More adventures (“adventures”) from Food Science lab. Let the record state that this makes entertaining blog fodder, but (particularly because the material covered therein will not be included on my comps exam), the class itself is a SLOG.
Bread Week was the best, mainly because we had a guest speaker- the bread artiste from the Carrboro Farmer’s market!
Look at this sexiness:
He said the best bread really looks nearly burnt on the outside- that’s the kind of heat you want to get an awesome crisp crust and awesomely chewy interior.
Such a Carrboro pinup boy. Tshirt, beard, dad bod. Rhapsodizing about microbreweries and small local grain growing cooperatives and wild yeasts and taking cultures on vacation. The presence of an additional male increased the proportion of dudes in our class by 100% and our professor was in SUCH a tizzy.
Obvi the best part was that he brought samples. Those Mason jars to the left are examples of wheat berries and various grinds of flour one can purchase at a mill. I kind of thought flour was just whole wheat (all the bran) and white (none of the bran) but in fact you can buy all kinds of flours with various proportions of the bran removed.
The garlic sourdough was particularly heavenly. I ate a LOT of bread on this day and was very very happy.
Bread Man also brought us pizza dough! He used one of his sourdough starters to make the dough and also opted to use garlic-infused olive oil (he’d used it to cook the garlic for the aforementioned delicious garlic sourdough).
My group made a white pizza topped with kale. It’s funny, you convince yourself that these artisanal pizzas don’t have that much cheese because it’s not forming these long threads off of them like Domino’s, but let the record state that this below is 6 ounces, no small amount:
We prebaked the crust, then put on the cheese, some red pepper flakes, and some thinly sliced garlic (<3) and prebaked a little more. The last step was putting on some kale that had been massaged with olive oil…
Then baking til it was crispy and gorgey.
Meanwhile, I went around spying on other groups.
They were infusing oil with garlic and hot red peppers…
And putting out platefuls of deliciousness.
This was a super delicious margherita, with just fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce and basil.
I thought this one was gorgeous! You got a big wham of umami from the parmesan. It was a little too salty for me, though.
A ‘Greek’ pizza with feta, spinach, and tomatoes.
Another shot of ours cause it was so freaking gorgeous 🙂 All plated.
We only got wee little pieces of each pizza but it certainly added up because there were many types!
There was one leftover crust to do with what we will. Well, I say that- I had grabbed it and some of the other groups’ leftover ingredients and then got screamed at for awhile by the professor who, as usual when she realized she was screaming at someone who was not actually doing anything wrong, did not bother to apologize. She was extra nice while having the guest speaker and then once he left she had to make up for lost time, *eyeroll*
Anyway, I kind of threw up my hands after getting screamed at and put others in charge of this pile-on-what-you-want creation, and they did a marvelous job. Lots of sauce, cheese, veggies, and- key!- banana peppers. Cheesy and spicy. It would’ve made excellent drunk food.
Lots of slices.
Sugar and beverages week:
This week started with a tasting of natural and artificial sweeteners, in which we literally ate spoonfuls of molasses, agave nectar, and honey; and various sugars and artificial sweeteners dissolved in water (which was DISGUSTING, particularly the sweet ‘n low).
We have the oddest curriculum, and I know some of it is catering to the archaic RD exam but this week in particular was like, how is this giving us information to help future patients? While we could have been learning how to adapt recipes to be gluten free for people with Celiac disease, or how to cut sodium/potassium/phosphorus for people with chronic kidney disease, or making lower-fat but still tasty options for people who’ve had a heart attack we were… making lemonade.
And chocolate ice cream soda.
Which looked like this, and tasted weird.
And egg creams (the use of soy instead of regular milk the concession to specialty diets, I guess?)
Which looked like this (yes, nearly identical in both appearance and taste)
And then another group made hot chocolate (yet again, identical, right?! So weird!)
And- again, this is a NUTRITION class- the last group made penuche, aka fudge. Melted butter, cream and sugar. Yep.
We ate it on Christmas napkins for some reason, hahahaha.
Next we had a smoothie competition. Here are some of my adorable competitors:
For reasons best understood by her, our professor had purchased a total of two bananas for making smoothies… for five groups. Obviously every group wanted a banana because they are the foundation for most smoothies, right?!
So we added this much of a banana, oy:
Other ingredients: shredded coconut, cinnamon, cocoa powder, coconut milk, ground cloves. We also ended up thickening it with a big of yogurt and sweetening it with a bit of honey. We also drained out the coconut flakes (though actually I kinda liked them). For some reason we had no blenders, so my group used an immersion blender.
Other groups did fruit/veggie combos…
And used food processors.
The final layout:
A chocolatey one (that suffered from an almond extract explosion), an extremely berry-y one, a berry-y and yogurty one, and a kale and banana-y one.
It kind of looked like ranch dip, but it tasted good!
My group (coconut deliciousness) and the kale group tied for first place. It was pretty fun.
Pie and pastry week:
Again, are we in a nutrition class?! I was nervous about making pie crust in the presence of our ever-hovering, mercurial professor but I ended up in a group that used premade phyllo dough.
Still, the groups that did wrangle with cold butter and flour did an AWESOME job making their crusts!
There was lots of culinary fanciness happening, like these stylishly sliced apples:
Rolling pin action:
Fancy biscuit cutters:
As for my group, during the lecture our professor asked if any of us knew someone who had made homemade phyllo dough and I mentioned that my great aunt had and she went OH YOUR GROUP WILL MAKE THE SPANIKOPITA! Which was fortunately fine with me 🙂
Everyone goes on and on about the Mediterranean diet but I will confess that any phyllo-containing recipe worth its salt will contain a lot of butter.
We got our mise en place for the filling:
And cooked up a buttload of frozen spinach, draining off as much water as possible.
Cooked up a bunch of onions in olive oil (the smell of which immediately transports me to my mother’s kitchen)
And then started the layering. We were given the option between doing the phyllo triangles and doing the layered casserole, and all decided we preferred the layers. So I taught everyone my mother’s baklava method.
We were fortified in our efforts during this time with the first round of biscuits out of the oven. I had mine with molasses.
And then, when one group finished their pie early, they decided that they too wanted to try their hand at biscuits. While the first group had used a shortening-butter combined recipe, the second group went all butter.
Finished! My group had seemed kind of uncertain about how thick I was making the layers of phyllo but once the recipe was done I wished I’d made them a little thicker! (Though we would’ve run out of butter, hahaha). Anyway, it was beautiful and delicious.
Fancy shmancy apple tart:
Blueberry lemon pie, which was good but we didn’t have enough class time to let it cool all the way so it was a little runny. The lemon was interesting- you tasted it the first bite but after that its flavor kind of disappeared.
This rustic apple tart was THE most delicious. Oh my goodness the crust was great and the filling wasn’t too sweet.
And our spanikopita- I let my group member who went to culinary school be in charge of the cutting, which is the trickiest part!
My plate (with ice cream!)
We all tend to leave food science lab feeling a big hyperglycemic. I want to say I worked out after this?