CLV Chefs guest Instruct at Bemidji High School
Published: April 27, 2016
In March, two chefs from Concordia Language Villages were invited into Jane Nord’s cooking class at Bemidji High School. Chefs de cuisine Amber Lindman and Ray Mockridge were guest instructors who taught the students how to make a roasted salsa, pico de gallo, and guacamole, as well as knife safety and techniques for food preparation.
After introducing themselves to the class, Ray began discussing the importance of safety while handling knives. He instructed the students on how to hold, carry, and pass the knives to one another safely.
Ray then demonstrated several techniques for slicing and chopping vegetables such as tomatoes, garlic, and jalapenos. The students liked the method used for chopping onions in particular, which Ray described as the “tiger claw”: Carefully slicing or chopping the onion while holding it in a claw-like grip, which prevents accidental cuts while also allowing for consistency in the size of the freshly prepared onion.
Because the roasted salsa required use of the oven, this recipe was made first. The students placed roma tomatoes, garlic, a quartered red onion, and a jalapeno in a bowl and tossed them olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then placed them on a baking sheet. Once the vegetables were done roasting they were placed in a food processor and pulsed into a slightly chunky salsa.
The next recipe the students made was pico de gallo, which literally translates to “rooster’s beak”. Some believe it earned this name because it was originally eaten with thumb and forefinger, which resembled a pecking rooster. Whatever the reason is behind the name, the students enjoyed making (and eating!) it. They chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, and jalapenos with some fresh cilantro.
The third recipe made was guacamole. Ray demonstrated various ways to remove the pit and slice the avocados, which the students then tried themselves using the method of their choice. After mashing the avocados in a bowl, they added garlic, red onion, and fresh cilantro. To prevent the avocados from turning brown, a process known as enzymatic browning, a squeeze of lime juice was added to the guacamole. The acidity in the lime juice lowers the pH balance of the dish, which helps the guacamole to stay fresh and green.
While the students worked in their individual kitchen units, Amber and Ray, along with Jane Nord, moved from kitchen to kitchen, checking their technique and providing guidance. Amber also assisted the students in salting and spicing their dishes.
Finally, the time came to clean up and dig in. The students were smiling proudly and crunching loudly as they ate their way through fresh dips they had worked together to create.