March Featured Recipe: Carrot & Ginger Soup

12 servings

1/2 T - olive oil or butter
1/4 cup - onion, diced to 1/2”
2 cups - carrot, evenly sliced into thin rounds
1 T - fresh ginger, minced 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp orange zest

1. Heat oil or butter over medium heat.
2. Add onion, carrot & ginger.
3. Sauté until vegetables are soft (6-8 minutes).
4. Add remaining ingredients, except orange zest.
5. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer 15 – 20 minutes until carrots are very tender. Add more broth if needed to keep carrots covered.
6. Puree soup in blender or food processor.
7. Add zest just before serving.


Super Bowl Weekend Qpons!

Get your Q Super Bowl Coupons (become a fan of Guilford Dining on facebook; click at the “Qpon1″ and Qpon2” tabs to redeem coupons)!
Coupons also can be picked up in the dining hall thru tonight (Friday night). …while supplies last!

More Tao of Cooking….

By: Craig Munhall, Executive Chef
For this cooking subject – The Tao is time.  Common question:  “how long does it take to cook?” Like you have a roast beef and you want to cook it in the oven.  The first question would be what temperature to set the oven on.  But the second question would be, how long will it take?  After you have your answer, has the item ever been over or under cooked?  You followed the directions but it didn’t come out right? Well what’s up with that? There are many different variables that go into applying heat to food.  Almost all heating sources vary to some degree.  Even elevation/altitude can have an effect on cooking times (and how far a baseball travels – but that’s another subject).  Because of these variables in a professional kitchen you will often hear things like “cook it till it’s done” , or my favorite, when someone says “How long should I cook this?” and the chef says, “till it’s ready”.   This is the Tao of cooking that every chef adheres to.  We cannot say that something will take x amount of time to cook.  What we WILL say is something like check it in 20 minutes or take the temperature in an hour.  Approximations in time are something that we learn through experience.  When we don’t take this fluid approach thinner cuts of meat get overcooked and larger ones are rare, sauces and stocks don’t have the right consistency and flavor.  Just as important as how long – is when to stop.  For things like stocks and sauces, vegetables, and baking there is a need to arrest the cooking at the correct time.  Again, the food will tell you when it’s ready (and your thermometer will confirm).  You cannot blindly go on time, you need to pay attention to the food and care of it.

February Featured Recipe: Wheatberry Salad with Dried Fruit

12 servings

1 cup - uncooked wheat berries
1/2 cup - minced shallots
1/4 cup - cranberry juice
2 T - vegetable oil
3 T - raspberry vinegar
1 T - balsamic vinegar
2 tsp - dijon mustard
1/2 tsp - ea salt & pepper
1/2 cup ea - chopped dried cranberries & cherries & currants
1/2 cup - diced Gouda cheese, (2 oz)
1/3 cup - chopped green onions
1/3 cup - slivered almonds, toasted

1. Cook wheat berries according to package instructions then drain and rinse with cold water.
2. Combine shallots and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Toss wheat berries, dried fruit, and remaining ingredients with vinaigrette.
4. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

*Notes: Make this salad in advance so the flavors have time
to mellow. This salad is high in fiber, flavorful, filling and
easy to pack.

Heart Healthy Diets are not About Cereals

January 31, 2011
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian

"Did you know that in just 6 weeks Honey Nut Cheerios can reduce bad cholesterol by an average of 4 percent?”  This is a commercial that I usually see at least once a day and each time it airs I cringe.  Really, does the average consumer believe that eating Honey Nut Cheerios will lower your cholesterol?

It's OK to be a Little Bit Crunchy

January 28, 2011
Denise Simmons, Corporate Chef

The following is a blog post written by Eve Turow for NPR. I love her style of writing, and love the fact that she’s spreading the word…it’s OK to be a little bit crunchy! Enjoy!

By: Eve Turow
Few foods are so closely associated with their history that they become adjectives. Yet we know what it means to call something "granola." The word has come to represent the 1960s of peace, love and health foods. Even the consistency of granola — crunchy — often is used as a synonym.

January Featured Recipe: Curried Hoppin' John Soup

Warm up to this month's featured recipe!

1 1/4 cup - dried black-eyed peas (or 6 cups canned)
5 - bacon slices or turkey bacon 1 - medium onion
2 - celery ribs
1/4 tsp - cayenne
1/2 tsp - curry powder
1/2 tsp - ground cumin
1/4 tsp - dried hot red pepper flakes
6 cups - chicken or veggie broth
3 T - chopped fresh cilantro

1. If using dried black-eyed peas, soak them in hot water for 30-40 minutes.  Drain peas well.  If using canned beans, drain and rinse them well.
2. Coarsely chop bacon; finely chop onion & celery.
3. In 5 qt. kettle, cook bacon over medium heat, about 10 minutes.
4. Add onion, celery, spices; cook & stir 5 minutes.
5. Add peas and broth; simmer, uncovered, until peas are tender, about 20 minutes for canned, closer to 45 minutes for dried peas.
6. Season soup with salt & pepper.
7. In a blender puree 2 cups soup until smooth.
8. Stir puree and cilantro into soup remaining in kettle.

Leave a comment…

Guilford Dining Services Feedback is crucial – so please keep filling out the comment cards. Some recent comments have asked  us to provide sliced deli meats and cheeses on the salad bar. Before we had the grinder station we had an elaborate deli bar there. So because of the feedback and the thought that for every comment I get there are probably more people that don’t write it out, but feel the same way – we brought it back starting today! The system works! :O)

The Tao of Cooking….

By: Craig Munhall, Executive Chef

I was thinking about this blog entry and what I should write about and I looked down and there on my forearm is my tattoo of the Tao, so I thought I’d mention it.  I’m no Taoist…but, as an analogy – you don’t have to play music in order to appreciate it.

Have you ever watched “Hell’s Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsey? When I was coming up in the kitchen, I worked for a few chef’s that had a little “spirit” similar to Gordon.  For some reason, a lot of people think that in order to get ahead in the restaurant business you need to be a drill sergeant and scream at people.  After all – you want them to do exactly what you say, right?  If the guest is upstairs waiting for their meal and the waiter drops the plate, your first reaction might very well be to call him “a donkey” or worse! I mean that little mistake is going to mess up the timing of the entire table, including the reservation’s book.  If a cook burns the Crab Bisque with $70 worth of crab in it, ripping his head off is your next step, right?  But…for some reason that type of kitchen “persona” a.k.a. temper lost its hold on me as I grew up.  Sure, when I was 19 and thought I knew everything, I thought that everyone had to listen to me because I was kitchen manager…yeah, big deal (whatever, I was naïve).  Anyway, I decided to make a change and I took a line cook job at a better restaurant while I went to school.  At school, I was introduced to something called the Tao.  When I heard about it, it was like I already knew it intuitively – so I latched on.  Like I said earlier, I’m no expert, this is more philosophy for me.  The simplest thing I can say is that the Tao translated means “the way”.  And the simplest way to understand the Tao and how it relates to my life and thinking is this:  you should not force a square peg through a round hole.  Pretty simple stuff, right?  But think about it.  Really think about it.  Isn’t yelling at someone trying to force something unnatural?  Is yelling at someone going to bring that food off the floor, un-burn the soup?   No, it won’t.  It is what it is.  Relax and take comfort in the way.  People will make mistakes.  By their design people are not robots, their minds get distracted.  How can you change that?  You can’t, so go with it.  I studied this philosophy for a year and when I got back into a leadership position I applied some of the understanding I had to stressful situations.  Now, you could look at me and think I don’t care when mistakes happen.  That is far from the truth, I care a great deal.  But, when something goes wrong, the first course of action is fixing it, not changing my state (ie, yelling). Plus I think of mistakes as learning opportunities. So I look down at that mark on my arm on a regular basis and apply this thought… am I trying to force this situation?  What are my incorrect expectations? Then I change my expectations and everything goes according to the Tao.  You should check it out.  There are lots of books on the subject.   If you ever see me and I look mad, pinch me – and remind me of my blog!

From C-MO Jan 17, 2011

By: Craig Munhall, Executive Chef

What a blast it was doing our last theme meal.  Of course I hope the food was good, but the real fun was watching the chef’s at work.  Most people think that French Cuisine is a pre-requisite for cooking but in truth it really isn’t.  I’m sure there was a roux before Escoffier, however without his books and the books of others a lot of cooking knowledge would still be kept secret.  Several of the chefs, myself included, have gone through culinary school and although all schools are different they are still faced with the same challenges.  Like how do you teach a vast amount cuisine to a large group of people in a short period of time.  On top of that, most people when they graduate, go on to cook more modern foods or location-based cuisines.  So when the recipe calls for Robuchon cheese or French Roast Pork, everyone was like “I don’t know what that is -google it!”.    Now our next challenge will be Hawaiian food – the names alone have cause more than one person to say-“whose idea was THIS!?” he he.
I was asked by our Corporate Executive Chef, Denise Simmons, if I would talk about my diet a little.  A little while back, somewhere around March 2009, I read the book “The China Study”.  It’s a book based on disease and diet, it’s a good book.  It has tons of scientific information about how our body deals with protein, more specifically animal and dairy proteins.  I won’t do a book report here, but it is worthy of a read.  After reading the book I decided that if there was a way to reduce or eliminate the dreaded doctor speech- “Mr Munhall I regret to inform you that it’s cancer”, I was willing to make a change.  So I went vegan and ate whole fruits, vegetables, and grains.  It was surprisingly easy to do.  I was not going to be too rigid on myself, like if I found out that the soup had chicken stock, or the “burger” patty contained egg whites, I wasn’t going to loose it.  I would just learn what to do next time. I was surprised at how good I felt and how much energy I had.  Important to note here that I did research this further and found out that I needed to take supplements- most importantly vitamin B-12.  Apparently B-12 is the ONLY nutrient in meat that is difficult to get in a vegan diet.  People would tell me that you can’t get protein in a vegan diet and I would laugh and say – “Have you ever seen a cow? A horse? Etc. , they seem to get more than enough protein and all they eat is GRASS!” Plus collectively we eat too much protein, most people eat the same amount of daily protein as professional athletes and don’t exercise at all….check out some literature on that. Now for the skinny- I weighed 288 pounds when I started, one year later I was 239.  Some other things were happening in my life and in August 2010, I went back to a “normal” diet. Once I started eating everyday foods I started gaining the weight back.  In four months I was back to 276 and it kept climbing.  I think the problem was that as a vegan I could eat as much food as I wanted and my appetite increased, then I started eating all these dense calorie foods with the same appetite! I’m back on the vegan diet and down 7 pounds.  I’m starting to feel better and my energy has picked up.
As a vegan I find it more difficult to get food.  Normally, people get hungry while running errands and go through a drive-through and there are so many to choose from and they are all over the place.  But what do vegans do? Hunt for a subway? Get a pack of garden rolls from the grocery store? Also, at home it can be a pain because when you’re sitting on the sofa it can be a drag to have to work with produce and dirty up a cutting board, etc.  What has made it easy for me is the dining hall.  Soy milk and cereal, Salad bar with all the fixings, Fresh vegetables, starches, fruits, vegan sandwiches, and of course LOIS and her station!  There’s always something to eat.  Of course it can be repetitive but whether you do it for Health or for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, there is an inherent sacrifice involved.  So I’ve adapted to the routine.  Cereal in the AM, Lois’s station for lunch, and the vegan dish or salad for dinner.  I’m always open to suggestions for vegan dishes and  I change the menu frequently.  I certainly to not profess to know everything about diet and nutrition, there is a wealth of information out there to check out.  One last thing to note about the change in diet.  Before I went vegan my cholesterol was always around 240, and I was taking medicine at twice the normal dose.  So even medicated by cholesterol was high.  After the switch, about 4 months into it my doctor took me off the medicine.  After being vegan for about 10 months my cholesterol was 195, without medication!  If you have a similar story to share, please leave a comment.  Thanks
Today for lunch Lois has Hummus Plates and Tomato Soup, but of which she makes with love.  Steve is in the back getting ready to start preparing and marinated foods for tomorrow night, Fatma is making omelets, Tina is on the Sandwich station, Jason is cooking brunch, and we’re listening to some Richard Cheese, you have to youtube some of his stuff!

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