October 11th- The Deep Fat Fry

What is it about deep fat frying that is such a novelty?  Is it the crunchy, fatty, greasy food that it produces?  Could it be that fact that you can deep fry almost any food and it will taste good?  Who knows?  Does anyone?

Today we made cordon bleu, chicken legs and drumsticks, onion rings, and potato croquettes.  I learned that with frying you have to make sure the oil is the right temperature.  If it is too cold then it will make the food soggy.  If it is too hot then it’ll leave the food under cooked on the inside and burnt on the outside.  The only problem I ran into today is forgetting to season anything.  That was a dumb move on my part.

And that fire is why you don’t mix water and hot oil!


October 9th- Pies (Again)

Today was insane!  I went in to class expecting to make two pies and came out making 4, not to mention the caramel sauce, pastry cream, and 6 fruit tarts!  The deal was that if we could get everything done that we needed to today as well as tomorrow, we could cancel class the next day (woohoo!!!!!)  So my friend and I divided and conquered (which is the only reason we were part of the six people who got to skip class).  One thing I learned today is that when you make caramel, you can cook the sugar first before adding any other ingredients and it will be a MUCH shorter process than if you have to wait for everything to get up to temp/color.  The only problem with doing that is you have a higher probability of crystallizing the whole thing.  I also caramelized white chocolate for the first time, which was interesting.  It took about an hour and a half, but it made the white chocolate taste soo much better.  I definitely recommend giving this a try!  I put in in my vanilla cream pie with raspberries and caramel sauce.  Unfortunately, I dropped to whole thing on the ground outside.  That was sad.


October 5th- Cooking Midterm

Oh cooking midterm how you tease me.  Something I should be getting done in an hour or two is taking me three-four because you make me shaky and nervous.  Today we have to julienne, roast, fabricate, saute, etc.  I started with my pilaf because I knew that would take the longest.  It turned out really well and I was proud of it.  Then I started cutting my vegetables, which I cut too short.  Then I made an omelet, which took me three tries because I forgot the proper was to do them (hehe).  After struggling so bad with the baking midterm it was so nice to get better marks today.  Especially because this is the class I have a hard time with.


Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sausage

Oh.  My.  Gourd.

Fall is here and pumpkin is hot hot hot.  You can’t go anywhere without seeing restaurants advertise it as a starring ingredient.  I’ve seen pumpkin shake, pumpkin mac and cheese, and of course the good ol’ pumpkin latte.  But how can you blame them for taking advantage of the earthy, rich flavor?

In this dish you’ll find that earthiness paired with spicy Italian sausage, tangy Parmesan, and fragrant sage.  It’s so good you might just skip the seasoning because your salty tears of joy will be enough (;img_1728-2.jpg

 

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sausage

Serves 4          Time: 60 min

1 cup pumpkin puree

2/3 cup potato puree

2 cups flour

½ tsp nutmeg

1 egg

4 tbsp butter

10-15 sage leaves

1 lb. mild Italian sausage

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 cups parmesan

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl to form a sticky dough
  2. On a floured countertop roll the dough to a ½ or ¼”thickness, depending on how thick you want the gnocchi
  3. Using a pizza cutter, cut 1”x1” squares of dough and place them on a cookie sheet
  4. Once all the dough has been cut, bring the cookie sheet to a large pot of boiling water and put them in (you might want to do this in batches, but I was fine just throwing them in quickly).
  5. While the gnocchi cooks (it should only take about 2-4 minutes), heat a large pan with the butter and sage on low.
  6. When the gnocchi raises to the surface of the water, scoop them out and put them in to the pan with the heated butter. Turn the heat to medium and cook them for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove cooked gnocchi into a bowl and set aside. In the same pan, cook and scramble the sausage on medium heat until no pink is showing.
  8. Throw the gnocchi back in and season to your preference. Turn off the heat and coat the top of the dish with cheese. Cover with a lid until the cheese has melted.  Serve immediately.

 


October 4th- cooking midterm practice

Have you ever cut so many carrots that your hands turned orange and your tears are orange and you dream in orange?  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, knife cuts are my kryptonite.  The only thing that is ever going to help me is more practice.  I spent most of today just cutting carrots.  I also made a rice pilaf, which turned out well.  We ended up getting out of class an hour early because there was not a ton to do.  Wish me luck for tomorrow’s test!


October 3rd- Baking Midterm (Heaven Help Us)

Prepare yourself for the mind bending sequel to “October 2nd- Midterm Practice”, a wild ride full of internal screaming and  regret.  You are sure to finish reading this post with goosebumps.  Hold onto your loved ones as you dive deeper and deeper into the many failures I had today.  Introducing:

Baking Midterm (a thriller)

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

I ran into the kitchen.  We had 30 minutes to measure ingredients, and I’m able to have all four recipes scaled out by then (so far so good).  As soon as we get the green flag I threw my soft rolls into the mixer.  When they were done mixing I noticed my dough was a little smaller than everyone else’s, so I weighed it.

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My 24 oz dough

It weighed 24 oz, and in my head I thought 24 oz = 24 rolls.  The problem was that they were supposed to be 2 OUNCE ROLLS!!  So I needed 48 oz of dough.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that for 2 more hours.  I had to throw in another recipe of dough, which lead to my rolls being under-proofed.  This could have been avoided if I had practiced the recipe yesterday (cue internal screaming).

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You can see that the roll has a lot closer texture at the bottom.  That is due to under-proof.

Next I started on my Pate Choux.  The dough turned out well and I threw them in the oven.  About 2 minutes later it dawned on me that I forgot to put streusel on my elcairs!  (streusel is a thin sugar disk that promotes even baking).  So back to the mixer I went, to make another batch of that.  Luckily My second batch turned out well.

 

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Some finished cream puffs

As my eclairs were in the oven I began the pastry cream.  I learned some cool things.  If your eggs are room temperature before you temper them, you’re less likely to have cooked egg pieces.  Another tip is if you count to ten before each addition of hot milk, you don’t have to worry about adding too much heat too soon.

The last recipe a banged out was the blueberry muffins.  Everything went well in the mixing process, but when I put them in the oven they didn’t dome.  I’m pretty sure it is because someone opened the oven while my muffins were in their and put their own muffins in.  It broke my heart a little.

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My poor, poor muffins.

In the end I learned that I need to practice EVERY recipe before the midterm.


October 2nd- Baking Midterm Prep

Okay guys it’s midterms this week, so pray for me- like seriously.  If you even wanna burn some incense, sacrifice a goat, or chant to the blueberry muffin gods, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Today we had the whole class period to practice our baking recipes for the midterm, so I decided to be smart (and by smart I mean REALLY stupid) and only practice 2 of them.  I know you’re thinking, “why Kenna?! Why would you be so cocky? “

I.  Don’t.  Know.

You’ll see how much good this strategy did me in my next post.  *Stay tuned*.  For now, however, I’ll give the deets on what I did end up practicing.  For our midterm we had to make 2 dozen soft rolls, 1 dozen blueberry muffins, 6 eclairs, 6 cream puffs, and 1 quart of pastry cream.

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Here is the grading rubric, so you can get a basic idea of what went down.

Today I practiced pastry cream and pate choux (the dough for the eclairs and cream puffs).  My pastry cream turned out well, it just had a little more cooked egg in it than I wanted.  I think that is because my milk was too hot before I poured it into the eggs.

My pate choux turned out good, I just need to remember to cook it a little longer so the inside is dry and won’t collapse.


September 28th- soups

Wassoup?  Today was all about soup.  I made corn chowder, mushroom cream, and white chicken chili.

With the corn chowder I was able to puree some of the corn I roasted to give the chowder extra yummy corn flavor.  One problem I ran into was I made way too much, and I think that is because I converted the recipe wrong.  To avoid this next time I need to be more careful when doing culinary math.  IMG_1651

The next thing I made was cream of mushroom soup.  The idea is to make a creamy soup that tastes a ton like mushrooms.  My mistake here was not reading the soup chapter of our textbook before attempting this no-recipe meal.  I tried to make a veloute and simmer mushroom trimmings in that to extract flavor, but once I added the cream it kind of disappeared.  I’m thinking I might need to add mushroom puree next time.  IMG_1652

Today I struggled because I was under prepared.  To avoid this I need to be better about doing my homework.


September 27th- Grilling and Risotto

Oh risotto.  More like ris-oh no.  We started today by making this rice dish, and I was a little too confident going into things.  To make risotto you have to coat short grain rice in fat and then slowly add liquid to it, waiting until it is completely absorbed before adding more.  The problem I ran into was that I had the heat way too high, so the liquid was evaporating as well as absorbing too fast.  By the end of the cooking time I had a thick brick of gooey rice on the end of my spoon, despite adding 2X’s more liquid than I needed.  To avoid this problem next time, I need to make sure I watch that the heat doesn’t get too high.

After my risotto fail, I started grilling.  We grilled chicken, pineapple, corn, and kebabs.  A critical control point with grilling is knowing when your meat is done cooking.  You don’t want to constantly take it off the grill, because it will mess with the grill marks.  The best way to check your meat is to watch for the juices to run clear, and to check the temperature.  Overall today went well.


Mini Cherry Pistachio Muffins

So I am starting this new section called muffins in the mountains.  Basically, I want to create some deliciously healthy recipes for you to enjoy.  I’ll be photographing them outdoors because aesthetics, but also to promote an active life style!  Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Pretty pictures from the hike 

Let’s have a chat about these muffins.  They’re only 64 calories each, and you get 2 grams of protein too!  (Yay muscles!)  The cherries and pistachios are the perfect sweet and salty duo for these babes.  (Yes, I just called my muffins babe).

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Mini Cherry Pistachio Muffins

Yield: 36 muffins      Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 cups flour + 1 TBSP for coating

¾ cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

¾ cup unsweetened applesauce

2 eggs

1 cup 1% milk

1 tsp vanilla

¾ cup dried cherries, chopped

¼ cup pistachios, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease 2 mini muffin pans
  2. In a large bowl mix together the 2 cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together applesauce, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl add the remaining flour to the cherries and pistachios, coat well. Set aside.
  5. Gently stir the liquids into the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.
  6. Fold in the cherries and pistachios
  7. Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way full and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy!!

Nutrition: Calories: 64, Fat: 1g, Carbohydrates: 13g, Sugar: 7g, Fiber: 0g, Protein: 2g

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