The Eclectic Cafe returns

Last Friday marked the reopening of the Eclectic Cafe at OCC. For those of you who don’t know, the cafe is a pop-up restaurant located within the student center, open most Fridays for lunch service when school is in session.
The goal of the cafe is twofold. The first is to showcase the depth and talents of our award winning culinary program, by featuring fresh cuisine that is made in several of the culinary labs throughout the week, including hand-cut steaks, fresh made pastas, and made from scratch sauces, to name a few. The second goal is to promote the cafeteria and food service operations within the campus at an amazing price.
For around seven dollars you get a choice of an appetizer, entree, and dessert as well as a drink and fresh baked bread.
I challenge you to find a better deal in Orange County.
Here are a few highlights from last weeks service.

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Smoked Trout with Remoulade, pickled cucumber, and Lavosh crackers

IMG_0527.JPGBeef and Potato Empanadas with Curried onion relish

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Red wine braised short rib with spaetzal and ratatouille
Did I mention it’s only seven bucks?

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Chimichurri NY steak sandwich with Island slaw and Red Rose potato salad

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Baked Polenta with roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, and Feta

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Fresh fruit tart with toasted coconut
I highly recommend stopping by this Friday. Service is only from 11:30-1:00 and sells out fast(maybe because $7?) for more info or reservations contact Rosio our amazing secretary (714)432-5876
This weeks menu will feature more NY steaks, Seabass with crab, and some amazing Offal… You won’t want to miss out.

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Sweet & Spicy Drunken Almonds

I don’t know if you can relate, but for me, these last few weeks have been a complete blur. Summer has come and gone, although wedding season still seems to be lingering on, myself being a part of three just last week (congrats to Daniel and Courtney) School is back in full swing, I can hear a lot of you thinking thank God! And some of you screaming why God!? And most importantly football season is finally here! Its times like these that call for good (craft) beer and great food.

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Not only are these nuts delicious, but they are very easy to put together. In this recipe I chose Samuel Adams Oktoberfest beer, one of my favorites. I love the sweet malty taste of Oktoberfest style beers, which pair naturally with nuts. An amber ale such as Fat Tire will also work nice. Essentially you’re making a simple syrup with equal parts beer and sugar. As you boil the beer and sugar, it will form a caramel beer sauce, removing the alcohol, but keeping the beer taste, which will be the sweet drunken glue that will bind these hot nuts together. In this case I used raw unsalted almonds, but feel free to use any nuts you prefer, whether it’s mixed nuts, peanuts, or cashews. The seasonings are also optional, I love smoked paprika and cumin and I think they work great here.

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Here’s what you’ll need
2 cups nuts (your preference, I used raw unsalted almonds)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
Splash of Sriracha chili sauce
Dash of kosher salt
Dash of cracked black pepper
1Tb olive oil, (butter or veg oil work as well)
1/2 cup Sam Adams Oktoberfest beer, or any amber ale
1/2 cup sugar
Here’s what to do
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
Combine nuts, spices and oil in a mixing bowl until nuts are well coated.
Spread the nuts on a lined baking sheet, lightly toast in the oven for about 10 minutes.
In a heavy bottomed pot, combine beer and sugar. Mix until sugar dissolves and bring to a boil.
Boil sugar for three to five minutes, undisturbed until syrup browns and thickens, remove from heat.
Carefully toss seasoned nuts with the beer caramel in a bowl until evenly coated.
Lay coated nuts flat on a sheet pan lined with foil or wax paper(use cooking spray to prevent sticking) let rest until, break apart any clusters. Grab a cold beer or two, turn on the game and enjoy!

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