Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Screw School

I have a new car to play with! That’s right, I’m the proud owner of a new 2007 Toyota Camry XLE. It’s my second Camry and fourth Toyota (see requirement number 20). And it has absolutely nothing to do with food. Unless you consider the fact that I might have to stop eating in order to make my car payments. Ha!

Tomorrow I’ll be joining a new club. My lovely friend J is the founder of this club. It’s called “Tram Parking.” This means that no matter where you go (work, school, the movies, restaurants or otherwise) you park as far away as possible from civilization to avoid door dings, inadvertent keyings and unnecessary bird poop. If you’re lucky, a tram will transport you from parking spot to ridiculously far away destination. If not, well, you’ll get a nice workout as a consolation prize.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

And a New Semester Begins

Semester one, 3 classes, complete. GPA = 4.0. On track to graduate summa cum laude.

Monday night began a new semester. This means six weeks of book work classes - Supervision and Nutrition, followed by a six week lab class – Meat Cookery.

Who the hell knows if I’ll have anything interesting to share. So far, all I have to say is, I don’t have to wear a hat or thermometer for the next six weeks - rock on!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I Can Cook!

Tonight was the practical final. I completed all seven dishes accurately and on time.

*Drumroll please*

Not only did I survive (which was my primary goal), I finished with a grade of 98.

I am quite pleased.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

“Tomorrow We Find Out if You Can Cook”

With the practical final exam scheduled for Thursday night, these were the parting words of the chef instructors as we were dismissed from class tonight.

What I wanted really wanted to say was:

“Tomorrow we find out if you can teach.”

Sadly, I already know the answer.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Eggs Suck

Tonight was egg cookery. Solo production (meaning no partner to lean on). It was the most asinine class thus far.

Tonight the following events occurred in class:
Grades of zero for failing to finish all required dishes
An emotional meltdown, complete with tears
Obsessive cursing
More burns
A melted knife (yes, they melt)

And the worst part is - I’m describing all of the things that happened to ME tonight.

How, might I ask, do eggs (yes EGGS) make a girl cry? If you can figure that out, please let me know. I have 2 days to get my shit together before I have to make eggs for my final.

And, I might need to let the FBI know that my fingerprints have been modified by fire.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

In the Home Stretch

5 more days of THIS class to go. Fanfuckingtabulous.

3 of those days will be breakfast cookery – eggs, pancakes, soufflés, cheese blintzes, etc.

1 day will be a written exam.

1 day will be a practical exam. Now this, this scares the bajeebus out of me. Friday night the chef instructors gave us the exam rules and a list of dishes that we will be required to prepare - from memory.

A synopsis of the rules: Work alone, don’t talk, don’t ask questions, turn in your food on time.

And now, on to the food. We will be required to make:

Consommé Brunoise
Creamy Polenta with Tomato Sauce
Sautéed Spinach
Blanched Asparagus with Hollandaise
Rissole Potatoes
2 Eggs Over Easy
2 Eggs Soft Boiled

Saturday I spent the majority of the day shopping for the ingredients needed to make these dishes, and then actually making them. I am now the master of Hollandaise, Consommé and Sautéed Spinach. I even made a nice clarified butter. And captured some of the results on film…

Blanched Asparagus with Hollandaise

The disgusting mixture, called clearmeat, used to make Consommé

Consommé with Brunoise Carrots (this came from that disgusting mixture)

Sautéed Spinach

Today I will attempt (again) to tournea potatoes, whip up some polenta and make a classic, French tomato sauce. Pictures to come...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fried Rice

Not the kind they serve up in Chinese restaurants. This is actual balls of fried rice – otherwise known as croquettes. Tonight I made a lovely risotto finished with cream and parmesan cheese. I let it chill in the fridge and then formed the mixture into bite size balls, coated them in breadcrumbs and then dropped ‘em in the deep fryer. I cooked them until GBD (golden, brown and delicious - yes, it's a technical cooking term) for a perfect grade. Risotto – yum. Fried food – yum. Fried risotto – hells yeah.

Beans, Beans

The magical fruit
The more you eat
The more you.....

Wow. The Chef Instructor actually sang this little ditty to us during lecture tonight. Rather than explain why beans cause flatulence, we are learning nursery rhymes. Maybe tomorrow we will learn how to make a diorama.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

No Spatulas Allowed

Tonight, as we continued potato cookery, we also took our first stab at flipping food in a sauté pan without the use of utensils.

I put together a lovely “potato pancake” which ultimately looked and tasted as good as the ones served up at IHOP. Yes, I eat at IHOP. And yes, I love their hash browns.

As the potatoes sizzled in some clarified butter, I finally got up the courage to try the oh so professional flipping technique. Over the burner, I quickly force the sauté pan forward and jerk it back towards my body. The potato pancake catches some air, flies out of the pan and heads directly towards my face. Acrobatics kick in and with a few jumps and some swift pan maneuvering, I landed the potato pancake in the pan. It wasn’t a perfect 10, but it didn’t hit the floor – or my face. Whew!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Potatoes Au Crap

Tonight we began a 3 day spree of potato making. We made 5 different potato dishes – 4 of which were met with the following comments when presented for grading:

- What the hell is this?
- What kind of fucked up piping job is this?
- Kind of thin, isn’t it? (along with rude face and the “what were you thinking” look)
- This is sauce?

The only potato dish I made tonight that remotely received an acceptable grade was the one doused in cream and topped with cheese. But then again, what wouldn’t taste good doused in cream and topped with cheese?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Glutton Defines Gluttony

There is this guy in my class that frequently:

-Is the first to dig in to the chef instructors’ demo food (sometimes even bowling others over to make sure this happens)
-Licks a plate, bowl, ramekin, and sometimes even a table, clean
-Secretly packs up leftovers for home use
-Double dips
-Manhandles food so that others won’t take it from him
-Barters with other cooking classes for their nightly creations

Tonight we made lasagna. A big portion of lasagna. The chef instructors’ were only grading the lasagna on form and consistency, which meant we got to eat the finished product – a rare event. This guy – he devours the lasagna before his teammates can even sample it. They are giving him a hard time. He is going on and on about how he wants to eat more, but is finally full. The whole class is surprised at this admission. It’s a first.

A classmate jokingly suggests that he could make himself throw up so that he could continue to eat more lasagna.

He said, “I would, but that would mean I’m a glutton.”

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Tonight we made fresh pasta. For those of you who have never had fresh pasta, you aren’t missing much – except being coated in flour for 5 grueling hours. Please, don’t try to convince me otherwise. My feet are aching, I have dough in places I’d rather not think about and I saw one of my fellow classmates smuggle a ball of pasta dough out of class in his pants.

Besides making fettuccini, papardelle, farfalle and tortellini, we made an assortment of sauces to go with the pasta. One being – Putanesca. I’ve heard it referred to in movies and shows – “I’d love to enjoy that bottle of wine with a nice Putanesca.” Sounds so extravagant. After learning about, and subsequently making Putanesca, I will not be enjoying it with a damn thing – not wine, not milk, not even smothered in cheese.

Made with a mixture of tomatoes (blehk, gross, eeew, yuck), capers, calamata olives and anchovy filets, it’s actually referred to as the “hooker’s dish.” In Italy of years ago, it was something easy for working girls to whip up this dish between…ahem, appointments. It became such a common dish amongst these women that the smell of it cooking became associated with the dirty deed.

Tasty, huh?