Friday, March 14, 2014

Second Day of Class

My Kitchen Skills class is going pretty well. It's a little more work than I expected, at least in terms of book work, but I am enjoying that part as well. The frustrating part of school has not been the classes, but the weather! My first class missed two days out of seven. And this week's class was on the day of another snowstorm. When they didn't cancel school that morning, I got myself all packed up, left early, and braved the icky freeway at 6:30 am to make it to class an a hour later. I got there just on time, after the grueling walk up the hill in the cold, wet darkness, and we had our class lecture, even though less than half of the class was there. We made it to the kitchen and the moment I had been anticipating for the last few months had arrived! After peeling our carrots and potatoes, our Chef was going over dicing and julienne cuts, and the announcement came that school was closed at 11, so we had to clean up and leave immediately. So frustrating! The kitchen, which had another class and lunch prep going on, burst into chaos as everyone tried to finish their cooking and get their foods stored and dishes cleaned. We were all very disappointed. I took my potato and carrots home and got to practice there, but it wasn't the same. Ah well, we have plenty of time... I am just not so patient when I am super excited to dig in and get to work.

I think I was even more disappointed to have learned that we were actually going to cook in class and eat it for lunch, and now that had to be cancelled too. Grilled cheese sammiches! I had to go home hungry in a snowstorm. I had grilled cheeses for the next two days at home, because that craving (and denial) struck me so hard. Hehe!
I have been working on my own in the kitchen at home a bit lately. I have been enjoying using my new class knives, cutting up lots of veggies and potatoes, making Epic Salads and doing some of the veggie side dishes. I have been trying new foods, too. Jason made corned beef and cabbage last week and we both enjoyed it. I am challenging myself to try new things, especially foods I have always thought I didn't like (such as cabbage) and I am finding my tastes are changing and growing. I don't know if that is from being open minded or something that happens as one ages, but for whatever reason it is happening, I am appreciating it. I was once a much more selective eater, so having more variety is exciting and fun!

And in the pastry department, I have been doing a little work at home too. I have been working on variations of this yummy lemon cookie that works really well for decorating. I have been making small batches to see how the recipe variations bake up, and working more with royal icing flavors and colors. I think I am getting close to having a good, sellable product with these! The icing is made with raspberry or strawberry powders, which I grind myself from freeze dried fruit. I had a little problem with the last batch of raspberry icing rippling when it dried, but I think the reason was that I added too much water to make the flood icing. I usually don't add enough, so the application is too thick and doesn't spread the way I want it to, so I was being aware of that when I was making the flood consistency and I added more water than usual. Now I know what too much water in icing does! It's a delicate balance. They turned out great though, very tasty and cute as a button! It's amazing what a little detail like a pair of wide-spread eyeballs with a shiny dot and pink cheeks can do to make something super kawaii cute! These little sunshine cookies are like raspberry and strawberry lemonade. I think they will be great for summer...a bit of wishful thinking on my part, as I impatiently wait for this winter of hell to be over, so I can get to work on the good stuff!


  1. It sounds and looks like you are making great progress. I love your cute cookies!

    What a bummer about class, but good on you for continuing to practice at home. :)

    Also, regarding your changing tastes - I've definitely experienced the same as I age. Actually, some things I used to like, I'm no longer jazzed about - and I am digging other things. I think part of it may be that our tastebuds become less finely tuned as we age and so stronger flavors we might have previously avoided become appealing?

    Anyway, keep up the great work! It's neat to read about your new adventure here!

  2. Thanks, Trase!

    I think another aspect of enjoying things I previously didn't like is having them prepared well and learning how to choose the best veggies/cuts of meat/seasons for produce. I think when food is prepared poorly, and it's all we know, it is easy to develop an aversion, and hard to think you can like it at all.

    I am also thankful that my changing tastes have included a diminished sweet tooth. I don't crave sweets the same way I used to, and I certainly can't eat as much sugar as I used to, especially if it's very decadent. This is a good quality if I am going to have a lot of rich, sweet foods around me!