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Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
Above is a display of hors d'oeuvres prepared by UVSC's culinary arts students for the annual President's Scholarship Ball.

OREM — Rolin Christensen will still make the traditional oyster stuffing for his family's Thanksgiving feast when he's home in LaVerkin.

Jennifer Clark, of Provo, will be helping with the Thanksgiving dinner fixings, but she'll step back and let her mom bake the pies.

Eileen Marshall is under her husband's orders to bake her famous cherry pie even though she, like Clark and Christensen, are on the road to graduating as chefs in the Utah Valley State College Culinary Arts program.

"My husband was concerned when I decided to do this," said Marshall, a mother of five and grandmother of seven. "I've always loved to cook. It's always been my thing. But he was worried it would change things, and he has favorites that I make. He still gets pretty much hometown cooking most of the time, but I can cook uptown, too, because of the confidence the program has given me."

"In most situations, you need to do things the way the head chef does it. At home, my mom is clearly the head chef," Clark said. Clark graduates in April after which she plans to go into catering or food advertising.

"My father was the one who got me into cooking," Christensen said. "And the oyster stuffing is a tradition. The difference now is they expect me to do all the cooking."

Christensen said he doesn't mind. He's a huge fan of old-time recipes and comfort foods like meat and potatoes.

"I actually want to have my own restaurant someday," he said.

Christensen has two more semesters until graduation. He chose UVSC after checking out a number of different cooking schools.

"This was actually much cheaper and had a very good reputation," he said.

UVSC currently has 36 students who learn and work in about 2,700 square feet of space. There is a waiting list of 150, so in the next year, the program will expand to accommodate 144 students in 39,000 square feet of space in one of the former WordPerfect buildings in north Orem.

In the program, students learn to make gourmet recipes from scratch and to present those foods expertly.

Over the course of three and a half years, they learn to develop menus, shop efficiently and produce food in a variety of quantities. Their classwork is on the rotating menu served at Greg's, an in-house, highly popular, sit-down restaurant located in the McKay Events Center. (To make a reservation at Greg's, call 863-7054.)

Graduates from the program are practically guaranteed placement, because the demand for a good chef or chef's assistant is high, according to Chef Greg Forte, who directs the UVSC program.

Marshall lauds the local program. She, too, had looked at several options and selected UVSC after she heard many positive stories about the program.

"I went over and checked it out. I was impressed. The program itself is wonderful," she said.

"I'm a visual learner, so I love live demonstration," Marshall said. "When a teacher takes the time to show you what to do, that's huge."

Butternut Squash

(Serves 12)

3 7/8 pounds butternut squash, quartered

1/2 pound butter

1/2 pound brown sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh

1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh

Place the squash into a buttered baking dish. Top with the brown sugar, butter and juices. Bake uncovered until tender at 350 degrees. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Curry Apple Turkey Salad

(Serves 3)

6 ounces turkey breast, skinless and diced in medium pieces, cooked

1 ounce raisins

1 ounce chopped dates

1 green apple, chopped

1/4 cup pineapple, medium diced

1/4 cup waterchestnuts, sliced

1 cup bean sprouts, fresh

2 green onions, chopped

2 cups nappa cabbage, shredded

1 red bell pepper, julienned

Mix salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add the honey pineapple dressing (below) and toss well.

Honey Pineapple Dressing

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder (can toast to cut potency)

2 ounces pineapple juice

1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

Blend together until smooth.

Turkey Goulash

(Serves 6)

1 1/2 pounds turkey breasts, diced

2 onions, medium diced

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup beef stock

1 teaspoon caraway seed (can put in a sachet bag and pull out)

1/4 cup tomato puree

1/2 cup yogurt, skim milk or sour cream

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Using a heavy saute pan sprayed with vegetable oil, brown the meat over medium heat. Add the onions and allow to brown lightly. Add the paprika and allow to cook for one additional minute. Add the beef stock, caraway and tomato puree, cover and place into a 350 F. oven for 45 minutes. When finished cooking, remove meat from the pan, leaving the sauce in the pan. Add the yogurt to the sauce. Send sauce through a food mill. Return meat to sauce, adjust seasoning and serve. (If turkey is already cooked, add at the end.)

Sweet Potato Patties

(Serves 50)

15 pounds sweet potatoes, washed and dried

8 ounces butter

8 ounces sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 1/2 pounds coconut, shredded

1 pound butter, (for cooking)

Bake sweet potatoes in a 350 F. oven until very tender. Scoop out the pulp and pass through a food mill. Blend all ingredients except the coconut and cooking butter with the sweet potato pulp. Place into freezer until firm. Using a scoop, portion out the potatoes and make into flat patties. Roll each into the coconut and place into cooler. To cook, melt the whole butter over medium heat and pan fry until golden brown on both sides.

Sun Nut Bread

(Yield: one large loaf)

10 ounces water (95 degrees)

11 ounces bread flour

3 1/2 ounces wheat bread flour

2 tablespoons dry milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

2 teaspoons SAF instant yeast

Mix together all dry ingredients, add wet. Let proof, and punch it down. Let it raise a second time before punching down again and shaping it. Let rise. Bake in hot oven — about 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Brush with fresh butter.

Stuffed Mushroom Caps

(Serves one)

4 mushrooms, cleaned

4 black olives, chopped

2 tablespoons red bell pepper, finely diced

2 tablespoons onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon capers, minced

2 ounces butter

2 ounces bread crumbs

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, fresh, grated

1 clove garlic, minced

2 ounces sherry

2 ounces crab meat, shredded, (optional)

Separate the caps and stems, dice the stem finely. Heat the butter and saute the garlic for 10 seconds. Add the mushroom stems and other vegetables, cook until tender. Add the sherry and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and add the cheese and bread crumbs, mix well. If using the crab, flake it in. Adjust the seasoning of the stuffing. Stuff the caps, place into a shallow casserole and bake at 350 degrees until caps are tender.


(Serves 8)

3/4 cup apricot halves, dried, soaked in cold water

3/4 cup prunes, soaked in cold water

6 cups water

1 cinnamon stick

2 lemons, sliced

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup raisins

1 apple, peeled and sliced

Soak the fruits in the cold water. Drain and combine with water, cinnamon, lemons and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover, allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the raisins and apple slices and simmer for five additional minutes. Chill, remove cinnamon stick and adjust seasoning. Serve hot in glass cups.

— Recipes compliments of Chef Greg Forte

E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com