Food food and more food

Ugh. I am STUFFED.

Not exactly the way I like to feel after a meal light and energized is more like it. But this stuffed feeling is well worth it. Let me introduce the ultimate blueberry waffles

Yum. I used a recipe from his uncle [Thanks, Al!] and only changed it up a bit by making it half whole wheat. It was deeelicious. Fluffy and super tasty. I love how the warm blueberries pop in your mouth for a burst of fruity flavour. Not a bad way to start the day.

Im still a busy, busy girl- todays schedule look something like.

read blogs
write exam [off to school… again.]
hop on the TTC to meet up with a lovely lady for dinner!

Phew. This is my day off people.

But Im really happy. I finished my last appetizer project, which went fairly well a few improvements could have been made but overall Chef seemed to like it. Now as soon as I turn in my project [today!] I guess I have officially graduated! And although I am busy today and tomorrow my parents are arriving tomorrow evening! So I will have a fun last weekend in Toronto with the husband and my parents before I am off to RI. I cant wait for tomorrow evening to arrive!

Do you ever pick a time, a moment, an event to look forward to to get you through the end of the week? I always do!

Enough babbling. As promised, Installement number three of my Behind the Stoves series.


Part three: Advanced kitchen.

By the time Advanced rolled around, we had been in school for fifteen weeks. We were all friends now, comfortable with our surroundings and ready for anything the Chef threw at us. We started by making french gnocchi. A delicious dish, that I felt I executed well. I was happy to impress the new chef right off the bat. We continued on with more fish, something I enjoy cooking but do not enjoy taking apart but I tried my best, and although it may not have been my strongest point [I know, as a girl from southern RI I should be ashamed] I made it through.

Then we were thrown pastry. If you have even the slightest bit of culinary skill, you know pastry is a whole different ballgame. Estimated measurements and checking the oven for doneness is out the window. In comes timing and temperatures, scales instead of measuring cups, quarter teaspoons instead of pinches. If cooking is an art, baking is a science. It is exact, precise, and just as an experiment, if it is anything but perfect to start with, the end result will be all wrong. But no pressure, right?

The first half of pastry went well. I enjoyed making croissants, ate so many cinnamon rolls my pants were too tight [no, really] and had more than a good time making rum cakes. The second half was mostly cakes; decoration was the hardest part for me. Where I am creative in the kitchen I lack in artistic ability with cakes. I mean throw me a cupcakes and youve got a perfect swirl but hand me an Opera cake and there WILL be ganache on the ceiling. But that is neither here nor there.

After five weeks we had our midterm, and immediately after, our pastry exam. It was probably the most grueling exam I had taken so far in school, because I knew it had to be perfect. I loved pastry and I wanted to get it right. So I focused. I worked hard. Not very clean, but hard. I ignored the ganache on the ceiling for once and made my sponge cake with care. It came out perfectly fluffy and golden. I executed my buttercream without splitting and my mango mousse, was divine, if I do say so myself. Though the exam went well for me, a class is a sum of its parts, not just an exam. I think I realized after the exam just how much I was really taking away from school, somehow far more than I thought I was before.

After pastry came much of what was the most fun for me in culinary school- a Chefs table, Soufflees, and Sushi making. Of course there were plenty of other dishes I enjoyed making, but nothing stuck out to me as much as watching that perfectly risen souflee come out of the oven- I had accomplished something I thought to be almost impossible. And taking that first heavenly bite of my fluffy creation there is nothing like it.

In doing the Chefs table, the whole class was split up into groups, and we each executed a different dish to be shared with the rest of the class. Not only were we able to attempt new and different techniques, but we also got to taste some incredible dishes- I have never in my life tasted anything like an hour-poached egg.

And sushi? Well, we all know how much I love sushi. Sushi is not a hard task to master, if youre not looking to be an actual sushi master. But for basic maki, I think I did pretty darn well, and had a darn good time making it.

After ten weeks of layering Opera cakes, boning whole chickens and stuffing them with a sweet couscous filling, butchering a perfect duck breast and then forgetting to score it [that would be me…] I was finished with advanced. It flew by so fast I wouldnt believe it if you shoved a calendar in my face. But I knew one thing- though the time felt short, I know I learned an astonishing amount in that time. Advanced was hard for me; not only because it is made up of more intricate techniques than basic, but I was also working on planning my wedding, and it wasnt easy to juggle the two. But school came first, and I made it through- proof that nothing, not even my own wedding, could get in the way of my dream.