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Malawry

eG Foodblog: Malawry - Expecting a future culinary student

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Malawry   

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.

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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.............

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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.

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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Malawry   

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.

gallery_1160_2482_154052.jpg

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.

gallery_1160_2482_125983.jpg

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

gallery_1160_2482_155761.jpg

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.

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Anna N   

It's great to see you blogging again and congratulations on the "developing culinary student".

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Malawry   
Where is the Wegmans you referred to?

Sterling, VA (near Dulles Airport). My husband has a choir that rehearses near there every Sunday night, so I go with him periodically and shop at Wegman's. It's a wonderful shopping experience...I really love going there.

The Trader Joe's I visited was in Centreville, VA, about 12 miles from said Wegman's. I'd forgotten that TJ's in Virginia carry beer and wine...the Maryland stores don't due to the liquor laws...and I stocked up on cheap bottles for cooking. Someday, I will be able to DRINK wine again. Sigh.

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Malawry   

I'm hungry, and I'm thinking it's about time to head out for my class. I'm considering stopping by Costco and eating a hot dog for my early dinner. As I confessed in this Costco snack-bar thread, I am deeply in love with the Hebrew National kosher hot dog and often buy one from the food court when I am in or near a Costco. For $1.58 including tax and beverage, it's got to be one of the cheapest meals going.

I'll likely be back tomorrow with plenty of photos and whatnot for your perusal. It may not be until around lunchtime, but that depends on how I sleep tonight. (Usually I'm so exhausted after my Tuesday classes that I have trouble sleeping through the night afterwards, if that makes sense.)

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Rochelle, congrats on the coming addition to the fam! While I see that there's a sizable mashed potatoes contingent here, I know that artichoke season is nearly upon us, and many people I know haven't a clue about how easy it is to prepare them. I'm a big fan of the toothpick stool: after trimming and lemon-juicing the cut parts, stick three toothpicks into the base and you've got a handy steaming stand, with the tough stem down but not immersed in the water.

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Pan   

I immediately said "Yeah!" when I saw who was blogging this week!

One question occurs to me: Are there any strange regulations at the community college, like a requirement for a written final exam? When I was in undergraduate school at SUNY at Purchase, they had to give a written final exam even for Yoga! (Musical instrument lessons didn't require any written tests, though, and neither did Sight Singing/Dictation.) And how's the paperwork?

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Where is the Wegmans you referred to?

Sterling, VA (near Dulles Airport). My husband has a choir that rehearses near there every Sunday night, so I go with him periodically and shop at Wegman's. It's a wonderful shopping experience...I really love going there.

The Trader Joe's I visited was in Centreville, VA, about 12 miles from said Wegman's. I'd forgotten that TJ's in Virginia carry beer and wine...the Maryland stores don't due to the liquor laws...and I stocked up on cheap bottles for cooking. Someday, I will be able to DRINK wine again. Sigh.

Wow -- thanks! My dh just started working in downtown DC (we live in south central PA) and is driving to Shady Grove every day below Frederick and then taking the metro downtown. I don't suppose there's a metro station within walking distance of either Wegmans or Trader Joes? You see, I live in a tiny town of 1100 souls and all the other towns around us are tiny, too. Makes ingredient procurement challenging on a budget...

I understand about the too tired to sleep well when pregnant thing. I was casually discussing it with my childless (and apparently clueless) dentist when I was a few weeks away from birthing my third child. He patted my arm and reassured me and said, "Oh well, after you have the baby you'll be sleeping much better." Um, no. Cheer up, though. That baby is 10 now and I've been sleeping pretty well for several years. :biggrin:

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jm chen   
I don't suppose there's a metro station within walking distance of either Wegmans or Trader Joes?

The Trader Joe's in Bethesda is within walking distance of the Bethesda Metro station, though it is not exactly close to the station. Maybe a 10 minute walk? Bethesda is just a few stops from Shady Grove on the same line, so maybe you can talk him into stopping there periodically...

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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.

How about Mac N Cheese? There are so many variations, baked, stovetop, with crumbs, with add ins, etc, etc.

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CaliPoutine beat me to it! :laugh: Great ways with Mac 'n Cheese.

Although ... I have a fondness for mashed potatoes. They make great baby food, especially after said baby has gone from the pick-it-up-in-my-fingers stage to the Yes-I-Can-Eat-With-A-Spoon-All-By-Myself stage (no darlin', you cant. but you can try....). They also made great mom-to-be food when the baby-to-be put her darling little foot across key digestive organs during the last couple months.

Plus (is this foodie sacrilege? :unsure: ) they freeze well in "plops" on a cookie sheet. They nuke warm fast, and make great fast meals. Your midwives might photocopy your column and hand it to every new client.

And the opportunities for debate beyond the add-ins (horseradish, yum): creamy or chunky? Thin or thick? With or without the peels (no peels, pleeeeeeeease!) etc etc etc.... I've talked myself into hoping you'll do the mashed spud column!

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congratulations on the work and the addition to the family, rochelle.

i was thinking along the same lines a cali with - at least here- the return of coldish weather of mac and cheese or stew of some sort.

i'm assuming that you are aiming your column at beginning/moderately skilled cooks and will probably go with more farmer's market/ seasonal foods as it gets warmer.

pot pies?

roast chicken?

casseroles - stuffed shells, lasagna

in the warmer weather maybe something with the ubiquitous squash - as johnnyd will tell you don't leave your car unlocked.

meatballs? sweet and sour, danish, for gravy?

some easy soups?

i'm trying to think of the things i have been working with my sil on since THANK GOD at age 35 she has indicated an interest in cooking....

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judiu   
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.

gallery_1160_2482_125440.jpg

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

gallery_1160_2482_53681.jpg

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.

gallery_1160_2482_152827.jpg

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.

Whew! That's a lot of quote; sorry! I was wondering if the maple syrup didn't make the cran-rasp juice taste terribly acid? I know that as a kid, when I drank milk with waffles in syrup, the milk would always taste sour compared to the syrup. That's why I always had to have a dribble of coffee in the milk... :biggrin:

Congratulations, by the way! Has "terrible tummy" been a problem for you? Sure hope not!

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vogelap   

Good to see you back, Malawry!

Your column was one of the first that got me into eGullet. Man, that seems like a long time ago! Since then, I've finished my own culinary schooling (though I take classes whenever they fit into my schedule!) and have been volunteering at a local French restaurant (Jean-Robert at Pigall's, Cincinnati's only 4-star restaurant) for over a year now.

Congrats on the pregnancy!

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emilyr   
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.

Risotto?

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helenjp   

I'm all for mash, and second the recommendation to take a look at Chufi's Dutch cooking thread.

Eating rice with most meals makes me long to serve mash in silver dishes, to the sound of harps and trumpets!

* Mash with swedes or spring turnips, mash with sharp spring tastes like watercress, mash with apples...

* Mash rolled up in slices of beef

* Mash piled onto pork medallions, or firm fish pieces and grilled, with or without cheese or other topping

Congratulations on your anticipated baby. You won't have any trouble knowing whether he or she is musical...musical kids start to sing and hum tunes before they can talk. Unfortunately they don't come with an inborn desire to practice scales or learn the names of chord inversions...

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Rochelle! Yay! Kiddle says "Yay!", too! We have used a few of the ideas from your blogs; we love your taste buds. I was going to suggest roasted cauliflower, just because we've been addicted to it this winter. Let me just add this, raising a person is the most fun, most fascinating and most rewarding thing you may ever do. Our best wishes to you on becoming a family. Blog on, and, um, keep some crackers and seltzer handy? :laugh::laugh:

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Malawry   

Thanks, everybody, for your comments and suggestions.

My editor likes the mashers idea, so I'm going with that. They're coming Friday at 11am to snap the story, so I have a few days to think it through and review Chufi's thread as suggested.

I am back from my class, which went well...this is the third one I've taught in this particular space to this demographic and I think I finally nailed everything tonight. I took some pictures of things and will post them with more detail in the morning. I did end up going to Costco and having a hot dog for dinner. I'm hungry again now...I barely eat anything when I'm teaching because I spend most of my time yapping my trap instead. :rolleyes:

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Marmish   

Malawry,

Did the courses you are teaching exist and the college needed someone to teach them, or were you able to suggest courses that you wanted teach?

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Great to see you blogging again, Rochelle. I thought teaching cooking classes was the most fun of anything I've ever done in the food business.

Are you referring to the baby as "he" because you know it's a boy, or just being generic?

I have a recipe for what James Beard called "Disgustingly Rich Potatoes" with butter, heavy cream and Gruyere. The potatoes are first baked, then mashed with a fork--good if you wanted to do a taste test on boiling vs. baking the potatoes first.

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