Culinary School Here I Come (50) Summer Vacation


I have a little less than 3 weeks to go for my summer vacation. It really hasn’t felt like I’ve been on vacation. I had a few weeks off then it was time for Beginning Baking. After that was over, I immediately dove into a backyard re-landscape. It’s pretty stressful having workers around all day. There were many “worst” days but you know it will never be a quiet day when a cement truck is parked in your driveway.

I’ve been collecting random recipes for the past 25 years. I tear them out of newspapers, magazines and copy them down. I’d just stuff them into a file folder. I’ve been threatening to sort through and make some sense so that was one of the biggest projects that I undertook this summer.

Everything is trimmed, mounted and inserted into protective sheets. I’ve compiled 3 binders; Sweets, Breads & Everything Else. Of course when I thought I got all the recipes I just discovered another stash. That’s my Christmas break project.

Anyway, I did a lot of baking and some cooking over the break. Maybe I noticed that I baked a lot because I barely baked before this summer. I always cooked but baking, not so much. I’ve baked cookies, cakes, tarts and a lot of breads. I also got myself a whole bunch of molecular gastronomy chemicals that I’ll be working with very soon. My first undertaking was an Italian Chocolate Chip Bread.

It was simple to make this sweet, yeast raised bread. I’d make it again.

I’ve been on a Lilikoi thing lately. For those of you who does not know what a lilikoi is, it’s passion fruit. I love the tartness of the fruit and it makes a great curd. So I decided to make a Lilikoi flavored cheesecake with a Lilikoi Curd topping.

I just realized I have that baby cheesecake in the freezer. I’ve been using a water bath to bake the cheesecakes. I’d always have cracks on the top until I started using the water bath.

This became my gluten allergic sisters birthday cake.

I have for some time now, wanted to make a Frangipane tart. I got a very easy recipe from a friend, used a pie crust that was in the freezer, finished the rest of my Lilikoi curd and whipped up some fresh whipped cream for this Lilikoi Frangipane tart.

I did make a few savory items. I love, love, love, chicken and dumplings. I came across a recipe as I was organizing and decided to make it. It was good that night but even better the next night. I didn’t have any club soda for the dumplings so I substituted tonic water….I was having a gin & tonic.

For some reason, one day I had a bug in my bonnet to make hamburger buns. I had luck with the few breads that I tried earlier so I decided to give it a try.

They turned out really good. I topped them with sesame seeds, salt & pepper, wheat germ and ground almonds (extra from the frangipane). My favorite was the almond. I will make these babies from scratch whenever I have a BBQ.

Remember earlier when I mentioned that I didn’t bake much. The extent of my baking was box cakes, pakes and boulanges (these last 2 are inside jokes to a few). Now that I have entered the “dark side” (bake shop), I decided to purge my box cake and store bought frostings. I doctored this lemon cake up.

Can you believe this Lemon Crumb Cake came from a box?

Another one of my summer projects was to order and start developing my molecular gastronomy skills. Soon I’ll be making dusts, foams, spheres and anything else I can think of. I just got a package of bacon today. I’ll work on my Bacon Crumbs for my Warm Spinach and Bacon Salad.

My friend Kaycee caught and gave me this fish. I’ve never cooked a fish with a head so I drew deep into my memory banks and remembered having steamed whole fish at my favorite Chinese restaurant…which is no more…McCully Chop Suey. I slit the fish and brushed it with a paste of black beans, pastis, parsley and rice vinegar and steamed it with green onions and lemon grass. It was a success.

So my oldest sister is getting married…again. I’m hosting the wedding and reception at my home. I’ve also volunteered to cater the event. It should be okay, only 20 or so people. I’m also making the wedding cake. Yikes. That’s for another blog but one of the dishes that I’ll be serving is a Roasted Portuguese Pork and Mango in a Sweet Bread Bun. So I’ve been busy testing Portuguese sweet bread recipes.

They turned out really good. Nice consistency and the perfect amount of sweetness. Now I just need another 60 or so of these.

I’ve been craving curry lately so last night I made a Thai Curry dish.

Seared Mahi with Thai Curry, Tomato, Onion and Coconut Milk. I topped everything with some fresh avocado. It added another dimension of taste and texture. I’d do this again.

So this is what I’ve been up to for the past couple of months. Stay tuned as a dry run my sisters wedding cake. That should be interesting.

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About tinfoilduck

I had this wacky idea to go to culinary school, while maintaining another full time career. I will be blogging about the program and how it affects me as I try to manage my daily life and how I try to keep everything together.
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2 Responses to Culinary School Here I Come (50) Summer Vacation

  1. Melissa says:

    YAY! I’m so excited for you! I would be a happy woman if everyone went to culinary school. ok, I’m happy any way. But it would be amazing!!!

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