Since returning to Albany I have been spending a lot of time at SCCC helping my friend Caitlin prepare for an upcoming competition. Caitlin and I first met a couple years ago when we were both on the SCCC Student Hot Foods Team. In the time since Caitlin has been on the Hot Foods Team a second time, she was elected the Student President for the Capital District-Central New York ACF chapter, she won the Student Chef of the Year Northeast Region. Now in just a few short weeks Caitlin, myself, and a great mentor of ours - Chef Christopher Tanner, will travel to Grapevine (Dallas) Texas for the ACF National Convention where Caitlin will be competing for the title of Student Chef of the Year.
A few practices ago, I took some snapshots of Caitlin's food..
'Pan Seared Trout, Caramelized Sweet Corn Gnocchi, Shellfish Tomato Stew with Pancetta, Basil Oil'
'Sauteed Chicken Breast, Red Wine and Tomato Braised Chicken Leg, Herbed Chicken Vegetable Sausage, Carrot Green Bean and Caramelized Leek Risotto, Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Truffle & Olive Puree'
One thing that is especially nice for me is that while Caitlin is doing her practice run throughs I cannot really do much to help her, as we are trying to create an environment as close to the actual competition as possible. So I have the facilities and staff at SCCC at my disposal and I get to play around a lot. I have been doing a little work on sugar showpiece techniques which I hope to...get a little more practice in before posting about. At the last practice - after being inspired by a slew of posts at Ideas in Food, I made a plated dessert utilizing corn as a main ingredient
'Steamed Sweet Corn Cake, Roasted Corn Husk Ice Cream, Blueberries, Black Currant Reduction, Corn Flake Tuile, Mint':
Sometime in the past week I made milk braised chicken, which was actually really great. You start by searing the entire bird in a hot pan, then braising it with milk, garlic, a fistful of whatever herbs, and some lemon zest. During the braise, curds separate from the milk which you then spoon over the finished chicken. YUM.
And lastly, today I visited the Troy Riverfront Farmers Market which was at its new location on River Street for the first time. Its a wonderful change, the vibe of the market has changed entirely - for the better. It was vibrant and full of energy and in a very charming area.
One thing I have to say is great about upstate New York is our farmers markets. They absolutely blow all the markets I went to in Chicago out of the water.