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


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.