This morning’s lecture was the first of five that will focus on “Basic Quality Ingredients.” We learned all about how we as consumers choose what we eat as well as the school’s criteria for selecting food. Basically, our left-brain is the side that reasons and analyzes, and it is easily influenced by science and nutritional dogma. For example, the belief that we should only eat so many calories a day and a certain percentage should be protein is a product of left-brain thinking. Our right brain is the more instinctual side of our brain and it is responsible for cravings. Sometimes we are so caught up in what we should eat that we don’t listen to what our bodies need. Now, just because my right brain says it wants a cupcake doesn’t mean I need a cupcake, it might mean that my body wants something sweet and creamy (like frosting), so maybe it would be satisfied with the healthier alternative of fruit sorbet? I’m an obsessive calorie-counter and feel as if I should put my left-brain in a straight jacket and bring my right-brain out to play and be a little more relaxed about eating.
Today was our second day of actual cooking! We learned how to sweat and caramelize onions, pan fry tofu and deep fry tempura vegetables. I had never done these things before and it was great to get a chance to try these techniques.
Sweating onions was not so exciting.
Caramelized onions were slightly more exciting (the Chef told us ours were a little too oily).
Pan-fried tofu was really exciting! It was dry-dredged in a mixture of cornstarch, salt andpepper before being fried in a shallow bath of coconut oil. It was super yummy and something I would definitely like to recreate at home (perhaps as a sometimes food).
Our broccoli and carrot tempura was the most exciting dish we made, especially when dipped in our homemade sauce (basically soy sauce and sesame oil). Did you know club soda is a main ingredient of tempura batter? Fascinating!
The Natural Gourmet Institute is a health-supportive culinary school, and while fried foods are not considered health-supportive it is imperative that we learn how to do create for our future careers as chefs. Even though I have an oily tempura food baby, I still think today was the most fun yet. As we get more and more knowledgeable in the kitchen I think every day will get even more enjoyable! Tomorrow we’ll learn even more basic cooking techniques; I wonder what they will be?
Now I’m off to go do yoga to burn off some of those sat fats!