Culinary program would have come in handy for this chef | NevadaAppeal.com

Culinary program would have come in handy for this chef

Charlie Abowd
Special to the Appeal

Carson High School student, Rachel Neitzke's, recipe for buffalo steaks with macadamia nut sauce won her the Adele's culinary scholarship.

Kudos to Rachel Neitzke! This week’s column is to celebrate the winner of the Adele’s culinary scholarship.

Not only is Rachel the winner this year, but she’ll be sharing this honor with Penny Reynolds (the dynamic leader of this program) and the culinary arts department of Carson City High School. They are all winners.

This recipe shows a good balance of flavor, color and excellent dietary planning. I’m sure all of you will enjoy this deserving student’s labor.

I want to take a moment to emphasize the truly outstanding work that Penny does in her program. She’s been doing this long enough now that her students are showing up at some of the finest restaurants throughout the country.

In fact, I have used some of Penny’s students in their job-shadow programs from Johnson & Wales University in Colorado. Their performance in my restaurant was outstanding. Penny’s trees are now starting to bear fruit – and isn’t that what this kind of program at the high school level is supposed to do?

The vocational training classes annually turn out motivated young students either into the workplace or extended-education programs in their respective fields, thus turning out highly trained technicians into the workplace.

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I keep hearing rumors that programs like Penny’s are being cut back dramatically by school districts. I can’t emphasize how important I, and employers like me, feel that this would be a grave mistake.

It is important that you not only have hands-on experience but also technical skills, including economics, material background, technical education (i.e., computer skills). These are the kinds of training received in formal educational environments.

I went to a college-prep high school and on to college. Outside of my economic disciplines, very little of that education actually plays into my profession.

Many times I am scratching my head trying to figure out technical things like balancing fats, acids, carbohydrates so that the meal is balanced and is as healthy as possible.

It’s a major ordeal for me to give you an actual calorie count of the meals I prepare. If I would have had a culinary arts department at my school, Bellarmine Prep, I would now be armed with the tools to easily figure out these items, and many other questions which pop up from time to time in my life.

As I said earlier, Penny’s students are showing up in workplaces throughout the United States. In fact, I ran into two of her alumni, the Adair boys, in New York City while we were preparing our meal at the James Beard Foundation.

I was honored to have them present for our meal. Both are doing well and working in two of New York’s finest restaurants.

Congratulations, Rachel, and all of you in the Carson High School Culinary Arts Department.

As always enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Buffalo Steaks with Macadamia Nut Sauce

Serves 4

4 shallots

2 garlic cloves

4 cups red wine

1 T. crushed red pepper

4 4-ounce buffalo steaks

Dice the shallots and garlic; place in a bowl. Add the red wine and crushed red peppers. Whisk together until the ingredients are spread evenly.

Place the buffalo steaks in 33Ú4 cups of the marinade (set 1Ú4 cup aside for vegetables) and let stand for about 30 minutes, or until all other preparation is done.

When ready to cook, place steaks on a heated grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side for a total of 4 to 6 minutes. Cut into squares and then halve diagonally; set aside until ready to plate.

Sauce

1Ú2 cup ground macadamia nuts

4 teaspoons all purpose flour

1 cup water

1Ú4 teaspoon fresh oregano, diced

1Ú4 teaspoon ground cloves

Dice the oregano and place in a small saucepan along with the ground macadamia nuts, flour water and ground cloves. Whisk together over medium heat until the ingredients are well-combined and the sauce is warm and slightly thickened.

Set aside until time to plate.

Peppered Rice with Vegetables

4 cups water

1Ú2 cup wild rice

1Ú2 cup long-grain white rice

2 T. unsalted butter

1Ú4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1Ú4 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper

Place 2 cups of water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the wild rice and cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add green onions and bell pepper; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in the white rice and cook 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in the wild rice.

Add the remaining 2 cups of water, bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Set aside until ready to plate.

Vegetables

2 orange carrots

2 cayote squash

Julienne the carrots and squash. Place 1Ú4 cup of the marinade from the Buffalo Steaks recipe into a small bowl and place the vegetables in it.

Let stand for approximately 5 minutes.

Sauté the carrots first for about 5 minutes in a small frying pan then add the squash and continue to sauté until done.

Set aside until ready to plate.

With Rachel’s meal, I am recommending a cabernet sauvignon that will go nicely with the buffalo steaks. The macadamia nut sauce and the deep rich flavors of the steaks will be very nice with the B R Cohn, Olive Hill, 2002 cabernet sauvignon. The wine is a well-balanced, rich Sonoma-style cabernet sauvignon.

Check with our friends at Ben’s Liquor and Aloha Wine and Spirits to purchase this wine or another which will go perfectly with this dish.

• Charlie Abowd is the owner and chef at Adele’s. He and his wife, Karen, have lived in Carson City since 1980. Charlie is a fourth-generation restaurateur.