Geez, I am almost halfway through this knife skills class now. What an intensive 7 weeks! I have been kind of surprised at the work load for this 2 credit class, but it's been a while since I have been in college and back then I had different life concerns, so maybe it's just my perspective now. I had a busy week before class... I had a bead show over the weekend that I hadn't prepared for until just a few days before the show. And I also dug in and got my taxes organized and ready to be done. So, with all of that going on, I was able to do the bare minimum of my reading and homework, but I didn't do any review or studying for the test we had yesterday. I was unprepared, unfortunately. And I am not used to putting my thinking cap on at 7:30 am so I had a little anxiety and my brain just shut down on some of the test questions... Stuff that I KNOW too, which is frustrating. Oh well. It's not all about tests, and I know what our Chef expects and is looking for, so next time I will do better. The lecture was frustrating as well. It was all about recipe conversions and I found myself confronted with fractions and decimals that I vaguely remember from grade school, haha. I better brush up on my math now too.
Fortunately, after the classroom frustrations, we headed to the kitchen and I had a great time! It was intense and a little stressful, but I found myself pretty calm and organized. We chopped, sliced, and diced a variety of veggies and fruit. And did some other basics like hard boiling eggs and clarifying butter. We also grilled up some onion brule and made tomato concassee, which involves quickly blanching a tomato, shocking it in ice water, and removing the peel. It was pretty cool. So we multi tasked, working on several things at a time, always coming back to our cutting boards to continue practicing our knife cuts. It was fast paced, but I kept up, stayed concentrated on my work, and didn't get frustrated. I am getting used to my super sharp knives and am noticing the difference when I use dull ones at home. And I haven't cut or nicked myself yet (knock on wood!). I am loving learning all these new kitchen skills and the most challenging parts are for me are finding everything in the school kitchen, learning how things work, and working with other people with so many different personalities. I am feeling good about it overall, and that overshadows the challenges of the classroom.
I haven't been doing much baking this week. All the other stuff took over. I have been sketching and collecting ideas on Pinterest, though, so I am keeping inspired. I also got a couple of bakery books, including Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi. I chose her as the influential chef to write about for my class. She seems really fun and playful and I am looking forward to cooking from her book. I will probably start with one of her bakery's signature cookies, the Compost Cookie, which she shows us how to make in this video: