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Malawry

eG Foodblog: Malawry - Expecting a future culinary student

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Oh, and for quick reference, here's the menu we prepared in the January private tapas class. I will not be covering any desserts next Tuesday, and due to the strict no-alcohol-in-schools policy I will give people the recipe for the sangria, but we won't make it.

Menu:

Cold Tapas:

Assorted marinated olives and pickles

Tomato bread with anchovies

Breadsticks and Serrano ham

Endives with soft cheese and clementines

Spanish chicken salad with olives and pistachios

Hot Tapas:

Asparagus with Romesco sauce

Bechamel fritters

Sausages with braised white beans

Spinach with pine nuts and currants

Tortilla Espanola (potato omelet)

Gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp)

Desserts:

Rice pudding with Catalan seasonings

Lime squares

Beverages:

Sangria

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Can you tell more about the bechamel fritters please? They sound rather like the cream croquettes I made recenlty, which also starts with a bechamel. Curious to know more...

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It's basically a super-super-thick bechamel (white sauce) with salt, ham, and if you like chicken or cheese mixed in. Let it cool to room temp and then roll it into small balls. Bread them in flour/egg wash/breadcrumbs and deep-fry till golden. Very very yummy.

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Hi Rochelle,

I just got back from a business trip. Great blog.

Do you have any access to quince paste? I don't know if your group would be adventurous, but a nice tapas with manchego cheese is quince paste.

Here is a recipe. It is very easy to make and tastes great.

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Do you have any access to quince paste? I don't know if your group would be adventurous, but a nice tapas with manchego cheese is quince paste.

Here is a recipe. It is very easy to make and tastes great.

I'd say Weis has a 50-50 shot of carrying quince paste. They do carry a decent selection of Goya products after all, and Goya makes a nice quince paste. Thanks for the suggestion!

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So Mom and I just did a quick trip back to Martin's. No photo of the hand-cart this time, sorry. We bought trash bags, some fresh flowers, some chocolate milk (which is what Mom likes to drink in the morning), some more cranberry-raspberry juice, two pears, and two donuts at her suggestion. I'd never tried the donuts at Martin's before. I selected a sour cream donut because it looked like the crispest option (I love crisp edges on a donut). It wasn't bad, a little too sweet like most donuts seem to be, but with a little sour cream tang to it.

The ground level where the shower is being held is pretty much cleaned up at this point and ready for action.

We really enjoyed the cheesecake bites while we played Rummikub last night. They're best if you let them sit out of the freezer for a few minutes to soften a little before digging in. And I beat Mom in 3 of our 4 matches. :biggrin: I wouldn't be rubbing it in, except she was talking trash before we started playing and so she deserved to get spanked a little.

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Apparently I've ridden past your home quite a few times! Never knew I was on Route 230 till today!

I'm really enjoying this! Congrats on your pregnancy!

Staying on topic: How come ricing potatoes is so hard? What can be done to make it less labor intensive (pun intended)?

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I love the tapas class menu. A well rounded selection of all sorts of things.

Brava, chica!!

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Why do students talk about cooking instead of cooking.... I can relate.

Its the resistance of forming new habits and breaking old ones is what does it to me.

I think Rochelle put it well; it seems overwhelming. A bit of fear of the unknown. Plus its hard to take a gamble on making an inedible dinner for your family, or on it taking too long to get to table.

I've been reading thru Rochelle's diary of going to culinary school, and hathor's question reminded me of the entry when she came home and made mayonnaise because she was out of Hellmans, and she found herself wondering why she hadnt been doing this all along.

Tapas: Marinated mushrooms are easy to set up, tho they wont really be ready in 2 hours.

I am really enjoying this blog. Thanks.

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Definitely bechamel fritters = Japanese version of cream croquettes! Thanks for the description, Rochelle.

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Sorry I haven't been updating so much...posts will be sporadic until late tonight or possibly even tomorrow. It's hard to get to the computer when you have two houseguests to entertain! (They don't seem to be moving yet this morning, so I can steal a few minutes to update right now.)

The baby shower went swimmingly yesterday. I have been duly gifted with many wonderful things to make life easier and more fashionable for me and the soon-to-be Baby Colin. The lunch-type food was nice, and there was CAKE afterwards (I love cake, even supermarket deli-bakery cake!). I took some pics of the spread which I should be able to get up tonight or tomorrow.

We also played some baby shower games, including "guess the baby food" which I absolutely sucked at. I'm no supertaster, and it shows. We sampled 6 baby foods, all Earths Best brand (which taste like they contain no salt, good for baby but harder for mommy to figure out). I only got one ingredient in one two-ingredient jar correct! Meanwhile, my friend Marcy got almost all of them right...she has a 4 month old baby who still only consumes breastmilk, so it's not like she's had cause to sample baby foods recently. Baby food is not as gross as I thought it might be, but it needs seasoning to taste like anything--it mostly just tasted muddy to me. Mom sometimes buys baby food carrots to spread on top of her brisket before baking, an old family recipe she likes to make...so she at least got the carrots right. (I thought the carrots were butternut squash and the sweet potatoes were carrots!)

After the guests left and we washed up, we headed out to a local restaurant for dinner, where I ate a salad and split a pizza with my friend Abi. More on dinner later. I wrapped up a pleasant day with an episode of Battlestar Galactica while cuddled with my husband on the couch, and then humiliating Mom at a few more rounds of Rummikub.

Right now, I'm about to get some breakfast type stuff together, since at least Abi is up and moving and I bet Mom will join us soon.

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Apparently I've ridden past your home quite a few times! Never knew I was on Route 230 till today!

I'm really enjoying this! Congrats on your pregnancy!

Staying on topic: How come ricing potatoes is so hard? What can be done to make it less labor intensive (pun intended)?

Yeah, I live right off of 230, so it's an easy ride to Shepherd U for my husband every morning. No traffic lights on the way to work!

What's hard about ricing potatoes? I used to rice enough potatoes to feed all 34 sorority sisters when I worked as a chef at Zeta. If you're having a hard time pushing them through the ricer, then you need to be cooking them longer.

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I've been reading thru Rochelle's diary of going to culinary school, and hathor's question reminded me of the entry when she came home and made mayonnaise because she was out of Hellmans, and she found herself wondering why she hadnt been doing this all along. 

It's funny that you mention that, because I had to buy Hellman's this week when I was shopping at Martin's. Right now I'm also buying Marzetti's caesar salad dressing, another emulsion I'd ordinarily make. I'm trying to avoid uncooked eggs when possible, and normally I'm not into caesars but for now they taste really good to me--so I buy the dressing on the theory that it's "safer" than making it from scratch. Ah, pregnancy...

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The weekend is now officially over, and it's been a fun one packed with culinary fun of many different varieties.

When last we left our heroine's camera, she was shooting photos of Friday night's dinner. Mom and I ate the cheesecake bites with a little whipped cream for dessert later that night:

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OK, so they don't look much better plated than they did on the half-sheet tray, but dammit, they were good and we enjoyed them. So neener.

Saturday was mostly consumed with people coming to my house to give me presents for the baby and play goofy games. The food for the baby shower was about what you expect to see at these sorts of events...

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Sandwich fixings, chips, relish tray, spinach dip with crackers, a fruit salad, bourbon pound cake and regular supermarket type cakey-cake. Abi made the fruit salad special for me...I happen to be allergic to a lot of fruits, but she knows this and designed the salad to include only fruits I can consume. She put in comice pears, a pink lady apple, blueberries, and absolutely gorgeous raspberries and dressed them with lemon juice and a little honey. A spinach salad showed up later with another guest. I had a little of everything for my lunch.

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As I said before, I love cake, even not-that-great cakes from supermarkets. This one was white on the inside and frosted with a cream cheese frosting which made it taste better than some other versions out there.

I did sorta make up for my poor showing in the baby-food-tasting game by attacking the other game like a pro. Abi taped baby-related object words to our backs and we had to guess what word we had on us using only yes-or-no questions. My word was "rubber duckie."

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After the last guest left, we cleaned up the kitchen and living room areas and washed all the dishes. Then we hung out for a while chatting, and when the time came we headed out for dinner. We tried out Three Onions in Shepherdstown, which changed ownership and chefs last summer about the time we moved to the Jefferson County area. My husband, who had been busy with auditions at the school all day, met us there.

Of course, after eating a late lunch, nobody was all that hungry. Abi and I ended up deciding to split a pizza, and I ordered a spinach salad as a starter. My photos did not come out so well, and I only shot my own plates to avoid cries of "NOT AGAIN!" from everybody else at the table.

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My husband kept chowing on my spinach salad, and he asked me if I could make something similar for us at home sometime. It seemed pretty simple...it had chopped hazelnuts, bacon and dried cranberries on it, and it was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette that had goat cheese melted into it. I think I can make something like that.

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The pizza was merely okay. I tasted Mom's onion soup which was pretty good, but I make good onion soup at home whenever I want it so I find it hard to get excited about it. My honey's scallop chowda was also "pretty good." I didn't care for his quesadilla, but I am not that into the idea of lobster in a quesadilla.

Nobody ate anything after dinner...there was tons of cake and such hanging around, but we couldn't get interested.

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This morning, I made breakfast for my guests...

Abi happens to be exceedingly fond of my homemade scones. I took some step-by-step photos of my technique for your viewing pleasure. I use the recipe in Caprial's Desserts by Caprial Pence.

First, soak some dried fruit of your choice in boiling water. Let cool. I used Trader Joe's Golden Berry Blend. Then, combine the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into small pieces and toss them with the dry ingredients.

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Using your fingers (or a pastry blender if you're not as motivated as I am), break apart the butter and rub it into the flour until the mixture looks sandy.

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Combine egg and cream and pour into the flour-butter mixture...

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Stir only enough to combine and get all the dry ingredients wet. Turn out onto the counter and push into a flat disk. Cut the disk into wedges and set on a parchmented half-sheet.

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Bake at 375 until browned around the edges, about 25 minutes

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For breakfast, Abi and I had scones, scrambled eggs and comice pear. Mom skipped the pear. My husband had a combination of andouille sausage, scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese for his low-carb brekkers.

gallery_1160_2574_6767.jpg

More later...

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So Mom left after breakfast today, and after a few hours of chatting and hanging out we got a little peckish. So I made a quick lunch of leftovers.

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My husband had what he likes to call "a breadless sandwich"--lunch meat pan-fried with cheese in the middle to melt, no bread. He ate the rest of the tomato soup from Thursday night and I made him a salad. Abi and I both ate pastrami sandwiches...hers plain, mine pan-fried, with salad and the cole slaw left from ribs night. Abi ate a blood orange as well.

Abi left after lunch, and I cuddled with my spouse on the couch to watch the Wallace and Gromit movie (Curse of the Were-Rabbit), which made me want to munch on a gigantic carrot...or some huge watermelons...or perhaps an enormous eggplant! Claymation vegetables never looked so alluring.

I took a short nap rather than working on my tapas class handout or my mashed potato story like I should have done, and then I departed for my evening commitment.

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Don't feel bad about doing so poorly on the tasting game at the baby shower. I have been roundly laughed at when I scored worse than almost anyone at three different baby showers ("hey, she loves to cook, why can't she tell what any of this stuff is?"). I made my own baby food when the boys were little, so I *still* do poorly at that game. Just says you have good taste :wink:

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Rochelle, I also failed that taste testing at the baby shower for Diana. Had they had some larb-flavored baby food, I'm sure I would have won.

Did you get a car seat so you can take Baby Jones on grocery outings with you?

First and foremost, did you get a Happy Baby Food Gringer as a gift? If not, retrurn some of those way itty bitty and way cute little cothes (that they will outgrow in a hearbeat) for the food grinder, as it is sonething that was indespensible once my kids started eating. It goes everywere, requires no electricity, and goes into the dishwasher. Woe is me that I ever gave it away. It works for far more than grinding up stuff to spoon feed stuff to a little one.

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Sorry to be lagging behind by a couple of days. Your reduced stock looks delicious. Just the idea of having a few containers of that in my freezer is inspiring. I'm planning to prepare a whole lot of stock this week and this has given me just the kick I need.

Here's what I made for the three of us for dinner:

Salad with five-spice pecans and shallot-sherry vinaigrette

Tomato soup

Seared duck breast with pears and poire william-demi sauce, mashers, asparagus with butter and balsamic

My husband had strawberries and whipped cream. Mom and I are digging into the cheesecake in a little while.

...

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That dinner sounds absolutely divine. Wow! I love your sauce, since using the eau de vie instead of a sweetened wine or honey will not add sugar, It's a good low-carb sauce - and must have resonated really well with the pears. Did you finish it with a whole lot of butter? You're husband is really lucky to have you looking out for him. :smile:

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Did you get a car seat so you can take Baby Jones on grocery outings with you?

First and foremost, did you get a Happy Baby Food Gringer as a gift?

We'd registered for two car seats (one infant, one that goes up to 40lbs or so), but we weren't gifted with either of them. We'll be buying a lot of gear over the next few weeks, and the car seat is at the top of the list...especially since the hospital won't let us take Colin home (much less to the supermarket) without one!

We did not get a food grinder either. I was planning to buy the Kitchen-Aid food grinder attachment since I have a KA mixer. In what sense is your grinder superior? I am unlikely to need to take the grinder with me to places without electricity, and Mom has a KA so I could just bring the attachment when we visit her if I need to make food. (We plan to rely mostly on freezing cubes of baby food to feed Colin, but we'll probably buy jarred foods like the Earth's Best when we're on the road for simplicity's sake.) I do already have a Foley food mill, but I don't think it's going to cut it all that well when it's time to start weaning our son. I do have a Cuisinart too, but I'm not sure that's good enough either. Moms with experience making baby food, please feel free to weigh in here.

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Sorry to be lagging behind by a couple of days.  Your reduced stock looks delicious.  Just the idea of having a few containers of that in my freezer is inspiring.  I'm planning to prepare a whole lot of stock this week and this has given me just the kick I need. 

...

That dinner sounds absolutely divine. Wow!  I love your sauce, since using the eau de vie instead of a sweetened wine or honey will not add sugar, It's a good low-carb sauce - and must have resonated really well with the pears.  Did you finish it with a whole lot of butter?  You're husband is really lucky to have you looking out for him.  :smile:

I think having stock in the freezer is like having money in the bank. I actually get anxious when I am low on stock! I am okay for now because I have about 8 of those deli cups of reduced chicken stock, 3 of reduced turkey stock, and 1/2 a deli cup of veal demi hanging about the freezer. Demi will have to be my next stock-making project, and it seems like a good one for the month between when I stop working and Baby Colin is due to arrive.

As for the sauce, of COURSE I mounted it with a bunch of butter. What kind of a woman do you think I am? :wink: The eau-de-vie smelled amazing, I can't wait to taste it after the baby has born now that I've gone ahead and cracked it open.

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Moms with experience making baby food, please feel free to weigh in here.

A Cuisinart will work just fine for making baby food. That's all I ever used for Liam. We did have one of the grinders from the link, and it was good when Liam was just starting on solids, as it was easy to grind up just a little tiny bit for him to try. But once he really started eating food, I just made big batches in the food processor.

I recommend First Foods by Annabel Karmel as a great make-your-own baby food book. Butternut Squash with Sage-Butter Sauce, anyone?

The only time we bothered with jarred foods was if we were going away for the weekend and wouldn't have good refrigeration or heating access. Otherwise I just threw a food cube in a little tupperware container and we were good to go.

Making baby food for Liam actually helped me re-appreciate concentrated simple flavors. A fresh sweet potato, cooked and mashed, has an extraordinary amount of flavor all on its own, especially if your tastebuds have never had anything but breastmilk or formula before!

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I loved the Happy Baby Food Grinder because it went into the diaper bag and went everywhere with me. Easy to use, easy to clean and no electricity required. They are often available at consignment shops. I found it easy and convenient to use at restaurants, church functions, going to friend's houses, etc. I can honestly say I never bought a jar of baby food.

And, you can wait on the car seat for a bit in case you still get one, or get some stuff you want to return! Have any friends who have one around that you can use or buy? Hubby have any co-workers that have one sitting around?

Edited to add: When we were without power for 5 days recently, I was kicking myself for having given the Happy Baby away!

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So, after my brief nap last night, I went back to my culinary alma mater, L'academie de Cuisine, for their 30th anniversary alumni gala party. This is the second time I have returned to L'academie since I graduated in 2003...the first time, they'd more than doubled the size of the professional campus and they invited everybody back to check out the new digs.

I am very proud of my L'academie degree, and feel that it prepared me pretty well for my career shift from writer-editor to chef-culinary educator-food writer. I also feel warmth for my 14 classmates from the program and was hoping to bump into a few of them there. Indeed, a handful did show up, plus I saw one of my old colleagues from Ortanique, Patrick, who graduated from L'academie a year before I did. I also saw one woman who said she'd sat at my table for lunch when she toured the school and that I helped her decide to get a degree from L'academie. And best of all, I saw a current student who got excited when he saw my nametag and said he'd read my culinary school blog here on eGullet and that it helped cement his decision to attend! (He says he doesn't have a screen name here, alas. I tried to convince him to sign up and participate.)

Of course, all my old instructors were there...Chef Peter, who is now the executive chef at Baltimore Country Club, Chef Somchet, who still teaches, Chef Mark, who has enjoyed overseeing dramatic expansion in the pastry program, and naturally Chef Francois, who founded the school and was clearly delighted to see the turnout of alums and friends of the program.

I tried to get there early and take some photos of the food before the masses showed up to demolish everything. I got most of the appetizers and hors d'oeuvres, but I didn't get much of the main dishes. I do have a copy of the program though, so I can fill you in on the menu and comment on those items I sampled. The school invited several alums to come back and prepare dishes for the gala, and then there were some local businesses who have strong L'academie connections that provided many of the starters.

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