A lot of things have been going on with me lately. Frankie and I have spent the last week moving into our place. I’ve been transitioning from working at Ross to job searching again in Seattle. Having work-study for school has provided me some awesome opportunities job-wise. I had an interview with Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason to be a lab aide for one of their researchers. The lab and the equipment was awesome to see. I would mainly be working with their plating robots but hey, its experience in a lab and a real one at that. However, the scientist I’d be working for wasn’t my kind of guy. I definitely didn’t get a good vibe from him. He pretty much gave me the impression that he has a Ph.D and is awesome and that I’m dumb and irresponsible because I’m in undergraduate school still. But oh well, honestly I wouldn’t be upset if I didn’t get that job, I think I’d be more relieved at the fact I wouldn’t be dreading work everyday after school. Then I applied for a job with Morningside Academy. I just had my interview with them today. It went well and I’m pretty sure I got it. She told me to let her know about my upcoming interviews and what I decide because she’d love to have me. I would love to work for them as a receptionist/recess/do-whatever-they-need person. The school is private and they work with kids with learning disabilities like dyslexia. Then I have an interview on the 12th with Amara. It’s an adoption/counseling agency here in Seattle that has a very good motto. Their values and beliefs are something that go hand in hand with mine so it would be an amazing experience to work with an organization that I could be passionate about working with. So that’s that.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to stay up on the cooking project liked I had hoped. And it’s not because I didn’t try. I actually bought all the ingredients I would need for the last 4 days of recipes I would be making for the 1800′s but once we moved all our stuff in last Sunday I ended up forgetting the stuff I would need so that I could make the recipes at the old apartment while we waited til Wednesday to officially move out. I even made sure that no one packed the pots, pans and silverware I would need! I’ve devised a plan to make up those days though. I will make two recipes a day to make up for those days. It only makes sense since I’ve already got all the ingredients for the ones I decided I would make.
During the week that my parents were at our old apartment in Bellingham I did very well at keeping up with the recipes even though I may have cooked them way too late when no one cared to eat anything. The first night my parents were in Bellingham I made “Pointe D’Asperge” from 1879. Fun, simple and delicious. This recipe took me maybe about 15 minutes to cook. I took 1/2 lb of asparagus, trimming the tips. Then I blanched the tips until tender then cooled them with ice-cold water. Next I cooked the sauce. I actually failed again at cooking eggs that are meant not to curdle. I had to make the sauce twice. I learned that at our old place its very important to heat any sauce with egg very slowly or else this retard is going to overcook the egg. It’s a guarantee! Anyway, I put butter in a small saucepan, added chopped onions to the pan and cooked them until tender. The recipe then says to remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the water and egg yolk. The first time I did this, I don’t think I let the pot cool down fast enough. The second time managed to work out for me though. The sauce looked glossy like it should have instead of chunky like scrambled egg. Then I folded in the asparagus and it was ready to serve. Like I said, this was delicious. And I might be bias because I’ve been a huge fan of asparagus but I think my mom was pleasantly pleased with the recipe. I swear she licked the pot clean! haha. And of course I forgot to take a photo of this recipe, but its a white creamy deliciousness. I swear.
The second night I made “Omelet with Asparagus” from 1879. The recipe said to use tips of the asparagus again but I just chopped up the middle part of the left over asparagus and used those for the filling. This was actually my first time ever making any sort of omelet. I am probably the worst person when it comes to flipping anything in a frying pan so I am so glad that my dad was there to show me what to do. Anyway, I blanched the asparagus and chopped them like I said. This time I let them sit in the boiling water much longer than the previous days recipe. The main reason was because the middle part of the asparagus is a lot more tough than the tips so I wanted to make sure that they were tender. Next I whisked together the egg along with some milk in a bowl, adding the asparagus towards the end. Then I buttered the frying pan and poured the egg mixture into the pan. I was really worried that I was going to burn the egg but I made sure that I didn’t try to flip the omelet too soon. I just let it cook all the way through even though I swore that it was going to be burnt. But luckily it was burnt at all. My dad showed me how to fold the omelet into thirds like an envelope. Once it was in the envelope shape, flipping the omelet became very easy. There really was nothing too hard about this recipe. The biggest thing was learning the technique of omelet flipping, which turned out to be a bit easier than I thought. I no longer dread the thought of cooking omelets and now I believe that I can make omelets any day now. Overall the omelet was really good. I wonder what it would have tasted like without putting the asparagus in the egg mixture but filling the omelet after it was partially cooked.
The third night I made “Spanish Cream” from 1878. Oh my goodness, this was DELICIOUS. I will definitely be making this recipe again. I seriously cannot wait to have family dinners at my house that I don’t have yet because this cooking project has given me so many ideas for desserts and snacks and small meals. I am very excited to share these with others because they aren’t just your everyday desserts and what not. The prep for this recipe was pretty short. The last time I worked with gelatin I had to cook it in hot milk. This time, I poured a packet of gelatin into a cup of milk and let it soften. Then I brought three cups of milk to a simmer then added the gelatin mixture. On the side, I beat together eggs and sugar into a small bowl then added the warm milk to this mixture to temper it. I was nervous that I was going to screw this egg thing up again. I hadn’t been so successful before so I made sure I slowly heated the mixture up. I added the whole egg mixture to the milk once it was tempered. It took forever for it to thicken, probably because I was heating it slowly, but honestly, slow and steady wins the race, especially in this case! haha. But I succeeded and I didn’t have to do it twice. I was very happy. After it heated for a while I added the vanilla extract and let it cook. In the meantime, my mom, Frankie and I whisked eggs whites with salt until it held white peaks. And just so you know, my computer just died and I thought I lost literally the 1000+ words I’ve already written. WordPress, you’re awesome at saving drafts!! haha. My heart literally dropped because I think I’ve been writing for like an hour now! haha oh dear. ANYWAY, once I folded the egg whites into the custard I poured the pudding into dishes called ramekins and put them in the fridge to chill. Frankie and I ate ours in a few hours. It was a nice thick liquid. AND it was so good and sweet. I think the best way to explain the taste is like.. whip cream in a bowl, but not overwhelming. My parents had theirs the following day and the pudding was like a spongy texture but still very very good. The hardest and most tiring section of the recipe was whisking the egg whites, no doubt. Never not use a handmixer if you have one. Lesson learned!
The last day the my parents stayed in Bellingham with us I made “Sour Milk Cake” from 1876. I had only made one other cake previously so I was way overdue for a cake recipe. I really wanted to make the wedding cake recipe but I didn’t have the time or the ingredients for that recipe so I settled for this one. I thought it sounded interesting and I thought I had never tasted it before. However, it tastes just like those easy Betty Crocker cakes. Still, good enough for me. It’s a pretty simple cake recipe and nothing out of the ordinary. I mixed together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl. In a large measuring up I mixed together milk and vinegar. In another bowl I beat together the butter and sugar, adding the egg after it was fluffy. Then alternating the two mixtures I added the milk/vinegar and the flour mixtures. Lastly I folded in the raisins then poured the cake mixture into a buttered pan and put it in the oven preheated to 350 degrees. It took about 30 minutes to cook all the way through. The recipe said it would take up to 40 but some how mine was ready before then. Lately though, I learned that her time measurements aren’t always the best to follow. I have learned that it’s important to pay attention to what the food is doing instead of sticking to the numbers. The cake was good. It could have used some traditional frosting and ice cream on the side but the cake itself is doable. Honestly, not much details about this one. Nothing exciting happened and it wasn’t difficult.
The next day I worked a ten-hour shift. My parents and Frankie spent the day packing the vehicles and so by the time I was out of work, we were headed down to Seattle. Talk about a hassle moving in. We have one elevator in our building that reaches the 6th floor and that elevator just happened to have overheated. So we had to go up an elevator to the 5th floor and then climb two flights of stairs THEN go around half of the building to get to our place. Not a big deal really but with no food, no sleep and tired legs and sore feet I was not a happy camper. I think I was the worst sport out of the four of us. But it’s my fault. I thought I would be able to handle working a long shift then move. Then again I was planning on getting an hour lunch, but I didn’t sooo that changed things. I ended up not making anything that night… and I don’t blame myself for not either. Guaranteed that I was not in any condition to be working with anything related to cooking or food for that matter. I’m pretty positive whatever I cooked would have turned out horrible! haha. Then that led to the 5 days of not cooking anything. I know there goes the cooking everyday mentality, but it’s okay really. I’m still sticking with the project and to me that’s what matters most. AND I am still cooking the recipes I was going to do originally.
So today was the first day I was able to sit down and actually cook! And just so you know, I’m now working my way into the 1900′s! I think it’s exciting. It will be interesting to see if the style of recipes change any and if the ingredients change as well. Tonight for the 1800′s I made a recipe called “Ofenschlupfer” from 1882 and it was so good. However it was a lengthy process. The recipe calls for blanched almonds. My mom and I had gotten raw almonds so I had to go through the process of learning how to blanch almonds and remove their skins. I just googled how to blanch almonds and basically I read that to do so you bring a pot of water to a boil then you pour the water into a bowl with the almonds to where it’s only slightly covering the almonds. Let them cook for about 1 minute then drain. I ended up blanching the almonds twice because after the first time only a few of the skins came off easily. Then I saw another way to blanch almonds online and it says to put them in the water and bring them to a boil in the water. I just wonder if the almonds will lose their crispness doing it that way. Anyway, so I think blanching and peeling the almonds took about an hour probably haha. I even made Frankie help me out. Once they were ready, I put the almonds in the blender to chop up. Next I cut up a loaf of bread from Haggen and laid the slices in a large baking pan. Then I mixed some lemon zest with cinnamon and the almonds, pouring that mixture over the top of the bread. For the liquid part of the pudding I whisked together eggs, milk, and sugar then poured that over the breaded portion, making sure to push the pieces of bread into the liquid so that they were nicely soaked. The pudding was put into the oven at 350 and I let it cook until the pudding set. That took about 40 minutes. While baking the pudding, I made the sauce portion of the recipe. This consisted of currant jelly which I substituted with blackberry jelly, sugar, cornstarch, and water. I put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and brought it to a boil. I let it boil until slightly thickened then took it off the heat until the pudding was ready. I was curious as how the pudding was going to turn out. I honestly didn’t think it would have the correct consistency and I thought it was going to be very watery. To my surprise though when I went to pull the pudding out of the oven it was like a solid, jiggling pudding. I was pleased. The pudding smelt so good and it tasted even better. I am definitely going to have more once I’m finished updating tonight! The hardest part about this recipe was blanching the almonds. Also, Hesser said to get good bakery bread so I was concerned that Haggen bread from their store bakery wasn’t going to be good enough but I was pleased with the texture once it was cooked.
For entering the 1900′s I decided I would start off with a drink, “Wine Lemonade” from 1946. Hesser says “brilliant and refreshing” and yes, yes it certainly is. Not only do I get to drink my favorite dessert wine, but I get to add lemons and sparkling water into the mix! First off, I used two fresh lemons and a little lemon juice I already had in the fridge along with some sugar. I put these two into a pitcher that we found during our move and swirled to dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice. Next I added the bottle of Lambrusco and two handfuls of ice to the pitcher. Then I shook until cold. I accidentally had a minor explosion. Don’t tell Frankie For serving, I poured this chilled mixture into glasses filled with ice. Only halfway though. Then I added sparkling water on top along with sliced lemons. It was a good change from traditional wine, or lemonade for that matter. I actually wish it had more lemon juice. I feel like it tastes a lot more like wine than anything else but still, very good and very refreshing even for a drink at midnight. So try it, you wine drinkers. Literally, a bottle of Lambrusco (24oz), 3/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar and sparkling water to top. YUM YUM YUM. Enjoy!
That’s all for tonight. I know, a book and I’ll be amazed if anyone takes the time to read this gigantic post but if you do, that’s awesome and I love you. Hope you all have a good labor day weekend!
Fact: 1906 – Upton Sinclair writes The Jungle about the horrors of the meat-packing industry.