Official Liaison College Blog

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Battle of the Bulge

The raging war for size supremacy is well underway as Chef Steve, not to be outdone by Chef Vince, has entered his specimen in the Zucchini Showdown of 2013.  It would appear that bragging rights for super sized summer squash is not easily won or even definitive.

Since Chef Vince laid his over-sized green giant on the prep table, Chef Steve wondered aloud if his garden variety gourd was worthy.  Game on.

 The students in Brampton, however, had a twisted take on the Zucchini Wars.

These poor, helpless veggies were tormented before they met their fate.

They came to an unfortunate end in one sense.  Yet, all was not lost:

We are delighted to be the official taste testing team!
(I wish!)

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Courgette is by any other name just a Zucchini

The zucchini or courgette is a summer squash which can reach nearly a meter in length, but which is usually harvested at half that size or less. Along with certain other squashes, it belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo.  Thank you Wikipedia

I was recently introduced to a very large specimen - of Zucchini that is - home grown by Chef Vince.  Apparently this was not his biggest, but he brought it to Liaison College Barrie to share with his class.  I extended a bit of a challenge (make something delicious from this humble beast) and Chef Vince accepted without hesitation.  Mainly since the "gourd head" didn't make a great student?

So the students bid their friend adieu and considered the tasty results.
I offered a tried and true recipe from my collection for the class to try.  It's a moist and flavourful zucchini bread that can also do double duty as a muffin.  First thing in the mise en place process is to gather the ingredients.  How much zucchini did they actually have to work with?
The colossal specimen was weighed and measured.  There was a lot to work with.  Strategies began to formulate.
And then the manual labour began.
But the results were amazing!
Tempted?  Try the recipe!
Zucchini Bread Recipe
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated fresh zucchini
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
1              Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter two 5 by 9 inch loaf pans.
2              In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter.
3              Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and stir it in. Add the flour, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg over the batter and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins if using.
4              Divide the batter equally between the loaf pans. Bake for 55 minutes (check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.
Yield: Makes 2 loaves.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's EPIC!!

That's a word in the common jargon of today's youth:  EPIC - it generally means outstanding or great.  But in the case of EPIC Burger it might mean a colossal case of food borne illness. 

Every year the "EX" attracts foodies to see what gastronomically outrageous food items will be on hand for sampling.  And this year's big ticket item is the Cronut Burger featured by EPIC Burger.

Ben Mulroney was even on site and helped to make one of these king size artery cloggers; after taking just a bite he declared it to be tasty and the leftover "buns" that he took back to the staff at his studio thought it was very good, too.

So what is a Cronut Burger??  having never had the pleasure, I have to base my analysis on other people's views:
  • a combination of croissant/donut cut in half makes up the "bun"
  • the burger is a large size cheeseburger with bacon
  • once assembled, burger gets dusted with sugar

So while some have thoroughly enjoyed their Cronut Burger experience, others, as reported last night took ill and some were even hospitalized.  Today, according to reports, the EPIC Burger stand at The Ex was closed down by health officials looking for a culprit.  The internet is all abuzz with burger badmouthing today!

Having taught the Food Safety workshops a few times, narrowing down the cause of illness may be difficult unless the micro-organisms are there to be found.  It could be something as otherwise inconspicuous as a dirty wiping cloth or utensil that was left in the warm air and allowed germs to multiply. 

Anyone who has ever had food poisoning knows that it's no fun.  Luckily it usually lasts only a day or two.