Graduation and End of 2011 re-cap

3 Jan

Graduation was on December 20.  What fun!  Above is a pic of our whole class on Dec. 19 with our final exam judges.  Below are a few shots of us in different groups.   My mom flew out from CO and Carnet flew in from Japan.  Carnet was a super champ, as I made him go out to dinner at Sons & Daughters for an 8:45 seating.  Dinner was fabulous, so for anyone who is in SF, I recommend Sons & Daughters.  You need to have some time to dine, as it’s a price fixe dinner and they space out the courses.  It wasn’t overly long, but you’ll need to plan a good 2 1/2 hours, especially if you want to speak with the somm about some wines.  Carnet picked out some great wines to accompany the courses!

From left: Chef Jeremy, Ian (congrats, Ian, on best project, you sous vide king!), Anne, Bobby, me, Mark and Tomas.

Chef Peter and me.

The day after graduation, we threw a little cocktail party in the SF apartment. Bobbie and Mark helped me cooked appetizers: kibbeh with carmelized onions; flatbread pizzas with roasted mushrooms, pecorino romano, mozarella, roasted garlic oil, and arugula in balsamic on top after it was baked; smoked salmon on cucumber rounds with creme fraiche and dill (classic, but always good); and a meat and cheese plate with fig jam and fresh fruit.  Many thanks to the boys who basically did most of it, as I was busy doing something I can’t remember at this point.

Carnet, Jan and I flew back home to HI on Dec. 22, and on Dec. 24 we were at our favorite Christmas Eve dining spot – more out of tradition and view than anything else. We went to Orchids in the Halekulani Hotel. Here’s a pic at sunset of Carnet and me (and some random guy off to the right), and then another one of me after Busaba, Ian and Bev made me wear a bakers cap with “Iron Chef” labeled on it – hilarious!

On Christmas day, we went over to Busaba’s and cooked there. Prime Rib is Carnet’s domaine, so he was in charge of that.  In trying to stick as much as possible with Carnet’s paleo eating (with a few blips here and there), I made a parsnip and celery root puree that mimicked mashed potatoes and was sooo much more flavorful and healthy.  Here’s the quick and easy recipe:

Celery Root and Parsnip puree (serves 8-10):

Ingredients: 10 parsnips; 1 large celery root; 1/2-1 cup cream; 3 Tablespoons butter; minced parsley; salt in boiling water

Directions: Think of this preparation as similar to mashed potatoes but sweeter. 1)  Peel parsnips and celery root and cut them into even size chunks. 2) Put in 2 different pots with enough water to barely cover each.  3) Salt each pot of water heavily so it tastes like sea water. 4) Cook each until fork tender. 5) Strain both, reserving the parsnip water.  6) Add cooked parsnips, celery root, 3 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of parsnip water, and 1/2 cup of cream in a cuisinart or really good food processor or blender.  7) Puree, adding more of the parsnip water as you go until the mixture is creamy, like mashed potatoes.  You can also add in more cream if you’d like, but the parsnip water adds in a lot of flavor and vitamins from the cooking water, and saves a bunch on calories and fat.  8) Pour into serving bowl and mix in minced parsley.   E voila!

New Year’s Eve we spent at the Rachel and Carnet casa, made a few appetizers, and drank way too much champagne and 21 year old Glen Livet with family.   I need to get my butt in gear and start planning some more for Spain.  Hawaii has a way of making you slow down, enjoy the sun and sand, and just want to be.  Tonight – up to Shannon and Fred’s for what will surely be remarkable Mexican food.  Shan is a whiz in the kitchen and my learning continues every time I go to her house!

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