Friday, April 3, 2009

Cooking Demo and Lunch at the University Club

Inspired by my mentor and idol, Rosie Hawthorne, I have been looking for the chance to attend a cooking class in my hometown. And while I eschew reading the physical copy of our local newspaper, I do keep track of the local goings-on in town via the newspaper's web site. Lucky me, since the news item announcing that the Indiana University Club was hosting a Cooking Demonstration and Lunch with Chef Steve Mangan. Now, how could I refuse?

So, of course I signed up for this delightful (and non-chicken! event).

Chef Steve Mangan, who has recently been nominated and elected "Hero of the Year" by Sodexho, a food service provider. The Hero of the Year acknowledges those in the food industry who go above and beyond their duty to help those who are in dire need.*

*Paraphrased as the blog writer does not know shorthand and was too busy trying to take pictures to pay much attention to taking notes. But trust me, this man has done good.

Chef Steve Mangan , is the General Manager of Dining Services at the IMU.
Steve Mangan brings over 25 years experience to the IMU. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Certified Executive Chef, and experienced restaurateur, he enjoys bringing great food to varied venues at the IMU. Mangan enjoys working with young adults and exposing them to new tastes and experiences. Living in Bloomington with his wife Betsy, he enjoys bicycling, and many types of musical endeavors. *

*Taken from an official Indiana University Club release.

Do you see that?

I think I'm jealous?

Ooh, now that's a professional mise en place.

Be still my beating heart.


Did I mention that this was a buffet? I don't ever recall grazing a better buffet.

Grilled Salmon Fillet with Four Summer Salsas (from front: Hot and Sweet Mango Salsa, Chunky Watermelon Salsa, Tomato and Fresh Ginger Salsa and Roasted Corn Chili Salsa). We were also served our choice of a biscuit or cornbread, though no recipes were given for these items. As you can see in the picture, I chose the cornbread. I really wish I had gotten that recipe.

Cilantro-Lime Crab Salad with Avocado

Orange-Wild Rice Salad with Smoked Turkey

and Tomato, Arugula and Roasted Pepper Salad.

Oh, did I forget to mention the Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with a garnish of yogurt and blueberry puree?

I did? Well, then I probably also forgot to tell you about the Chilled Honeydew Melon Soup. Silly me.

Chef Mangan demonstrates how we could make a Yin and Yang soup by carefully pouring the two soups into one bowl.

A chiffenade of fresh mint garnishes the soup.

The recipe for the Chilled Melon Soup:

2 cups Cantaloupe or Honeydew melon - ripe, cubed

1 cup yogurt or sour cream

1/2 cup orange juice or other fruit juice and/or liqueur

Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree.

Garnish with:

Yogurt swirl,
Blueberry syrup (blueberries simmered with sugar and lemon juice)

Chiffonade of mint

Now Chef Mangan demonstrates the simple marinade for the salmon. He assures us that any firm-fleshed fish can be substituted for this dish.

Grilled Salmon Fillet (for 6)

Six 6-ounce salmon fillets

1/2 cup olive oil

1/8 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup fresh herbs-thyme or rosemary (2 tablespoons dry)

TT (To Taste) salt and black pepper

TT onion, chopped

TT garlic, minced

Cover salmon with all ingredients. Marinate 30 minutes to 2 hours refrigerated. Drain and shake off excess oil and vegetables. Grill or broil until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

Chef Mangan commented that there is a reason that Hoosiers generally don't like seafood: we tend to overcook the fish! He cautions us to not overcook the fish.

Four Summer Salsas

Roasted Corn Chili Salsa (serving size 2 ounces)

1 pound bag of corn (fresh corn off the cob is preferred)

juice and zest of one lime

1/2 pound diced Roma tomatoes

1/4 cup minced cilantro

1/2 small red onion, diced

1/2 roasted Poblano pepper, small dice

1 tablespoon sugar

Roast corn in hot skillet (or on sheet pan in oven) with no oil added until charred. Combine with other ingredients.

Chunky Watermelon Salsa

1 lime, juiced

2 cups watermelon, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 cup cucumber, peeled and seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/4 cup scallion, sliced

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced

2 teaspoons jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 teaspoon sugar

Combine all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.

Hot and Sweet Mango Salsa

1 large orange, peeled with pith removed, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/4 cup flaked sweet coconut

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons jalapeno, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tomato and Fresh Ginger Salsa

2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup scallions, sliced

1/4 cup sweet white onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon fish sauce (nam pla)

Combine all ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chef Mangan seems amused by my prolific picture-taking.

Man, he moves fast!

Chef Mangan was nice enough to come around to each table and show us the various steps of the recipes.

Finally, dessert was served.

This was the Summer Fruit Cobbler. Today we were served Blueberry Cobbler. Chef Mangan told us that he adores Peach Cobbler, with perhaps some blueberries thrown in. Unfortunately, he has found that it is quite difficult to get good peaches and often ends up throwing out as much as he eats. His solution is to turn to frozen peaches that can be found at any grocery store.

Cobbler batter: (this makes quite a bit, so the recipe might need to be cut down for home service)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

2-1/4 cups milk

3 teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 lemon rind, grated

Combine dry ingredients. Combine liquid ingredients and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened.

Fruit mixture:

2 quarts cut fruit or washed berries

1 cup sugar

1 lemon, juiced

Combine and toss gently. Puree one cup and add back to the mixture.

Place layer of fruit in buttered and sugared oven-proof container. Pour batter over top or dot as desired. Bake in hot oven (375 - 400 degrees) until golden brown and bubbly.

Chef Mangan thought we might like some freshly whipped cream to top the fruit cobbler. He was right.

Bonus recipes:

Tomato, Arugula, Roasted Pepper Salad (serves 12)

6 tomatoes, sliced or wedged

1 each red, green and yellow pepper, roasted and peeled and deseeded

1 each zucchini and yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 red onion, cut into a julienne

2 bunches arugula, washed and stemmed


1 cup olive oil

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

1/4 cup herbs, chopped (basil, oregano, tarragon)

TT salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Combine all ingredients for vinaigrette. Pour over zucchini and red onion mixture. Chef Mangan suggests lightly grilling the zucchini and squash to add extra flavor to the dish.

Arrange tomatoes, roaste pepper ansd arugula on platter or individual serving plates as desired. Spoon marinated zucchini over top. Be sure to provide enough vinaigrette to moisten all ingredients or serve additional on the side.

Orange - Wild Rice Salad with Smoked Turkey (serves 7)

6 cups water

1 cup uncooked wild rice

2 tea bags (your favorite blend)

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/3 cup craisins

1/2 pound smoked turkey, diced

1/4 cup orange juice concentrate

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1-1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Bring water to a boil. Stir in rice. Add tea bags. Allow to gently simmer, partially covered for one hour or until rice is tender. Drain and cool.

Place rice, oranges, celery, craisins and turkey in a bowl.

Combine orange juice concentrate and remaining ingredients. Stir well with a whisk. Pour over rice mixture. Toss well. Cover and chill.

Cilantro - Lime Crab Salad with Avocado (serves 4)

2/3 cup red onion, finely chopped

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon lime zest

1 pound, crab meat (preferrably lump and backfin crab meat), picked and cleaned

2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and peeled

Mix red onion, mayonnaise, cilantro, 2/3 of the lime juice, cumin and lime zest in a bowl.

Gently mix in crab meat. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush avocado halves with remaining lime juice to prevent discoloration.

Arrange avocado halves on plate. Mound with crab salad. Serve with lime wedges and desired accompaniments.

One of the most important lessons that Chef Mangan stressed was that one should always taste as one assembles and cooks a dish as fresh ingredients vary and might require different amounts of seasoning.

After the buffet lunch and cooking demonstration, Chef Mangan answered questions from the audience.

One person asked the chef about new food trends. The chef answered that sustainability and reducing one's carbon footprint are huge issues right now, but that in reality, the issue wasn't so simple. For instance, he pointed out, there are few truck farms in Southern Indiana, so foods must be brought in from other areas. He has to purchase $3 million of food every year for all of the university's restaurants and events. The reality is that local farmers simply cannot supply that amount of food for his needs.

Similarly, while people want organic foods, the reality is that few are willing to pay for it and often, by the time one could get the food, it would be spoiled.

The chef also remarked that we all talk about nutrition and eating more healthy foods, but we really aren't doing it.

Chef Mangan told us that his staff and kitchens are responsible for turning out 4,000 meals a day (on a slow day). For instance, just that day alone, they had 30 different events, half of them before lunch time. They run 15 stores (including franchises such as Chik-fil-A and Burger King) across campus. There is a staff of 35 culinary workers and about eight chefs.

Chef Steve Mangan's parting words to us were to "keep it simple and focus on the food."

Well done, chef.

As I walked out of the University Club, I was met with this interesting statue.

Just what is this guy's problem? I'm at a loss to explain.

The IU gardening staff have been busy.

I'm so happy I went to this lunch buffet and cooking demonstration.


Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thank you.

Lovely, informative post.

I want to know the identity of the gentleman in the portrait behind Chef Mangan.

Dr. Julie-Ann said...

When I taught at Purdue North Central, all we had was a cafeteria lady.

Now I know why they say IU is better than Purdue! *grin*