Backtracking

A few nights ago, I attempted a bechamel sauce for the second time and (gasp) didn’t destroy it!  I used a different recipe than the one I used the first go-around.  Though the recipes were very similar, there were a few slight differences between the two:

Recipe 1 Recipe 2
1.  Melt butter over medium-low heat 1.  Melt butter over medium heat
2.  Whisk in flour to creat a roux 2.  Whisk in flour to create a roux
3.  Add warm milk to roux and stir 3.  Add cold milk to roux and stir
4.  Stir frequently over medium-low heat for 5 minutes 4.  Stir frequently over medium heat until thick and bubbly

Once I had the “thick, bubbly” consistency the recipe called for, I added a boatload of mozzarella and turned the bechamel into a cream sauce that I poured over a bed of spaghetti, turkey kielbasa, and peas.  Hooray for a decent meal!

Bechamel failure no more.

Now that I know I can pull off a bechamel sauce, I’ve realized the doors that are open for me.  When I couldn’t even make a simple white sauce, I felt limited by anything that involved sauces in general.  I can only imagine what would become possible if I learned the other cooking “basics” that have always eluded my skills.  I’ve done some reading and come up with a master list of the things I MUST learn about cooking before I continue down my experimental path of culinary destruction:

-Blanching
-Braising
-Roasting
-Pan Roasting
-Poaching
-Clarifying Butter
-Bread
-Lasagna
-Marinades
-Risotto

Of course, the list of things I can (eventually) learn is endless.  But from what I understand, being able to do these things is a sure sign that a cook is ready to move on to things more complex.  Two days ago, I had never even heard of “blanching.”  Now, it’s a goal.  A milestone.

Naturally, I am not entirely free of blonde moments in the kitchen this week.  Just tonight, I chopped a jalapeno and, with the juices still on my hands, I licked my fingers and burnt the shiznit out of my lips.  Rather than heading to the sink to wash my hands, I whined about it and proceeded to rub an itch in my eye.  Nobody’s perfect, I guess…

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