I get to spend 12 weeks out here in sunny California working on the Culinary Institute's farm and then spend the weekend working in The Conservatory, our restaurant on campus. For the first six weeks of this semester I have been in the front of the house serving our guests. Now for the last 6 weeks of the semester my group gets the chance to spend the remainder of our time in the kitchen. While we are in the kitchen we get to develop the menu each weekend and we rotate through the different stations. Currently we are on week three and so far I have done pasta, dessert, and main. Here is what my dishes were for each station!
Squid Ink Red Kuri Squash Puree filled Tortellini, Saffron Uni Crema, Creme Fraiche Espuma, and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Since our first week was Halloween weekend we decided that we would have some of our dishes be Halloween themed. So I thought the black squid ink and the yellowish/orange tinge of the saffron uni crema would be perfect for this "spooky" menu!
Persimmon Cake, Cheesecake Ice Cream, Cajeta Sauce, and Pulled Chocolate.
Takeaway: Cinnamon Jujube Bread
On the dessert station we utilized the numerous persimmons that we have growing on campus and showcase them in a dessert. The cheesecake ice cream was the perfect complement to the spiced persimmon cake. Those on dessert station get to make the takeaways that guests get as a gift when they leave the restaurant. That weekend we made a buttermilk cinnamon bread with jujubes that we harvested from the various trees on the campus.
Buttermilk Fried Quail, Butternut Squash Puree, Carrot/Fennel/Purslane Slaw, Seneca Blue Cornbread, and Bourbon Maple Glaze
We got some beautiful fresh quail from a local farmer so I thought what a better way to showcase this beautiful protein by doing a take on the ultimate comfort meal; fried food! We let the quail brine overnight in buttermilk to tenderize it and make it as flavorful as possible. Then we dredged it in a spicy flour mixture and fried it in cast iron pans. The best part of the whole dish was the cornbread and the bourbon sauce. The cornbread was this beautiful blue color from the Seneca Blue corn which is an ancient and rare corn that we grew on the farm. The sauce was the perfect amount of sweetness that balanced the spicy and tangy from the quail and the slaw. Overall, it was a fantastic and flavorful dish!
Check out the photos of the dishes below in the gallery!!
These last nine weeks have gone by so fast but I am learning so much and enjoying a lot of fresh and delicious food! Looking forward to my last few weeks here!