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Cook's Corner

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Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette
Culinary instructor Peter Tzeschlock shows off Ratatouille and Pork Loin Medallions.

Instructor at Kendallville school shares passion

– Less than a decade ago, chef Peter Tzeschlock of Auburn thought he might retire. He had spent several decades cooking for others and thought it would be a good time to travel more and try recipes that others have prepared.

However, in 2007 he became a culinary instructor with a program at the Four County Area Vocational Cooperative in Kendallville. So instead of traveling to the south of France, Tzeschlock, 67, is surrounded by high school students eagerly watching and listening to him as he shows them the art of fine cooking.

“Our curriculum is a lot like Ivy Tech but different,” he says. “It’s a two-year program.”

Making up the classes are junior and seniors from 11 schools within DeKalb, Noble, Steuben and LaGrange school systems.

“The students form friendships and they get to know how to work with the public. Ours is commercial (cooking). I really enjoy working with the kids. All the years I’ve been in this business, I enjoy passing what I’ve learned along to the kids,” he says.

Tzeschlock received his training and schooling in Germany and worked in many places throughout Europe, including Switzerland. He notes that the coop has no problem in filling the class.

He says, “We turn a lot of students away because the class is always filled. I think television is a big part. Some kids see themselves as the next (Gordon) Ramsay. I push them into the direction to get a goal.”

Q. If you were stuck on an island, what’s one food you would have to have?

A. I would eat a real good bouillabaisse (French fish soup) from Provencal, France, with a good glass of wine. No, a bottle. If I’m on an island, I want a bottle, not just a glass.

Q. What’s your favorite cooking utensil?

A. Probably a chef knife – an 8- or 10-inch. A good one. You can do a lot with that.

Q. What advice would you give to beginner cooks?

A. Be open-minded when it comes to food. Try everything even it you heard it was bad. Try it.

Pork Loin Medallions Smothered in Mustard, Wild Mushrooms and Onions

2 (3-ounce) pork loin slices, pounded

Salt, as needed

Fresh ground black pepper, as needed

Flour, for dusting

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 onion, thinly sliced

2 ounces re-hydrated dry mushrooms, roughly chopped

2 teaspoons grainy mustard

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup mushroom broth

1 teaspoon dry dill

Season pork with salt and pepper and dust with flour. In a skillet, melt the butter in olive oil. Add the pork and cook over high heat, turning once, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and mushrooms to the skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the mustard and 1 teaspoon flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken and mushroom broth and bring to a boil. Nestle the pork in the onion sauce. Cover and simmer over low heat until pork is cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the pork to plates. Stir the dill to the sauce and spoon over the pork. Serve with buttered rice. Makes 1 serving.

Ratatouille

1/2 cup onions, medium dice

2 teaspoons garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup green bell pepper, medium dice

1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, medium dice

1/2 cup eggplant, medium dice

1/2 cup zucchini, medium dice

1 cup tomato concasse (peeled, seeded and medium diced tomatoes)

1 tablespoon basil chiffonade

Salt, to taste

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Sauté the onion and garlic in oil. Add the peppers, eggplant and zucchini and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato concasse, basil and seasonings. Sauté for 5 minutes. Adjust the seasonings. Makes 4 servings.

Asparagus Salad

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus

4 tomatoes

1 bunch chives

2 hardboiled eggs

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 ounces plain yogurt

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 fluid ounce brandy

Pinch of sugar

Salt, to taste

White pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish

Peel the ends of the asparagus, slice into 1/2 -inch pieces. Peel, seed and dice tomatoes. Cut chives fine. Place into a bowl and gently toss. Cut the eggs into half and remove the yolk. Mash the yolk to a smooth consistency. Chop the egg white fine and set aside. Combine yolk, mayonnaise, yogurt, cream, vinegar, mustard and brandy. Blend well. Season with sugar, salt and pepper. Add to the vegetable mixture and gently mix. Serve on lettuce or radicchio leaf. Sprinkle with chopped egg whites and parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Hungarian Potatoes

2 ounces butter

4 ounces onion, chopped

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

8 ounces tomato, peeled, seeded and diced

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices

2 cups chicken stock

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the onion and paprika. Cook until the onion is soft. Add the tomatoes and potatoes. Add a small amount of salt, about 1 teaspoon. Simmer until potatoes are cooked and liquid is mostly evaporated or absorbed. Stir gently from time to time. Season to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know of someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-0088; fax 461-8648 or email dparker@jg.net.

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