About Me

My photo
I am a student currently attending the California School of Culinary Arts Le Cordon Bleu Program in Pasadena, CA. I love to cook and I love to eat and I love to entertain... Next step is to graduate and open a place I can call my own... to entertain and serve YOU!

View of Fire from Pasadena

View of Fire from Pasadena
My thoughts go out to the families and firemen affected by the fire!

Tony in Uniform

Tony in Uniform
Fat and Happy Chef to be

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sorry to my followers.....

So here is the Pear Tart along with Chocolate Chip Cookies and Linzer Cookies

This is a close up of my Pear Tart

This is my fresh fruit tart - I am pretty proud of this one!

This is the whole kitten caboodle from Friday night - the frown changing day if you will!
You can see the tart along with my Palmiers Cookies (aka Elephant Ears) and some danishes that I made filled with fruit filling and in the top right hand corner you will see my Brie en Croute - but those that have had my brie know that mine is usually better than the one on this table. But do notice the "R" on the sheet! Thanks to David, I may be placing those "R" cut outs on my brie when I open Bistro R! Keep your eyes open for those!


Hello all! I am sorry I have not written in a few days. Some baking frustration and some school frustration just kind of killed my desire to write on my blog. Things have changed and worked out for the best so I am BACK!!!!

Those of you that know me well know that I am not one to share when things are not going that great. I had some personal frustrations that seemed to put me in a place that was not so positive and I didn't want to turn this into a "bitch" board... so, I waited until I turned my frown upside down and put on a happy face! I hate to say it but I think my fruit tart helped make things fun again!

On Friday of last week I learned to make a fresh fruit tart. I was amazed at how it turned out. Sometimes I feel that my creativity is lacking and then out of no where.... BAM! I come up with something pretty! We made the shell and then sealed it with chocolate (yum) and then filled it with a custard and layered beautiful fresh fruit on top. Once the layout was done we glazed it with a peach sauce made for shine and beauty. My first thought was to shilaack the thing and keep it for a display piece on my table but then I thought better of it and shared it with family. Side note - my Aunt called and told me I must have stopped at Gelsons to purchase this thing because it tasted so good and it was so beautiful. I love her for that!

Tonight, I took a test to start off the class and I really feel like I earned 100% on this one. That should make up for the last one so I will let you know my grade tomorrow. After our test, we made a Pear Frangipane Tart, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Linzer Window Cookies and Linzer Jewel Cookies. These were ALL fun and fairly easy. I am looking forward to the holidays so that I can gift FOOD this year! LOL

Anyways, check out the pics and I am sorry I took a leave but know I am back and looking forward to sharing some more!

Cheers and Bon Appetit!

PS... I saw Julie and Julia again this weekend with Drew B Doo and I just love that film!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Baking + Tony = NO NO..... but wait!!!

Me, Olga and Paul with my pizza.

My pizza... pepperoni, cheese and fresh mushrooms.

Pan de Mie - Bread in a box!

I am liking this baking thing. I just can't believe I haven't burned everything in my path so far. One thing I like about baking is that it isn't as stressful as the culinary part of cooking. Things have to cook for as long as they have to cook and it takes it time to rise and all that so it is more relaxing and therapeutic because you get to "punch" the dough which helps make this class more enjoyable.

Last night we made Pan de Mie, Pizzas, and we started our Brioche. Of course as you all know or would guess, my favorite was the pizza. I made a rectangular pizza with fresh mushrooms, cheese and pepperonis. It was delish! In fact it was good enough that I am enjoying the leftovers for lunch today.

The Pan de Mie was interesting. I am not sure when I would have had this dish in the past but I thought the process was interesting and the flavor was pretty good. It is a bread that you bake in a special box that has a lid. You want the dough to rise to a point that the bread has four squared edges when it has cooked properly. I did not let mine proof long enough because it came out like a loaf instead of a square. The flavor was great though. I am not sure when I would make this and serve it but it was good.

The brioche should be fun to finish today. I will have to update you on that one. Overall this class has been way more interesting and fun for me than I would have thought. I never thought I would enjoy baking and here I am planning out how I am going to make these homemade breads for dinner parties and holidays and such. We will have to see how I do there!

Well everyone! I hope you are having a great day and I will leave word after class tonight.

Cheers and Bon Appetit!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Some final shots from Intro to Culinary

You may all laugh at me but I just figured out how to post photos in a much easier way so here are some photos from the last day of Intro to Culinary Class... Enjoy!

Cheers and Bon Appetit!


This is our class on the last day of Intro to Culinary

This is my Cream of Broccoli Soup that we created in our final exam

This is what Consomme looks like after you strain it through a chinois.

These are the ingredients for Consomme prior to adding the chicken stock for cooking.

This is cold potato soup that we made during our last week of Intro to Culinary.

It's all about Baking now! Day 2

Hello all! I am back! I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Well, I started my intro to baking and pastry class and boy is this different than the intro to culinary class. First off it is about BAKING.... not really my forte! I can burn anything you put in front of me and really I prefer cookie dough to waiting for the finished product... That should tell you where I stand here.

All kidding aside though, I think this may be pretty darn fun! We made bread today and let me just tell you if I keep making bread the gym isn't going to be open enough hours in the day to take care of my fat ass!

We made French Baquettes, Whole Wheat Rolls with a Honey Wash and a bread known as EPI which literally translates to a stalk of wheat. When creating the EPI you simply take a roll of baguette dough and you cut it and form it into the shape of a wheat stalk. You bake it and it comes out as a bread that you can pull apart to eat. The presentation seems like it would be very fun for a Thanksgiving feast. You can put it on the table warm and let it be passed around while it looks pretty too!

I have attached a photo of all the breads so be sure to take a look.

Our class has increased in size and that is a little rough because we are not at all used to the amount of bodies running around trying to weigh out ingredients and use proofing machines and ovens and cooling racks and cleaning up. Tensions ran a little higher than usual! There are now 33 of us in the class. As you may remember, Intro to Culinary only had 12 people in it so it was much more hands on. This class they have combined HRM Students and Culinary Students so it is one body after the next. We shall make it through this though.

The Chef is really cool! He is pretty hardcore but he has been there and done that more than once. In fact, he has cooked for two US Presidents (while in office) and he has cooked for royalty and he was even at one point an executive chef for Ritz Carlton - and that is a pretty big deal. This guy ROCKS!

Well folks... I will write more tomorrow and keep you up to date!

Have a great night. Cheers and Bon Appetit!


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Final Day of Intro to Culinary

Today marks the end of the three weeks of our Intro to Culinary class. I am kind of sad but kind of relieved as well. We had our final exam today which was again in three parts. Written, knife cuts, and practical! I thought I had bombed this test! I felt out of sorts when cooking and for some reason I felt like all my cuts were off and then the written????... Well, that was a disaster, right?


I got my grades back tonight and my written was an 87%, knife cuts were a 92% and my practical grades were 90%, 83% and 100% (we had to make three dishes). Over all I got a 91% on today's test which gave me a 94.4% in the class. I am very pleased with my grade. I worked pretty hard to get that so I feel it is well earned!

On the test we had to make Chicken Consomme, Ravioli with Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce and our mystery dish was Cream of Broccoli Soup. We had never made or seen the broccoli soup made during our week so it was purely guesswork! I thought my soup was too thin but I got a 90% so I am happy about that. The ravioli dish was the hardest. I did fine constructing the ravioli and the filling but the sauce is hard for me. Part of it may be my hatred for sun dried tomatoes but my dish was edible.

I have to tell you all, Raviolis are pretty fun to make! I think I could make all kinds of designs and shapes with the ricotta and parmesan filling and put any other kind of sauce on it and have people enjoy it. I may need to buy a pasta crank machine. We will have to see how much I like this. I can see holiday appetizers and party food and all that with home made raviolis.

I have tons of recipes that I can share or give advice on so any of you reading this blog that want to know how to make something please email me at TRASMSN@aol.com and I will type up and send you the recipes you want.

Next week is Intro to Baking so stay tuned for what is going on there! Hopefully tons of sweets baby! Have a great labor day weekend and I will blog if anything interesting comes up. Till then, Cheers and Bon Appetit!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 14 of Intro to Culinary

Hello all... Here I am on the last day of adventure for Intro to Culinary. We have our final exam tomorrow and then we are off to Intro to Baking on Tuesday 9/9/09.

I will update you all tomorrow!

Cheers and Bon Appetit!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 13 of Week Three in Intro to Culinary

Holy Cow Folks!!! Today kicked my toosh. We only had three dishes but if you looked at our trays you would have thought we were cooking for 12. It was amazing the items we did. In fact it was so much work that I didn't even complete all of the dishes if you can imagine that. This was a first for me. I always finish with some time to spare but tonight to me to a new level.

Chef told us this would be the hardest week and boy was he right. We did Potage Parmentier, Pasta Carbonara and Hand Made Cheese Ravioli with a Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce.

Potage Parmentier is basically a potato, onion and leek soup that is blended and seasoned with a wonderful potato flavor to it. I really enjoyed it. The Pasta Carbonara is just that... it is a cream sauce with pancetta in it to give it a creamy fatty flavor that goes perfectly on all kinds of pasta. Tonight we used spaghetti shaped pasta. Then we made our own hand made raviolis stuffed with ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese along with some herbs. We actually rolled and then cut out the ravioli shapes and cooked those. We mixed those in with a very complex Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce which was actually pretty good I must admit even though I can not stand sun dried tomatoes. For some reason they make me sick just imagining the flavor!

I was pretty excited about the ravioli. Making home made pasta is fun but boy do you wish for someone to clean up after you when you make the huge pasta makin' mess that you do when you make these pastas. The mess just isn't my favorite part. If I could cook up a storm, make a huge old mess and then walk away and enjoy the evening while someone else cleaned... I would be in heaven!

Our class seemed to work better together tonight as well. I guess the stern talking to from the Chef last night helped get everyone on track. Thank goodness.

Well, I am exhausted so I am off to get some rest!

Cheers and Bon Appetit!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

13 Followers.... Yeah Baby!

Just wanted to note and thank all of you for being such good friends and for following me! If you want to pass this on to more folks please feel free! I would love to see this thing grow into a Julie and Julia thingy! What fun! :)

Cheers all!


Day 12 - Week 3

Well, here we are in the final week of Intro to Culinary! I have completed two tests and I have made tons of fun dishes. I have only gotten one injury - that tiny little burn that made me cry like a girl and of course the tomato stains that I actually got out of my uniform thanks to some help from my Mom and some advice from my dear friend Carolyn. I am tired and worn out but I have learned so much about this crazy world of cooking that I love so much.

As far as our test yesterday, I feel like I did pretty well on the written and the knife cuts. For some reason though when I got to the cooking portion of the test, I couldn't have ordered more issues with my cooking! LOL First of all, we did have to do Pommes Anna and I practiced that over the weekend three times so I was R-E-A-D-Y! What happens? Somehow I burned it into the pan - not once but twice. I ran out of time and had to do what I could to present it to the Chef. He did say that it wasn't my worst dish but it sure wasn't my best dish. I know I never went under a B range on the production end of the test though so Woo Whoo! I will share my grade as soon as I get it!

Tonight was fun though! I got to make Hand Made Pasta Dough, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Fettuccini with Marinara Sauce, and Risotto con Fungi. As much as I was not into the idea of the mess with the pasta, I had a blast with it. I kind of felt like a kid again because we had a mess and a half going! The pasta came out really fresh and good though and I want a pasta maker now! I know I will never do it at home though so I guess I should save that cash! And those of you who know me well know that I don't like to have my hands dirty with flour and egg and all that... I know it is funny but it is me!

The Cream of Mushroom Soup was DEEEELish! It was probably my favorite dish tonight. I love mushrooms so it was oh so much fun! We used button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and crimini mushrooms. All had wonderful flavor and when mixed with the velute sauce and the heavy cream.... well, you can just imagine the taste! WOW!

The pasta sauces were great because they had garlic! You all know my love affair with garlic I hope. YOU CAN NEVER EVER HAVE TOO MUCH GARLIC! That is my motto! The garlic and the onion and the fresh tomato made a magnificent marinara sauce. The alfredo was pretty darn good too with the garlic and freshly grated parmesan cheese. What can I say but YUM!

This week is going to be a crazy week because we only have two days of cooking and then on Friday we have our final exam. So be prepared to read about a lot of fun things. Hopefully I can come up with some pointers for some of you!

Cheers and Bon Appetit! Be well



Tony, Nigel and Chef