last day

today was my last day at my computer job. one more month, and it would have made five years. i will definitely miss the people there, but i think it’s a good time to move on. part of the reason i started going to culinary school was because i felt frustrated at this job. i wanted to try something different, not just look for another job in the tech industry. i didn’t think i would actually become a cook though. i mean, it’s hard work being on your feet all day, the pay is way lower than in the tech industry, and i had no experience before i started school. probably a more rational person would not do this, but i found out i like being in the kitchen and making food. i have more energy overall when i work in the kitchen instead of at a desk. i feel like by making food for people i’ve done something useful and hopefully made some good food for people to enjoy. i don’t really know why, but i guess this is how i am. so i’m going to go with it and see where it takes me. i’m not very good at planning life or making the most rational decisions, but i try to follow my gut. everyone says life is short, so if we can, we should follow our dreams, take chances, and see what happens. we’ll see what happens!

july 4 dinner

my mom said i should try to keep up my blog… good advice, mom!

anyway, on july 4 i made a five course gluten-free meal (also dairy free and nut free) for ten people. first course: corn chex crusted fried shrimp with a basil lemon aioli and some bell pepper confetti. this dish was cameron’s idea. corn chex is an excellent gluten-free frying material. it’s good for making chicken tenders too.

second course: kalua pork taco with fresh salsa on a freshly made corn tortilla. i started making my own corn tortillas with masa harina (buy it at the store and just add water and salt). i like them a lot better than the ones you buy in the store. the kalua pork is made in the oven with some salt and liquid smoke. local cocktail tomatoes with some jalapeno, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.

course three: red and green lettuces grown in maui, locally grown corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers with a strawberry lemon vinaigrette. the maui lettuce we get at costco. i like salad with all these good fresh ingredients :)

main course: mochiko chicken (no shoyu so gluten free) with sweet chili sauce (orange from food coloring…), tamaki gold rice, and kale with some caramelized onions and dried cranberries (if this wasn’t a nut-free meal, i like to toss in some toasted chopped pecans or other nuts). this mochiko chicken recipe is cameron’s favorite from all the gluten-free stuff we tried during his food sensitivity diet. i’ll post the recipe later.

dessert: gluten-free angel food cake with fresh strawberry sauce and a chocolate soy anglaise. the angel food cake has some tapioca flour, rice flour, corn starch, and potato starch.

anyway, it was a good meal, and i think everyone enjoyed the food. the gluten-free/dairy-free lady who came also got some new ideas to incorporate into her cooking so that’s good. i guess i learned a lot during the six months we were cooking gluten-free!

busy busy

it’s been pretty busy lately… this semester was garde manger and intermediate baking. hope to post some stuff about those later. also for the past three months i’ve been cooking all meals at home because we’re on a food sensitivity diet where we had to take out wheat, dairy, soy sauce, onions, pepper, peanuts, plus like 25 other things!

jungle cupcakes

i made some jungle cupcakes for my friend’s son’s one year old birthday party. i made some funfetti cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. funfetti!!!! i have lots of fond memories of grade school when people’s mom’s brought funfetti cupcakes. this is the first time i made funfetti from scratch. basically just white cake + sprinkles. i <3 sprinkles.

close-up of the cupcakes:

it was a fun little project :)

thanksgiving

hooray! another thanksgiving. i think thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday now. this year i made yams, ham, and stuffing. yum yum yum.

first up, yams roasted at 400F for about an hour, then mashed up with a little butter and brown sugar, topped with marshmallows.

brown in the oven for 10-15 minutes. this is what my mom always made at thanksgiving, so i missed it the past few years. it was nice to have it again! nice toasty marshmallows.

next up, mr. ham. seems like the ham came out extra good this year. the mango pineapple glaze was nice and thick and flavored the ham nicely.

even the pineapples tasted good this year.

finally, the stuffing. i really like this stuffing recipe (see below). it has bacon, caramelized onions, apples, and sage.

i also am now the official turkey carver. cameron’s dad made the turkey in the hibachi. it was really flavorful and not dry at all.

a delicious thanksgiving feast:

my first plate:

anyway, hope everyone had a great thanksgiving!

bread stuffing with bacon, apples, sage, and caramelized onions
from the new best recipe by america’s test kitchen

1 pound bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4″ strips
4 medium onions, sliced thin (7 cups)
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2″ cubes (2 cups)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
3 tbsp fresh sage leaves, cut into thin strips
12 cups dried french or other white bread cubes
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
3 large eggs
some butter

1. cook the bacon in a large skillet or dutch oven until “breakfast brown” and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels. discard all but 3 tbsp of the bacon fat.

2. increase the heat to medium-high and add the onions and 1/4 tsp salt. cook the onions until golden in color, making sure to stir occansionally and scrape the sides and bottom of the pan, about 20 minutes. reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring more often to prevent burning, until the onions are deep golden brown, another 5 minutes. add the apples and cook 5 minutes. transfer the contents to a large bowl.

3. add the reserved bacon, 3/4 tsp salt, the pepper, parsley, and sage to the bowl and mix to combine. add the bread crumbs.

4. whisk 1 cup of the stock with the eggs. pour the mixture over the bread cubes. gently toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. transfer to a casserole dish. when ready to bake, drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup stock over the stuffing. dot with pats of butter and cover with a piece of foil that has been smeared with butter. bake in 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, remove the ofil, then continue to bake until a golden brown crust forms on top of the stuffing, about 15 minutes longer.