First things first: Culinary classes (in particular, my Friday class, Foods 1, because Basic Culinary Skills on Wednesday basically just involves practicing knife cuts and prepping basic ingredients for the second year students). During my last Foods 1 class, last Friday, we finally got into the kitchen to do some cooking—it was Breakfast Day! I learned how to properly flip an egg in a pan...contrary to what you might think you'd do or what you might be tempted to do—thrust the pan forward and up—you use a small pan with sloping sides (your everyday skillet, basically), tip it downward and forward so the egg slips down onto the sloped edge, and then you jerk the pan straight back in one quick, steady motion, causing the egg to flip over backward and onto the uncooked side. Pretty cool! We practiced over sinks, so any mess-ups would just go down the drain. I didn't flip any out of the pan, but I was a little gentle while flipping, which meant I got a few half flipped eggs before I learned to do it properly. Other foods on our menu that day: cheese omelets (mine was perfect!—really need to ask if I can bring a camera to class so I can document), cheese blintzes (not my favorite...a little too savory tasting), French toast, and pancakes. Definitely a successful day in the kitchen!
My breakfast skills got some good use this weekend during my visit to my cousin's apartment in D.C. She's a big reason I started cooking, so it was great to spend time with her in the kitchen again. I showed off my egg flipping skills, made a pretty damn good omelet for her boyfriend, and we made crepes with strawberries and fresh whipped cream. Besides our joint breakfast ventures, she made flaky, buttery scones my first morning there and we filled up on french toast another morning, so, needless to say, we dined well in the mornings. She had a hearty crockpot meal waiting for me when I got in on Friday night, and we made pad thai for dinner one night and potato soup another night (okay...she did pretty much all of the work on those two, but I got the recipes and you should expect to see them up here later). We also roasted marshmellows over candles, drank lots of tea, and she introduced me to the joys of Whole Foods one afternoon. We spent Sunday at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, which was a blast—I haven't been to a renaissance festival since middle school, so it was fun to check out the shops, the shows, and the great costumes. Another great part of the day?—The food! I ate steak on a stake (a little hard to eat, but tasty), chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick (AMAZING), and part of a deep-fried Snicker bar (not really that great). All in all, I had a great weekend and a lot of fun with lots of food.
|Easily my favorite thing at the Renaissance Festival: the glass blower in the leather shorty-shorts.|
I didn't get home from my cousin's place until Tuesday evening, and with class on Wednesday, that meant no dinner to make after class (too tired on class days). Thursday, I tried out Patak brand Tikka Masala sauce and made a basic chicken tikka masala with basmati rice. It was pretty good, though the flavor of the sauce was not as strong as I would have hoped it would be, but for an Indian sauce in a jar, it was pretty good.
|Chicken Tikka Masala in its most basic form|
Today, my Foods 1 class had a Salad Bar day. We made mayonnaise (and whipped it by hand, which was a bit of work, though well worth it), and from there, each kitchen was assigned to make either Roquefort dressing, Thousand Island dressing, Caesar dressing and salad, or an emulsified vinaigrette (my kitchen made the Roquefort dressing, which is a variation on basic blue cheese—it was tangy and delicious!). We learned the proper washing technique for salad greens, familiarized ourselves with the various greens used in salads (from peppery arugula to your basic green leaf lettuce), and we got to build our own salads and sample our dressings. Our healthy lunch definitely made me feel a bit better about the chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick and hearty breakfasts I consumed this past weekend.
I'm spending Saturday at State College at the PennState v. Alabama game, then traveling to visit both of my grandmothers on Sunday, so I won't have a new recipe up until Monday night, but I'm definitely excited to try out some new recipes this week!