I remember my Freshman Showcase very well, as it was a special and fun day. Not only did it happen to be on my 19th birthday, but I got to interact with my peers and chefs, and it was so much fun showing my family around. When our chefs and instructors told us about Freshman Showcase and we started preparing for it, I had no idea what to expect or what we were really preparing for. I kind of wish I had talked to an upperclassman about what exactly Freshman Showcase was, so that’s why Omar, Kierstin, Vicky, and I are here: to help you prepare for and know what to expect from your upcoming Freshman Showcase!

One of the first tips I can give you is to be on time. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon see that just like your classes and the rest of your life, nothing happens until you show up (on time) and apply yourself. Another tip for you guys is to make sure that your uniform is clean, neat, complete, and pressed. Your appearance is always important, but on this night, your family will be there to see what you’ve been up to at Walnut Hill College, and they’ll most likely want to take your picture. Speaking of family, at some point during the night, you’ll be allowed to leave your stations to escort your family around. This is definitely the fun part, but remember not to be gone too long. You’ll most likely be taking shifts or turns with other students who are at the same station, and they’ll want to be with their families as well. Be considerate of them. My last tip for you is to take advantage of whatever learning opportunities are presented to you on this night. For example, if you’re put in kitchen #3 with bread and you haven’t yet baked bread or been on the bread station, pay attention. You’ll learn something that you can use in Production class.

I almost forgot one more tip…HAVE FUN! Freshman Showcase happens only once, so have a great time and remember it.

Mercy Tolbert, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of July 2019

 

Hello all. With Freshman Showcase coming up, some of you might be slightly stressing over what to expect. There is no need for that. Freshman Showcase is going to be a couple of hours in one night to show and prove to your loved ones and friends how much you have accomplished since you started college back in August. Each of you is going to be assigned to a station to work, relatively pertaining to you major, while your invited guests parade through campus. So here’s some advice…GET SOME REST, because it’s going to be a long night! Just like what happened to me, most of you are going to have to go in early in the morning for Production or Market Production and have class afterward, so get some rest where you can fit it. Next, if you can avoid it, don’t bother bringing your full toolkit. A bare minimum is all you will need. And last, I know you will get excited showing your family and friends around campus. Just do your colleagues a favor and don’t be that guy or gal who gets released to show your guests around and shows back up two hours later or never at all. While the night is about you, it’s not only about you. Be a good person and keep your fellow classmates in mind.

Omar Diaz, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of March 2020

 

While the days are creeping up on you, you’ll probably see that your Freshman Showcase is coming up. You’re probably filled with nerves and are wondering what you’ll actually be doing. I’m here to tell you that the showcase isn’t as scary as it might sound. It’s a fun event where your family comes to see the work and progress you have made thus far. Each kitchen is a themed room, and it’s essentially like traveling around the world. Every room is filled with different foods and treats, leaving your family wanting to continue through. Freshman Showcase is supposed to be a fun time, and, in my opinion, it is. I have even volunteered the past two years to help out. You should come wearing a clean uniform and just prepare to have a good time. If you’re Pastry for example, you’ll be in kitchen #2 or #3 helping out with cookies or bread or even chocolate in the finishing room. Management students are mainly in the courtyard doing the really cool bananas foster demo, which is amazing, if I might add. The Culinary kids are going to spread out in the other kitchens, providing their families with sushi, pasta, dumplings, and so much more. If you’re scared about having a ton of people view you, don’t be because they’ll all be there to see the great job that you have been doing!

Kierstin Jester, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of July 2019

 

It’s just about that time everyone: Freshman Showcase! It’s the time for all of you new freshmen to show off your newly-learned skills and display what you have learned in this last term! I’m sure a lot of you remember touring the school during one of our showcases, and this may have helped you make your decision about becoming a student here at Walnut Hill College. Now, it’s your turn to be on the other side to impress not only your friends and family but also potential incoming students. At that time, you will be working in a specific area that has to do with your major, whether it be making and serving bread, greeting people on their way in, or cooking it up with the chefs during a demo. During the day, it may seem a bit nerve wracking, but just remember that even though you are working, this day is about you, too! Have fun, take a break after asking your instructor, and walk around with your family. This day isn’t just for the guests to enjoy, but for you to enjoy as well. I can’t wait to see the turn out. Good luck!

Victoria Green, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of July 2019