So far, my own personal kitchen adventures have all been fairly positive. I’ve rarely had an accident or really ruined a dish. However, as I’ve become more adventurous and as I’ve been broadening my horizons as a culinary student, I’ve suddenly been experiencing my share of wonderful triumphs as well as tragedies.
Some of my triumphs include baking lovely home made bread, thanks to No Knead bread as well as some delicious banana bread. I can also include lots of yummy cookies–snickerdoodles, coconut macaroons, chocolate chip, melting moments and sugar cookies. I did also make a great mac n’ cheese, thanks to Evil Shenanigans. I also made a spicy seafood gumbo, with a roux from class. And in class, I’ve made a really smooth and creamy bechamel sauce, a velvety veloute and a sauce espagnol! Of course, I made these sauces along with my classmates and we were happy with our work!
Unfortunately, I’ve also experienced some set backs. I’m still plagued by medium diced potatoes and carrots. I STILL get oddly shaped rectangles and trapezoids. My diced carrots often have curved edges as well. I practice, practice and practice some more but progress is still VERY slow. While practicing, I managed to slice through my thumb very badly. I probably should have gotten a stitch or two to close up that wound, but I just patched it up tightly, took a break for a few hours and went back to practicing my chopping.
This weeked I also tried a few new baking endeavors. I tried to make some apple pie. It was only OK. I think I used too much lemon juice because I thought the filling was overly acidic. I’m glad my boyfriend loves pie and still liked it! To make up for this, I made another tarte tatin and that was delicious! I adapted the recipe to have more of a traditional apple pie taste and I added some cinnamon and nutmeg. It was really sweet, tart, and light with the puff pastry.
My next baking attempt this weekend was unsuccessful. I tried to make Linzer Cookies which always look very pretty and delicate. I thought it would be simple to make, but I had issues. My first was with the nuts. At first I burnt my almonds when toasting. I didn’t think it was that bad so I still tried to peel them. Then I tried one and it tasted burnt. I then tried again with sliced almonds. These didn’t burn, but the peels stayed on the edges of the slices. I didn’t think much of it so I still used them. When I finished the dough, it was almost a light brown surely due to the almond peels. I refrigerated the dough in a rolled log. I thought this would be fine since I didn’t have much space in my fridge. When I went to roll out the dough, it all crumbled. I tried to use the rolling pin and it did slowly come together again, but the dough was unusually tough for cookie dough. When I tried to cut out the cookies, they kept breaking. I didn’t know what to do, so I just tossed out the dough and decided I’d try again another day.
It’s always great having triumphs, but I’m always upset whenever anything I try to make either doesn’t work at all or just isn’t quite right. It’s all a learning process and I do definitely feel like I am slowly but surely learning along the way. Anyone know how to effectively peel toasted almonds?? Or how I can build up my knife skills so I can do a lovely, cubed, medium dice of my potatoes?? I’ll be chopping away trying to figure out the best way to do it!