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World cuisine: MUW international luncheons offer exotic fare, excellent training

 

This ceviche de camaron y venera (shrimp and scallop ceviche) is one of several dishes representing different world cuisines featured this spring in international luncheons prepared and served by students at the Mississippi University for Women Culinary Arts Institute.

This ceviche de camaron y venera (shrimp and scallop ceviche) is one of several dishes representing different world cuisines featured this spring in international luncheons prepared and served by students at the Mississippi University for Women Culinary Arts Institute. Photo by: Kelly Tippett

 

Launch Photo Gallery

 

The recipe for this sopo de lima y elote (corn and lime soup) prepared by MUW Culinary Arts students is included in today’s food pages.

The recipe for this sopo de lima y elote (corn and lime soup) prepared by MUW Culinary Arts students is included in today’s food pages.
Photo by: Kelly Tippett

 

Students selected this pollo sautiado con salsa de asada pimienta dish (sautéed chicken breast with roasted pepper sauce) as the entrée for their South of the border-themed menu.

Students selected this pollo sautiado con salsa de asada pimienta dish (sautéed chicken breast with roasted pepper sauce) as the entrée for their South of the border-themed menu.
Photo by: Kelly Tippett

 

Culinary Arts students Leif Miller, left, and John Grendel serve a table of guests Feb. 3 in one of the new dining areas in Shattuck Hall. The students help design menus and are responsible for food prep, as well as set-up and service in the dining room for the three spring international luncheons.

 

Ashley Davis, Jakiero Dismuke and Jasmine Williams ready dishes in the culinary arts kitchen Feb. 3 that their classmates working the “front of the house” will serve.

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

Diners with adventurous palates are enjoying a "world tour" this semester at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus. Three international luncheons featuring Mexican, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine are providing big benefits, too, for culinary arts students -- and showing off brand new dining facilities in Shattuck Hall on the MUW campus. 

 

"We''re really excited that, for the first time, we''re actually able to host these here" said Culinary Arts interim director Chef Erich Ogle of the events more commonly known as "Lunch and Learns" in the past.  

 

Two new dining areas -- a "bistro" space that can seat about 40-45 people, and a larger dining room that accommodates 100 -- now occupy space previously used by the university''s art department, before its move to the renovated Art and Design Building. 

 

Easy access to dining areas adjacent to the culinary arts kitchen has opened a world of possibilities.  

 

"Up until this past fall, we always had to have functions over in the Pope Banquet Room and in different facilities off campus, like Trotter Convention Center," said Ogle. "This is a huge benefit: We don''t have to transport food and equipment and rent vans and all that like we''ve done in the past." 

 

This spring''s series of international luncheons began earlier this month with a menu inspired south of the border. The next, March 3, will feature Asian cuisine. The final luncheon, with Middle Eastern fare, is set for April 14. The cost is $21 per person. This semester''s luncheons are already full, but the institute invites anyone who would like to be added to their e-mail list for alerts about future functions to contact Cheryl Brown at 662-241-7472.  

 

 

 

Student-driven 

 

Chef Vicki Leach oversees the luncheons, but the events are primarily student-driven. Each luncheon offers a restaurant-like experience, requiring students to handle the "front of the house" (dining room and service), as well as food preparation.  

 

"We design the menu (Chef Vicki helps), but for the most part, we have free rein," said Chris Washington of Greenville, a senior majoring in culinary arts. "We decide what tablecloths, the centerpieces, how we''re going to serve, the setting up of the dining room and the kitchen." 

 

The first luncheon''s menu, selected to represent Mexico and Latin countries, consisted of an appetizer of tortilla cups filled with a trio of salsas; sopa de lima y elote (corn and lime soup); ceviche (seh-VEE-chay) de camaron y venera (shrimp and scallop ceviche); pollo sautiado con salsa de asada pimienta (sautéed chicken breast with roasted pepper sauce); and sopapillas with honey, powdered sugar and cinnamon for dessert. 

 

"We all have stereotypes in our minds about what a certain country''s foods are," explained Leach. "What we''re trying to do is take a few ''familiars'' and team them with a few ''unfamiliars'' to provide a fine dining experience, complete with several courses and a pretty place setting." 

 

The variety of menus and opportunity to handle the service side of an event help students become better prepared for their all-important Finals Dinner in the fall.  

 

"This makes them more comfortable in their roles and gives them a chance to use their creativity as well as giving them a chance to do a little digging about the regions and their foods," Leach noted. 

 

For culinary arts majors like Washington, 22, the process is invaluable. 

 

"I love the fact that students are being exposed to this because it really is a good learning tool," he said. "We have people come to culinary arts school that have never worked in restaurants before, but they know they enjoy cooking, so this helps them. And for those who have worked in restaurants, it just reinforces their learning and their passion."  

 

 

 

SCALLOP CEVICHE 

 

Serves six 

 

 

 

1 pound bay scallops 

 

Eight limes, juiced 

 

Two tomatoes, diced 

 

Five green onions, minced 

 

Two stalks celery, sliced 

 

1/2 green bell pepper, minced 

 

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 

 

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 

 

1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro 

 

Freshly ground black pepper 

 

     

     

  • Rinse scallops and place in a medium sized bowl. Pour lime juice over the scallops. The scallops should be completely immersed in the lime juice. Chill the lime juice and scallops all day or overnight until scallops are opaque. 

     

  • Empty half of the lime juice from the bowl. Add tomatoes, green onions, celery, green bell pepper, parsley, pepper, oil and cilantro to the scallop mixture. Stir gently. Serve in martini glasses garnished with lime. 

     

    (Note: For a shrimp and scallop ceviche, double the recipe and use a pound of scallops and a pound of shrimp in the ceviche. Before adding shrimp to lime juice, partially cook shrimp in boiling water.)

 

 

(Source: MUW Culinary Arts Institute) 

 

 

 

SOPA DE LIMA CON POLLO Y ELOTE 

 

Serves four to six 

 

 

 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil  

 

1 cup white onion, diced 

 

Two cloves garlic, minced 

 

3 cups chicken stock 

 

1 1/2 cup tomato concasse 

 

1 1/2 cup corn kernels 

 

Two jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced 

 

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

 

1 cup chicken thigh meat, thinly sliced 

 

3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped 

 

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 

 

Salt and pepper, to taste 

 

     

     

  • Sauté onion over medium heat in hot oil for eight minutes or until soft. Add garlic and sauté until aromatic.  

     

  • Add stock, tomatoes, corn, chiles and cumin. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook for five to eight minutes to blend flavors. 

     

  • Add chicken and simmer about three minutes to cook meat. 

     

  • Stir in cilantro and lime juice. 

     

  • Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
 

 

(Source: MUW Culinary Arts Institute) 

 

 

 

MEXICAN SOPAPILLAS 

 

 

 

One package dry yeast 

 

1/4 cup lukewarm water 

 

3/4 cup milk 

 

6 tablespoons sugar 

 

1 teaspoon salt 

 

2 tablespoons butter 

 

One egg, beaten 

 

3 cups flour 

 

About 2 inches of vegetable cooking oil 

 

     

     

  • Soften yeast in lukewarm water. Set aside. 

     

  • Combine milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in butter. Allow to cool until lukewarm. 

     

  • Stir in beaten egg and yeast mixture. Gradually add flour. 

     

  • Work with hands if mixture becomes too thick to stir. Cover dough with a damp cloth and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes. 

     

  • Punch down, turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead briefly until dough is smooth. 

     

  • Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Roll to about 1/2 inch thick square and cut with a 2-inch cookie cutter. 

     

  • Heat oil to 350 degrees. 

     

  • Cook sopapillas a few at a time, browning on one side, and turning only once. They will puff up. 

     

  • Drain on absorbent paper and serve with powdered sugar.
       

       

      (Source: www.squiddo.com/mexican-sopapillas-recipe)

       

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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