Carrot Chopping 101

Well.  I can roast a Cornish game hen, but I can’t dice a carrot.  This all ties back to the fact that when it comes to learning to cook, I’m doing crap in the wrong order.  I’m pretty sure I should have started with chopping carrots, moved on to bacon, and then tackled the Cornish game hens.  But that’s too much “logic” for this girl’s brain to handle.

Before we get to my carrot-chopping skills (or lack thereof), it’s important that you watch a video of a carrot being diced properly:

Beautiful, no?  But in the absence of culinary logic, I spent months chopping (if you can really call it chopping) carrots in a very poor manner before I thought to watch this video.  Behold, carrot-dicing a la Hope:

Note that within five seconds, I have nearly cut off my own hand.  (Yes, I still have all of my fingers.)  Not only have I been taking the dangerous route by not making a flat surface on the carrot, but my attempts at dicing carrots have always ended up in many unevenly-sized pieces:

I honestly can’t wait for the next time I have to dice a carrot.  I’m sure I can do so much better!

This is how I roll

My fiance’s poor 8-year-old son has been a victim of some of my recent (bad) cooking adventures, so tonight I aimed for something a little more “kid-friendly.”  I decided to make these Pepperoni Pizza Rolls.

I’ll admit up front that spreading dough is an area in which I very badly need to improve.  This recipe doesn’t instruct you to “spread” dough, but it requires a fair amount of flattening biscuit dough.  I planned to make 15 pizza rolls tonight, so I gave myself plenty of prep time in anticipation that I would spend a minute or twenty fighting with the dough.

I recently gave birth to this idea that if I film myself doing some of the things I suck at, maybe I can use the videos as an opportunity to tweak or improve my technique.  So tonight, I set up my camera and filmed Pizza Roll Attempt #1–this first attempt took almost two minutes.

From Pizza Roll Attempt #1, I learned that I didn’t flatten the dough enough and that I piled on too much cheese.  As a result, when I tried to close up the pizza roll, I had a little mini-battle.  I got a little better with each one, and around Pizza Roll Attempt #10, I had cut in half the total time to complete each roll.

I didn’t necessarily learn anything from watching these two videos, but it was kind of neat to see the transformation of my abilities after I’d had a little practice.  Corny as it sounds, it was symbolic of my cooking journey as a whole.

A proud moment emerged when my fiance’s son entered the kitchen and, after observing me for a minute, asked if he could help me make some pizza rolls.  I was slightly unnerved at first; after all, I’m about the LEAST qualified person to teach a child how to cook anything!  But I walked him through a pizza roll, step-by-step, and he did wonderfully.  So we finished them up together and let me tell you, we ROCKED!

Since these pizza rolls were so simple, I was brave enough to experiment a little with the ingredients.  Since my fiance and his son don’t care for Gorgonzola (as I recently learned the hard way), I filled some of my pizza rolls with Gorgonzola, spinach, Parmesan, and pepperoni.  Delicious!