Same goes for toast and cheese dip. If it’s really simple, I am apt to burn, break or otherwise screw it up.
Chocolate soufflé with a raspberry balsamic reduction and homemade spiced whipping cream, no problem. It’s a curse.
So when our Food Production I instructor told us early on in the semester that we’d be cooking eggs soon, I was nervous. I knew we’d get to this sort of thing, but really, now? Can’t we start with sushi or baked alaska or something like that?
In class, we had our standard weekly test (I think I did OK; it included lots of math for recipe conversions, so we’ll see) and a lecture on kitchen equipment. I tried not to look too much like a know-it-all, but I actually had several of the items at home. I also found some useful info on cooking on the Internet. My mandoline could rip your fingers into tiny little ribbons. Pretty ones.
Then we went into the kitchen for our lab activities. Again, per standard routine, we spent quite a bit of time on knife skills, but a few different applications this time. We were to cut a potato and some celery into large dice (that’s 3/4″), chiffonade some cabbage for the Finish Line Café to make slaw (kind of a 1/8″ shred), batonnet some carrots (1/2″ x 1/2″ x 3″) and do an angled, 1/4″ cut on another carrot.
Here’s a photo of my angle-cut carrots. The instructor started measuring today, so I put my two best pieces invitingly out to the side. It didn’t work. The ones he grabbed were a little shy of 1/4″. Blech.
Although a lot of my knife work wasn’t so great this week, I have to say, I was proud of my orange segments. We were to “supreme” the orange, a nifty technique detailed here on Coconut & Lime (although we didn’t take off so much of the orange when peeling it). It’s basically how you get the really super-pretty citrus segments without the pith.
Everyone lined up for inspection. The instructor picked at the oranges ahead of me with a shaking head. Uh oh. He gets to mine and turns them over on the cutting board. He opens his mouth. Gulp…
“I can’t find anything bad to say about these.”
You have to understand…for this instructor, he might as well have sung you the Hallelujah Chorus. I went back to my station, cutting board in hand, a little taller. Too bad I don’t really care for oranges.
I know, I know….this may be more detail than you wanted. Let me fast-forward.
After knife skills practice, I was to hard-boil an egg, then poach one. Hardly ever succeeded at the former, never even tried the latter.
Instructions: Find the appropriate kind of pot for the induction cooktops (only iron or stainless steel works). Put in cold water and one egg. Bring to boil. Turn off. Cover. Wait 10 minutes. Peel said egg and present to instructor for inspection.
For some reason, I ended up with a massive pot that took a while to boil, so I got behind. Meanwhile, I saw that several folks’ eggs were turning out underdone, even at the given 10 minutes. I left mine in an extra couple minutes and….miracle of miracles….it was perfect! Sometimes it pays to be late.
By the time I was poaching, most everyone else was cleaning up and getting ready to leave. Bah! This isn’t like me. I was embarrassed. Thankfully, the instructor was gracious and waited for me to finish. He even suggested I try again when the first poached egg stuck to my pot. (It wasn’t ruined, just not as pretty as it could be.)
My results: Delicious.