Tag Archives: 2011

Humble pie and a little surprise

22 Aug

You might have noticed, but I have been away a couple months. The summer was quite interesting. I THOUGHT I was going to have a great internship in New York, and it almost happened too…but as usual, money was an issue. Tuition and NYC living just proved to be too expensive for me. So I delayed the internship until this winter when I would have the help of the federal government and my banking institution. So I decided I’d venture back to the Lone Star State and find a job to at least keep myself sharp for fall classes. I found a job at what was supposed to be an amazing resort nestled in the deep of Lake Conroe, just north of Houston. It started off great! Spent a few days working in the garde manger kitchen making salads and such. Then I went to the banquet kitchen and spent a few days there making food for 3, 4, 500 people at a time. Again, so far….an awesome experience. But then as fate would have it…my next appointment was working in a cabana grill, poolside (the kids pool…hahaha) with a portable flat grill and 2 deep-fat fryers where I flipped burgers and made nachos for the remainder of the summer. So much for the amazing resort experience.

But I learned something this summer about being a professional. Sure I was in the heat every day. And I’m talking HOT. It was 100+ outside without the heat of a kitchen. But every day I got up, and I shined my shoes, my pants were clean and sharp, and my jacket was ironed and clean and I flipped burgers and made nachos better than anyone in the entire resort….I don’t know why. I could have just quit…and maybe I should have but that’s just not me. That’s the job they needed done so I did it. And I did it to the best of my ability. Mmmmm. Humble pie.

But that’s over. Summer’s on it’s way out and I’m back in beautiful Providence RI. (At least till the snow comes back…bah!) The weather here is amazing right now! I’ve landed a job at Hemenway’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar, it’s really nice place near downtown where I’m working an oven & steamer station. I love the menu here and their entire philosophy of local, fresh, and seasonal seafood. It’s owned by a pretty strong restaurant group and there is a good potential for growth for me here! Assuming I can survive the winter. Or want to! HA!

School is school…I start my LAST Tri of classes is just a couple weeks! I’m excited! After that I’ve just got my internship and I’m DONE! So I’m hunting a nice one. I’d love to go to LA or New Orleans (Translated….some place warm) But if it falls through, I always have Hemenway’s so I’m in great shape there!

My culinary interests are still very broad. I can imagine they will be for many years to come. But I’ve been thinking about what I really like, the things that make me….me. I’m really loving seafood and spice and things from the south. Maybe it’s the Cajun in me…the Texan starting to stick his little head out. I’m not sure, but I’m becoming much more comfortable and adventurous in that arena.

So…now you guys are all caught up. But I promised you a surprise didn’t I? Oh alright…to the kitchen!!

It’s no secret that I take my nutrition seriously. I’m always looking to make the food I eat healthier and better for me! So today, I’ll share with you guys how I prepare one of my favorite snacks! Greek Yogurt! And we’ll even take it up a notch and use fresh peaches and even “another” notch and use a natural agave sweetener. Not my normal artificial sweetener, I know, but like I said…it’s a treat!

Let’s gather out ingredients.

First let’s get some Greek Yogurt. It’s pretty easy to make from scratch, but we’ll save that for another blog. I went with my favorite non-fat brand for my friend Amy in CA, but any yogurt is just fine.

20110822-104845.jpg

Then we need some fresh fruit! Being summer, I went with peaches, but any fruit that doesn’t have too much water in it is just fine for what we’re going to do.

20110822-105314.jpg

But the peaches themselves aren’t sweet enough for themselves AND the tangy yogurt, so we’re gonna help them along with some organic agave nectar. Splenda is fine. Hell, you could use table sugar if you like but I’m trying to keep things somewhat healthy today. 🙂

20110822-105632.jpg

Now that the hard part is done it’s time to make a syrup. Let’s start by getting the peaches peeled, pitted, sliced, and cut into small pieces. Nothing exact, roughly 1/4 to 3/8 an inch.

20110822-110435.jpg

I plan on making 6 1/2 cup servings so I’m going to use 6 tablespoons of agave nectar, you will have to play with this, just remember to adjust the calories if you count them. So, in a pot, add a cup or so (roughly 1/3 of what we prepared) of the diced peach pieces, all of the peels, and the agave nectar. Then we’ll cover it with water and let it simmer until the peaches are nice and soft. Soft enough to press through with a spoon.

20110822-111003.jpg

Now we want to get all that good peach infused liquid out of the pot. Personally I like the French press, but a china cap, strainer, salad spinner, cheese cloth, Slayer t-Shirt or coffee filter will work just the same. You can discard the peaches, they shouldn’t have too much flavor left, but might be good in a gallon of sun tea or maybe a bottle of vodka..or some homemade wine (wink, wink) Be creative!

20110822-111532.jpg

Now we have this awesome, liquidy, peach goodness. But it may, and should be, pretty thin. We need to change that so, be sure to clean the pot first…we don’t want any pulp or any burnt bits in our clean syrup, add the liquid back to the pot and let’s simmer it until its nice and thick, keep the flame low. We want tiny bubbles so we don’t scorch the sugars in the agave. This won’t take long, just let it go until it coats the back of a spoon and then a minute or two longer.

20110822-112010.jpg

We’re almost done! As soon as you turn of the flame, add the remaining peach pieces, the ones we haven’t used or snacked on yet, to the syrup. This will help cool the mixture and also soften the peaches a little. Now it’s time to line up our containers and spoon a tablespoon of our peach mixture into the bottom of each container and allow them to cool completely. It won’t hurt to put them in the fridge.

After everything is cooled off, spoon 1/2c of yogurt into each container cover and let them chill for a couple hours. If presentation is an issue, let the mixture freeze slightly before spooning in your yogurt, it will prevent the syrup from mixing with the yogurt and make for a clean presentation.

20110822-113045.jpg

That’s it! For you calorie counters, each container contains 1/2 c Greek yogurt, 1tbsp of agave nectar, and 1tbsp of peaches equaling 129.1 calories and 11.6g of protein. The more you play with it the more that will change. Be creative! Play with it! Make it your own creation, and as always send me your pictures and suggestions! Until next time.

Buon Appetito,

B