Starches Lab

This lab was cool because we got to make our own pasta at one of the stations.  Its very easy to make and I actually would like to get my own pasta machine so I can just make my own pasta.  Making your own pasta doesnt just mean making plain dough and putting it through a machine either…you can flavor/color it with things like red pepper, spinach, garlic, etc…  I really enjoyed this lab because we got to do so much from the pasta making, baking squash, learning about all the different rices and grains and using different methods like pilaf and risotto to cook them.  I love all kinds of grains like barley, buckwheat, quinoa, rices, etc and this lab showed tasty ways to cook them.  Barley may seem like a dull grain to most people and they might now know what to do with it, but the barley pilaf my partner and I made with sauteed onion, mushrooms, and carrots turned out delicious.  I love gnocchi so I got to learn exactly how to make them and the alfredo sauce we made with them just made a terrific and easy dish. I look forward to making my own pastas in the future and continuing to cook the different grains in creative ways!

Soup/Salad

I loooove soups and salads so I really enjoyed this lab.  I enjoyed all of the soups we made, especially the split pea soup.  Everyone has their own twists on recipes and I definitely would have made these soups a little differently, but they were still pretty good.  Whenever I go to a restaurant and they have a salad bar I always order it because I love a good salad bar with lots of good choices.  I liked the salad bar we set up because we it had a lot of elements; the dressings, different croutons/crackers, topping like candied walnuts and dried cranberries, and even pickled beets!  I think greens topped  with walnuts, dried cranberries, crumbly bleu cheese and balsamic vinaigrette is a great combination for a salad and I got to enjoy that with fresh ingredients during this lab!

Lab #8 – Fish Lab(Round)

I really liked this lab.  I love fish, but never really learned how to clean them so this lab taught me a lot.  I also love cooking fish so this lab showed me some new preparations and techniques for dry-heat cooking fish.  I like to eat fish and seafood as much as I can mainly because I love the flavors, but also because it’s a very healthy way to get protein.  Although deep-frying anything isnt healthy, I loved the tempura batter Chef Bear made.  It wasnt just a bunch of fried batter with a slight fish taste like a lot of fried food tastes, but it was light enough to taste and really enjoy the striped bass, but it was full of flavor.  I’ve heard of flat fish before, I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten them before, but I did learn that they have 4 filets, while round fish, like the striped bass, have 2 filets.

Lab#7 – Moist Heat Chicken

This lab was fun.  There are so many ways to cook chicken and I had fun learning a few new techniques.  I’ve heard of cooking en papillote before but never actually tried it.  This was a fun style of cooking because we got to pick any aromatics and seasonings that we wanted to pair with our tenders.  I liked en papillote because theres really so many different things you could put in the parchment paper; tomatoes and basil or apple slices and onions.  I also liked braising the chicken.  I thought the onions, celery, mushrooms and red wine really gave it great flavor, and the cooking method made the meat nice and tender.  However, I really didnt like the color of the meat and especially the color of the skin of the finished product.  The skin had an unattractive gray-brown color to it and a very mushy texture.  I’ve never poached anything except eggs, so poaching the chicken breast was different.  It was a different way to cook a breast but it was pretty simple and had great flavor.  My only complain would be that my meat was drier than I wouldve liked it to be.

Lab #6 – Dry Heat Chicken

I’ve done this lab, or a lab very similar to it when I took Food 1.  We began with fabricating a chicken and cooking it several ways like we did in this lab.  That was also 3 years ago and I although I cook chicken quite a bit, I havent fabricated a whole chicken since then so it was good to refresh.  I didnt have the passion for cooking and learning new techniques back then as I do now so I really didnt remember how to fabricate a chicken so this lab was a big help.  I enjoyed this lab because I feel like I really learned a lot.  I cook chicken quite a bit and especially cook chicken breast all sorts of ways but I had never cooked an Airline Supreme breast until this lab.  I really liked this method because the finished product looks like it was hard work because the presentation is so nice, but it really was such an easy way to cook and present a chicken breast.  Using this method, I also learned what “Poile” is and what it means.

The legs are one of my favorite parts to eat on a chicken, but i never get to eat them unless I’ve baked/roasted a whole bird.  Lightly oiling and seasoning them and putting them in a muffin pan was a quick, easy, and delicious way to cook the legs I thought.  My favorite part of this lab was cooking the thighs.  The stuffing; sauteed spinach and garlic, roasted red peppers, carmelized onions, and greyuer cheese was so delicious.  When we rolled the stuffing in the thighs, breaded them, browned and baked them, I saw a whole new way to use chicken thighs.  To me the stuffing was phenominal, but using this methos, now I can cook thighs and stuff them with any combination of ingredients.

Lab #1 – Basic Cuts

Learning the basic cuts in Lab 1 was a good way for me to get started into this lab.  Ive taken foods1 before and i can remember the first lab being similar to this, but I can already tell that CULN1 is going to be a lot more detailed and helpful when it comes to learning how to cook.  Just in the first lab I learned at least four different cuts that can add a whole new demension to a dish, rather than your average rough chop/cut.  Im excited to see what the following labs bring and get as much out of them as I possibly can.

Lab #5 – Vegetables

This lab was very interesting.  not only did we get to do the usual cooking, but we got to “experiment” in the beginning of lab.  this lab taught me The importance of knowing what and how different chemicals affects certain foods and these are important things to know in the kitchen.  I know that certain things affect certain vegtables in different ways but this was educating and fun because I learned a lot of new things.  for instance, if you ass vinegar to green vegetables, the texture is great, but it kills the healthy green color, but if you add vinegar to white vegetables, they stay a beautiful white color, but turn to absolute mush.  I also learned that green vegetables cooked in water with baking soda will turn a healthy, bright green color,but like the white vegetables in vinegar, they become unpleaseantly mushy to the touch.

I love the taste of roasted red peppers and in this lab I learned how to make them.  It was so easy and pretty quick to do, and the result was delicious.  One of my favorite parts of this lab was the Cauliflower gratin.  I love cauliflower, but baked with the bechemal sauce and bread crumbs, I found my new favorite way to eat cauliflower!

Lab2- reflection

I had a lot of fun with the potato lab.  A lot of people may think of potatoes and think the basics; baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, and french fries, but in a four hour potato lab, I learned many different ways to prepare potatoes.  Just the basics on what potatoes should be used for certain potato dishes was really helpful to learn.  I’m a big fan of smaller red potatoes, which are considered to be waxy potatoes.  These kind of potatoes are good for roasting, making home fries, chowder, and potato salad to name a few.  This makes sense because they keep their shape better and have low starch.  Ive also been making mashed potatoes for a very long time, and although I do make great mashed potatoes, the lab taught me a few tricks and tips that make sense but I never really realized.  Ive always let my potatoes boil until fork tender and sometimes let them keep boiling until I have a free minute from whatever else I’m cooking.  I never realized that not only should you only simmer the potatoes, but once they are fork tender, remove from the heat and drain immediately so they don’t absorb the water.  One thing that I enjoyed about lab was cooking the baked potatoes three different ways to see what the true way to bake a potato really is.  Ive always seen potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil, but it makes sense now that that would be  considered “steaming”  the potato because the heat causes moisture and the potato technically steams in the moisture, not bakes in the heat.  I really thought that was interesting.

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