How to Remove Pin Bones from Salmon

How to Remove Pin Bones from Salmon |

Salmon is a wonderful choice for seafood beginners – both as a cook and a diner. This forgiving fish is easy on the cook because of its fat content (high fat means that it’s hard to overcook and dry out!). Salmon is easy on the diner because its flavor is rich, meaty, and not too “fishy”.

So now that we know we want salmon for dinner, how do you prepare it? One of the most important things you need to tackle is the task of removing the pin bones.

To do so, get a clear pair of needle nose pliers. Run your hand across your salmon filet to locate the bones then, using said pliers, gently yank each bone towards the head end of the fish (if you pull backwards you’ll tear the salmon flesh). The bones run in a straight line so they’re easy to find. When you’re done you’ll no longer feel them when you run your hand back over the fish.

See? No sweat!

Olive Oil Granola With Dried Apricots and Pistachios

Olive Oil Granola With Dried Apricots and Pistachios |

As promised, today we bring you part two of granola-palooza! Last week’s “First Class” Granola was all about decadent cocoa nibs and brown butter. This week, we bring you a golden sunshine olive oil version, decked out with dried apricots and pistachios. If last week’s granola was Gwen Stefani, this week’s is all Sheryl Crow.
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“First Class” Granola

"First Class" Granola |

Back to school season means hurried mornings, but we still try to make time for breakfast…especially when it’s as delicious as this granola.

Granola in particular reminds us of the start of a new school year because it is one of the first things our new pastry students learn to make. They experiment with all sorts of mix-ins – dried fruit, nuts, and seeds, among other tasty tidbits – and do taste tests using different kinds of fats and sweeteners. Each class inevitably comes up with their own signature flavor.

So, because there is no such thing as too much granola, this is going to be a two part series. The first granola recipe we’re sharing is this “First Class” Granola, created by our very first pastry class.
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Today’s Special: Heather Ho’s Almond Cake

Nicole Plue, Director of Pastry Arts | Today’s Special is penned by Nicole Plue, director of pastry arts here at SFCS. Each student that goes through our pastry program has the good fortune of learning from Nicole and the talented guest chef instructors they’re exposed to here. With each lesson, our pastry students amass a repertoire of tried and true recipes and techniques from the industry’s best – an invaluable asset to bring with them wherever they go.

The passing down of recipes from chef to chef, friend to friend, mentor to mentee, is a fascinating ritual. Anthropologically, it is one of the most treasured gifts that can be passed from person to person – the sharing of knowledge and nourishment, and delight. All great recipes have a story, a history, that keeps building on itself the more it is passed on and enjoyed.

Today on this day of remembrance, Nicole shares the story behind Heather Ho’s Almond Cake – a buttery, almond-filled slice of heaven. This cake consistently ranks among the favorites from class to class. We think Heather would be pleased.


Today’s Special: Heather Ho’s Almond Cake |

One of my favorite things about teaching the professional pastry program is passing along great recipes. I want to send our students off with a ready-to-go repertoire of delicious dishes, relevant techniques and the know-how to get consistently excellent results.

During the weeks we focus on cakes, we make the classics: genoise and biscuit, madeleines and financier. We also make some destined to be classics, like beet and sesame sponges, formulas contributed by our Dean, Lincoln Carson. And then there’s one block of recipes I pass along that only have this in common: cakes I have made again and again and again as part of my plated dessert repertoire.

Today’s Special: Heather Ho’s Almond Cake |

If you ask the students, one of their favorites is a lovely almond cake, moist with almond paste and butter, just sweet enough and topped with a crust of toasted almond slices. I got the recipe from my assistant at Eleven Madison Park and she got the recipe from Heather Ho.
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How to Make Brown Butter

Brown Butter 101 |

Oh, brown butter, the root of all things good. For those who are familiar with this magical golden elixir, you know what I’m talking about. For those who don’t, your life is about to change.

What exactly is brown butter?
Brown butter happens when regular butter is heated until the butterfat and milk solids separate, and those milk solids begin to brown.

What kind of cooking vessel should I use?
A stainless steel sauté pan works best because it allows you to clearly see the changes in color as the butter transforms, whereas a dark surfaced or non-stick pan make this difficult to do. We prefer using a sauté pan versus a saucepan, due to the extra surface area – this allows the butter to brown more quickly.

How do you know when the brown butter is done?
One of the first things our professional culinary students do in class is burn butter. You heard that right: they burn butter, on purpose.
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Shrimp Cobb Salad

Shrimp Cobb Salad |

Last week we showed you how to peel and devein shrimp and how to blanch veggies, now let’s make something delicious with those skills!

This Shrimp Cobb Salad swaps out the typical (read: kinda boring) grilled chicken breast for sweet, succulent shrimp. Here’s the secret to particularly flavorful shrimp: poach it in a quick aromatic broth infused with celery, onion, thyme, and freshly ground black pepper. (There, now you know all our secrets.)

Add that shrimp to the mix of textures and flavors of a classic cobb, and you’ve got one satisfying salad.
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Restaurant Week: Summer 2014 [GALLERY]

Restaurant Week: Summer 2014 [GALLERY] |

Both our part-time and full-time culinary arts students wrapped up their in-classroom portion of the program with a bang last week, bringing their favorite class dishes to life during Restaurant Week.

We’re so proud of what they’ve accomplished and wish them the best of luck on their externships! Work hard, work fast, and learn lots!

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How to Blanch Vegetables…Easy as 1, 2, 3

How to Blanch Vegetables |

Blanching vegetables is literally as easy as boiling water. It’s key in preparing vegetables like green beans or asparagus when you want to get them tender-crisp and vibrantly colored. Here’s how you do it:

1) Boil a pot of water. Make sure your water is well salted – it should taste like the sea. Seasoning your cooking water will bring out the flavor of the veggies as they cook.
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How to Peel and Devein Shrimp in 3 Steps

How to Peel and Devein Shrimp |

Cleaning your own shrimp may seem like a taxing chore, but with this method you can get through a bag of shrimp in no time. Plus, you’ll cut your food cost by buying your shrimp shell-on.

1. Turn the shrimp legs-side up and split the shell under the tail. Grabbing the shell where it split, pull it away from the meat (discard the tail if desired).

2. Using a small sharp knife, gently cut a slit across the top side of the shrimp.
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