Thoughts For Food

Insights into the Mind of a Culinary School Student

Quick Bites: Mini-Hiatus Explained

Hey guys. Sorry for the small hiatus that this blog has been going through lately. I’ve been extremely busy with packing for culinary school that I’ve kind of let the blog slip by me, and I apologize.

I can assure you though, once I’m settled in, I’ll be updating regularly and maybe even with a set update schedule! So keep your eyes peeled for future updates! I’ll see you all real soon.


Recipe: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

As promised, here it is! My personal favorite recipe involving roasted garlic; Mashed Potatoes!

I absolutely LOVE Mashed Potatoes. They are one of my favorite comfort foods of all time. It’s really easy to make and it’s so delicious. They can be made any way; chunky, smooth and silky, even a mixture of both. It all depends on the type of potatoes you use in the recipe. I’m partial to mine on the smooth and silky side, but if you want to make them another way, I’ll let you know what potatoes to use at the end of this entry. Now, on with the show!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes


  • 1 – 2 Large Russet Potatoes (3 – 4 if they’re on the small/medium side)
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt


  • Large pot for the potatoes
  • Smaller pot for the milk
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Potato Masher
  • Mesh Strainer
  1. Start the Roasted Garlic recipe now. Refer back to that recipe for the steps.
  2. Peel and cube the potatoes and add them to the large pot
  3. Add cold water to the pot until it completely covers the potatoes. Start with cold water to make sure the inside and outside of the potatoes cook at the same time.
  4. Set that pot on high heat
  5. When the water comes to a boil, salt the water and start checking the potatoes. It will depend on the size of the cubes, sea-level, temperature of the water, etc. on how long the potatoes will take to cook. Just be patient and keep checking on them. Once they start to soften, they’re almost ready.
  6. In the smaller pot, add the milk and simmer on medium-low heat for 5 – 6 minutes.
  7. When the potatoes become fork-tender, kill the heat and drain, but leave potatoes in the pot.
  8. Add the roasted garlic to the potatoes
  9. Start mashing and slowly add the warm milk a little bit at a time. Add less for more chunky mashed potatoes or add more for a more silky batch.
  10. Serve while still warm

Believe me, this is a fantastic upgrade to a tried and true comfort food recipe. Enjoy!


Food Bites: Roasted Garlic

Hey guys! I had no idea where to file this entry because it’s both a bit of a discussions as well as a recipe, so enjoy either way!

A lot of foods and/or ingredients can benefit from a bit of culinary alteration, before being fiddled with (and yes, “fiddled” is a scientific term). No ingredient is a better example of this concept than garlic; that pungent member of the onion family, whose flavor and aroma are distinct and often, a kick in the teeth to those novice foodies and chefs. The smell gets on everything and when you cook them too long, they burn and become incredibly bitter and altogether unpleasant. So how do we avoid all these problems? Roast them….the garlic, that is.

Roasting garlic gives it a fantastic texture that is perfect for eating as-is or adding it to other food items. The flavor isn’t the kick-your-teeth-in kind of strong either. Instead, it’s deep, rich and even delicate at some points. It will really permeate throughout whatever dish you add them to. Also, because the texture is very smooth, they are much easier to work with than they are raw. So here you go!

Roasted Garlic


  • 1 Head of Garlic (or how many ever heads you think you may need)
  • 3 Teaspoons of Olive Oil
  • A Pinch of Salt


  • Aluminum foil
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Cutting Board
  1. Preheat your over to 400-degrees
  2. Cut off about 1/2 an inch off the top of the garlic head
  3. Peel away the outside “paper” of the garlic head, but leave the skin on the garlic cloves themselves intact
  4. Rub them down with the Olive Oil and season with the salt
  5. Wrap the whole thing up in the foil and bake for 30 minutes
  6. Let cool before handling/eating

You can either eat them by themselves or add them to other recipes. My personal favorite is Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes. That recipe will be up in the morning, because it’s a little after 1AM EST when I’m posting this and I need sleep. So stay tuned guys!

Food Bites: NJ_Chef Goes to School

Hey guys! First of all, I just want to thank everyone who commented and read my Pizza Week extravaganza. I hope everyone enjoyed it! I always love enjoy sharing my recipes with you all and will continue to do so. What can I say? I love writing about food, which is exactly why I am heading off to culinary school very soon!

I’ve mentioned this in my About Me post, but I think it bears repeating, seeing as how the time is rapidly drawing closer. By May 31, I’ll be moved into the Culinary Institute of America, starting my classes at that most prestigious of schools. I’ll continue to keep this blog updated while I’m at school, giving you an insight into the life and times of a Baking and Pastry Arts student. And I’ll even share new recipes that I will no doubt learn while I’m there. I’m also keeping this blog up to hone my own culinary writing skills, mainly because of what I want to do once I’m done with school.

My plan so far for when my tenure at the CIA is done is thus: once I’m done with school, I’ll be in the food industry for some time, honing my craft and perfecting my skills. Either during or after that time, I would like to do one of two things; go to work for a culinary publication like Food & Wine Magazine or Food Network Magazine, or, become a culinary instructor. The first option is kind of obvious, considering my love for writing. The second option actually stems from a long time period of me doing some soul searching about what exactly I want to do with my life. For the longest time, I convinced myself that I could never be a teacher, despite teaching running in my family. However, after some soul searching, i realized that if I’m teaching something I enjoy, then it won’t be as bad. So I am definitely keeping that option open.

Well that’s all for this post! I’m working on a new recipe so expect it up sometime soon. I’m also working on the second installment of Chef Spotlight. See you all later!

Recipe: 3 for 1 Pizza Special (Part 2)

Here it is, as promised! The final part to this two-post extravaganza and the finale to Pizza Week! I promised two more recipes and I shall deliver! So here we go!

Super Savory Pizza


  • Fresh or Store-bought pizza crust
  • 1 Can of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon of Dry Oregano
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Pack of Pepperoni
  • 2 Italian style Sausages out of their casings
  • 1 Cup of Provolone Cheese, grated
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Box Grater
  • Sautee Pan
  • Pizza Pan
  • Silicone Spatula
  • Pizza Cutter
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
  2. Stretch out your fresh dough on the pan
  3. Cover with the tomato sauce
  4. Sprinkle the Oregano on top
  5. Heat the sautee pan on medium-high heat. Add olive oil
  6. Add the Sausages and break them up with the spatula. Season with salt and pepper
  7. Sautee the Sausages until brown
  8. Take out the sausages and put them off to the side for a bit
  9. Dice up the garlic and, using the fat that remains in the pan, sautee the garlic for 1 – 2 minutes
  10. Add the garlic to the tomato sauce on the crust
  11. Cover with the Provolone
  12. Add the pepperoni and browned sausage on top
  13. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes

Enjoy this one folks! It’s another favorite of mine. If you’re a sucker for Italian Sausage like I am, then you’ll love this! Now, on with the show!

Asian Style Pizza


  • 1/2 Cup of Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce
  • 1 Pack of Instant Ramen
  • 1 Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper Flake
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Chili Oil
  • 1 Cup of Shredded Chicken (or Duck if you can get your hands on it. yet another leftovers magnet here)


  • Small Pot
  • Pizza Pan
  • Small Bowl
  • Balloon Whisk
  • Wooden Spoon
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
  2. In the bowl whisk together the sauce-to-be
  3. Fold in the chicken
  4. In the small pot, cook the ramen in salted water for 5 – 6 minutes. Drain thoroughly when done
  5. Stretch out the dough on the pan and add the chicken-sauce mixture
  6. Top with the cooked and drained ramen noodles
  7. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes

Surprised? Well I at least hope you were! This is a recipe I just thought of a few days ago. I tried it and it really is fantastic! It’s a nice little twist on the traditional pizza and it’s a great way to experiment with flavor profiles. Have fun with this one!

Well that draws Pizza Week to a close! I hope everyone enjoyed this little culinary excursion into Pizza Land. It’s a land of unlimited possibilities where instead of asking “Why?” you should instead ask “Why not?”

Send me some feed back by leaving comments or e-mailing me: You can even leave me messages on my Twitter! See you guys later!

Recipe: 3 for 1 Pizza Special (Part 1)

Sorry this didn’t go up sooner guys, but I was exhausted when I got home last night. Anyway, to make up for this being late, I’m giving you all THREE recipes, instead of the two that I promised on Twitter. Because I love you all and to make up for this entry being late. One will go up now and the last two will go up after I get back from work later tonight (sometime after 10PM EST). So, enjoy!

Margherita Pizza


  • Home-made pizza dough (no exceptions this time)
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
  • Fresh Basil (about 5 – 10 leaves)
  • 1 Large tomato (2 if they’re on the small side)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Pizza Pan
  • Pizza Cutter
  • Cutting Board
  • Chef’s Knife
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
  2. Wash and slice your tomato(s)
  3. Stretch out your pizza dough to fit the pan. Brush down with Olive Oil
  4. Lay out your tomato slices on the newly formed pizza crust and season with salt and pepper
  5. Lay out your Basil leaves on top
  6. Cover with fresh Mozzarella slices
  7. Bake at 450 for 10 – 12 minutes
  8. Let cool, divide and serve

Now, I know what you’re thinking. This isn’t even one I talked about in my Salute to Pizza post. Well there’s a reason for that. This was one of my personal favorite pizzas, ever. It’s so simple and when you use the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on, it tastes fantastic. Now, I’m all for experimenting and seeing what kinds of toppings you can stack on top, but in the end, it all really boils down to the basics, and you can’t get much more basic than this. It’s simple and perfect in every way and I hope you really enjoy this one.

I’ll see you all later tonight for the big finish!


Recipe: Pasta Lovers Pizza

Yes, you read correctly! Pizza Week Day 5 arrives with one heck of a pizza! Like my Ramen Omelette recipe, this one is a fantastic leftovers magnet. It takes the most basic pizza recipe and turns the dial up to 11. Now, i realize I said in my last entry that sometimes the most simple recipes are the most delicious, but by all means, feel free to experiment. It’s how I came up with this particular recipe, after all. Now, on with the recipe!


  • Either home-made or store-bought pizza crust
  • 1 Cup of Parmesan Cheese, crumbled of shredded
  • 1 Cup of Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Cup of Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Can of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 – 2 Cups of leftover pasta (sauce and ingredients may vary, but are welcome)


  • Pizza Pan
  • Pizza Cutter
  • Box Grater
  1. Preheat your oven to 450-degrees
  2. Spread out the dough on the pizza pan
  3. Pour out and spread the tomato sauce on the pizza crust
  4. Add Parmesan Cheese
  5. Add the leftover pasta
  6. Cover with the Mozzarella Cheese
  7. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes
  8. Let cool, divide and eat up!

Personally, I’m a huge fan of these recipes that are “Leftover Magnets.” They really save time and help clean out your fridge at the same time! Now, you could very well do this recipe with fresh ingredients. But, in today’s fast-paced society, sometimes, you’re allowed/forced to cut corners. Let this recipe (and my Ramen Omelette recipe) show that cutting corners doesn’t mean cutting out flavor or creativity. It’s like that Food Network show, Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee. When you experiment, you can come up with some fantastic recipes.

One more day of Pizza Week left folks! Admittedly, it may be a bit late because I’m going to be at Six Flags Great Adventure with my friends, but I can promise you this, there will be an additional recipe that I didn’t list on my first post of Pizza Week. So stay tuned and check it out!