Saturday, November 6, 2010

Culinary Schools

After doing a week of research, I have compiled information about the top culinary schools in America.

To my surprise, there was actually a variety of different kinds of schools out there, such as the Italian-specific Italian Culinary Academy, the general Culinary Institute of America, or the p√Ętisserie academy of Le Cordon Bleu Schools. Different schools specialize in different areas of culinary arts, for example, baking, pastries, Chinese food and the list goes on and on and on.

From this point I could not really figure out a definite list of ''best'' schools in America but I did find many usefull links to help you find your dream culinary school .

http://www.cookingschools.com/ - a good directory for finding local culinary academies
http://www.allculinaryschools.com/ - another helpful directory
http://www.cookstreet.com/ - a school that has special programmes for novice chefs
http://www.culinaryschoolsguide.net/ - a comprehensive guide to various culinary schools across the country
Make sure and check these links out for a wellspring of information that could guide your future cooking career. 

Cooking Mama

Being a novice chef, my sources of recipes have always been sparse and few, and my only real asset in the cooking world is that I come from a cajun family. The other day I purchased the game ''Cooking Mama'' for the DS and I found it to be the most exhilarating experience. There were tons of recipes!
The game play is fairly simple and easy to get used to, and each step of making each dish is played out as a different player action that is rated according to speed, efficiency and accuracy. There are a lot of dishes to be made and learned from this game, and one could even consider it to be a tutorial to cooking. 
If you want, you should definitely check out Cooking Mama. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

SO you want to be a chef?

This week I'll be surfing the web checking on the best chef schools in the country, as well as the best opportunities across the world for young and aspiring cooks to show their stuff. Expect a full report on friday ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pizza

I remember one time a few years ago when I had the opportunity to eat pizza as much as I wanted... and I followed through. For about three weeks, I ate nothing but pizza and the complementary breadsticks, sometimes ordering out, sometimes using digiorno's and even making my own at one point. But toward the end of the third week I had pulled a pizza out of the oven too eagerly and, in the end, ended up eating an UNDERCOOKED pizza.
I made up my mind after that that I would never eat pizza again and I was thoroughly sick of it.
Now that many years have passed I have recovered from my aversion and have a (healthy) relationship with pizza.

So the lesson is; do not undercook pizzas. It can ruin something great in your life ;_;

Monday, October 11, 2010

Very simple pretzel recipe

It hardly needs to be said; I am an amateur chef and I have always flirted around with the idea of cooking. But I will never go to chef-school, and never learn from the masters (;_;), but I can at least share my meagre cooking adventures with you all. I regularly track all of the /food/ boards. I am planning on leaving one recipe with each post that is posted, and usually I will be talking about unimportant things. 

1 cup water
1 packet of yeast
4Tablespoon brown sugar,

I bake pretzels regularly; they can be really tasty, especially with the toppings available. For making the dough, take 1 cup of warm water into a bowel and pour a pack-worth of yeast into it (like Fleischmanns), and then drop 4 tablespoons of brown sugar into the mix, and let it sit. I used to just mix it with the flower right away but I find it is best to let it sit until it develops its signature foam (see how amateur I am?), and then mix it with:

3 and 1/2 cups of flower
2 teaspoons of salt (tsp)

Mix this until it becomes a nice dough. Make sure to powder your hands with flour lest the dough clump to your hands problematically. Make sure not to add too much flour to the dough otherwise it will fall apart when you are shaping it. 

At this point, divide dough into balls (portions) of either 12, 8 or six (or however you want to make). Prepare a pammed cooking sheet, then take each ball and form it into a pretzel-form. The method it self-explanatory but first, shape it into a long, string-like dough with about the thickness of a pen. You can roll these on your counter. You will find that the dough it harder to shape if there is too much flour; do not saturate it with flour! You may even develop carpal tunnel syndrome from doing this.

Form into the pretzel shape and let rise on the greased cooking sheet for about 30min or longer. If you have the patience, let them sit overnight with plastic wrap over them before you prepare the last steps, but if you're like me, you want to eat as soon as possible. Take the risen pretzels and prepare a baking-soda solution of:

1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup of warm water

Use a brush to lightly go over the pretzels with this. Then prepare a second solution, with 1 beaten egg and 1 teaspoon of water, and glaze the pretzels gently with this. This will help the toppings stick. 

Now comes the creative part; put whatever you want on the pretzels. I usually use a mixture of shredded parmesan, salt, and some cinnamon if I am feeling adventurous. You can put anything on it though. 

When done, stick these in the oven at 450 Fahrenheit for 12 minutes or so, and your pretzels will be ready to eat.


You could make the dough in any shape really, I usually make pretzels and sticks like in the picture.