Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Please excuse the lack of posting. Currently in the Wines class at school and its taking up every free moment in the day.

I will be posting the results of the chili cook-off in the next couple days when I get a free moment.

For now, need to fill my head with more wines information.

If you hear a loud POP that would be my head exploding.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I Didn't Know it Was Christmas Yet..

Many thanks to Mr. Tyrone Barton for "lending" me his copy of "The Devil in The Kitchen".

On behalf of poor starving culinary students everywhere I thank you sir!

Now if I could just get a moments peace to start reading it.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Where do they get those wonderful toys?!...

Thanks to Bob for the distraction from studying wines in the form of an automated milking machine!

I know there is nothing new to milking machines...but how bout one that does Step A all the way to Step Z?

What really gets me about the system is the cows come in and out as they please (At least that is my understanding of  it).

Here's a clip for all the food (and science) g33ks out there:

While watching the whole process I noticed how very at ease the animal seemed with the process. Cows already seem lethargic to me, but if you have ever seen one trying to be "escorted" into a confined area you know they can get pretty wild.

I'm really interested in getting over to the farm at some point in the near future to visit and possibly get some samples of their product.

For anyone interested its Hendricks Dairy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Confessions of a (Not so much)Food Purist

I had not even given it any thought till this afternoon. People throw around the word "purist" all the time around here, most of the time its in relation to those who preach from a soapbox.

I never considered myself a Food Purist per say. If I ad my choice between using something packaged or fresh from the ground I would be all over the fresh stuff in a heartbeat, no question there. But to think of myself as preaching on a soapbox about purist ideas and ideals was a thought that never crossed my mind..till today.

Now, I want to make it clear I will not go all preachy about purist ideals here. I may sound off from time to time sounding like one (I know I have in the past) but I refuse to bash the whole of modern society for functioning. Honestly, Id prefer if it did not function the way it does in regards to food.. but the most I can do is offer suggestions, recipes, and ideas to try to counter our dependence of "Convenience Foods".

I was sitting in the schools cafe eating my margarita pizza (Which is really not bad at all I must say) browsing the latest issue of Food Product Design when it struck me. I think the moment it struck me was when I was reading about the award they gave to Michigan State University during the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo for "creating a new food idea and develops the concept through marketing and production". The product developed was "Chicken Noodle Bites, a microwavable snack based on a whole-grain pasta shell stuffed with ground chicken and vegetables."

I stopped reading and looked around for a second, looked back down and read it, then almost shivered as a voice in my head said "What the F....".

I proceeded to browse the advertisements of the magazine and realized how much artificial flavorings and tastes we are creating in the R&D sector.

I had the sudden urge to run outside, dig a carrot up from the ground and gobble it down, dirt and all.

I wonder if all Food Purists go through the same process?.. regardless I make my bed in the camp that believes that we should eat healthier, rely less on additives, and strive for a better relationship with our land and our surroundings.

If the purists mail me a soapbox..would it be rude to Return To Sender?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chili Cookoff: Gauntlet Thrown

Well its official.

"Off the Wagon" has been selected for one of the twelve finalists in the Culinary Institutes of America's annual Chili Cookoff.

We're both very excited and anxious to get out on the field next Sunday to make some good chili.

We had a very small test run this evening at a fellow students place and we are, to say the least, very content with the results.

Texture of the meat was dare I say perfect. It fell apart in your mouth while holding its shape in the pot and during service. The consistency was just a little loose, but nothing a small amount more cooking time wouldn't solve. The color was spot on, deep dark brown with a hint of red.

The choice to use adobo sauce to finish was a great idea. The aroma was enticing to the senses while not overpowering. An hour or so after eating the chili I got the wonderful taste of it in my mouth with the chipotle peppers showing up even till the end.

Sadly no camera was on hand to document the event, but with a promise there will be PLENTY of photos come Sunday.

For anyone interested the event will be the 23rd and open tasting starts at 1:30 PM.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Minute to Remember...

In my hustle and bustle starting Wines class this week I failed to take a moment to post on a subject that has not gotten much attention in light of the bigger event.

Sept 11th saw America defaced and shook to its core just 6 years ago, but one of the greatest losses of that day to the culinary world doesn't seem to get mentioned very often.

When the North Tower collapsed that day it took with it one of the best and most respected restaurants in the world;

Windows on the World.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThis is a photo of one of only two surviving Windows employees on that day. Her name is Beatriz Susana Genoves and she was a greeter for the restaurant who was stationed on the 78th floor to welcome guests and direct them to a second elevator that would take them to the 106th floor, where the restaurant was located.

This is a brief account of her experience:

"I had been working since 7 o'clock. Everything was fine. Then I felt a big explosion. Smoke filled the air. I saw a woman come out of the smoke. She said, "Oh my God, I'm burned, I'm burned."

A man told me, "Here are the stairs, take the stairs. " and I went down. It was so hot in there. So many people were trying to get down, it was really slow. Somebody said, "Stay against the wall. Just one line down, so the firemen can go up."

I had my walkie-talkie in my hand. I hear a man, upstairs on the 106th floor say, "Please help us." I heard his voice, but there was nothing I could do."

Lost in this horrific event were 73 restaurant staff members and 16 waiters.

My heart goes to the families and loved ones of those lost and hope that in the time that has passed their grief has eased.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Windows on the World Restaurant 1976-Sept 11 2006

Photo by Dan Heller

Come Home to...

Find "The Hotdog" on.. the History Channel.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Great Debate: Cuisine Conclusion

After keeping the poll open an extra two days because of a seeming lax in voting on the subject its finally brought to a close.

Out of the 6 votes its tied dead even with 3 for "Yes" and 3 for "No".

I'm slightly disappointed in the votes and lack of responses/comments to this question as I was thinking that this is a serious culinary issue.

It dawned on me that perhaps we all view the idea of "Cuisine" quite differently, leading us to believe if it really is dying out.

I spent some time over the course of the vote to discuss the idea of cuisine with a few friends, fellow students, and chefs. It would seem allot of the younger generation doesn't seem to understand what exactly Cuisine is. When I asked some of the chef instructors for their view on the subject the answers were varied, but all had a good idea of what exactly what Cuisine really is.

I asked one student, one I did not know personally and in passing, their opinion and thoughts and the response was something like this:

"Well yeah, cuisine in America is alive and flourishing! I mean you've got Italian, Chinese, French.. you know all that stuff."

There are two fundamental things wrong that I see in this response. First, and foremost prevalent, the student in question saw Italian, Chinese, and French as all there was to cuisine. The area, no more so the style, of the food seemed to be what dictated cuisine to him. Secondly, all these are not American.

While America is a "melting pot" of cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles to say our cuisine is defined by styles from places around the world is a mistake.

That statement alone leads to another great point in this debate. Does America even have a Cuisine?

I believe the answer is a resounding DUH!, but what exactly it is seems to be fading further and further away. Awash in a sea of fast food, 30 minute meals, and commercialized convenience.

I hope that America awakens to the reality that we tread dreadfully close to losing one of the most profound aspects of a unique culture, Our Food Heritage.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Dont Know What to Make of This

I saw this:


and I just don't know what to think.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Great Debate: Cuisine Cont.

If there is any question about the different aspects of the decline of "Cuisine", then let Bob del Grosso's latest post be a wake up call.

What he speaks of is one of the biggest part of the decline of Cuisine in this country. We do not heed our history, and the history of those who brought us great food for countless years.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Great Debate: The End of Cuisine as We Know it?

For thousands of years humans have developed the style in which we lead our lives. Its ever changing, constantly adapting, sometimes falling backwards as our ideals, feelings, and lifestyles change.

Food is no different.

Since the rise of the first civilizations on the planet we've been adapting and changing the way we view food, cook food, and the social interaction of food.

The dictionary defines Cuisine as:


1. a style or quality of cooking; cookery: Italian cuisine; This restaurant has an excellent cuisine.

2. Archaic. the kitchen or culinary department of a house, hotel, etc.

While in a literal sense this is correct, there is so much more to cuisine. Geography, Terrior, Social Interaction, Religion, and Availability/Trade/Commerce all pay huge rolls in what makes cuisine.

Since the dawn of restaurants we've defined cuisine as what Chefs are making, what's hot and not, and what people are willing to eat. Gone idle by the intervention of interstate commerce, refrigeration, and preservation Cuisine has adapted and changed to fit our day to day needs.

Now on the preverbal twilight of Haute Cuisine, and the rise of the Fast Food Nations we stand at a very frightening time in Cuisines torrid history..

So my question to you is this.

Do you think Cuisine is dying out?

Do you think the ideal of Cuisine being strongly tied to the land, the environment in which we live and obtain our basic animal needs is giving way to something new, something different?

Poll added to the sidebar, Feel free to comment and vote!

Alot of people seem to be voting No to the question, please leave a comment as to why your voting yes or no.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Chili Cookoff Recipe

Well, The recipe has been submitted and now we await word if it qualifies for competition.

I did allot of reading up on different award winning chili's and comparing and contrasting them under a microscope for a couple of days over the weekend.

It took a little more research into traditional chili and the have/have not's of really good traditional chili to come to a conclusion. 

After talking with my roommate about what we wanted to accomplish we set to brainstorming and come up with this:     Keep in mind this is only a basis for what we want to do. It'll be tweaked and refined over the coming weeks if we get accepted


“Off The Wagon” Chili
Developed by:
 Stephen Carter
Dominic Joseph


15# Beef Chuck, Cubed
5# Pork Butt, Cubed
1 T Veg Oil
1.5 oz Garlic, minced
5 # onion, medium diced
3 ea Dried Ancho Chilies, Diced
3 ea Dried  Pasilla Chilies, Diced
1 can Chipotle Chilies, Diced (Reserve Adobo Sauce)
Bourbon, To Deglaze
Cumin, TT
Ancho Powder, TT
Black Pepper, TT
Salt, TT
Dried Oregano, TT
1.25 Gallon Beef Broth
5 oz Onion, Chopped
4 oz Carrot, Chopped
4 oz Celery, Chopped
1 ea Dried Ancho Chili
1.50 gal water
1 # Roasted Beef Bone
4 # Beef Chuck


Day Before:
-Cut meat into uniform cubes.
-Mix together dry spices.
-Make reduction of two cup Bourbon, chill.
-Mix dry spices with Bourbon reduction and rub onto meat.
-Hold, covered in fridge overnight.

-Prepare Broth, Chill and hold for next day

Day of:
-Heat Veg oil in large pot.
-Sear off meat in batches, making sure to get good browning on all sides. Drain excess fat.
-Keep roughly 1-2 T fat in pot and on low flame slowly sweat onions, garlic, Ancho, and Pasilla chilies.
-Deglaze pot with Bourbon, reduce.
-Return meat to pot, cover with Broth.
-Add diced Chipotle
- Allow to reduce slowly, adding broth as needed over the course of cooking time.
- Adjust seasoning with dried spices, salt, and black pepper.
-To finish add reserved adobo  for added flavor.


Id like to give special thanks to Gary Allen for his feedback and suggestions. They made a big difference in the choices we made for this recipe.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Shoutout Sundays: Recipe Edition

Normally I do Shoutout Sundays in reference to other blogs that may not be as known or offbeat. But tonight while enjoying the absolutely AMAZING weather I almost forgot to do this weeks segment!

I scurried around looking for a site to plug when I stumbled back onto Farmgirl Fare and noticed an amazing looking and sounding recipe for veggie tacos and cabbage slaw.

I think I’ve mentioned this site before but checking out the post is everything I love about it. Great pics (Man I want to reach through the screen and grab one of those tacos so bad right now) and well informed information lend me to love this site more and more.

I also should say that I’ve been digging around Leites Culinaria's recipe section as well.

So check them out!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Happy 1/2 Bday

A friend and co-operator of CriticalHits.com contacted me the other day to point out that he noticed this blog was "Doing well". Earlier I discussed the best place to track traffic on the site and he suggested Google Analytics, saying they were using it and were having some amount of happiness with it.

At the start of this month I signed up and started tracking and have been, well, very pleasantly surprised by the results. One of the most exciting aspects is seeing exactly where people are visiting from.

So a quick Hello/Bon Jour/Willkommen/G'day/Buenos Tardes to my friends across the globe who stop by to visit, glad to have you!

One of the other great aspects of seeing where people visit from is seeing the areas that have the most visits:

New York
Texas (Really?!)

I know I’m probably sounding a little off when I say it, but I’m excited to see all the repeat traffic from these locations. This will also give me a good standpoint on topics I could post relative to the areas viewing such as news, updates, happenings and the like.

But also it being the first of September this means:

The Foodist blog is 6 months old! *pops streamers and releases balloons*

We're getting basic motor skills down and starting to crawl so here’s to another good 6 months and thank you all for reading and participating!

Polls are Closed.

Well the results from my poll are in. Seems most (40%/6 votes) of you decided that if you were to look at a resume youd pick the person with more job experience.

Culinary School education came in very close (33%/5 votes) and a larger majority then expected (26%/4 votes) decided that they didnt see a difference.

By the comments to the Debate Post relating to this poll I would have to say the majority would want a good mix of both.

It came to light that I should have been more specific when I said "Job experience", and what I meant was job experience equal to that of a culinary school grad. In otherwords both bottom rung.

What I was hoping to see was how the general public saw culinary grads. Are we just a bunch of pompus rich boys/girls who were looking for an easy way in or devoted foodies finding another path other then the dreaded internship?

I think by the reactions and the polls that we still see a sense that one who fights in the trenches so to speak would seem to be the better pick to the one who sits behind a desk. But a overwhelming majority said that a perfect mix of education and hard work would make the best candidate for employement. I was glad to see that, feeling as though anyone who attends culinary school should have that experience in a real kitchen so they know what they are in for.

Thanks for voting all! I look forward to the next Great Debate.