One woman's adventures in cooking for her Dutch-American family.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cooking Challenges

When I was in high school, science was not my strong suit. In particular, I had a hard time with chemistry. I was a straight A student, but where other good grades came easily, I had to work hard to make sense of chemistry. I did get some help. Due to my tendency to blow things up, no one wanted to be my chemistry partner. So I was paired with our very young, very attractive student teacher. Suddenly my lab works was much more interesting...and I got an A.

After many years of ignoring my chemistry class knowledge, I find myself fascinated by the chemistry of cooking. I like seeing how different ingredients react in different situations. I once melted raw sugar just to see what happens--try it, it's pretty cool. As I become more confident in the kitchen, I can see my progression toward using more and more basic ingredients. For example, not so long ago, if I wanted a cake, I bought one. Then, I bought a cake mix and made it at home. Then, I started making cakes from scratch. Now I'm experimenting with different kinds of cakes, all made from scratch.

I've started a list of food items that I want to make from scratch, just to see if I can. Maybe I've heard it's difficult, maybe it's something I really like and don't want to have to buy it, maybe I want to learn a new process, maybe I'm just curious about how it's made.

So...here's my current list of cooking challenges. If you have a great recipe for me to try, send it my way!
  1. Make my own vanilla. (I found a recipe on Sparkrecipes that I want to try).
  2. Chocolate soufflé. (I need to buy ramekins first)
  3. Cheesecake. I love me some cheesecake.
  4. Angel food cake. I love angel food cake even more. It's my favorite kind of cake.
  5. Crockpot hutspot. Hutspot is a sort of glorified mashed potato and veggie dish that's very popular in Holland. I'm thinking I could figure out a way to make it in the crockpot. I don't know of a recipe already developed.
  6. Pancakes. For whatever reason, I have yet to master pancakes. The hubs is in charge of pancakes around here.
  7. Crepes. They sound so fancy.
  8. Frosting a cake. I bought a little piping set, but I have no clue how to use it!
  9. Knife skills. The hubs gave me and a friend the gift of a knive skills class next month. I can't wait to know what I'm doing!
  10. French Baguettes. We found them for 56 euro cents when we were in Paris this January. I wonder how much it would be if I made them from scratch?
What are some of your cooking challenges?

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