Today we started studying custards. It began by learning to make crème brulée and traditional pastry cream to fill our éclair shells we baked yesterday. Chef broke out the REAL vanilla which he allowed us to use after giving a speech about respecting ingredients—especially the expensive ones. Did you know that real vanilla bean (not the extract people) is the second most expensive spice just after saffron? We slit them open and removed the seeds with the edge of our knives using approximately three inches of the pod. Instead of throwing away the unused portion, I the remainder of the vanilla in a small Tupperware I filled with granulated sugar—a trick that Chef suggested for more flavorful sugar. After preparing the custard base for the crème brulée, I set mine in a bain-marie and began on the éclair pastry cream. After refreshing the éclair shells in the oven, I made two hole on the top of each éclair to prepare them for filling. I was sad that we had to use a dipping chocolate to garnish the tops of our éclairs simply because it’s tasteless and I prefer the chocolate icing we typically find on our grocery store bought éclairs. I guess I’m just not refined (English accent). When I presented them to Chef I told him I did not like them.
“And why eez zat?”
"It's not sweet enough Chef."
I explained the chocolate issue and he said that he would teach me a good chocolate ganache substitute. I think if there were buttercream rosebuds or something on them, I would have liked them all the much more.
Before my second class I bought a can of Pringle chips. BIG MISTAKE! My professor went off about how terrible they are for you. How can I explain the utter embarrassment that overcame me at that moment? To be surrounded by the culinary elite with my lowly, despicable, disease-Inducing Pringles—the thought, the audacity! It guess it didn’t help that I asked whether there were any microwaves available to the students so we can heat up our lunches. Response:
“There is only WUUUHN (1) microwave on campus and it is for melting butter, if the stove top method is not preferred.”
So unfortunately I can no longer eat Pringles in the presence of Chef Knight and bringing lunches to warm up in a microwave, out of the question.
When I arrived at home, I melted some the leftover Laura Secord white chocolate my cousin Noli sent me from “the true North strong and free” (that would be Canada folks). I drizzled it over a few of the éclairs to remedy the need for more sugar and to make a more appealing look for the photo shoot. They were only okay. That night I cooked because Yolanda, Hunter, and the boys were out shopping. Yoli told me to make the DINO-nuggets in the freezer. I could picture Chef Knight appearing at my shoulder.
“Do you know how terrible those are for you?!”
I made them anyway (for the kid’s sake of course—ahem). I actually made an avocado ranch dressing that I tossed with green leaf lettuce and diced fuji apples. I broke the shaped nuggets and sprinkled them on top of the salad for the adults all the while chuckling to myself because of its deceivingly high-class appearance. That night I started thinking about finding a job, since I am now quite aware of the available time I will be able to allot towards anything that will produce a steady influx of money. What to do, what to do. I decided to sleep on it.