Lessons 60-70: Trying to Contain Myself ...

In the last three weeks I have been able to cross off two major items on my never-ending culinary bucket list: learn how to make homemade pasta and roll my very own sushi.

I realize it’s an odd combination of flavors, but our gastronomical tour over the past 10 lessons has spanned from Sardinia and Naples to Tokyo and New Delhi. We finished our lessons on traditional Italian cuisine, with each of us preparing a daily portion of fresh pasta dough in place of doing knife skills. I consciously try to keep my “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” to a minimum during chef demos, but my excitement got the best of me as I watched Chef Mike roll out a perfect ribbon of fresh pasta. There was one very audible “This is INCREDIBLE!” heard from the back of the room. My inner food nerd, who apparently isn’t so inner, just couldn’t contain herself. I wish I could say I kept it together through our tour of Asian cuisines, but today’s lesson on how to roll sushi got the best of me.

Thankfully, I at least kept it to a (barely) whispered “Oh. My. Gosh.” But with every new technique and every new recipe, I find my excitement growing. I mean seriously, we’re talking about a girl with a life goal of learning how to make Beef with Broccoli, so as you can imagine, Module 3’s tour of the culinary globe has been a dream come true. We prepared fresh curry powder, stir-fried our way to mu shu and sizzled our newly acquainted Far Eastern palettes to fresh scallion pancakes.

We wok’d and we feasted, and each day the food tasted better and better. I find myself looking less at full recipes and more at the general techniques. I feel confident knowing that I can read one word and know that “pan-fried” means that the oil should be halfway up the item I’m cooking. I’ve thrown caution to the wind and even prepared an original dipping sauce based on Chef Mike’s instructions to include the Asian flavor profile of salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami. While more confident than ever, I still feel as if I’m right back to Module 1 where everything is new and incredibly exciting. The phrase, “like a kid in a candy store” couldn’t be more appropriate ... Module 4 pastry here we come!

Coming up next: Module 3 Practical Exam 

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