Sautéed Zucchini and Yellow Squash in a Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

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Ingredients:

2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ onion, thinly sliced
½ cup basil pesto (see below for basil pesto ingredients)
Salt and pepper to taste

Basil Pesto: Yield 4 cups
½ cup pine nuts
2 large bunches fresh basil leaves, washed and stemmed
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 cups olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven for 400 degrees. Roast the pine nuts on a baking sheet in the oven until golden, about 5 minutes. Place the basil in the work bowl of a food processor and begin processing. Add the garlic, then pine nuts, and continue processing. When the mixture has a grainy, paste like consistency, begin adding the oil a little at a time, continuing to process. Wait until the oil is absorbed before adding the next small amount. Add salt and pepper. When the oil is added and absorbed, add the cheese. As soon as the cheese is mixed in, stop processing; if you over process, the cheese will melt.

Wipe zucchini and squash with a damp towel. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash in half lengthwise, then cut them into 1/4″ thick slices. Heat the olive oil in the saucepan and saute the onions over medium heat until translucent. Add the sliced zucchini and squash and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the pesto and salt and pepper to taste, toss, and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and enjoy this wonderful vegetarian dish!

Tips: Place pesto in containers, seal, and label. You can use your pesto immediately after making it or store it up to 6 months in the freezer. Pesto stored in the refrigerator will last up to 1 month.


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Food For Thought Friday- The Art of Pastry

 

The art of pastry is an intricate balance of science and culinary methodology, requiring strong attention to detail to perfect. While baking pastries may seem like a daunting task to the novice chef, this week’s Food For Thought Friday offers a foundation from which to begin. The terms below inform the work of The Doe Fund’s own pastry connoisseur, the one and only Chef Pete. He is a living testament to the mastery that is possible through focus, practice, and dedication.

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Fondant Icing– Often referred to simply as fondant, it is an edible icing used to decorate or sculpt cakes and pastries. (See photo above)

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Marzipan– A sweet confection primarily made up of sugar or honey and almond meal. It is sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract. It is often colored and used to make candies or as an icing or decoration for cakes.  (See photo above)

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Ganache- A glaze, icing, sauce or filling for pastries made with chocolate and cream. It is normally made by heating cream, than pouring it over chopped chocolate or any kind. The mixture is stirred or blended until smooth with liqueurs or extracts if desired. Butter is traditionally added to give the ganache a shiny appearance and smooth texture. (See photo above)

 

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 Coulis– A form of a thick sauce made from pureed and strained vegetables or fruits. A vegetable coulis is commonly used on meat and vegetable dishes and it can also be used as a base for soups or other sauces. Fruit coulis are most often used on desserts. (See photo above)

 

 


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Food For Thought Friday- Seasoning Techniques

Seasoning techniques are indispensable in cooking. When executed properly, they offer an easy way to introduce additional flavor while adding dimension to the other ingredients in a dish. This week’s Food For Thought Friday explores a range of techniques that can be used to spice up your next meal.

Barding – The process of tying fat, typically bacon or fatback, around meat to prevent it from drying out while roasting. Often used with fowl and other lean meats, barding maintains moisture in the meat by basting the meat during cooking.

Basting – A technique in which a liquid is spooned, brushed, or squirted on food during roasting in order to add flavor and prevent drying out. Common basting liquids include meat drippings, stock, barbecue sauce, and melted butter. turkey

Bouquet GarniA small bundle of herbs used to enhance the flavor of a soup or stew that are either tied together or placed in a piece of cheesecloth. The classic combination of herbs is parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.
herbs 
BrothA flavorful liquid prepared by simmering meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables in water, often together with herbs. It can either be served as is or used as a base for soups, sauces, or braises
broth


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Food for Thought Friday- Baking Methods

This week’s edition of Food for Thought Friday explores a few essential elements of the science of baking.

Creaming – A mixing method used to blend ingredients together. This technique is often used when making buttercream, cake batter, and cookie dough.bread1

Proofing– The final rising of shaped dough prior to its being baked

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Beating – The process of rigorously mixing ingredients to thoroughly combine them and aerate the mixture.

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Curdling – The process of separating a food mixture into its component parts.

Curdled mixture with eggs

Food for Thought Friday- Sauces

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Mastering the art of cooking is a journey that transcends simply reading recipe books or learning basic culinary techniques. Our culinary arts apprentices understand the tireless effort necessary to meet this challenge. Their focus and dedication in the kitchen, the classroom, and at our many catering events enables their evolution from trainees to food service professionals.

This week’s Food for Thought Friday further explores one key component of this learning curve; the art of making sauces. For anyone looking to take their gastronomic training to the next level, the saucier techniques described below should prove invaluable.

Reduction – The process of simmering a sauce to evaporate water and increase viscosity.

Béchamel – A sauce base containing butter, flour, and milk.

Velouté – A sauce containing a base of bone or vegetable stock thickened with butter and flour.

Allemande – A veal velouté sauce thickened with egg yolks and heavy cream, and seasoned with lemon juice.

Emulsification – The temporary or permanent combining of two liquids typically unable to be mixed.

Coulis – A viscous sauce composed of puréed and stained fruits or vegetables

Food For Thought Friday- Knife Skills

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8931_complete-knife-skills-1390247104628This week’s edition of Food for Thought Friday explores the many dimensions of knife skills. Proper knife skills are critical, both to ensure safety and as a foundation for more advanced culinary methods. Below are descriptions of some introductory knife skill terms.

Dicing – The process of cutting food into small pieces, approximately 1/4th inch to 1/8th inch in size.

Cubing – The process of cutting food into small cubes, approximately ½ inch to 1 inch in size.

Mincing – The process of finely chopping food into very small pieces, a maximum 1/8th inch in size.

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Grating – The process of rubbing food against a coarse serrated surface such as a micro planer or box grater to break it down into small pieces.

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Julienne – A process of cutting produce typically potatoes, zucchini, or carrots, into long, narrow strips that are approximately 2 inches in length and 1/16th inch in diameter.

Chiffonade – A chopping technique in which herbs or leafy green vegetables are cut into long, thin strips.

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Food for Thought Friday- Culinary Methods

At the very core of our work is our Culinary Arts program, which provides hands on vocational training in the food service industry to participants of The Doe Fund’s award-winning Ready, Willing & Able program. Trainees gain a comprehensive education in the culinary arts that includes product identification, knife skills, cooking essentials, and a history of the industry.

In order to offer our readers a window into this exciting world, we are pleased to introduce Food for Thought Friday, a weekly column that will outline the culinary fundamentals taught in our program. This week, we’ll be covering few introductory techniques.

Blanching– A cooking process where vegetables are immersed in boiling water and removed after a brief interval (around 2 minutes depending on the vegetable). The food is then quickly placed into ice water or cold running water. The process effectively “shocks” or refreshes the food and helps preserve its freshness. Blanching is an especially effective method to preserve vegetables.

blanch

Steaming- A method of cooking using steam. This process works by boiling water, causing it to vaporize into steam. The heat from the steam created cooks the food, which is kept separate from the boiling water (usually in a food steamer) but has direct contact with the steam.

steamBraising- A combination method for cooking that uses both moist and dry heats. Typically, food is first seared at a high temperature, and then finished in a covered pot at a lower temperature while sitting in a liquid such as a broth or base

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Roasting- A dry heat cooking method in which hot air envelops food, cooking it evenly on all sides. For this process, temperatures of at least 300 degrees are created from an open flame, oven, or another heat source. It can also enhance flavor through caramelization and charring on the surface of the food.

roast chicken