Monday Motivation

I am not a New Year’s resolution type person but I am a fall renewal type person. I usually make my changes for the upcoming year during September. One of my new habits for the next year is to bring less negativity into my life. I’ve been down and angry a lot lately, despite fulfilling some long-held dreams and making moves to better myself and my life. I realized that much of that bad feeling was coming from the things I read and ponder upon. To keep developing my habit manageable, I’m splitting it into quarterly goals. This quarter, I am going to concentrate on not reading my “bad news” websites. These are sites I really like reading because I find the subject matter thought-provoking but they also tend to affect my mood negatively.

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Class 2 Homework

This is my brown chicken stock. The bones and mirepoix in the pot have been roasted in the oven. It came out great! The flavor is robust but not overpowering and it has a nice body to it. I’m going to reheat tonight and strain through cheesecloth to see if I can get it any clearer. Even if I don’t, I’m still really pleased with the outcome. I plan on making white chicken stock and vegetable stock tonight and Friday since its so easy.

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Cooking Class 2 – Stocks

Yesterday, I learned something: I’m a pretty good cook without knowing how good I am. One of the classes I was most looking forward to was the stocks class because I have tried to make stock and thought I was screwing it up. Every time I made stock it would come out like gelatin and since the book said it should be liquid I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Well turns out I was doing nothing wrong and that’s the consistency you want for your stock after it cools.

We also learned about the mother sauces and made roux-based sauces. I know how to do the roux-based sauce because it is an important part of my stews. It adds thickness to the stew as well as richness to the flavor.

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We made the brown veal sauce in class. Our homework assignment is to make a meat based stock and mac & cheese with bechamel sauce. Yum!

My Brother’s Birthday Dinner

My brother’s birthday was recently and he wanted me to cook for him so I made fried chicken and potato salad. Simple, I know but he’s a simple dude. I’m sorry no pics. I always forget. I think I’m going to put a sign by the stove to remind myself to take pictures.

Anyhoo, I have perfected my chicken recipe so now I’m experimenting with variations. I need to make a dish more than once before I can declare it a success or failure so this first batch was nothing more than seeing the ingredients, understanding the cooking method and order, and getting a general idea of how the dish should turn out. When I first make a dish, I rarely get it right. Okay let me correct that, anything other than a roast or oven-roasted dish, I rarely get right the first time. Roasts are my wheelhouse and I get those right every time.

I will say, I loved the crust on my chicken so I may modify my base recipe to incorporate this method of breading before frying. I also made a simple potato salad that came out awesome! The best part was the dressing which can be used in other dishes and definitely will be. Again sorry no pics, I will work to remember in the future.