Tag Archive | chocolate

10/4/16

Halloween is officially upon us now that that first number in the title bumped up to a 10. Now that I, the youngest of the immediate family, am all grown up, there are no children in the household (that is, unless you count the two dogs who we think of as our babies). That is why Halloween is no big deal to us anymore. We still pass out candy in a certain period of time and used to be that house who passed out pretzels. I was never really devoted to Halloween either. In fact, I was so lazy that I got a Harry Potter costume one Halloween in high school, and then used that same exact outfit about four consecutive years after as Ginny Weasley. (Why Ginny, specifically? That’s my name!) Because of my glasses, sometimes I went as their kid, pre-Deathly Hallows when we actually found out who their children were.

Because I love to bake so much, I’m considering maybe doing something, but since we live in a neighborhood surrounded by younger families, I’d probably end up making too little of whatever I end up deciding. Not only that, but if the parents decide it’s not safe to eat something that an adult made from scratch, they won’t give it to their kids. (I mean, the parents might eat it themselves though…I would, if it were my kid.)

Still, some parents are trustworthy and actually grateful for gestures like this, so I want to bake cookies. I’m thinking sugar cookies, but I’m not very good at pastry decorating. My cursive might be font-like, but not when I’m using a piping bag. Also, if I end up committing to this at the end of the month, I should probably stick to something simple if I want to keep it nice and personal. Chocolate is a safe way to go, but chocolate chip seems too cliché. I mean, I know that’s a crowd favorite, but I can get a little more creative than that. Just something to think about.

I didn’t make anything this weekend since I went to LA with my parents. My relationship with LA is really funny. Before I found this knack for cooking, my dream was to become this famous actress/singer/writer. I used to fangirl whenever we went, because that’s where all the celebrities live and work. Like any teenager, my dream was to become famous and then marry someone famous (one of the multiple celeb crushes I have would be ideal).

Because of the dogs, I couldn’t go to LA the past several times, which wasn’t a huge sacrifice for me. I hate long car trips nowadays and my grandma lives at a retirement home in LA, so visiting her once a month is the only time that Dad gets to see his mother. I went this time because LA is where I get my haircuts, apparently, because we go to a guy who personally knows our family.

In the professional kitchen, you’re supposed to wear your hair in a bun, if you can, under your hat. That way, there are no loose hairs that can fall into the food. Braids are okay in some classes, but the official policy is you need to wear it in a bun. I could never do buns correctly because they would always end up loose and weak, because I would use hair ties. If I didn’t feel like wrapping the entire band around the actual bun, I would make a bun myself by tying it the usual way and then stopping the final loop halfway through the ponytail.

That’s ridiculous though, and since I’ve always wanted to try hair as short as a man’s, I decided to experiment. Since I have so much hair and it’s very thick and naturally curly, both Mom and the hairstylist warned me that it might not look as good as the photo I showed them of Anne Hathaway post-Les Mis filming. I was aware of the possible repercussions, but wanted to go forward anyway, just to experiment. He was still unsure, but went forward anyway knowing that he warned me enough not to be held responsible for whatever the end result would be.

I wasn’t in love with it, but at the same time, was relieved that I finally got rid of that ponytail (which we are donating). I’m learning to accept it though, even if it doesn’t look exactly like Anne Hathaway’s post-Les Mis look. Instead, I think it looks more like the haircut that Yunjin Kim had in Mistresses, which I actually like, since she looks SO much like my own mother.

At this point, while I’d point to something else next time, I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about that bun for several months. However though…I did just buy a brand-new hair curler and wanted to learn how to use it before getting rid of all that hair… Oh well. That’s the beauty of hair–the silver lining for everybody who has had a bad haircut–it grows back.

I still have yet to update you on notes I came up with last week and, since I have just a couple hours before my next class, I’d better get to it:

Firstly, for some reason, last week I sort of had a mini-freakout. I don’t know where it came from, but it was like I felt like I couldn’t get through it. I don’t usually have moments like that since I’m more of a “one-step-at-a-time” kind of person, which is why I’m confused. A part of me says it’s no big deal, that it was just my mind playing tricks on me. The other (I assume the one that told me I wasn’t going to make it) said that I might have a serious problem and should just shut down now. It’s not a question of if the path I’m going down is right. In fact, my parents say my food is getting better because of my classes.

I don’t know, man. I’m just glad is over though. Once I started cooking though, I repeated to myself, “One step at a time.” Quick steps, but one at a time is the point.

Second,  according to the PCB professor, only one person bombed the quiz and I expected it to be me, but when I got mine back, it said I had four points off from the actual quiz, but then got them back because I got four extra credit points. So yeah, that one bombed quiz was obviously not mine, thankfully. You could imagine how relieved I was.

During Knife Skills, I knew I needed to cut my nails again already and I like growing them out. Obviously, I can’t in the kitchen, but I sort of came up with my own compromise: cut my non-dominant hand’s nails short whenever I can, but keep the dominant hand’s nails short (up to the school’s standards anyway). That way the non-dominant nails don’t dig into the food I’m trying to cut, as I think I’ve mentioned the first time I talked about cutting nails for the kitchen.

Ahaha, this one is a big one: so in Knife Skills, all we do is cut. So one morning, I decide to put on lotion for some reason. I feel like looking pretty and since I can’t put on makeup (both in the kitchen and just in general), lotion is probably the way to go there. Well, there’s no way for me have known this at the time, but we were dicing onions that day… For me, at least, whenever I have on lotion, I have to be careful for it not to get into my eyes or else I get tears. Lotion + Onions = Sobbing. I actually had to step back and rub my eyes on my apron (they advise us not to wipe our hands on our aprons, which is why that wasn’t a bad idea). So note to self: unless you’re a baker, don’t put on lotion at the beginning of a cooking day.

I thought of a new chef goal during Knife Skills too: successfully dicing tomatoes. They’re always so juicy and when we first worked with tomatoes, they talked about how to avoid the juice, but I’ve diced tomatoes to no avail. I use my chef’s knife and hand to scoop up the excess juice from the board, but that’s not even the issue. There’s still so much left inside the actual fruit, but you don’t want to completely crush it, so it’s like…what, do I need to spend more time wringing it out?

When I was in LA, the night before my dramatic haircut, we went out to a typical Korean restaurant where they cooked the meat in front of us. It wasn’t a hibachi. First of all, that’s Japanese, and secondly, it wasn’t a show. I’ve bore witness to this process pre-culinary journey, but obviously, now that I know what they’re doing, I can’t help but itch to jump in and take over, you know? Well, the servers did a fine job, obviously. It’s their job, they have to do it right.

I learned something new while observing them though: because it was done on a grill at the center of the table, when they came back to move the meat around, they didn’t flip it first. Instead, that switched both ends of the first side before flipping it and it didn’t take long for me to figure out why: because it’s a grill, the entire heat source isn’t the same temperature. By switching sides, it allows the first side to even out. I felt a sense of pride, figuring that out myself, hehe.

I found one flaw in the way they do things though: they switch grills after a couple of layers of meat, but really what they should have done was switch off after every layer. I know it’s time-consuming and maybe they considered this, but with beef, you don’t know what diseases it carries and I’ve learned from Sanitation & Safety that heat doesn’t destroy all bacterias.

Oh, and, I just thought of this right now, they used the same pair of tongs for each raw meat. I suppose I could file an informal complaint, but at the same time, they could be aware of these things, but choose not to. On the other hand, diseases.

For that exact same class, I’m supposed to go out to a restaurant and observe how the kitchen works, and report back to my professor as extra credit. I’m wondering if this could count, even if we’re not actually in the kitchen. I’ll ask. That’s my next class anyway.

And now for this week’s blog update points, or at least halfway. I still have four more classes before the week is over. I came up with a few points though, so since I have time, I may as well.

  1. Steaming does NOT mean boiling. I specifically mean for vegetables, especially green beans, when I use them as sides to mashed potatoes and steak or something. In fact, the official definition for steaming food is “ONLY in contact with the steam emanating from the pot of boiling water”. What I’ve been doing is boiling them directly in the water, mainly because it saves me from an extra portion of the pot to wash. I may stick to boiling for that reason though. Just wanted to clarify that because I literally thought there was no difference.
  2. Something that might get you thinking, “Are you on something?” is why potatoes feel so soapy when you peel and chop them. I only just noticed this when we were chopping them in Knife Skills during our first timed assessment. That’s why I thought that someone in class just didn’t wash them correctly. Now that I’ve started noticing it at home though, I think it’s just foam from the potato. It makes it slippery though, so be careful cutting.

The following two points I learned today in class: 1. If you accidentally moved someone else’s burner (adjusted the temp), the official policy is, if you’re unsure what degree it was on, don’t just guess. Turn it off and call over whosever it was and have them readjust it. 2. If the math gets too hard, switch to an easier unit. For example, one of my group mates and I had to figure out how to divide 1 pound plus 8 oz by 3 because we had to divide the entire recipe by 3. Well, since 16 oz go into a pound, the original amount is actually 1.5 pounds of white stock. Divide by 3 and that’s half a pound of the stock.

As far as personal cooking goes, I didn’t get to do anything over the weekend, considering we were in LA, but I’m hoping sharing what I noticed from the restaurant makes up for that gap. I did, however, make something yesterday because I wanted to replicate what I had learned in class. The recipe calls for a certain kind of fish, en papillote (which I know sounds really fancy, but only because it’s French. It literally translates to “in paper”). However, we ended up using Pacific Lingcod. Because the grocery store I go to doesn’t have that, I ended up substituting with a fillet of Alaskan Cod. (That’s right, right? The label said “Cod Alaskan Fillet Prev. Froz.” I assume the last part is “previously frozen” since it was, well, previously frozen.)

This recipe involves quite a bit of origami, which is fun! You have to use parchment paper to completely cover the fish and let it bake.

The sides I used were green beans (to practice actual steaming) and mashed potatoes (which would’ve made dinner the second time I made it yesterday).

Here it is pre-baked. I wanted to show how I folded it into itself at the bottom there in order to keep it together. I’m not sure how Chef Michael finished the folding process, but I figured at the end with that last flap, fold it onto one of the previous pockets. I used the second-to-last pocket because it was the closest one in order to make it perfectly stable. I don’t think there’s an official recipe for the way we did it, but I followed that: 350°F for about 10 minutes. Then, unsure if how raw it still was, I left it in the oven as the actual oven cooled down, so it would get the residual heat.

Monday night dinner: Alaskan Cod Fillet en Papillote. 

The only flaw was the fish was too small. I got one single strip and divided it into good portions that I thought were even as far as filling went. Both Mom and Dad complained that there wasn’t enough. So that’s a good note for next time: when the guy in the fish section of the market asks if one is enough for me, ask for three.

I just got out of PCB and made two dishes myself: the mashed potatoes again, in order to make it a side to the Hungarian Goulash. I noticed as I was making it that it looked a lot like Kimchi Stew, which is a family favorite. I actually did a presentation on it in Culinary Arts Survey. We had to find a foreign dish and talk about its history and how it affected the culinary world today. I think I’ll get into that tomorrow after Knife Skills since that ends at noon and I have a full day today, hence I’m hanging out in the library every Tuesday for two hours.

Anyways, putting together goulash was easy and I think I did it all by myself. If not, then I had help here and there by my teammates. The biggest factor in cooking stew (especially beef bourguignon) is patience. For this recipe (which was not Julia Child’s) had us (actually, someone else in my group) to bake it for 2.5 hours, so we had to get that one started first if we wanted to have it ready by 11:45, which is when we take a lunch break.

I also had a helping hand with the risotto (Gordon Ramsay’s favorite dish!), mainly from the one time I actually tried it. The idea with making risotto is you gradually add the stock and that’s what adds the sponginess to the rice. Well, that’s a common misconception at least, that it’s important to go little by little, but you can add the entire stock all at once and it’ll taste just the same. There’s a longer waiting period, but it’s the same exact process anyway. The stock evaporates or something, so you still end up with a risotto.

This one, however, stuck into the plate after about half an hour of sitting out. The person who was going to take ours in a bag actually hung it upside down and the risotto just stayed put. Didn’t make much sense to me because it was still mushy, but maybe it was just super sticky.

I don’t usually post dishes that we made as a class, but since I made both parts of the dish myself, I figured it was safe. I think usually, the side of mashed potatoes comes in a separate plate, but because I’m so used to combining stew with rice in the same bowl, that’s what I did here. Chef Michael said it was a perfect combination and that it looked beautiful. So…ha!

Dad wants to try it though and since the leftovers I’m taking home will get cold and I was planning on eating them for dinner before my last class, I decided I’ll just try it again this weekend so he can get a chance to taste it.

Also, one of the joys of being in a culinary environment is that most of the time, everybody’s small talk involves stories about food. When I was packing up for the library earlier, I heard two strangers talk about pastries and their personal experience with it. Then again, that may stem from questions like “what class do you have?” or “what did you make in this class today?”

Well, that’s about it. If there’s anything I forgot, you know I’ll post it in my next entry.

Break an egg, folks!

Update: So I just completed today’s Sanitation & Safety class and a brief conversation ensued between my professor and myself when I asked if I could talk about when the waiters cooked our meat in front of us as the extra credit outside kitchen observation assignment. Firstly, she said it was okay and she was actually interested in what I wanted to say. I can’t remember exactly the order of meats that went down, but she says it’s not as big a deal if the tongs go between poultries or beefs. That’s why I’m trying to remember what they specifically cooked because sometimes I think they first cooked pig meat first and then moved onto beef, which they did switch the grill for. However, they still cooked two layers of meat between switches, so I’m not 100% sure if they’re still in the clear.

9/3/16

I actually made this a couple days ago, but my entire learning process lasted about 24 hours and I’m only now writing this down after gathering all my thoughts together. I’m sure nobody would object to an original cupcake recipe with Nutella frosting. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? It actually was, but…

It’s dessert, so obviously, you can’t really mess it up. The taste anyway. I think the only way you could screw up is by messing with the texture. Which is sort of what happened to me. The actual cake was delicious. Its recipe was originally just plain old vanilla cupcakes, which I wanted to do because I had the idea to add chocolate chips at the center (which I expected would melt in the oven, but it didn’t, even just after I took it out). Then have Nutella frosting on top.

There was a recipe for Nutella icing on the Food.com app (which was released by The Food Network, I think…I didn’t get a good look at it, but it seems to be for home cooks to post their own recipes). The home chef who created it said it always worked for her and then she added a note saying that she’d gotten feedback that it was too runny (which I think is just a term for liquid egg yolk, but it also feels right here).

Anyways, her note was that she expected the issue to be with the whipping cream. I read this, so I was aware that I had to get the right kind of whipping cream. She said “not the ultra-pasteurised stuff”, so I just got regularly pasteurized cream. I guess it isn’t supposed to be pasteurized at all…it was still very runny.

It held together when I put it in the piping bag. Well, sort of. If you call “able to stay in shape for a few seconds as it drips out of the bag” together. I’m sorry if this ruins Nutella for you, but it was basically like the bag had diarrhea… Delicious, right?…

I mean, that’s close enough, right? (Cringes.)

Instead, I used a knife to spread out the Nutella soup on the cakes just to cover up the entire surface. So yeah, it was a messy experiment and usually, I could just have the dogs clean it up, except chocolate is poisonous to them so you’re sort of on your own in that department. Well, at least it’s Nutella, so it’s delicious…if you just forget about the diarrhea reference.

So this is what it looked like at the end. Messy, but still pretty cute. You can see a chocolate chip at the edge there. As I said before, I expected it to melt in the oven, since it melts so easily in your hand, but it didn’t so I’ll have to figure out what went wrong there. I also wanted the cake to be more fluffy and initially, I thought that had to do with how much batter I put into each cup of the muffin tray, but I thought about it and realized the texture would still be the same–the cupcakes would just be shorter.

As I was pouring the icing onto the cakes (yes, I said pouring, because let’s face it: that’s what happened), I noticed that the angle of the piping bag matters. Because I’m so short, the curves I made were sometimes straighter than I wanted, if you know what I mean. I think the bag is supposed to be perpendicular to the surface or at least close to it. It’s hard to find an example in the picture I just showed you, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Like I said before, this learning experience lasted an entire day. The next morning, I looked at the refrigerated leftover icing and it was pretty solid. Like, enough to be able to put on the cake and have it stick, as long as the cupcakes are also refrigerated till ready to serve. I conducted an experiment that consisted only of waiting and the chocolate melted back to its original form.

Because of this result, I will probably have to either find the “real” whipping cream as the chef advised, or just pick another recipe. Or maybe figure out my own recipe. When it was more solidified, it really did look like actual frosting, so for now, my only hope is to refrigerate the icing overnight and then apply it the next day. This wouldn’t work if I wanted to bake these cupcakes for a family get-together two hours away however, unless I kept it in an ice box during the road trip. What would’ve definitely helped is if the chef, or some of the reviewers whom this actually had worked for, also provided suggestions or substitutions for the heavy whipping cream. It’d be a lot easier to find a specific brand rather than hunt one down at your local store and just guess it’s correct.

That just seems like too much of a hassle, so I’d either have to find another recipe or create my own. Or just spread Nutella directly onto the cupcake. There’s always the lazy way.

So overall, as delicious as this was, there were a few flaws: the most important was the frosting. Second, the cake seemed too thick and heavy, so I would probably need to make alterations on that. Thirdly, how to make the chocolate chips melt. It is certainly possible that they could have melted a bit and then hardened again in the fridge, so I might have to let go of the chocolate chip idea altogether. I don’t want to add Nutella to the center too. That’s why I thought the chips were the way to go.

As far as the taste goes, I thought it was decent. Not professionally ready, of course. My parents came home very early in the morning (at around 4AM), so my mom tried it. To her, the only flaw was it was too sweet so she suggested to use less sugar, but the few times I ate more cupcakes after that, I realized that most of the sugar was from the Nutella, which was obviously store-bought, so I couldn’t change that or else that changes my excitement. (The Nutella frosting was the whole thing.) Although with her and baked goods, what else is new? Everything is too sweet to her. 😛

Well, break an egg!

8/18/16

I attempted a double today. Since it was just me, I woke up with lunch as my first meal (I wake up late), which was leftover chicken. I made fresh rice to complement it, but that’s nothing new. Growing up in a completely Asian family, you learn how to do it when you’re young.

Okay, so I didn’t technically wake up at noon; I just got out of bed then. I suppose I woke up at around 9AM? 10AM? Off to a good start, for someone who’s about to start school at 7:30 in the morning, eh?

What I tend to do is flip through my phone, first thing in the morning. Today, I was going through the short cooking videos on Facebook. I went to my usual pages: Tasty, Proper Tasty, Nourish by Tastemade, Food Envy, etc. I even went to the Tasty iPhone app, which isn’t as good, but they have…a lot of recipes, and I only say “a lot” because you can tell that there’s more. I know that I had just visited their Facebook page, but I only went because I figured there was probably an old recipe in my Favorites column in case I felt like trying it out now.

Since it was just going to be me and I have no job and school starts on Monday (I’ll tell you about that next time!), I spent my entire Thursday looking for recipes for dinner and dessert. For dinner, I wanted to go with Proper Tasty’s “Pull-Apart Cheesy Pesto Bread“. I know it’s probably an appetizer or a side, but it was just me and I wanted to try it! Plus, I LOVE PESTO!!!

Then for dessert, I finally wanted to try that Oreo cream puff that I’d seen once before, but forgot if I ever shared the link, so I shared it on Facebook again just in case I missed it or was just too lazy to scroll down. I found it on the Tasty app though: Cookies & Cream Puffs. Oh, and when they list Oreos in the ingredients, they just call it “Chocolate Sandwich Cookies”. When I wrote down the recipe so I could do my usual highlighting of ingredients I can combine during prep, I literally said, “chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos…they’re called Oreos).” I know they probably couldn’t say it for legal purposes, but just thought a little sass would get you laughing!

I wanted to focus on the dessert first, so I could chill it and it’d be ready by the time I finished dinner. That was a pretty good plan, I think. I went to the grocery store and got everything I needed for both recipes. Well, almost. We ran out of cornstarch, so I knew I had to get it today. Except right when I got to the car, I realized I’d forgotten it. Now, I definitely could have waltzed right back into the store to grab it, but it was sort of too much trouble.

You see, at the entrance, there are always people asking for money for certain things, like charity, a children’s sports team, raising awareness for something. Not the beggars though; they camp out at the perpendicular entrance of the entire shopping complex. Today, it was a couple of young men from the halfway house near my neighborhood. They needed money for…something about kids having a music program.

Usually, I never want to donate money because I don’t have an allowance anymore since my parents are pushing me to get a job. And, plus, I grew up practically in love with music. In high school, I wanted to be a singer. In college, the dream was to be on Broadway. I’m all for their cause. I just wanted to get my things, so I said I didn’t have cash on me and he said that was all right, but I should think about it. So I did my thing inside the store and I was hesitant on leaving the same way since I knew they would still be there. Again, I apologized, but then changed my mind last-minute, remembering I actually did have some cash. While I was digging out my wallet, he said he liked my purse and that his sister had a very similar one. He’d said that just one dollar would have been enough support, but I gave him all the cash I had, which was just $4. I mean, it wasn’t much of a loss for me since I was never going to use that cash anyway, but it still feels good providing those people a second chance at sharpening their artistic tools.

But anyways, back to the current dream: I ended up just going straight home because I saw that you could just substitute cornstarch with flour. Apparently, you just need 3x more flour or 3 extra cups or something like that. I figured, maybe I’ll combine it with corn meal and everything will be okay…

I didn’t use the corn meal. In fact, let’s list everything that went horribly wrong for the dessert portion only:

  1. I think I was supposed to combine the egg yolks, half & half, sugar, and cornstarch (aka flour, apparently) WHILE heating it at low. I made a note to highlight them separately, but I completely forgot, so I combined them all beforehand.
  2. I knew I was supposed to whisk constantly, but stopped to read the directions so there were lumps EVERYWHERE.
  3. The mixture had already mostly thickened by the time I added the cookie cream, so add that to the lumps and you got a hot mess.
  4. And speaking of “hot mess”, the pot turned brown at the bottom. I don’t know if it was because of the heat or the fact that it’s a very old pot, but I just thought I’d make a note of that.
  5. The cream mixture didn’t look anything like the video. It didn’t look like pudding. It looked and tasted more like grits. I tasted it a few times, but thought it was really weird that it didn’t taste sweet even though I specifically ordered “Double Stuf Oreos”.
  6. I forgot to “remove from heat” and thought that came AFTER the four eggs, so basically I ended up with a poop-colored piece of clay with white and yellow specks all over.
  7. I have no idea how to make a piping bag, so I tried making a small hole in the corner of a Ziploc bag. We have the tip, but it didn’t really work. Sticking with the poop analogy, it was like trying to push out a–okay, you probably get the picture already. So instead, I just tried rolling it up myself. It was…hot.

Here it was pre-baking.

Post-ba–OH GOD, I MESSED UP BAD, YOU GUYS! I MESSED UP REAL BAD!!

So take a look at the list of what went wrong there and can you tell me what could have made these puffs…puff? I regretfully threw out the entire thing. I’m definitely not happy about that, but garbage day is tomorrow morning and I didn’t want my parents to come home knowing I’d wasted so much time, money, and ingredients on a failed experiment.

The good one was dinner, so I at least had that to eat tonight. There’s no official recipe written down online except the Proper Tasty comment on the video, which I screenshot: 

There’s something therapeutic about kneading. I don’t know if it’s because it’s fun or you’re just mentally massaging yourself or something, but you can knead all day long and it’s like all your problems are gone. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me and I’m crazy, in which case I would need actual therapy.

The first time I was waiting for it to rise, it didn’t really expand as much as I’d hoped, but the second time was more obvious. I think that was because the rolls were smaller, so the changes looked more drastic.

Fortunately, I have half a bottle of pesto left, which is how much was required for one attempt at this. I can make it again tomorrow truly as a side dish this time, and maybe I can make a classic spaghetti and meat sauce or something. Italian cuisine level: Olive Garden.

Also, I looked up the difference between all-purpose flour and bread flour and my source says that they are very similar, but bread flour has a “greater content” than all-purpose…? I mean…does it matter though? We needed flour so I got our usual all-purpose, so why is the bread flour important? I mean, I get that it’s in order to make bread, but is that really necessary? I always use all-purpose flour for bread anyway, so… I digress.

Does anyone know what “cling film” is? I just used regular plastic film, but I suppose it was clingy. I mean, it stuck onto everything pretty well, like the unwanted ex-girlfriend who’s grown too attached. (Hehe, get it? Because it’s “clingy”?)

The only real issue I had was with the cheese. I don’t think I’ve ever had a dish where the cheese bubbled like it was supposed to. I mean, I could have, but it’s obviously not important enough for me to remember. Last time we had a cheese issue that seemed to jump straight to burning (not that it burned this time), it was the pizza I tried to make from The Blue Bloods Cookbook. It turned out that the pie was just too close to the top of the oven, so we had to set it on the bottom rack.

Or perhaps I just missed the bubbling. I set the timer to the minimum, so I doubt I skipped it, but maybe the bubbling was just for a couple minutes. I think I added a little too much mozzarella cheese though, but I wanted to finish off the bag we had which was a little more than half a cup, I believe.

My parents arrived about an hour after I finished dinner, so I cleaned up the kitchen and washed the dishes (which didn’t seem like a lot, to be honest, even though I tackled two meals in one day). Mom tried one, but Dad took like seven or eight. When he was tasting the first one, he told me it was “meh”, but when I offered him some more on a plate, he immediately said yes. Then, he grabbed a few more pieces to eat upstairs in his office and said, “What? It’s a waste.” That’s sort of an inside joke now, since my mom has (or at least had) a habit of finishing off someone else’s plate, so she’d say, “What? It’s such a waste!”

If I did the math correctly, I had about nine: five during dinner and four leftovers; Mom had one; and there was a total of 18 pieces. That means that Dad shared the other eight rolls with the dogs. Hehe, he liked my cooking this time.

Right before the second rise: 
After it rose, I was like, “OMG, it worked!”

When I might have overdone it with the cheese:

All done!

The “Omnomnom” stage:

So obviously, there were some good moments, and a lot of horrible mistakes I made… I guess that about evens it up and since the good part came last, I’m satisfied with the results. We can just forget the Oreo debacle never happened and start anew tomorrow! Just like the Grilled Cheese thing: I’m not going to stop until I get it right.

Break six eggs! But when you add in the four, take the chocolate mixture off the heat first and then apply them one by one!

8/13/16

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I missed Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, so I found one specifically for eating (meaning without the raw egg, which I learned is unhealthy for you). Honestly, it tastes like clay, but you sort of get used to it after a moment.

Well, I can’t blame the recipe for it or anything. Not yet: I messed it up a bit by mixing up both the sugars. You’re supposed to add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. I used the 1/4-cup measuring cup for both sugars.

I also used regular milk chocolate chips instead of the semisweet, but that was just my personal decision. Hehehe…

So what do you think? Tempted?

The recipe says to use an electric mixer, but I figured I could just whisk it myself. After all, I could use the mini workout. I also sort of started with the liquids and sugars first, but I figured it didn’t matter because I would have to combine the two anyway.

It’s good, despite the clay taste, but it’s soooooo sweet. I mean, that’s on me, but I gotta really take it slow though.

I think their serving size is a little inaccurate: they say “about one cup”, but it’s more like two cups. Maybe it’s one cup if you take out the chips and cram it all in the measuring cup. I fit it all into two small bowls that are big enough to fit a cup’s worth of food, which is how I got to the two-cup-serving theory.

Also, there’s alcohol in vanilla extract?

I skipped the Cook’s Note because it said something about baking. Probably should’ve read the second paragraph: “Consumption of raw or undercooked flour may increase the risk of foodborne illness.” Whatever that means, um…dang it…and “foodborne” is apparently not a word.

The cookie dough is apparently for ice cream, milkshake, buttered toast, or a cookie sandwich… Meh. (Finishes the bowl anyway.)

I also didn’t wait five days for it to be refrigerated obviously, since I made it at around 5PM today and I’m eating it now, three hours later. Oh, it says “up to five days.” K. We’re good here, people. Omnomnom!

Break an egg! Like I didn’t do for this recipe! 😉

 

7/23/16 Update

I went to the grocery store and then the Starbucks a few doors down and got the stuff I needed. I expected to find a squeeze bottle for the Nutella, but whatever. It’s Nutella. It’s heavenly no matter what it comes out from. 

Explaining myself when asking for the empty Starbucks cups was entertaining. I first started off by saying, “I know this is going to sound weird” because everyone knows if you say that, then you’re automatically not weird lol. The girl at the counter found my idea “smart” once I explained my baking project. When she asked if I needed lids, I accepted in case the ones we had at home didn’t fit. I bet people thought I was crazy for holding onto a carrier full of empty cups, but I didn’t care. There are crazier people. 

I’ve decided to combine the coconut and Nutella and make a “CocoNutella” batch. That way, I have room for the two Starbucks cups full of regular chocolate chip cookies since you can’t really go wrong with plain ones. And then again, the final cup will be the Bannamon. I’ve decided to spell it that way instead. Should I say “Bannamon Saves the Day” or just go with “Bannamon”? “Plantaimon”? 

Also, I think I want to do this as a career. It’s just a consideration, of course, but doing this is kinda fun! Getting creative with sending meaningful desserts? I mean, it’s cool to be a part of such a nice sentiment.

Anyways, I think that’s all I’ve got for today. Break an egg, guys!

5/3/16

No cooking plans for today, but I made a big decision that is still related to cooking: I decided to go to culinary school! I’m still working out the kinks, but there’s an amazing local program here and, from what I’ve read, it takes two years. I know that defeats the purpose of having this amateur chef’s blog, but until I actually graduate and get a job as a professional chef (which might happen even further into the future), I’m still just a wannabe.

I wasn’t going to officially cook today, but I did get a new idea just now (and since I technically did make it myself, I suppose that counts as cooking). I’m drinking hot cocoa and I added a candy cane just for kicks. I have a huge “Frozen” 20-oz. mug, so I have to add, like, four spoonfuls of cocoa powder. (These spoonfuls are mountains–since I got the Swiss Miss in a jar, although it’s more of a tiny bucket–which I’m telling myself equal 1/2 a regular packet, but who am I kidding? I’m piling it up.) Then, I keep the candy cane hooked onto the rim so the bottom half can melt into the hot cocoa.

It’s really delicious when you do it this way. I mean, I know that hot cocoa is already sensational as it is, but add some mint to that? It’s just heavenly. Some of you may already do this, so in that case, keep whatever it is you do. However, if there are people out there who haven’t experienced this delightful taste, I suggest this way to them. Now, you may have to stir it once in a while, but let’s face it: for hot cocoa, it’s part of the fun.

And the mint sort of hits you more toward the end, but it should be fine as long as you just keep stirring. That way, the remnants of the cane can spread out evenly. Calorific? Perhaps. But ABSOLUTELY GLORIOUS? Definitely.

As you can see, I placed the candy cane on the other side of the handle so when I drink the cocoa, it won’t get in my way. Just make sure to pick it up once in a while to mix it around.

Or else something like this happens lol…

Another thought just occurred to me: we have hot coffee and during summertime, we get iced coffee. What about cocoa? Do we sometimes order iced cocoa or is that too gross? I mean, we get chocolate milk, so I suppose that’s the total opposite. But has anyone considered the iced cocoa thing?

If you think you can’t tolerate that much sugar, definitely cut it down to your liking. If it’s too sweet, that could ruin the entire drink for you, and a lot of times, the first impression is the one that sticks. If it’s too sweet the first taste, add more hot water to dull down the sugar.