By Sean Keeley, culinary specialist, Lincoln Land Community College
As Lincoln Land Community College culinary students progress through the culinary program, they are asked to demonstrate their understanding of culinary fundamentals by showing their ability to think creatively with classic menu ideas. This happens every fall with the Café Production class and every spring semester with Food Production IV in LLCC’s Bistro Verde.
Bistro Verde is a live lab open to the public. Guests participate by observing the culinary program in action. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the bistro provides a creative array of flavors and dishes for students, staff and faculty on campus as well as guests from the area. Food Production IV students have been working diligently this year to not be outdone by their predecessors and have created a fantastic menu of very familiar “bistro” items, each with a unique spin.
Students will spend the next week finalizing details such as standardized recipes, garnishes, plating and service techniques before the bistro opens on Feb. 6. Beef will be ground in-house daily for the Bistro burger, then layered with homemade macaroni and cheese. A gourmet BLT with artisan bacon, avocado relish and dressed salad greens will be a first for the menu. Dueling white chili featuring two separate chilies will arrive to the table piping hot and garnished with cheese and fresh vegetables. All breads including hamburger buns are made by the Artisan Bread class, and the Restaurant Desserts class will be making all desserts.
Interested in being a part of the experience? Make reservations now to secure your spot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 217-786-2821. Bistro Verde will be open on Tuesdays and Thursday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Feb. 6 through March 8 featuring casual service, and March 29 through April 26 for white tablecloth, fine dining service.
Shrimp & Crab Cakes
10 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
6 ounces flaked crabmeat, squeezed dry if necessary
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
¼ teaspoon salt, preferably kosher
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
⅓ cup fine, unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Thoroughly mix shrimp, crab, egg white, mustard, hot pepper, salt and peppercorn blend in a bowl. Shape into 8 patties, each about ⅜ inch thick. Spread breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and coat the patties on both sides with crumbs.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat; add crab cakes and cook until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
Roasted Pepper and Smoked Gouda Soup
10-12 large servings
3 pounds red peppers
6 cloves garlic, skin on
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup minced yellow onion
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
5 cups low-sodium veggie or chicken broth
3/4 grated smoked gouda
½ cup fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Spread peppers and garlic (skin on) in 1 layer onto a large baking sheet. Drizzle with 3-4 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until peppers are lightly charred on the outside and tender on the inside. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes then remove the skin off the garlic.
While the peppers are roasting, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook down on medium heat until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, the roasted peppers, smoked gouda and garlic, broth and basil leaves.
At this point, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 1 minute or until the soup is creamy. This can also be done using a hand-held blender. Return the soup to pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
makes 1 quart sauce
2 ½ cup cheese, grated, any
3 tablespoons cornstarch
12 ounces evaporated milk
In a medium sauce pot toss the cheese well with the cornstarch. Add evaporated milk and gently heat until thickened.
Want to know more?
Lincoln Land Community College offers associate degree programs in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management and academic credit certificates in Culinary Arts and Baking/Pastry. For more information call 217-786-4613 or visit www.llcc.edu/hospitality-culinary-arts.