Easy to prepare for dinner. Adapted from Cooking by James Paterson.
I’m supposed to prepare the quick pastry puff for the apple turnover but every force I exert cause me pain. I think I shall shelve that plan and do something simple. Just then, Foodbuzz sent an email on some food ideas and I thought I should attempt the featured Rosemary Parmesan Popover.
Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out as well as the ones from the original blogger. The popovers fell just like I fell today. Maybe I should have given them more time in the oven. It was a good try anyway.
I almost reached a similar fate with the author of the book but in the end, I could not decide if I would want to trade my chalk for an apron/knife and thus abandon the thought of getting a culinary arts education in Le Cordon Bleu (Boston). It’s a huge investment and depletion of your energy, if you have no clue at all. And you need an insane amount of passion to work in the kitchen professionally.
It’s not the first time such an experience is recorded and published. Michael Ruhlman shared his journey in the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the Harvard of cooking schools in The Making of a Chef. Katherine Darling gave us a glimpse of her life in New York City’s famed French Culinary Institute in her memoir – Under the Table and Dalia Jurgensen showed us the real kitchen scene through her writing in Spiced: A Pastry Chef’s True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen. Of these, I love Kathleen Flinn’s The Sharper your Knives, the Less you Cry the most.
Ruhlman’s book was great and detailed and his account made me feel like I was a participant in CIA. However, perhaps I’m a woman and could identify more with what Kathleen has gone through. Hers was not just about her journey in the famed Le Cordon Bleu (Paris) but of her struggles when she was laid off, the choices that she had to make and of her relationship with her then boyfriend-turned-fiance-turned-husband. Her tales were personal, yet compelling and I could hardly bear to put down the book. A bonus – I love her literary style.
Her fantasy of going to LCB was fulfilled and I had mine a little fulfilled when I went for a class shortly after my arrival in Boston. I might not be going to LCB after all but I’m definitely learning in my own kitchen and am an added statistics to the numerous homecooks around the world.
I’m giving this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Some quotes I love:
Love is a fragile thing, It can be as precarious as those steps on the Sacre Coeur or as unpredictable as the eggs in a cheese souffle. And in love, there are no handrails or any safe recipes to keep your heart from failing (pg. 89).
All of us have made the decision to enter into this experience with abandon, unsure of where we’ll come out on the other side. Sometimes, the places that life takes us can be so unexpected.
I was thinking as I stepped out of the apartment to do my daily grocery that it would be a good week. At the very least, I need to be optimistic. I had the week’s meals all planned. The troublesome part was done and what’s left was the execution.
It was terribly cold. The realfeel temperature was -14F (-26C) and I wouldn’t have gone out at all if not for the fact that we couldn’t survive without food. As I walked in the direction of the supermarket, there at the traffic light was a pile of snow. I should have known. The snow had turned into ice but the silly me went ahead. It was a little translucent and as I stepped on it, I fell…hard. If there was a thud (which I suspected there was), it was drowned by the traffic. It was painful and as I tried to get up, I felt great difficulty. The area around my tailbone was hurt.
I could still walk, thank God, but with pain. Muttering a cry now and then, I certainly hoped to reach home safely upon purchasing the ingredients. But I realised the extent of the injury when I tried to get on the steps of the train. Arghh, it WAS painful! Oh dear! The pain persisted when I took a seat.
Fear gripped me. I didn’t want to hurt the tailbone which is such an important part of the body. I wouldn’t be able to do many things if it was really badly injured.
The litmus test was when I could not reach down to even remove my boots. Such a pathetic state I was in. This time round, I did not mutter just a sound. I cried. The hubs was comforting me and offering his help. The consolation is if I could still move, I might not be injured badly.
Carrying on my business in the kitchen was more challenging than usual. I could not bend down to reach for the ingredients stored in the chill compartment of the fridge and the hubs had to help out. Nonetheless, I could still produce a decent lunch. No salmon because it was expensive but sea bass fillet would do just as well.
I have not had fish in my diet for the longest time and I’m thankful for this fillet. Simple sauteeing will do the job. But I guess the real skill is in determining if it is cooked just right. You could use a thermometer (I’m hopeless with it) and if the internal temperature has reached 130F, it is done. Otherwise it should feel firm to the touch.
Just like those snow-laden pavement, if any part looks icy and feel firm when you step on it, it means it is all ready…ready to deceive you into stepping on it, accompanied by your slipping and falling with a loud thud and causing you to limp for the rest of the week. Good luck!
Sauteed fish fillet with roasted potatoes and carrots ( Serves 2)