Thoughts For Food

Insights into the Mind of a Culinary School Student


Roy Choi’s Ramen


I love Ramen. I love Roy Choi. I absolutely LOVE this recipe.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; Cheese? In Ramen???

Trust me, it’s actually delicious. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding


This is one of my new favorite recipes. It’s relatively simple to make and it tastes delicious. If you’re like me and love all things Pumpkin Spice, then you’re going to adore this recipe! Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups Pumpkin Puree (fresh made or canned)
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 Cups Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 8 Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
  • 1.5 Pounds Toasted Bread Cut into Small Chunks
  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees
  2. In a large pot, combine the Heavy Cream, Milk and Brown Sugar. Heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the Eggs and ½ Cup of Sugar. Whisk thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved and the eggs are lighter in color
  4. Using a ladle, temper the hot liquid into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. If you stop whisking, your eggs will curdle.
  5. When you’ve transferred half the liquid from the pot to the bowl, pour the whole thing back into the pot on low heat and keep whisking.
  6. Whisk in the Pumpkin Puree and remaining spices
  7. Fold in toasted bread until each chunk is fully soaked in the pumpkin egg mixture.
  8. Spray an oven-proof ramekin (or bundt pan) and pour the bread pudding mixture inside
  9. Place the pan in a larger container and fill with hot water until it comes up halfway the bundt pan or ramekin
  10. Cover the whole contraption with foil and bake for an hour and 15 minutes
  11. After that time, it should be set. Remove the foil and bake until the top is browned.
  12. Let cool and enjoy!

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The Chef’s Table


Chef's Table at Victoria & Albert's, located at the Walt Disney World Resort

Chef’s Table at Victoria & Albert’s, located at the Walt Disney World Resort

There’s one restaurant trend that seems to have been around for as long as I can remember, but one I have yet to try myself: the Chef’s Table. It’s a concept so simple and yet so alluring that people are willing to shell out $200 or more, per head, for it!

Basically, a chef’s table is a table inside the kitchen itself. The diners have the pleasure of watching their meals prepared by the chef and his staff, and sometimes even have their meals served by the chef himself. For the diners, it’s a nice little touch of flair that makes an evening out go from memorable to unforgettable. For the kitchen staff, it’s a way for the chef to keep everyone on their best behavior.

There are two caveats about a chef’s table, however. The first is that due to the immense amount of concentration it requires from the kitchen staff, it’s only run on off-peak days where the restaurant isn’t as busy. The second being that they’ll most likely run a Prix Fixe Menu or a Tasting Menu, just to ensure that everything is served quickly. This doesn’t mean that the quality of food goes down however. These measures are to ensure that both kitchen staff and diner are all enjoying themselves and not losing their collective sanity.

I can really see the appeal of a chef’s table. It’s dinner theater and some culinary education all rolled into one wonderful, albeit expensive, package. Diners are always curious as to where their food comes from and how it’s produced and made for them. The chef’s table is the perfect chance to showcase all of that, especially if the chef is nice enough to field questions or just chat with the diners. It forges a connection between the kitchen and the diners that you just can’t achieve through waitstaff. Also, it gives the diners a chance to give the chef instant feedback on dishes, which is a plus for everyone involved.

A chef’s table is also a great way for a restaurant or hotel to show off and impress VIP clientele. Having an important guest and his or her party dine at a chef’s table is the perfect way to ensure their patronage and wow them into coming back. It’s a wonderful concept and one I must try at some point, and so should you!


Restaurant Review: Billy Bob’s BBQ


The best BBQ in Poughkeepsie!

The best BBQ in Poughkeepsie!

I spent 3 years in the Hyde Park/Poughkeepsie area of upstate New York and I can definitively say that I have found the absolute best BBQ joint I have ever been to. As a CIA student, I can tell you that you cannot go wrong with this joint. The food is absolutely fantastic. The Brisket is smoky and juicy. The Pulled Pork is to die for. It’s THAT good. The food is absolutely delicious and he atmosphere is very comfortable. I’m talking about Billy Bob’s BBQ!

Located at 35 Fairmont Ave. in Poughkeepsie, NY, Billy Bob’s BBQ is a great local BBQ joint with a fantastic menu. They have BBQ classics like Pulled Pork, Brisket and Hot Wings, alongside other great dishes like their Boom Boom Shrimp and Blackened Chicken. Combine that with some reasonably priced drinks, $1 Taco Night every Wednesday, 50 cent Wings every Tuesday, and live music, and you have a great local joint that always has something to offer locals, tourists and college students alike. There are two dishes that you absolutely must try if you go to Billy Bob’s: the aptly named Pork Explosion and their signature dish known as Piggy Mac.

Bring your appetite for these dishes. The Pork Explosion is exactly like its name implies. It’s Bacon wrapped in Pork Sausage then wrapped in more Bacon. It is the quintessential meat-lovers entree, available in sandwich and plated forms. Both, equally as delicious. Fair warning, the portion is quite large! The other dish, the Piggy Mac, is honestly the single most delicious thing I have ever tasted from Billy Bob’s. It’s a bed of their signature Puled Pork topped with a healthy scoop of Mac & Cheese, then topped with more cheese and bread crumbs. Oh yes. It’s a match made in heaven. Hands down my favorite thing on the menu. If you have just one thing from Billy Bob’s, get the Piggy Mac

If you’re anywhere near the Poughkeepsie area, take some time to visit Billy Bob’s BBQ. It’s absolutely worth the trek!

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Smoked Brisket

Smoked Brisket

Pork Explosion

Pork Explosion

Pork Explosion Sandwich

Pork Explosion Sandwich


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Recipe: Chocolate Nutella Brownies


This is one of my favorite brownie recipes of all time. It’s incredibly simple and absolutely delicious. The end result are brownies that moist, chewy and absolutely addictive!

Chocolate Nutella Brownies – Makes 9 (fairly big) BrowniesNutella-Brownies

  • 1 ¼ C Cocoa Powder
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 C Brown Sugar
  • ½ C All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Tsp. Salt
  • 8 oz. Melted Butter
  • 2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 4 – 5 Tablespoons of Nutella
  1. Preheat oven to 300-degrees
  2. Spray sides and bottom of an 8” Square Pan
  3. Sift together Cocoa Powder, Flour, both Sugars and the Salt. Set aside
  4. Whisk together Eggs, Butter and Vanilla, then mix in dry ingredients. Mix only until just combined
  5. Pour into pan
  6. Swirl Nutella into the Brownie mix
  7. Bake at 300-degrees for 45 – 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean
  8. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pan and cutting to serve


Cinnamon Pecan Coffeecake Muffins


404643_710425609406_699123801_nThis is my all-time favorite muffin recipe. I actually learned this recipe while I was on Externship and it quickly became my favorite item to make. They smell wonderful while they’re baking and they taste just as good. Whether for a party or just for the family, these muffins are most definitely a crowd-pleaser.

Cinnamon Pecan Coffeecake Muffins – Makes 24

Dry Team

  • 400g Flour
  • 290g Sugar
  • 9g Baking Powder
  • ½ Tsp Baking Soda
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 160g Butter

Wet Team226177_630386438546_276449_n

  • 360g Sour Cream
  • 100g Eggs
  • 60g Egg Yolks
  • 15g Vanilla Extract
  • 30g Canola Oil

Topping

  • 120g Toasted Pecans
  • 100g Dark brown Sugar
  • 6g Cinnamon
  1. Preheat your oven to 400-degrees
  2. Combine the ingredients for the topping in the Food Processor and pulse until the Pecans are chopped small. Set aside.
  3. Cut the butter into small cubes and combine them with the rest of the Dry Team in the Food Processor until the texture is similar to wet sand. Set aside.
  4. Combine all the Wet Team ingredients in a large bowl, then mix in the Dry Team ingredients until only just combined. Try not to overmix.
  5. Fold in 2/3 of the Topping mixture. Leave the rest to top the muffins.
  6. Spray the muffin cups with a little bit of no-stick spray and then fill them about 2/3 of the way. Don’t over fill them or else they’ll flow everywhere in the oven.
  7. Bake for 400-degrees for 10 minutes, then drop the temperature to 350-degrees and bake for another 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes before serving


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Smoothies: Why You Should Drink More


We all know that smoothies are delicious and good for you, but why pay a lot for them when you can make your own? Not only is it fun, but you get a lot of added health benefits as well.

One obvious benefit to smoothies is Fiber, which is essential in cleaning out your insides and keeping you about as regular as Old Faithful. Drinking fruit smoothies can help you reach the recommended daily intake of fiber, which is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. One serving of fruit typically contains two to four grams of fiber with blackberries, pears and apples having the highest concentration of five to seven grams per serving. The soluble fiber found in fruit helps slow digestion and may help control blood sugar and lower cholesterol.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals are another reason that smoothies are good. Vitamin C helps your immune system and synthesizes collagen that aids in the framework of your body. Potassium supports your heart function and helps maintain a normal blood pressure, while folate promotes healthy cells. In addition, particular antioxidants in fruit decrease inflammation, while phytonutrients help fight off disease. Beta Carotene and Magnesium round out the laundry list of healthy essentials that are found in perfect smoothie fodder.

Fruits that are perfect for the smoothie treatment are:

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Tangerines
  • Grapefruit
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Grapes
  • Mangoes
  • Kiwi
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Cherries
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honey Dew

Besides the fruit, however, it’s also important to have a base on which to build the smoothie. This can include anything; milk, juice, water, and even yogurt. Personally, I use Orange Juice, Greek Yogurt (Chobani) and a little ice just to chill the drink down. This is especially refreshing in the Summer, and if made right, one smoothie could last you all morning. The sky’s the limit. So get wild, go make your own and let me know what you think!