Sunday, February 13, 2011

A New Beginning...

Hello to my readers! Thank you to those who encouraged me to start a blog! I'm excited to keep everyone informed on my happenings in Austin at The Natural Epicurean (NE). :-)

My first week has been fully blessed! After 3 days of driving and 2 hotel night stays (due to weather), I finally made it to my new home. I am nestled away in a sweet little house- about 20 minutes from school -  where I am renting a room from a wonderful lady and her precious little dog and cat. This living situation is fantastic! I do realize I am blessed!

As I walked into class on my first day, I had an overwhelming sense of perfect peace that this was the culinary institute I was to gain my education. The encouragement and support I received from NE before even coming down to Austin was incredible and I am so thankful to have the privilege to be here. I know it is going to be a journey full of God-given blessings and I am excited to see where this education takes me! Oh, and all of my classmates are wonderful - such unique personalities & background. It should be a good bunch to work alongside. :-)

This first week has been mostly lecture, but Wednesday was our first day to have our culinary uniforms on and to be at work in the kitchen! It was so fun! :-) The topic was "herbs & spices." Our instructor had us take a quiz and allowed us to identify several different types of herbs and spices by simply observing, touching, & smelling. Needless to say, the identification of herbs and spices is a component of the kitchen that I need to work on a bit! It was enjoyable to take a moment to discover what I know and what I should know. It's only the beginning, right?

There were several stations we could work at - I chose to make the Indian-Spiced Carrot Soup. The picture below is the French Carrot Soup, but it's a carrot soup, nonetheless! :-) It was delightful! The curry flavor is not one that I typically am drawn to, but I thoroughly enjoyed this soup...I'm broadening my horizons! The bundle of herbs is called a bouquet garnis that is pulled out of the soup after it is cooking.

French Carrot Soup - photo by J.F.

We also made fresh basil pine nut pesto using a much better than using a food processor! My favorite dish was a carrot/walnut puree. I did not assist in making this dish, but we had the joy of tasting it over a small piece of freshly made polenta.

Carrot Walnut Puree - photo by J.F.
Carrot Walnut Puree
2 cups of softly cooked carrots, 1 cup cooking liquid reserved
1 cup walnuts, toasted
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon ume vinegar
1/4 cup fresh herb
• Use a food processor for puree.
• Add carrots, walnuts, and vinegars, and begin puree. Add cooking water until desired consistency.
• Add fresh herbs and puree until incorporated.
• Adjust seasonings to taste.

And yours truly in the kitchen...

Chef at work :-) Photo by J.F.

Today marks my second week ~ I'm looking forward to sharing my experience with all of you!

Love to all...


  1. Freaking out!! After all these months, you finally did it!! Yeah Katie!! I love the picture of you in your chef clothes. I am seriously over the top for you!!! Seeing someone reach for their goals is my favorite!!

  2. WOW! You look SOOOO adorable in your chef wear! Congrats on making it safely to Austin and beginning this amazing time in your life. Be sure and "take a moment" to smell the spices!!
    Have a Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow. Love you to the sky!

  3. Katie, you look ADORABLE! I bet you're the cutest chef-to-be there. I love your positive outlook on everything in your new life! Can't wait to try some of the recipes that I'm sure you'll post. =)