Posts from the ‘Shellfish’ Category

“Efficiency is intelligent laziness.”

-David Dunham

Well hello knife cuts from weeks ago, how have you been? They have been hanging with all the other things I did in school and didn’t post about. Six weeks go by like eating a taco. You’re all like that was the best taco (six weeks) ever, I devoured that taco (culinary information) so quickly, and savored every second of that spicy meat (class), did I just eat (take) four (20+) tacos (quizzes, tests, and practicals) that fast (that fast)?

We took one field trip down the road to a Filipino supermarket, made hollandaise, mayonnaise, an impromptu soup in 20 minutes with no meat or broth, made hollandaise, grilled salmon, had half an hour to mess around with plating non- edible food, had trussing demos, chicken butchering, squid, sole, and salmon filleting demos, made gazpacho with only brunoise cuts (which is even less satisfying when you are going to throw it all in a blender), had stock, roux, and bisque, and mother sauce demos, made a roux, oh and all the while sanitation was boring the hell out of me. A whole book of Serv Safe, and the most important thing I learned is wash your hands. Seriously, it’s the answer to most of the secrets of the universe. Oh, and terrorists are one of the saboteurs that will try and jack up your food. Terrorists, people.

Lobster Bisque

It’s a new feeling for me to look forward to going anywhere everyday. Every day. I get fidgety. Not here. The first six weeks was a lot of introduction, but also a chance for me to find out little details about things. It’s weird being in a class with people who don’t know who Anthony Bourdaine or Thomas Keller are, but then I never filleted a fish. We all have different knowledge, which I love most of the time (except for some venison butchering that came up once too much, there is a creep limit, buy a book, or google it). Of course there are a tiny few poky people, and what I like to call culinairheads, but for the most part we have a really great class. Being at the top of my class with people who are friends is pretty great too. It’s so nice to be able to talk about food and food nerd-related things, and not have to worry when you have to stop (at least I hope so).

week 2

I need to hustle more, and with zero knife skill practicing at home (I know, I know), I need to make cuts way faster. I do have less waste with my cuts. Yay me. My hand torture, I mean made mayo and hollandaise, is tops, but I look forward to you food processor mayo, my wrist does too.

week 2

This is just a fraction of the last six weeks, but just imagine the other parts being just as positive and smile inducing. Monday I start Culinary II, and no sanitation. Did I mention no sanitation?

This has been the extent of cooking since I have started school. Chicken scampi farfalle. While delicious, I miss cooking for real.

All in all it’s been a marvelous six weeks filled with pasta, fried rice, sandwiches, and breakfast for dinner. I did finally get to cook this weekend. That will have to hold me for six more weeks 🙂

A Girl and Her Kismet

Actual fortunes from actual New Year's Day.

 

The first week of the new year has been precious enough to last me through the rest of it. The years of living in a money pit (while a great movie with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, not mine, thank goodness), overdrafting weekly, locking ourselves out of the house three times in one month, having the bus pass us by after a long, cold, rainy night, hearing about countless others vacations and new cars, while we have to remind ourselves that walking to the store gives us exercise, deciding if we need cat litter or flour and sugar, are behind us. They aren’t necessarily not in front of us also, but for now, the world doesn’t seem to be single-handedly against us. We still have that litter/ flour decision to make, but I’ve adapted.

We started the new year out with lobster, and oven crisp potato chips, and a game of dominoes that some gin may have impeded on. I made my first brioche (I know, really? First?), and baked for 100 the day before culinary school started. It was a strangely therapeutic beginning to an otherwise nervous situation.

My first week of school has passed, but will never be true history. I will never forget Chef saying, “cattywapus”, or drying my first metal bowl with my new classmate. I realize even though we are all in this class together, we are all experiencing things in a completely different way. Some people don’t come from the obsessive world of food, reading blogs, books, and food sites all day. Some people don’t know what Vichyssoise is. And that is fine by me. In a pre-Le Cordon Bleu-world I may have judged that lack of knowledge. Not because I know everything, but because if I know it, everyone else must. Right? Wrong! Cooking is a never-ending learning process, and that tends to scare me sometimes. I am having a favorite reading light shined on what I know, which is more than I realize. I feel I am getting more out of class because of what I already know, be it books or chefs mentioned, not knife cuts, and food-borne illnesses. You pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down? Embrace and acknowledge the things you know, don’t deprecate them, but realize you and everyone else can’t know everything. It’s like when you think of all the books you would like to read, and then think of how many books you can realistically read, given you live a normal life span. Scary! Overwhelming. On average you will only have four couches in your lifetime. Maybe less!

I am coming to grips with not knowing everything, and for those who know me personally, they know what a challenge that is for me. I can learn what makes me comfortable, and happy, and keeps me alive. And then a little more. And with you all as my witnesses, buy as many couches as I can financially afford, to appreciate for the rest of my time as a couch-sitting-human.

 

I am highlighting the sauce here, we all know what lobster looks like. Hopefully 🙂 If you don't already have this book, go get James Patterson's book Sauces (2008 edition) Go!

Slice potato, brush with olive oil, season before and after cooking, *390 until brown and crisp. 10-15 min.

Okay, don’t be scared, but below is dipping butter. Don’t think, just eat it. I finely chopped and added: a sprig of Rosemary, a small handful of fresh Oregano, and 2 cloves of garlic, added a pinch of crushed red pepper and nutmeg, salt and pepper into some butter and melted it over low heat while the potato slices were cooking. You can strain out the herbs, but why? I like a friendly slap of flavor once in a while.

“I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active – not more happy – nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.”
— Edgar Allan Poe

The World is My Lobster

How can anything that has a mystery of screaming and holding hands surrounding it be anything less than desirable?

Yes I put cheese on my shrimp scampi.

Cozze, Mussels, Moules, Mejillones, Miesmuscheln

Mussel
A bivalve mollusk with worldwide distribution. There are salt and freshwater varieties. The thin shell means there is more meat compared to the same weight of clams or oysters. The yellow meat has a sweet and delicate flavor.-Epicurus

The memory of a sweet, no-grit-in-your-mouth bowl of mussels drenched with sauce that almost makes you forget you are eating mussels with your crusty bread, always has a lasting effect on me. Sometimes the tint of the coral-colored flesh makes me feel like I am eating something endangered, and enjoying a black market secret stash of these black-shelled delights. I try to enjoy them this way too. Like it might be the last batch I may ever have. With overfishing this isn’t so far off. It’s no clam. I can’t throw three or four in some melted butter in a conveyor belt fashion and call it dinner. Three in the butter, one in my mouth, one in the butter, one in my mouth, etc. The key is using the freshest mussels you can find, don’t worry about the kind so much. These are a few of my favorite steamed mussel recipes.  Good bread is a must.
*I add some celery and heavy cream.
Steamed Mussels with Saffron and Tomato from One Pot Wonders

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