Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Scorching Student surfaces!

I've gotten through a full month of school!  In that time I've gotten my Servsafe certification, meaning I know how food can kill you and how to prevent it. I've learned how to clean the kitchen. I've learned the basic principles of cooking and the 13 cooking methods:  braising, stewing, simmering, boiling, poaching, steaming, baking, roasting, pan frying, deep frying, sauteing, broiling and grilling.

And I've learned a whole bunch of other stuff.  You know?  Stuff.  I did learn that I have to keep my thumb tucked under while slicing to prevent nearly cutting off the tip of my left thumb.  Yeah, it was gross.  My knife skills are coming along.  Practice is the key.  Practice practice practice.  Now that we've moved on to stocks, soups and sauces I need to practice at home.  This family will have the best eyes on the block based on all the carrots I'll be cutting up.

I got through my first written exam and my first practical exam.  The written exam involved short essay questions and a lot of kitchen math, some of which tripped me up.  As soon as I have it back in my hands I'm going to be asking my instructor for some assistance.  The practical exam required I demonstrate four cooking methods (stewing, deep frying, sauteing and grilling) along with my preparation, how clean I worked, how I handled the time issue, presentation and taste.  I completed the four dishes in time to take on the bonus dish, pan fried zucchini.  For that one, I got to choose between breading and batter dipping.  I selected bread crumbs and then had to go take a look to see what we had to cover with crumbs.  Zucchini it was!

I did B work.  I messed up french fries.  That's just a fact.  They were underdone.  But, I won't make that mistake again.  Next time, my fries will be brown and crisp.

My class started with 16 and has dropped to 11.  Of the four women who started, three of us are still hanging in.  Our fellow female broke her foot the first week of school, which wasn't treated quickly, had to be re-broken to be set but swelling prevented that for a long time.  I'm hoping she'll be starting with a class coming up in the near future.

This week we've been making stocks.  White chicken stock, white beef stock, chicken stock where the bones are roasted first, beef stock where the bones are roasted first, we've made it all.  Our meal at the end of our cooking time has been soups all this week made from whatever stock we're working on and whatever we have among our supplies.  Tuesday was chicken, veggies and macaroni in veggie stock.  Yesterday, we pulled the meat off the chicken bones we'd pulled out of our mass of chicken stock and turned it into chicken soup.

Between the increase in physical activity, the fact that I'm not great about breakfast or dinner I've lost six pounds.

I am pleased to say that in-fighting among my class is minimum.  There is sometimes an issue between a couple of students who take issue with another student who waits to be told what to do instead of asking what requires attention.  But that's pretty much it.  There's a group who've gotten friendly and they tend to chit-chat during lab (our time in the kitchen) which drives our instructor nuts.

The things I need to practice are my sauce making skills and clarifying butter.  I see macaroni and cheese in the future made with a true bechamel.  Anyone wiling to be my guinea pig?  Anyone?  Anyone?

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you find that a lifestyle change is causing you to wash your hair more often, be sure to swap to one that provides deeper moisturizing.


SororRavn said...

If I lived nearby, I would totally be your guinea pig! I have always enjoyed trying out new foods, especially from a friend who is learning!

Beckett Gladney said...

Considering that your cooking was amazing before you started, I'd be there in a heartbeat to be your taste tester! Ah, if only time and money and distance were no object...