Bad Taste in my Mouth – but well cut!
Wherein I discover a great culinary resource, start cooking school, improvise with the detritus of my first practice session, and write this entry with, literally, a bad taste in my mouth!
Yesterday, I stumbled upon a wonderful culinary resource: FreeCulinarySchool.com. I’d just watched the new episode of Chopped on The Food Network, where one of the chefs tried (with limited success) to do a risotto as part of his entreé. Since I’d never seen a recipe for risotto (although I’ve consumed a few), I was curious about what makes a risotto different from other rice dishes, so off to Wikipedia I went, and the only External Link from the Risotto page was to Jacob Burton’s podcast which included making risotto. I started listening while I looked over his site, then I STOPPED listening as I realized I was listening to Lesson 4 of his ongoing series of Free Culinary School podcasts. I stopped because I quickly decided to take his lessons in the order originally presented.
I listened to Lesson 1, Basic Knife Skills, last night. At the end, he suggested buying a bag of cheap russet potatoes for practice, which I did on my way home from work. Knife in hand, potato and cutting board in front of me, I pondered: “To peel, or not to peel?” Decision: Not to peel, since the technique I was practicing involved squaring up the potato – which by itself would take off 90%+ of the peel. I ended up cutting 2 very small potatoes into Julienne, then started to throw out what I’d just cut, as I had plenty of leftovers that needed eating. But then I hesitated, looking at the so-so Julienned potato on my board and thought: “I hate waste, what can I do with this right now? Hmmmm…Aha! I can do a quick gratin.” Then I saw the chunks of potato that were the waste from squaring up – the parts that contained 90%+ of the skin, and decided to include them. After all, I like my mashed potatoes with skin, why not the Gratin? My mistake? I never washed the potatoes!
My impromptu Gratin wasn’t bad, until I started realizing I had grit in my teeth. It was seasoned well enough that I didn’t (yet) realize that I should stop eating. You see, the seasoning masked the incredible bitter aftertaste – I’m assuming from the dirt on the unwashed potatoes – that still lingers 90 minutes later, and after brushing my teeth and using mouthwash!
Moral of the story? Always wash your potatoes, even if they start out as fodder for knife practice with no intention of being included in food to be eaten – you might change your mind!
I’m sure there will be more installments as I work my way through the Free Culinary School podcasts, but it may be awhile. You see, I’ve recently found myself extremely time limited. Specifically by my desire to follow a growing number of podcasts that has now expanded to the point where I just don’t have enough free (and awake) time to follow them all! But that’s another forthcoming post…