Saturday, November 11, 2000

'Oops - I Dropped My Falafel on My Keyboard!'

Low-mess, high-energy snacks for PC users from the chefs of The Art Institutes

(ARA) - Students at The Art Institutes study for careers in many different professions, but almost all involve spending time at a PC. Since many of The Art Institutes also have Culinary Arts Programs, Chef-Instructors were put to the PC-friendly test and asked to develop low-mess, high-energy foods for snacking at computers.

"Students of Multi-Media & Web Design, Media Arts & Animation and Graphic Design spend many long and hungry hours at the computer. We asked some of our chefs to help develop foods that would not only be easy to eat and have a low-mess factor, but also supply enough energy to avoid the sluggishness that comes from too much junk food," says Jeffrey Durosko, spokesperson for The Art Institutes.

Chef Instructor Christine Geyer of The Art Institute of Los Angeles Culinary Arts Program offers recipes that satisfy sweet tooths, but also creations that "don't leave residue on fingers, such as salt, seasonings on trail mixes or pretzel mixes," says Geyer. Raspberry Cooler, Citrus Delight and Top Banana are yogurt-based snacks in a glass. Made with fresh fruit, juice and flavored yogurts, these high-energy drinks are perfect for computers "as long as you put it in a cup with a lid and use a straw," Geyer cautions.

Chef Instructor Chris DeJohn of The Art Institute of Colorado's Culinary Arts Program says, "Dim sum works well, as does simple cheese and fruit skewers. Just cube your favorite cheeses (hard cheeses work best) with favorite fruits that don't drip like strawberries, grapes or pineapple," explains DeJohn. Other PC-friendly food DeJohn likes are wrap sandwiches or spicy tuna and egg omelet sushi for those interested in a more ambitious snack for nibbling at the computer.

For Chef-Instructor Peter Babcock of The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, the best computer snacks are the simplest. "I like fresh apples, grapes or bananas for high energy with low mess. Dried fruits like cherries, cranberries or apricots are also great because they're tasty and leave no sticky residue on your hands," he says. For himself, Babcock purchases specialty hard candies he keeps in his pockets, passing them around to other faculty and students. Other PC-acceptable snacks he likes are carrots and cucumber slices, even childhood favorites such as celery with peanut butter.

In addition to fruits and vegetable snacks, Chef Babcock likes to prepare a flavorful chicken broth with fresh vegetables on a Sunday, cutting up extra vegetables for snacks during the week and using the chicken for chicken salad sandwiches to eat during lunch breaks - although not at the computer. "Chicken broth from a thermos is a nutritious, low-mess snack, as well as a great comfort food," says Chef Babcock.

All of The Art Institutes' chefs urge that foods be properly refrigerated and warm food kept in thermos containers or heated thoroughly before consuming.

The Art Institutes is a system of 20 schools located nationwide, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. The Art Institutes family of schools has provided career-oriented education programs for over 35 years with more than 100,000 graduates.

High Energy Foods

Recipes from Chef Instructor Christine Geyer of The Art Institute of Los Angeles

Raspberry Cooler

1 cup raspberry yogurt
1 cup canned pineapple juice
1 cup canned cream of coconut
3 ice cubes

In a blender, puree yogurt, juice and cream of coconut with ice cubes.

Citrus Delight

1 cup lemon yogurt
1 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1 fresh peach, sliced, or 1 large canned peach
3 ice cubes

In a blender, puree yogurt, juice and peach with ice cubes.

Recipe from Chef Instructor Chris DeJohn of The Art Institute of Colorado

Spicy Tuna and Egg Omelet Sushi Rolls with Tabiko

This is a traditional Sushi Maki preparation from Japan serving 10 with three slices each. Most of Japanese ingredients are available in the ethnic or international sections of your local supermarket or at Asian specialty markets.

6 ea. sheets of Nori seaweed
1 lb. Koko rose rice or other traditional sticky rice
1 lb. Tuna - Sushi grade albacore or yellow fin (Ask for this at the fish counter)
2 eggs - beaten
2 oz. wasabi (Japanese green horseradish)
2 tablespoons water
6 oz. Tabiko caviar
4 oz. soy sauce
2 oz. hot chili sauce
1 ea. avocado
1 ea. English cucumber
4 oz. rice vinegar
2 oz. sugar
1 qt. and 2 cups water
2 oz. pickled ginger
1 pinch of kosher salt

1 7-inch non-stick omelet pan
1 Sushi mat (Can be obtained from a specialty cook's store)
1 French knife or Chinese cleaver
1 2 qt. sauce pot w/ cover or an electric rice cooker

  • Step one: Rinse the rice under cold, running water until the water draining becomes clear. Mix the 1 quart and 2 cups of water with the sugar and rice vinegar. Bring to a boil in the saucepot. Add the rice, stir and cover. Cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes or until water is absorbed. Cool and reserve for later.

  • Step two: Chop the tuna finely and add the hot chili paste and a pinch of kosher salt. Reserve until later.

  • Step three: Heat the omelet pan and add the beaten eggs. Cook the omelet over low heat so the egg remains yellow and does not brown. Cool and reserve for later.

  • Step four: Mix the wasabi with the 2 tablespoons of water and make a paste. Cover and reserve for later.

  • Step five: Peel and seed the cucumber and cut into long strips about 1/4" wide and 10" long. Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. With a large spoon, scoop out the flesh in one piece and slice into strips. Reserve for later.

Assembling the sushi rolls: Place the seaweed square 10" x 10" (should come this size) on the sushi mat with the shiny side down. Mound 4 oz. of cooked rice down the center of the seaweed in a horizontal line across the entire square. Gently spread the rice forward and backward to cover the entire sheet of seaweed as evenly as possible. Place some strips of sliced cucumber on top of the rice in a horizontal line across the entire square. Place some avocado on top of the rice, next to the cucumbers in a horizontal line across the entire square. (Leave about 1/2" of space between the cucumbers and avocado. In the space between the avocado and cucumber, spoon some of the tuna mix in a horizontal line across the entire sheet of seaweed.

Slice the omelet into strips and place next to the tuna mix in a similar fashion. Top with a line of Tabiko caviar the same way. Take the end closest to you and fold over the center mixture. Compress down into a round cylinder. Tighten and roll, being careful not to roll the mat into the sushi! Cover and reserve in refrigerator until ready to serve. Repeat these steps until all of your ingredients are gone. Should make about six sushi rolls.

Do not stack or wrap rolls together as they will stick to each other. To slice, trim the ends and discard. Wet the blade of the knife and cut the rolls into 1" to 1-1/2" pieces.

Serve with wasabi mixture, pickled ginger, and soy sauce, the traditional condiments for sushi.

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