Archive | June 9th, 2011

Enroll Now in the CIA’s New Associate Degree Program

Enroll Now in the CIA’s New Associate Degree Program

Following the Grand Opening of The Culinary Institute of America’s third campus in San Antonio last October, the CIA is soon to begin its premier associate degree program in culinary arts. Classes at the facility at the Pearl Brewery begin on Aug. 22.

CIA students gather at the opening ceremony at the CIA last year. The new associate degree program starts Aug. 22.

The CIA’s associate degree in culinary arts in San Antonio is based on the proven curriculum provided at the college’s main campus in Hyde Park, NY.

Designed to prepare students for a successful career in the dynamic food service and hospitality industry, a CIA education provides its graduates with a command of both classic and contemporary culinary methods and professional practices.

Recognizing the need for culinary leaders, and to specifically aid Texas residents who wish to attend the CIA San Antonio, a special scholarship has been established—the El Sueño Scholarship.

For more information on the program, enrolling, financial aid and all that the CIA offers, you may attend one of a series of informational sessions going on this month.

The schedule for these sessions and more information on all the ways you can benefit from a prestigious culinary education can be found by linking here.

You may also visit the CIA on Facebook by clicking here.

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Berries Topped with Whole Wheat Dumplings

Berries Topped with Whole Wheat Dumplings

Ripe raspberries are perfect in this Berry Grunt.

Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are always welcome in a cobbler, a pie or just with a drizzle of heavy cream on top. This variation is slightly different.

“A grunt, also called a slump, is a fruit dessert that’s cooked on the stove and topped with dumpling batter, which steams in the cooking liquid,” write the editors of Whole Living magazine in the new cookbook, “Power Foods” (Clarkson Potter, ).

In this case, the filling consists of blackberries and raspberries, and the whole wheat dumplings are flavored with cinnamon and sugar. Serve dumplings splashed with heavy cream, if desired.”

The recipe calls for raspberries and blackberries, but you can use any berry you choose. It may not be the most glamorous name for a dessert, but you can bet that it will taste great.

Berry Grunt

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided use
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Fruit filling:
4 cups raspberries (about 1 1/2 pints)
3 cups blackberries (about 1 1/2 pints)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons water

For sering:
Heavy cream, for drizzling (optional)

To make the dumplings: Whisk together flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, salt and ginger in a bowl. Stir together milk and butter, then stir into flour mixture until combined (do not overmix, dough will be stiff). In a small bowl, sift together 1 teaspoon sugar and the cinnamon.

To make the fruit filling: Gently fold together the raspberries, blackberries, lemon juice, sugar, salt, cinnamon and the water in a large bowl. Transfer to a large straight-sided skillet. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, gently stirring occasionally.

When fruit mixture is bubbling, drop 8 large dollops of batter on top using 2 spoons, spacing batter evenly. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Cover; reduce heat to medium. Cook until the dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool slightly before serving, drizzled with cream, if using.

Makes 8 servings.

Approximate nutritional value per serving: 175 calories, 2 g saturated fat, 1.3 g unsaturated fat, 8.5 mg cholesterol, 36.3 g carbohydrate, 3.2 g protein, 300 mg sodium, 7.6 g fiber.

From “Power Foods” from the editors of Whole Living magazine

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Spanish Chorizo and Chicken in a Sherry Cider Vinaigrette

Spanish Chorizo and Chicken in a Sherry Cider Vinaigrette

This flavorful dish, served by chef Cathryn Tarasovic at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, is a perfect addition to a spread of tapas or mezze.

Sandy Oaks Spanish Chorizo and Chicken in Sherry Cider Vinaigrette

We had it at Sandy Oaks’ recent Mezze Day Delights, where the mezze plates were served with cool glasses of sangria, on a shaded patio overlooking the ranch’s live-oak dotted pastures and the olive tree nursery.

Serve this dish with slices of French bread, pita bread or Spanish breads. Accompany it, if you like, with a variety of olives, hummus, fresh fruit or other Mediterranean-influenced snacks.

Spanish Chorizo and Chicken in a Sherry Cider Vinaigrette

1  tablespoon Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1  pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and diced into 1-inch cubes
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 large shallot, peeled and minced
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 package Aurelia’s Spanish Chorizo, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2  tablespoons sherry vinegar (more if needed to balance the flavors)
2  cups apple cider
2  cups green grapes, washed and sliced in half lengthwise
1  small  red bell pepper, trimmed and finely diced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add the olive oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then place it in the hot pan.  Sauté the chicken until nicely browned and cooked through.  Remove to a plate.

In the same pan, wilt the shallots and garlic, then add the chorizo and sauté until it also nicely browned.  Remove to the plate with the chicken.

Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom.  Next add the apple cider, bring to a boil and reduce by half.  Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan and heat through to meld all the flavors.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Add more sherry vinegar if necessary to balance the flavors.  Set aside to cool (to room temperature).  Just before serving stir in  the grapes, chopped red pepper and parsley.

Makes 4 servings

From Cathryn Tarasovic/”Master Cook”


Photograph by Bonnie Walker


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Sandy Oaks a Picturesque Setting for Mezze Treats

Sandy Oaks a Picturesque Setting for Mezze Treats

Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard chef Cathryn Tarasovic has taken the tapas concept to a delicious new level with her plate of Mediterranean-influenced appetizers called “mezze.”

Really, both “mezze” and”tapas” small plates, or little snacks, are similar. “Mezze” is a Middle Eastern or Arabic term; “tapas” is Spanish.

Mezze at Sandy Oaks include hummus, a red-pepper muhammara and the lively flavors of Spanish Chorizo and Chicken in a Sherry Cider Vinaigrette.

But it’s not about words when you go out for a pleasant Saturday afternoon at this working ranch near Elmendorf. It’s about the flavors, and we were treated to a palate-pleasing array of them.

Sandy Oaks is owned by Saundra Winokur, who is one of the state’s pioneering olive tree growers. The orchard, which comprises some 11,000 trees planted on a 40-acre tract, supplies oil and olives that go into products sold at the ranch.

Ranch artisans also make lotions, herbal salves and other skin care products based on the rich healthful oil.  These, along with olive leaf tea, aroma oils, olive wood cookware, gift baskets, books and growing manuals and more are offered at the orchard gift shop. Some of Sandy Oaks’ products also are offered at the Pearl Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Those who are interested in seeing how this relatively new Texas agricultural product is grown also can take a Saturday tour regularly scheduled at 11 a.m., or make arrangements for private tours. The orchard is holistically managed, with an emphasis on organic fertilizers and natural pest control.

These days, the sounds of construction are commonplace as well, as a new, two-story building that will house the gift shop and office space nears completion. Separate kitchens for the cooking and catering operation, and the product-making activity, are housed in a spacious barn across the parking lot from the current gift shop and office.

The food program at Sandy Oaks also includes classes, as well as an upcoming new series of international dinners, the first being a Passport Adventure to Italy, June 24.

On Father’s Day, June 18, there will be tours as well as complimentary tapas. (Check these out at

Cathryn Tarasovic is executive chef at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard.

Tarsovic holds the Diplome Superieur from L’Ecole de Cuisine Française Sabine de Mirbeck and is a member of the culinary professional organization Les Dames d’Escoffier International.

Mezze Day Delights, which is occasionally added to the schedule (check the Sandy Oaks’ website for these) features chef-made artisan breads accompanying an array of appealing snacks.

The dried Fruit and Pecan-crusted Goat Cheese combined the suppleness of the creamy cheese with tart dried cherries and crunchy nuts. Pine nuts gave the crunch to the silky Kalamata Olive Hummus, while red peppers formed the base for the Mediterannean spread called Muhammara.

Among our favorites on this colorful mezze plate was  the chef’s Spanish Chorizo and Chicken in a Sherry Cider Vinaigrette.  The title doesn’t mention the dish’s cool, sweet surprise of green grapes — a perfect contrast to the tangy sherry sauce and spicy chorizo. The chorizo, too is an artisanal product from Boerne, produced by Leslie Horne under the brand name, Aurelia’s Chorizo.

Diners enjoy the shaded patio that overlooks the nursery at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard in Elmendorf.

Every bit of the mid-afternoon lunch, under umbrellas on the breezy patio, accompanied by George Gaytan playing Spanish guitar, was, as promised, a delight. A glass of icy sangria gave the meal a perfect Spanish accent.

Mezze Day Delights is also nicely priced, at $10 per person. The next Mezze event will be 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. July 9. Sandy Oaks is at 25195 Mathis Road, near Elmendorf.  210-621-0044.

Recipe: Spanish Chorizo and Chicken in a Sherry Cider Vinaigrette

Photographs by Bonnie Walker

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