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eG Foodblog: Malawry - Expecting a future culinary student

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#1 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 07:22 AM

My name is Rochelle. I host the Cooking and DC & DelMarVa forums here on eGullet. Long timers may remember the Diary of a Cooking School Student I kept back when I studied at L’academie de Cuisine for my culinary degree. Fans of the Foodblogs may recall that I completed a turn in the hot seat about a year ago, when I was the chef for a sorority at the University of Maryland (34 Hungry College Girls).

My, how things change in a short year. Since I kept that sorority-chef blog, my life has shifted dramatically. My husband, who is almost done with a doctoral degree in music, landed a position at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV (about 85 miles from Washington, DC), which he started in August 2005. So we sold our house in Takoma Park, MD and moved to Harpers Ferry, WV last summer. This meant I had to leave my job at the sorority…which was okay with me, it was getting a little boring although it was a fun and fairly easy job to do and do well.

So, what next for me? I had long fantasized about teaching cooking skills, and I decided to try to piece together a career that would include that as one of my primary revenue streams. I also wanted to try my hand at catering, and I wanted to land some sort of regular food writing gig. So I founded my own business, Rochelle Myers Catering and Cooking Classes, and got cracking. Last fall, I catered a few weddings and private parties, and I managed to line up some teaching gigs for this winter. I also teach private classes when I can find the work. And I even managed to hook up a monthly gig writing a “Cooking 101” column for the Martinsburg, WV Journal-News. I’m always looking for more work, but for now I’m pretty busy.

This past summer, we discovered that I am pregnant with our first child. The future food nerd/music snob is slated to arrive sometime around 10 April. We feed him only the best…my homemade food via the umbilical cord, and a steady diet of classical music via my mp3 player and a set of earbuds stuck in the waistband of my maternity jeans. I expect that when he turns 14 he’ll be listening to thrash metal or gangsta rap or whatever the equivalent is at that time and eating McDonald’s as a rebellion against his super-focused artistic parents. We couldn’t be more excited about our baby and eagerly await meeting him.

Right now, I am teaching a bunch of one-off cooking classes at Frederick Community College in Frederick, MD (about 30min away), and also teaching a six-course “basics of cooking” series for Jefferson County (WV) Public Schools Adult Education program. This week, I’m also putting together my next column for the Journal-News, so there should be a visit from a staff photographer who comes and snaps images of my work-in-progress to publish with my article. My mom is visiting this weekend because there is a baby shower being held in my household on Saturday;she might be bringing a friend, and I expect to cook for them a little bit, plus probably have one or two meals out at some of our limited local restaurants. On Sunday, I’ll be going back to my alma mater, L'academie de Cuisine, to check out their 30th anniversary gala dinner—should be a good time, they’ve invited back a bunch of alums to prepare special dishes for the event. In between, I’ll be eating whatever strikes my pregnant-lady fancy, preparing low-carb meals for my husband who is losing weight, and sleeping about 10 hours per day. Gather ye antacids while ye may…

#2 Dana

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 07:41 AM

I'm very excited to read this blog and many, many congrats on your Sprout!!! If anyone has not read your series about culinary school, they really should dig it up, and take the time to read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and make a couple of recipes yet. Your black pepper biscotti are my mom's favorite and your vol-a-vants I've made for Christmas dinner app. The blog you wrote about your girls was enjoyable as well. Hope you are feeling great during this special time in your life.
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#3 kategoldston

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 07:46 AM

Welcome and congrats on the baby! That's my birthday!
" You soo tall, but you so skinny. I like you, you come home with me, I feed you!"- random japanese food worker.

#4 Rehovot

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 07:52 AM

Oh, very cool.... I really enjoyed your other blog and diaries--we just had the chickpeas with cinnamon and couscous from your cooking school diary, I think. Great dish--comfort food! :smile:
Looking forward to this week...
Question--are the two classes you're teaching different in any way? Different crowd, menus, etc?
Of course, congrats and good luck with the bun in the oven! :biggrin:

#5 Lori in PA

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 08:12 AM

I'm looking forward to your blog, Rochelle. Could you do me a favor? I find it SOOO helpful when the folks who have previous blogs under their belts add a link to said blogs in their signature tags. I'm busier than busy most of the time, and always want to hunt up those old blogs when I hear about them, but usually can't at the moment and then forget...
~ Lori in PA
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#6 eJulia

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 08:14 AM

Malawry:

I'm so thrilled you are blogging again! Your Diary of a Cooking School Student was one of the first threads I found on eGullet, and I inhaled it in it's entirety, much to the detriment of work! After the sorority blog, I feel like I knew you.... and now that you are documenting this new phase of your life, it's great to feel a "part" of that too! Blog on and thanks in advance for your hard work!
"Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”
Francois Minot

#7 SobaAddict70

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 08:41 AM

Could you do me a favor?  I find it SOOO helpful when the folks who have previous blogs under their belts add a link to said blogs in their signature tags.  I'm busier than busy most of the time, and always want to hunt up those old blogs when I hear about them, but usually can't at the moment and then forget...

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Hi, Lori.

I'll be back later to post the teaser for the next installment, but you (or anyone else) can always access previous Foodblogs via the eGullet Foodblog index which is pinned to the top of the General Food Topics forum.

Kind regards,

Soba

#8 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 08:48 AM

I have returned to eating old-fashioned breakfast foods since I got pregnant, including things like oatmeal and waffles. Sometimes I have supplies leftover from classes or catering that I need to get rid of; today’s breakfast kills the remaining 1.5 cups of buttermilk hanging on from a class 2 weeks ago. I made Mark Bittman’s “Easy Overnight Waffles,” a favorite recipe that I covered in a recent column I wrote about waffles. They’re easy if you can remember to stir up the mixture the night before you want to eat them, which I managed somehow.

The batter fluffs up a great deal overnight from the yeast action. This is with the egg yolks tossed in, before I stirred the batter.

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After I stirred in the yolks, you can see how significantly the batter deflated.

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My husband bought me this super-fancy waffle iron as a first anniversary gift back in 2002. It came from Williams-Sonoma and it has a cool art deco look to it...it's made by VillaWare. My favorite feature is that it has something called "Waffle-Tone™" which makes a sound like a wounded bird when your waffles are ready. You can see some completed waffles in the background.

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I am currently eating two squares of waffle with a ramekin of warmed Vermont maple syrup that I picked up on our December vacation to the snowy state. I don't like to pour the syrup over my waffles because they get soggy that way, so I break off bites with my fork (or my fingers :unsure: ) and dunk them in the syrup en route to my mouth. I'm drinking some cranberry-raspberry juice alongside.

#9 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 08:52 AM

Welcome and congrats on the baby! That's my birthday!

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Only something like 5% of women give birth on their due date, and most of the women in my family have given birth 10 days to 2 weeks after they were officially due. I've mentally prepared for a lengthy pregnancy as a result. If I do give birth on your birthday, it'll almost feel like I'm doing so early!

Tammylc told me that she thinks of spring as a perfect time to give birth. I think she's right. I have an internal furnace keeping me warm in the cold months, and I don't have to tote around a huge belly in the middle of August.

#10 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 08:57 AM

Question--are the two classes you're teaching different in any way? Different crowd, menus, etc?

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Why yes, my classes are very different. Tonight's class is a one-off at Frederick, entitled "Chocolate for your Valentine." It had 9 students last time I checked enrollment...all my other FCC classes have filled at 15 students, but it being Valentine's Day I suppose lots of people have other plans. The students at FCC are mostly adult hobbyists who like to watch Food Network, plus a couple of them drag their kids or their spouse or their best friend along for the ride.

Thursday's class is part of a 6-class series. There's one student in that class who is about 21 and works in her mom's restaurant and wants to get more of the science and practical skills behind her work. There are two married couples and then a few women who are just really interested in food and cooking...some are returning to cooking what they feel like after they become single or their kids leave the nest for college, others are just doing it for fun. The students on Thursday tend to be a little more driven, but that makes sense because they've committed to a series of 6 sessions instead of just a night out.

There will be more details in this blog about these classes as they happen, of course.

#11 Marlene

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 09:06 AM

And April 10th is my anniversary. :smile: :smile: I'm really looking forward to following along with you. I know I learned a ton from you when we (I) fumbled my way around Varmint's kitchen during the pig pickin, but this is going to be great!
Marlene
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Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

#12 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 09:25 AM

So, I need everybody's help here. I need to finish my next column for the Journal-News by Monday (though I'd rather finish it Friday if possible). I've suggested mashed potatoes as a subject because one of the midwives in the practice I visit lobbied for them, but I'm open to other ideas. I've only been writing the columns for a few months now. So far I've covered candied almonds, waffles and braised short ribs. I'm planning to do asparagus next month (which may be a little early still, but what the hell, I adore asparagus). I was thinking a starchy side dish would be a good one to hit this time around. I don't want to do anything too complicated...the column is called "Cooking 101" and is supposed to be about basic foods that you can accomplish well in a home kitchen using the supplies available in your usual Food Lion/Wal-Mart type supermarket. Ideas? I need to commit to something by tomorrow afternoon.

#13 snowangel

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 09:30 AM

Rochelle, mashed potatoes sound like a good idea. You could wrap some add-ins to the column (roasted garlic, horseradish, etc).

Do you freeze your leftover waffles? I do, and it sure makes for an easy breakfast. Into the toaster they go. (I'm a rip and dip woman, too.)
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#14 mizducky

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 09:33 AM

Lovely to see you blogging, dear! Sounds like you've got a pretty full week planned.

#15 Pam R

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 09:54 AM

Yay! I really enjoyed your last blog. I'm looking forward to this one. We have some things in common so I'm excited to see what you do this week.

I'm planning to do asparagus next month (which may be a little early still, but what the hell, I adore asparagus). I was thinking a starchy side dish would be a good one to hit this time around. I don't want to do anything too complicated...the column is called "Cooking 101" and is supposed to be about basic foods that you can accomplish well in a home kitchen using the supplies available in your usual Food Lion/Wal-Mart type supermarket. Ideas? I need to commit to something by tomorrow afternoon.

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Mashed potatoes sound great - how long are your columns? Do you do one recipe and explain all the fine points or do you include a few variations?

A magazine I write for in NJ wants a 'Spring foods' article for next month, and it's due next week. I'm thinking spring hits earlier there than here. Anyway, I picked up a few bunches of asparagus and strawberries yesterday and I'm testing away in the kitchen today.

I think we need a thread on cooking column ideas - because I always have a hard time deciding what to write about. :blink:

#16 divalasvegas

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 09:59 AM

Question--are the two classes you're teaching different in any way? Different crowd, menus, etc?

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Why yes, my classes are very different. Tonight's class is a one-off at Frederick, entitled "Chocolate for your Valentine." It had 9 students last time I checked enrollment...all my other FCC classes have filled at 15 students, but it being Valentine's Day I suppose lots of people have other plans. The students at FCC are mostly adult hobbyists who like to watch Food Network, plus a couple of them drag their kids or their spouse or their best friend along for the ride.

Thursday's class is part of a 6-class series. There's one student in that class who is about 21 and works in her mom's restaurant and wants to get more of the science and practical skills behind her work. There are two married couples and then a few women who are just really interested in food and cooking...some are returning to cooking what they feel like after they become single or their kids leave the nest for college, others are just doing it for fun. The students on Thursday tend to be a little more driven, but that makes sense because they've committed to a series of 6 sessions instead of just a night out.

There will be more details in this blog about these classes as they happen, of course.

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This is great Rochelle! Mmmm, short ribs. I'm still mentally re-eating those short ribs we had during DC restaurant week. I hadn't read your previous blogs on eG, but I will now and I'm so looking forward to following this one. Too bad you can't web-cam your cooking classes so we could all take a peek at you in action.

As for a starchy side dish, how about grits. Yeah, yeah, I know, that might scare some folks off. If so, just call it the Basics of Polenta 101. :biggrin:
Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

#17 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 09:59 AM

Rochelle, mashed potatoes sound like a good idea.  You could wrap some add-ins to the column (roasted garlic, horseradish, etc).

Do you freeze your leftover waffles?  I do, and it sure makes for an easy breakfast.  Into the toaster they go.  (I'm a rip and dip woman, too.)

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Yes, I was thinking I'd do roasted garlic mashers and one or two other variations to pep up the column a little bit. I've pitched the idea to my editor, but she hasn't written me back yet. I'm considering risotto if she axes the mashed potato idea. Mmm, risotto cakes.

I always freeze my leftover waffles. I defrost in the microwave for 30 seconds and then toast them--otherwise they might be cold in the center and overbrowned on the outside. Besides syrup, I like smearing them with jam. I ended up killing the last of some Fauchon apricot-lemon preserves I had hanging around from last year's Parisian vacation with half a waffle square. It was a shame to see it go, but I've been milking that one jar of jam for a year now--it was time, and besides I need a new clean fat-discarding jar--right now discarded fat is sitting in a coffee mug by the sink.

I had somebody over for brunch once whose FAVORITE food was waffles smeared with peanut butter. I tried it and I didn't "get" it somehow. I mean, it was like a waffle smeared with peanut butter...kinda like how cooked cucumbers taste exactly like cooked cucumbers, and I don't see the point of either exercise.

#18 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:03 AM

Mashed potatoes sound great - how long are your columns?  Do you do one recipe and explain all the fine points or do you include a few variations?

...

I think we need a thread on cooking column ideas - because I always have a hard time deciding what to write about.  :blink:

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I try to stick as closely to 750 words as possible. Almost the entire page is taken up with step-by-step photos (my column is always the feature story on the front page of the local Food section). I try to devote at least some text to variation ideas if I don't include "sub-recipes"--for example, with the short ribs column, I suggested other flavorings besides the rosemary-garlic-zinfandel combination I'd used in my recipe..."you can add mustard, or cracked black pepper, or..." type of thing. With the Waffles column, I covered two separate recipes, an old family one and the Bittman version I made today, and I devoted a paragraph to serving ideas beyond the usual maple syrup. My editor basically leaves the column up to me, she seems pretty happy with what I've produced so far and is receptive to my ideas.

I see nothing wrong with borrowing ideas from each other for our columns. I get a lot of my ideas from threads on eGullet after all.

#19 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:06 AM

As for a starchy side dish, how about grits.  Yeah, yeah, I know, that might scare some folks off.  If so, just call it the Basics of Polenta 101. :biggrin:

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Mmm, grits! Unfortunately I am a grits purist...I only buy grits from stone mills, preferably the water-powered grist mill at The Old Mill of Guilford in North Carolina. (It's about 20 minutes from where my parents live in Greensboro, NC, so I'm down there several times a year to stock up.) I just don't WANT to make grits with whatever's available at a local supermarket. Grits are not really a part of West Virginia's culinary culture.

I do hope to actually get to a ramp festival this spring, even if I have to tote my baby along, and possibly cover it for some local publications.

#20 Jason Perlow

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:07 AM

So, I need everybody's help here. I need to finish my next column for the Journal-News by Monday (though I'd rather finish it Friday if possible). I've suggested mashed potatoes as a subject because one of the midwives in the practice I visit lobbied for them, but I'm open to other ideas. I've only been writing the columns for a few months now. So far I've covered candied almonds, waffles and braised short ribs. I'm planning to do asparagus next month (which may be a little early still, but what the hell, I adore asparagus). I was thinking a starchy side dish would be a good one to hit this time around. I don't want to do anything too complicated...the column is called "Cooking 101" and is supposed to be about basic foods that you can accomplish well in a home kitchen using the supplies available in your usual Food Lion/Wal-Mart type supermarket. Ideas? I need to commit to something by tomorrow afternoon.

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Polenta! The European Grits!
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#21 Shalmanese

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:08 AM

Glad you started this foodblog Malawry. I was wondering how your cooking classes were going. I hope you go into more detail about some of your classes and give us some insights into how to teach food to others.

Anyway, I put in a vote for "Beyond Mashed Potatos, other mashable vegtables". Sweet potatos, celery root, parsnips etc. All are wonderful mashed and bring something different. I especially love sweet potatos mashed with a hint of chilli.
PS: I am a guy.

#22 saskanuck

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:17 AM

Congrats on the baby, Malawry! April 11th is my birthday!

I'm looking forward to the rest of the blog.
I don't mind the rat race, but I'd like more cheese.

#23 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:26 AM

Polenta! The European Grits!

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There's nothing wrong with polenta, except that I'm kinda bored with it. Ditto for couscous, before anybody recommends that.

#24 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:28 AM

Glad you started this foodblog Malawry. I was wondering how your cooking classes were going. I hope you go into more detail about some of your classes and give us some insights into how to teach food to others.

Anyway, I put in a vote for "Beyond Mashed Potatos, other mashable vegtables". Sweet potatos, celery root, parsnips etc. All are wonderful mashed and bring something different. I especially love sweet potatos mashed with a hint of chilli.

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I'm not sure I can guide people on how to teach others, but I'll at least spend some time going over how I plan a class and what I do during a class. I hope that helps. I think to teach others, you need to be fairly gregarious and you need to know your subject matter. Teaching cooking requires a lot more organization than other types of teaching...there's a lot of mise-en-place, and depending on where you teach you may need to bring a lot of ingredients and equipment in and out of the classroom. More on that shortly.

Mashed vegetables: Now, there's a good idea. Even if I don't cover that as the primary subject, I'll be sure to address it in the text of my article.

#25 Smithy

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:28 AM

Add me to the mashed potato crowd! There are plenty of variations that should hold people's interest: garlic mashed potatoes are really hot right now; cheesy mashed potatoes, horseradish mashed potatoes, etc. would be good to mention. If you don't think that's enough, you can always through in the idea of mashed potato madeleines, or other molded mashes.

Congratulations on the impending addition!

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#26 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:34 AM

Thanks for all the column ideas, people. Keep them coming.

I'm departing in a few hours for tonight's class. Before the class, I need to finish getting supplies, and then it takes me a while to get everything set up. I won't be getting home until rather late, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow for post-class photos and explanations. Meanwhile, here's what I have working so far:

Frederick Community College has a professional culinary program that’s only a couple of years old. They also offer recreational cooking classes, as do many community colleges. Right now I teach classes via the recreational program as an adjunct faculty member, but it is my goal to start teaching in the professional program (here or somewhere else) at some point in the next year or two. I signed up to teach six classes this session: French Bistro Favorites, Global Foods for Kids, Chocolate for Your Valentine, Tapas Party, How to Give a Dinner Party, and Chemistry of Cooking for Kids. I’ve already taught the first two on the list; tonight is the chocolate class.

I am not a pastry chef by any stretch, but I have more understanding of chocolate than your average layperson, and for a 2-hour community college class I figure that’s probably all I need. I get a budget for each of the classes I teach; tonight’s is $100. I am supposed to buy all my ingredients at Weis, a supermarket chain from Pennsylvania that has a location less than a mile from the school where there is a house account. This particular Weis is reasonably nice; I’ve been able to find more unusual ingredients here than at the supermarkets closer to home, and my husband has a special fondness for the Splenda-sweetened “Waist Watchers” sodas they carry.

I usually write down a plan of attack and assemble a handout with recipes before my classes take place. Here’s what I have scratched out for tonight:

Course objective: To learn about the different types of chocolate available, how they differ and what their content is. To learn about chopping, melting and cooking with chocolate. To learn about ganache and truffles. To learn two basic chocolate recipes, brownies and (if time) mousse.

Schedule:
Have people assemble tasters of chocolate when they come in
Introduction
Read objective
Discuss chopping, melting, cooking with chocolate (what is tempering, what are pistoles/callets, water is the enemy of chocolate, burn ranges, using a bain marie)
Assemble and bake brownies
Start tasting chocolates: describe how to taste, guide sequence of tasting, explain differences among chocolates
Make ganache
Demo rolling ganache truffle centers
Make mousse, if time

I also have a pack list and a shopping list. If I don’t write out a packing list, I will forget things inevitably. FCC bought me some side towels to use for my classes on the condition that I take responsibility for laundering them, so tonight’s pack list includes all the side towels I’ve accumulated and washed in the last couple of weeks. It also includes all the chocolates that I chopped in advance, my big box of Noel 70-something percent pistoles, a pastry brush, and some index-card numbers I wrote out last night for me to use in blind-labeling the chocolates we’ll taste. The shopping list includes eggs, Hershey’s chocolate, Baker’s chocolate, chocolate bark (if they have it), heavy cream, eggs, and a few other things.

I teach most of my FCC classes in the family and consumer sciences (that’s home ec to those of you playing along) classroom of a middle school across the street from the college. It’s resplendent in its burnt orange décor and features retro electrical appliances (I think of electric ranges as old-skool, probably because I grew up cooking on them but have insisted on gas since I graduated from college). FCC provides a big locked closet packed with almost any equipment I could need for my classes. There are a few ingredients like olive oil and flour that I’ve left in there since I use them so often I see no reason to schlep them to and from the facility. There’s also a nice sturdy cart I can use to move things between the closet and the classroom, or my car if needed. I usually pack my ingredients and supplies from home in a rolling cooler for ease of schlepping, so I see little reason to take the cart outside the building. I usually load in myself, and get students to help me pack out at the end of the night.

#27 little ms foodie

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:40 AM

We have the same waffle maker only ours does the mini round waffles. We LOVE the waffle tone and when it goes off we both sing 'WAFFLE TONE!!', it's funny.

Looks like an interesting blog Malawry.............

#28 Megan Blocker

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:46 AM

Mashed vegetables: Now, there's a good idea. Even if I don't cover that as the primary subject, I'll be sure to address it in the text of my article.

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Yes! You should check out Chufi's dinner posts and Dutch cooking thread for inspiration - she makes the most amazing, creative mashes!
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#29 Malawry

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 11:06 AM

Due to Weis's paltry selection of quality chocolates, I hit Trader Joe's and Wegman's on Sunday night to purchase chocolates, which FCC will reimburse me for. In addition to these chocolates, I plan to purchase Hershey's and Baker's chocolates as well as chocolate bark when I hit Weis late this afternoon. Here's what I have on tap for tonight:

White chocolate: Lindt, Perugina, and Ghirardelli in the big chunk.
Milk chocolate: Lindt, Ghirardelli, Valrhona and Villars.
The Scharffen Berger cocoa powder is for rolling ganache truffle centers.

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Dark sweet chocolates: Scharffen Berger 60%, a Valrhona that I think is in the 50s, and Ghirardelli "semi-sweet" chocolate
Dark 70-something chocolates: Scharffen Berger, Valrhona, two different single-source chocolates from Chocovic, Villars and an organic Trader Joe's label.
Behind the darks: Cacao Noel 72% pistoles. I usually have Noel 60-something pistoles hanging around, but my supplier was out last time I bought so I ended up with a stronger chocolate.

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Ultra-dark chocolates: Scharffen Berger 80%, Valrhona 85% (ouch!)

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I wasn't really intending to focus so much on the 70-somethings, but I felt it would be nice to compare an organic bar and a couple single-source bars to what else is out there on the market...and I couldn't find other strengths of organic or single-source bars. As for the pistoles, here's my chocolate secret: I HATE CHOPPING CHOCOLATE. I will do anything to avoid it! So I am bringing the pistoles to a. show my students what they are and b. use them in whatever recipes we make so I don't have to chop so much. (Though, I may just have students chop up the remaining chocoalates and use those in the recipes. We'll see.)

Last night, I chopped up at least half of each of these bars and separated them into individual baggies for people to sample them at the class.

#30 Lori in PA

Lori in PA
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  • 702 posts

Posted 14 February 2006 - 01:03 PM

Where is the Wegmans you referred to?
~ Lori in PA
My blog: http://inmykitchenin...e.blogspot.com/
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