by Nancy Sweet, director, LLCC culinary program and operations
By mid-September, the culinary program is definitely in full swing at Lincoln Land Community College. And with that comes the reopening of Bistro-to-Go, the student-operated café in the Workforce Careers Center. Every fall, Bistro Verde, a “working” classroom, operates as Bistro- to-Go, serving takeout soups, salads, sandwiches and assorted baked goods along with smoothies, coffee, tea, soda and bottled water.
The class, Café Production and Management, is taken by second year culinary and hospitality students. Culinary students run the back of house, hospitality students take care of the customers in the front of house, and baking students supply breads and desserts. It allows students to start getting comfortable transitioning from making four or five recipes in a five hour lab in their first year, to actually producing food “to order” for paying customers.
Students work on teams to create a menu that will be served for approximately four weeks. They must recipe test each item to create standardized recipes so that they can ensure a consistent quality product to customers each week. From there, they must create a product list for the entire menu to make sure the product is on hand. Finally, they must generate a prep list so that the class is ready for when that first customer arrives. Each week one student gets the opportunity to be the chef, adding one or two or their own entrees to the menu.
In addition to the hands-on work of operating a “real” café, students get lessons on more soft-skills of restaurant management. They participate in a mock interview at our Career Services office and are evaluated on how they handle themselves. They also learn about management techniques such as employee orientations and evaluations, handling disciplinary problems and terminations, and coaching and motivating employees.
Below are several recipes being served currently at Bistro-to-Go, which is open Mondays and Wednesdays through Nov. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Orders can be placed in person, by telephone at 786-2821 or by email at email@example.com. For the menu, weekly special and ordering details, visit www.llcc.edu/bistro-verde.
Also new this fall, Bistro Grab-and-Go is open on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stop by the Bistro to grab pre-made hot or cold soups, salads, sandwiches, snacks, baked goods and other quick items and beverages.
Bistro Verde will reopen as a sit-down restaurant in the spring semester. The first half of the semester will feature casual bistro fare, with the second half fine dining. We invite the public to visit us for takeout items this fall and for sit-down dining next spring in Bistro Verde.
*1 cup olive oil
*1/4 cup red wine vinegar
*juice from 2 lemons
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1 teaspoon dried oregano
*1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
*Salt and pepper to taste
*1/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
*1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
*1 small cucumber, diced
*1/2 pound asparagus, blanched and cut in ½ inch pieces
*1 cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
*1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
*about 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
Whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, mustard and salt and pepper in medium bowl. Slowly whisk in oil to emulsify vinaigrette. Take ¼ cup of vinaigrette and toss with cannellini beans. Set beans and vinaigrette aside.
Toss together olives, onions, cucumbers, asparagus, marinated beans and feta with the romaine. Add ½ cup of vinaigrette. Taste and add more vinaigrette if needed. Be sure to thoroughly toss salad to ensure it is completed coated with dressing before adding more so you don’t “drench” the salad in dressing.
We serve our Mediterranean Salad with toasted pita chips and a side of Tzatziki sauce, a yogurt-based Greek dipping sauce.
*1 cup cucumber, grated, placed in colander, and drained for 10 minutes, using your hands to squeeze out excess water
*2 cups Greek yogurt
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*1 tablespoon white vinegar
*juice of 1 lemon
*1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
*3 tablespoons olive oil
*Salt and pepper, to taste
Whisk all ingredients together. Taste for seasoning.
Caprese Grilled Cheese
*8 slices hearty white bread
*1/4 cup basil pesto (recipe below)
*16 oven roasted tomato slices (recipe below)
*4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
*2 cups shredded fontina and or mozzarella cheese
Spread butter on one side of each piece of bread. Spread pesto on one unbuttered side of 4 slices of bread. Place 4 tomato slices on pesto to cover it on each slice. Spread 1/2 cup cheese on top of tomatoes on each slice of bread. Top with other slice of bread, buttered side out. Toast in a non-stick skillet on medium heat until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.
(Makes 2 cups)
*4 cups basil leaves
*2 cloves garlic, peeled
*1 cup olive oil
*1/4 cup walnuts
*1 cup parmesan cheese
*juice of 1 lemon
*salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until just starting to be smooth. Taste and adjust for extra seasoning.
*6 Roma Tomatoes
*1/4 cup olive oil
*1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
*2 teaspoons salt
*1 teaspoon pepper
Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and put into large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and toss. Arrange on a baking sheet cut side up and cook at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
*4 slices sourdough bread
*6 ounces roasted turkey
*4 tablespoons chipotle avocado mayo (recipe below)
*4 slices tomatoes
*1 cup mixed greens
*6 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked
Spread chipotle mayo on two slices of bread. On the bread stack turkey, tomatoes, mixed greens, and bacon slices. Place other slice of bread on top.
Chipotle Avocado Mayo
Makes 2 cups
*3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
*1 avocado, pitted
*1/4 cup mayo
*1/2 cup greek yogurt
*juice of 1 slime
*salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food process and blend to a smooth consistency.
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 786-4613 or visit https://www.llcc.edu/academics/business-technologies/hospitality-culinary-arts/ .