sweet and sour garlic squash

A short intro this week. And pardon the length between posts, as it is finals time and nevermind there is no room for excuses in food blogging. This semester I am taking Survey of the History of Food and my final paper is about the creation of the chef as symbol during the rise of haute cuisine. Paper name dropping! I think that is a thing that graduate students like to do (besides talk about being a graduate student): drop the name of their paper because it makes them sound like fancy scholars and hopefully all of these thousands of dollars in loans are worth it and the person they are speaking with will be like, "Oh my, I don't even understand what that title means, they must be very smart." Of course, the paper title is purposely long and over-the-top for this reason. "Oh, hahaha, just a little paper I'm writing, about gender semiotics in 17th-century Balinese kitchens." Hahaha, oh you know. So boring. Just something I'm doing in my spare time. Let me think of some long words and then tell you about the paper.

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parker house rolls

There was one year that we decided to wake up early and go to the Black Friday sales. Should "Black Friday" be capitalized? Probably. Is it a national holiday now? Well, now that it's ON Thanksgiving I guess it's a de facto national holiday.

Anyways, at the time I didn't really know how Black Friday worked. I knew people went shopping and they were excited about it, but other than that. Although, this was probably like 10 or 12 years ago, maybe more, how old am I, and I think back then we weren't trampling each other to death for animatronic gerbils yet, so maybe it wasn't the big deal it is now. And we used to have Thanksgiving at our house every year, because my birthday is the week before and my sister and Dad's birthday is the week of Thanksgiving, so it was one big celebration. But mostly it was my birthday. And everyone would come over and we would have Thanksgiving dinner and ice cream cake and we would blow out the candles and then light them again for each child in our family so they each got to blow out the candles even if it wasn't their birthday. When you are a kid this is great for some reason, and you can't wait for it to be your turn to blow out the candles, but when you are an adult it seems to take forever. We also always had like three of four verses to "Happy Birthday." I guess we just liked to make birthdays last.

So, one year my aunt planned on going to Best Buy for the Black Friday sale, and her daughter (my cousin) was staying at our house because my cousins usually stayed over after Thankgsiving, such a good story I'm telling, and we decided we'd wake up and go as well, as an adventure. I don't know why waking up at 3am to stand in a cold, dark parking lot sounds like an adventure, but whatever. Kids those days.

We got there and after five minutes we were bored, so we walked over to White Castle to get hot cocoas, didn't want to stunt our growth with coffee, and when we got back to the line, which stretched all the way to the back of the parking lot, which sort of surprised me, I guess I didn't really expect that anyone else was crazy enough to do this let alone a line of people all the way to the back of the parking lot, and this was just one Best Buy, but when we got back an argument had broken out because somebody had cut in line. I don't even remember if it was true, because you are kind of at the back of the line and you don't know what is going on at the front of the line, you just kind of wait for the news to travel back to you and then when the person in front of you angrily explains that some ass cut in line you start to get mad too because damnit you have been waiting here, in the cold, for however many hours, and how dare someone cut in line, and you are really mad now that you think about it because you have only had 3 hours of sleep and WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS BEST BUY SALESPERSON?!? IT'S NOT FAIR!

So finally it is time to go in and everyone starts to get all excited but also nervous because there are so many people in front of you and what if they all want the shower radio that was advertised in the paper and Best Buy is all out of them by the time you get there? So anyways, 5am hits, or whatever comparatively normal time they used to open the doors in those days, and honestly, the best way to describe it is have you ever seen the holiday family film Jingle All the Way? It's very very good, just a quality film, probably a classic now and surely it won all the awards that year particularly for Sinbad. What ever happened to Sinbad? Probably just resting for a bit. We saw him at Disney World one time when I was little. But that's an introduction to another recipe.

So, in the film Jingle All the Way, which is about how Arnold Schwarzanegger is a bad father, which is what all the movies from the 90s were about, I want to play baseball, I have to take this important business call on my fancy new cell phone that was just invented, you never want to play baseball, two hours later the Dad realizes what he's been missing, hug, the end, anyways, this is the same movie, but in this movie the way Governor Terminator is going to prove to his son that he loves him is by buying him this superhero robot thing, but it turns out this superhero robot thing is the Tickle Me Elmo of 1994 in this movie's world, so of course he can't get it because they've been sold out forever and there is only a day before Christmas, so he goes on all of these wacky hijinx but also Sinbad wants the same robot thing for his kid and he's a mailman and they do a lot of things that would be very illegal in the real world, I think there is a bomb threat or something, I don't really remember, I saw this movie a long time ago, I just remember that I'm pretty sure that things all work out in the end and Christmas is saved.

But at one point in the movie a toy store gets like five of these robot superman things and something something people have ping pong balls and they rush into the store and they start fighting each other and it's pandemonium and there are ping pong balls everywhere.

That is surely not the easiest way to explain how it was at Best Buy at all, but I remember thinking, after we got in the door, that it was exactly like that movie, without the ping pong balls. The second the doors opened people ran like crazy, flooding every aisle of the store in seconds and grabbing everything in their path. They could not even have been looking at what they were picking up - if it was a bin full of boxes or a pyramid of stuff in an aisle they just threw it into their carts. I had two things on my list - a few CDs, which were like imagine you had to buy this shiny disk and stick it into your iPod to play music, you had to drive to a store to get music, and a CD player, which was like the iPod that needed the disks, or I guess now you put the iPod in the stereo, so imagine you have the disks you put in the iPod and then you put the iPod in the stereo but there is no, oh nevermind, it was complicated system for listening to music we were burdened with in those days, and I planned on getting the CD player and then looking around at CDs. Hahahaha. Luckily the CD player was off in a corner somewhere so people didn't really notice it and my little cousin was able to shimmy down through the legs of the crowd, pop up and grab a CD player, and then shimmy her way back. Perusing the CDs was out of the question - you either shoveled things into your cart while constantly moving or got trampled.

And then, about 10 or 15 minutes after the doors had opened, the store was perfectly still - everyone was at the registers, waiting to check out. And we waited, and waited, and waited. We swapped stories, I managed to get back into the aisles and check out a few CDs, we kept waiting. At one point, adrenaline still coursing through their veins, a fistfight broke out over a television or something. My aunt reached over everyone, grabbed my cousin by the scruff of her puffy coat and lifted her over the carts to keep her close. The police came and broke it up. This is the point when a movie would start playing, "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." because look how ironic.

We finally checked out, I got my CD player and CDs, and then we moved on to the mall, which was a breeze in comparison. All shopping since then has been a breeze in comparison, so I guess in that way I am thankful for Black Friday (that's what I'm going to say I'm thankful for at the Thanksgiving table this year no I'm not we don't do that). And that CD player was pretty great. It played some good tunes, probably. And, although I haven't woken early for Black Friday shopping since, I'm still kind of proud to say I did it, at least once. I survived Black Friday. It WAS an adventure.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, speaking of rock and ROLL, one thing you may want to make on Thanksgiving is some rolls, because that is a classic dish and people will be mad if you don't. You might want to try new things, but people will be like, where are the rolls, where is the turkey, of course, and stuffing, and cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, and really by the time you make all that there is no time for anything else so you might as well make the classics, like these rolls.

I'm not going to go into the history behind these rolls. I'm taking Survey of the History of Food right now and that's enough history for me and if you really want to learn about it there is all kinds of stuff on the internet. The main thing is, they are very soft, they were invented at the Omni Parker Hotel here in Boston and they are ridiculously delicious. There you go. This recipe is a bit different in that you don't preheat the oven. I stick these rolls into the cold oven and turn the heat on and they kind of get a final proof, which makes them so light and fluffy. It works for me every time. I also add the butter at the end, after they come out. I know some recipes have you pour melted butter over the tops before you bake them, but I think they rise better if you hold off. 

Oh gosh these are good. The best rolls? The best rolls. Here you go!

parker house rolls

adapted from gourmet magazine

ingredients

+ 3 tablespoons warm water (105 - 115 degrees F)

+ 3 tablespoons sugar, divided

+ 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast

+ 1 stick unsalted butter

+ 1 cup skim milk

+ 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

+ 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 

recipe

Stir together the 3 tablespoons warm water, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast in a small bowl. Let stand for about 10-15 minutes, or until foamy. (If the mixture does not foam, your yeast is dead. So sad. But you can just start over with new yeast).

Melt 6 tablespoons of the unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Add the cup of skim milk and heat until just warmed.

In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspons of kosher salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture and butter/milk mixture to the well and stir until combined. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour to the bowl and stir until just combined into a shaggy ball.

Butter a large bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it is somewhat smooth and elastic yet still sticky. Form the dough into a ball and place it into the bowl, turning once to coat with butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a very warm place, for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Butter a 10-inch round baking pan.

Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces and roll into balls. Arrange the dough balls evenly in the pan, with space around each, and let rise in a warm place for 45-60 additional minutes, or until doubled in size again.

When ready, place the pan in the oven and turn the heat to 375 degrees. Notice you are not preheating the oven. Bake for about 25-35 minutes, or until the tops are a light golden color. When they are ready, remove from the oven and immediately rub the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over the tops of the rolls, letting the butter melt over them. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and serve.

makes 20 rolls

"and pizza is a big part of school lunches"

A third of American children are obese or overweight, according to the government, and roughly 40 percent of the calories they eat are consumed in the school lunch period. Nutrition experts say if the nation wants to make progress on the obesity crisis among children, what they eat at lunchtime has to be addressed.

...

With some nutrition experts rallying to the Obama administration’s side, the battle is shaping up as a contentious and complicated fight involving lawmakers from farm states and large low-income urban areas that rely on the program, which fed some 30 million children last year with free or subsidized meals. Food companies have spent more than $5.6 million so far lobbying against the proposed rules.

- School Lunch Proposals Set Off a Dispute at the NYTimes

roasted pumpkin and cheddar scones

Really, it's a wonder people aren't constantly dying after eating in restaurants. Last week I took the ServSafe exam, which is the Massachusetts exam for safe food handling. It was 90 questions, 2 hours, covering all manner of kitchen safety and regulation.

Do you know how many ways there are to get sick from food? So many ways. How many bacteria, toxins, viruses, pathogens and parasites are there in the world? More than a couple. There are the classics, like E. coli and salmonella. But are you coughing up worms? Gross. You may have ascariasis (one of the symptoms is a tickle in the back of your throat, but I don't know if that's related to the worms or not). Been forgetting things? If you had shellfish recently, you may have amnesic shellfish poisonic. As in your scallop gave you amnesia. That's just a crazy thing to think about. And it would be even more sad because nobody would believe you that it is a real thing. "Didn't I tell you to take the garbage out?" "Possibly. I had an oyster last week and now I have amnesia." Just an example. Mostly for high school age people, I guess.

That's not all. A strong, oily smell in the kitchen? Maybe cooking oil. But probably cockroaches. One of the fun example scenarios they gave was something like, "Sally has a dry scalp. She's constantly scratching it, which causes dandruff to fall into the food. Is this acceptable?" Hahahaha. Absolutely. "Is it cool to bleed into the food?" And there are so many more ways for metal and glass to fall into food than I ever imagined.

Not to mention the terrorists. You really need to keep the perimeter of your restaurant secure, because of the terrorists. Too many terrorists spoil the soup. Very popular saying.

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caramel apple corn

So, over the weekend I graduated from the Culinary and Baking Arts programs that I took over the summer. I got a medal! It's engraved with a chef's toque and a pan and maybe a whisk? I forget. I guess I can just look at it since it's around my neck right now. Just kidding! It's at the polisher's. I drool on it a lot in my sleep.

Mmmm. "Now I am so hungry I cannot wait for the recipe." That's what you are thinking right now. Well, we'll get there. Anyways, so on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights during the summer I went to class after work and learned how to make food. It was great. You would know this if you had read my blog posts about it. I blogged about it after every single class? Yeah, you probably don't know because you didn't read it. My blog hits (that's when someone visits your blog. "Oh, they hit me." That means, "Oh, they visited my blog." Probably.) went way down during those six weeks. Whatever. Fine. I don't care about YOUR life either.

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honey oat bread

Do you know who Seth McFarlane is? No? He is the guy who made Family Guy, which I think is like the poor man's Simpson's. I don't watch any of that, because animation is for babies. Except Pixar. Pixar is for adults I think. (And I'm just kidding about being for babies, animation. Animation can be for anyone. But I still don't watch Family Guy. I tried once and it wasn't for me, just like oatmeal is not for me, but I'll get to that).

Anyways, the other day I saw an advertisement for a new album, well, not really an album - more like the idea of an album, because it's all just MP3s now, right? I mean, they keep making square pictures as if they are the covers of compact disks, but that's just so iTunes has something for you to look at. Well, whatever it is, a collection of digital files, I guess, it was from Seth McFarlane. But I wasn't sure if it really was, because it could have also maybe been a joke. Sometimes it's hard to know the difference between real life and making fun of life anymore, because a lot of times real life is so bananas you hope it's a joke and you are very surprised to find out it is not a joke. (There is a name for that, actually).

So this was a collection of songs sung by Seth McFarlane in the style of Frank Sinatra, complete with a retro-looking "album cover." It has silly song names like they used to have back in the day, like, "You're the Cream in My Coffee" and "Two Sleepy People." See how I thought, "Hmmm. Joke?"

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peddocks island, boston harbor

Peddocks Island is where the film Shutter Island was filmed. It's about mental institutions and brain experiments and murdering children and ghosts and fires and ridiculous rain storms and an ending that doesn't really make sense. It's basically a promotional video for the real Peddocks Island.

Which is great! Except for the millions of devil mosquitoes. Other than that. Speaking of, have you read about the thing where they are breeding poison nectar plants to kill the mosquitoes? I think that's what is going on, I only read the subhead, because I'm very busy with jobs and school and hanging out on an island all day, but that seemed to be the gist of it. And, on the one hand, I can see how it would be like, maybe that's a bad idea, playing with nature and killing a species and breeding poison plants and Little Shop of Horrors. But, on the other hand, I think I had 40 bites on EACH LEG that day. And they were mutant mosquitoes who were very hungry because they live on an island. And we didn't bring the bug spray because bug spray is unnatural chemicals, just kidding, we didn't even think about it.

So, to get to Peddocks Island you have to take a ferry from Boston to Georges Island. Then you take the Tropic Cat to Peddocks Island (well first you stop at Hull, where you can be jealous of the high school that is on the end of the peninsula - the football field is surrounded by water on three sides). And as you are approaching the island you can play that weird foghorn song from Shutter Island in your head. BWAAAAAA. BWAAAAA. If you want.

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the famous gourmet chocolate cake

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Have you thought about what you might get that special someone? You do have that special someone, right? I hope so. There really isn't time to find one at this point. Better luck next year, er, in 2013! Hope all of the fish in the sea aren't taken! I've heard things about overfishing!

Unless you are one of those people who is like, "Valentine's Day is a conspiracy perpetrated by the secret agents at Hallmark Cards, Inc. because they want to use love to poison the water supply and also I don't have a special someone and if I did I wouldn't buy them anything." In that case, you can relax a bit. I mean, you probably should relax a bit. But you have a little more time to get your rant memorized before February 14.

I'm just kidding! I mean, I'm jk-ing! That's how you have to say it now. LOL! JK! STFU! That's how the kids are saying it. That's how the kids are saying everything. Oh, the kids. Anyways, it's not almost around the corner. It's in like five or six months or something. But you know what is around the corner? Halloween! Autumn! And then Thanksgiving! And Christmas! Or whatever you celebrate! It might be around the corner if it's in December! Halloween is just around the corner, and Thanksgiving is just a bit of a ways up, and Christmas is about a block away and Valentine's Day is a few blocks away. That's how the upcoming holidays are situated if you want to keep going with this map metaphor thing, which you probably do. You are a spatial learner.

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lemon and roasted garlic fettuccine w/ brussels sprouts leaves and bacon

So, the other day I was sitting in the George Sherman Union (named after the guy from The Jeffersons) here at Boston University, on my lunch break, enjoying some food with some coworkers, this story is already good, when these kids who were here for an orientation or conference or something started freaking out and running out of the building and so on and so forth, which wasn't really that surprising because they always do that. When you get them in packs they get all crazy and move their bodies a lot and instead of talking to each other they just kind of announce things really loudly. Youngsters. Like, just on the way to that important business lunch we were walking down the street and this young man was walking with his Mom and then he decided to just start doing this scarecrow walk-dance, like a floppy skippy kind of thing, and then he was finished. Who knows? Hopefully they teach impulse control as a part of the liberal arts curriculum.

Anway, as the kids were leaving, two of them yelled this to each other across the room because that's an appropriate way to converse:

Girl: WHERE ARE YOU GOING!?!?
Guy: WE HAVE TO EVACUATE BECAUSE OF THE EARTHQUAKE.
Girl: EARTHQUAKE!
Guy: DIDN'T YOU FEEL THE EARTHQUAKE??
Girl: SHUTUP! THERE'S NOT EARTHQUAKE!
Guy: YES THERE IS!

Good conversation. Very normal at a normal decibel level. Anyway, aside from "Shutup," I was thinking, "Oh, what a guillable dummy. Does she really think there was an earthquake? Come on." But don't I feel sheepish now, because apparently there was an earthquake? So they say. I didn't notice anything at all. Which made me sad, because I love natural disasters! And there was one right here, under my feet!

So here's what I like about natural disasters. I feel like I have to explain myself because being offended by things is popular now. Obviously I don't like when lots of people die in natural disasters or they lose their family photo album or other sad things. But I do like how big weather events shut people up about nonsense boring things.

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corn and banana pepper soup

Tonight we're having fake Halloween at our apartment, because even fake Halloween is better than regular August. We didn't plan it this way (fake Halloween next Monday!), but first I was watching Addam's Family Values on Home Box Office and then Lifetime Movie Network is taking a break from playing movies about how all the men are out to kill and rape all the women I guess because I was flipping through the Tivo guide (name dropping) and now they are playing Hocus Pocus, so now there is a tobacco-scented candle burning and we are drinking apple cider and eating ice cream with a ridiculous amount of black sprinkles. Kind of just like Halloween!

We're back to the recipes! For those of you who read my posts about the culinary classes - thanks for reading! For those of you who were just waiting to get back to the recipes, here we are!

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day twenty-four - the last class and everything you have always wanted to know about popovers

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

And then there were none. Classes. And then there were none classes.

Let's get this last post out of the way so we can get back to the recipes, eh? It's been a month of these journal entries. Over a month? When did these start? What's going on? How do I make corn and pepper soup? (That's the first recipe when we get back to the recipes on this blog probably).

So, for the last baking class we had to make a pre-1900 recipe as well as a modern version. We actually had to to do this for cooking as well, but times three. For that I made German/Dutch baby pancakes, Welsh rabbit and green bean soup. The pre-1900 version of the pancakes: disgusting. Plech. Like the sweetest, wettest, slimiest omelette you've ever had. The modern version? Delicious! Both rabbits/rarebits were perfectly delicious. The old time green bean soup was fine, just a little flavorless. The modern one was better.

Anyway, so I made popovers for baking. The old version was a 3-2-1 recipe, with 3 cups of flour, 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of water. They also had one egg and a bit of salt. They were...not good. They were very dense and moist and not delicious at all. There was certainly no popping over going on.

The new version: delicious! Very popovers! So we had to make the two versions in class and then everyone tasted them while each person gave a little history of the dish. Do you want to learn about popovers? Of course you do! Let me tell you about them!

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day twenty-three - middle eastern desserts

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

Oh hello. I've been very bad about updating about my last few baking classes. It's been so strange having each night off, all to myself, to do whatever I want to do. I can make whatever recipes I want! I can read whatever I want. Right now I'm reading that new book about Scientology? Jeepers. Although, I'm going to start my own cult because you can say anything and people will be like, "Where do I sign?" And now I have the time! "Oh good, a blog post about how the blogger hasn't updated his or her blog in a while. I love those and there are not enough of them." That's what you were just thinking in your head. Well get off my back, ass, I blogged like three days ago. Join my cult. OK!

Anyways. The second to the last class was all about Middle Eastern desserts (not deserts! hahaha), mainly from Egypt. They were...interesting. 

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day twenty-two - final challenge

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

Do you remember when Top Chef went to Las Vegas and there was that one challenge that was like, "Pull the handle on the slot machine and whatever ingredients pop up that's what you have to use in your dish!" Remember? I mean, that's pretty much how all of the challenges are. "We found these old sneakers at the bottom of a dumpster. Make an amuse bouche out of them!" "It was good, but too big for an amouse bouche." Shutup, Padma. (Just kidding, Padma!) But still, I remember that one in particular. And then all of the resulting dishes sound like they came out of the El Bulli dish name generator?

Well, that's kind of like how our final challenge was. Except instead of the slot machine coming up with deciduous tree roe, raptor steaks and a lime popsicle that has melted in the sun, we got shrimp, chicken and raspberries. Phew!

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day twenty-one - sushi

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

A lot of times people are like, "Ewww, sushi." But then a lot of times other people are like, "I'm so fancy because I love sushi." Which one are you? Add up your answers and find out at the end of this quiz.

I'm the latter! It's delicious! I'm not sure what people don't like about sushi. Actually, yes I do. It's the raw fish. I don't know why I said I didn't. And then people are like, "Do you even like the sushi with the big piece of raw fish on top?" And you are like, "Yup," in a way that is like, "Yup, I'm a badass," and they are like, "Disgusting!!!"

So, OK, fine. People like what they like and don't like what they don't like and that's fine. You shouldn't apologize for not liking something! But, sushi is basically rice (well, sushi rolls, at least). It would make more sense to me if you said you don't like sushi because you don't like rice. "Oh, sure, that makes sense." Although I've never heard of anyone who didn't like rice.

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day twenty - italian desserts

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

So, not to keep writing about all of the foods I don't like (stupid meringue). Basically, I'll eat anything (except olives). If I have to eat broccoli or cream cheese or sour cream or whatever (except olives), I'll eat it (except olives). But I know what I like and I would prefer to eat those things. Because those things are better.

So, cream cheese is not my favorite thing in the world (it doesn't taste like cheese at all to me; it tastes like some weirdly tangy thick stuff that coats my tongue) and therefore cheesecake is not my favorite thing in the world. That's on the SAT - I do not like cream cheese, therefore I do not like A) robot teddy bears B) war C) incessant computer warning messages D) cheesecake. The answer is D. 1 point! Go to college!

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day nineteen - french desserts

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

Like car commercials, talking about hating Mondays or liking Fridays on Facebook, Sarah Palin, news shows asking how parents feel the day after their son or daughter was murdered and when people say, "I'm the type of person who ___," it's too bad I don't like meringue, because there's enough of it to go around. I've got whipping egg whites down by this point. I wish we made chocolate truffles as much as we made egg whites. Or short ribs.

Last Wednesday was French desserts night, even though we've pretty much been making French desserts all along. That being said, the French know their pastries, so you can never really spend too much time on them. Our professor brought in this book and this book and the desserts are pretty much, "Make five different types of cake, four different fillings, a crunchy thing, a paste, a jam, two frostings, a chocolate ganache, put it all together, cover it in two layers of glaze, a sheet of chocolate that has some type of design made with an acetate stencil and finish with some glazed, gold-leaf covered berries." 

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day eighteen - indian

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

If there is one thing I have learned from these culinary classes, it is that some of the ovens work and some of the ovens don't work and I wish they all worked. Have I talked about this. Well, it is still annoying! Especially the ones that kind of work but not really so you put your cake in and it's kind of hot in the oven and you think, OK, maybe it's a little low, but that's probably just me, the heat of the kitchen is throwing me off probably, and none of these oven thermometers work, so I'll put my cake in, and an hour later it looks like cake soup. Just great.

Oh, but I have also learned that countries are big and they don't eat one dish and you shouldn't expect to learn all about them in four hours. I'm pretty sure I knew this already, but every guest chef has reminded us of this, so if I didn't know I do now.

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