Week six (Aug 24-27)  potatoes

This week we studied Potatoes. The practical was to take A potato and make a single duchess potato (mashed potatoes in an icings bag piped into a decorative mound), a single serving of mashed potatoes, and ½ a cup of plain cooked rice.  I told my husband that if I couldn’t pass that practical I would probably shoot myself.  I was born in IDAHO for crying out loud. I’ve been making potatoes for as long as I can remember and was trained by the best. For the record, my Dad makes the best mashed spuds in the whole World!

I very much agree with chef when he said “Do not underestimate the basics, no one will care how well you can make the fancy food if your rice is under cooked and your potatoes are soggy.   Master the basics  and you can go anywhere, everyone likes properly cooked food!”

I did learn a new potato dish; it’s called Colcannon and is probably from Ireland.  I modified this to make it family friendly.


2 lbs (4 C) peeled and cubed potatoes

1 lb (2 C) chopped cabbage

1 med onion small diced

4 T butter

2/3 C hot milk or cream

1 T chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

 Simmer potatoes in salted water till tender

 While potatoes are cooking steam the cabbage (I do mine in the microwave)

Melt 1 T of the butter in a sauté pan and slowly cook the onion till tender

Drain and mash the potatoes and add the butter, milk or cream, onions, cabbage, Parsley, and salt/ pepper.  If it seems dry add more hot milk


finally a recipe!

Sept  15 2009

Wow it’s been a while since I posted, sorry about that.this is a week by week overview of the last little while. Hope you like it! Ali

 Week five,(Aug 17-23)   Pasta Rice and Grains

Today we learnd the RIGHT way to make Alfredo sauce.  True alfraido sauce has only six ingredents; cream, butter,cheese, salt pepper and nutmeg. No wonder it’s so good!

Fettuccine Alfredo (serves 5)

1/2 cup Heavy cream,

2 T butter

Combine in a sautee pan, bring to a boil and simmer till reduced by ¼

Add 1/8  tsp nutmeg

Pour hot cream over 2/3 lb slightly UNDERCOOKED fettuccine

Toss together in a bowl with two  forks.

Then add an additional

1/2 C cream

 1/3 C freshly greated parmesan cheese

  Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediatly


here are some pictures from my school experience.

Please turn off the tomatoes

Aug 25, 2009

I also harvested the garden twice yesterday, At lunch and after school. Current tomatoes are a pain in the butt to pick!

Garnish Fail

Aug 20, 2009

We got out test results back in sanitation. One person got a perfect score, one missed one and three missed two. I only missed one. That made me happy and goes to show what can happen when you actually study!

This week in kitchen we are learning about rice and grains.  I made some really yummy risotto. You sauté your rice and veggies, make a broth and heat it separately. When the broth boils, you turn down the heat to low an add it to the rice  ½  cup at a time (stirring constantly) until the rice is done. This was an example of where experience came to my aid. Chef had stressed time and again the importance of accurate measuring- twice as much liquid as rice. This is true, except that with risotto your liquid evaporates, once when the broth boils and then again as it’s added to the pot. So you have to start with a lot more liquid. It also takes forever to cook and you feel like you’re  going to be stirring rice forever before it’s done.    Because I knew that, I was one of the few that didn’t have crunchy rice.

Feeling very pleased with myself, I presented a beautiful plate to Chef Anderson complete with a lemon peel and parsley leaf garnish. He took one look at me garnish and said “Eat that. Anything you put on the plate has to be edible. You can spit it out now” 

And that was my entire grade.


the power of positive thinking

Aug 24, 2009


Today I am wondering if I can do it all; balance the demands of my home, family and school. I wonder what my mom would say. I love school and feel like I’m doing the right thing going. It feels great to be accomplishing something in a field I love and am excited about the opportunities that will come with having a degree. On the other hand I am worried that I am neglecting my children. Will they suffer for my dreams?

I have been told to go to school while their young, and that they won’t remember me being gone so much. It will be good for them to see me going to school and an example for life long learning.

But on the other hand, I am their mom. Am I sending the message that school is more important them? And with all the extra stuff I’m doing, I don’t want to take my stress out on them.   And how do I balance my children and my home? Rachael is doing a great job of running my house while I’m gone and I’m very grateful she is here. There is no way I could do it without her. But there are still things that only I can do.   I just feel like the time I do spend at home, I’m being pulled in a million different directions and I don’t know if the choices I have made with my time are the best ones.


Today’s strategy for success class was very timely. Our main curriculum is “Thought patterns for a successful career” by Lou Tice, and many of our lessons involve a media presentation. At first I was not very keen on him; he is super cheesy and has some annoying mannerisms.   But what he has to say is often right on. Today’s class was on the power of positive thinking and the importance of good self talk. The scripture “As man thinketh in his heart, so is he” has never been more true. If you change the way you think, you change who you are.

So here are my new goals;

 I can do anything I want to and do it well.

 I love to fold laundry and put away clothes.

I will read to my children every day and affirm their worth.

I will graduate with honors.

I can do my dishes every night before going to bed.

With God all things are possible.


Tues Aug 18, 2009

Today we had a test in sanitation, which involved studying food born illnesses and their symptoms (some of which were bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and coughing up worms, gross). I am glad I’m taking this class, I could probably use a heavy dose of sanitation in my life. However I’m glad I don’t have to go from where I am to the standards of a restaurant manager overnight. Yikes, I think I would go crazy!

We also had a knife skills test in kitchen.  We had to cut a potato into;

3 batonnets (1/4” x ¼” x 2 ½”) thin french fries

3 Juliennes (1/8” x1/8’ x2 ½’) about the size of a match stick

3 Brunoise- which are the cubes that comes off the Brunoise (1/8” square)

And 3 fine Juliennes (1/16” x 1/16” x 2 ½”) which are about the size of the head of a pin

All of the sides had to be perfectly straight, the ends square, and the right length. Before we started Chef told us the highest grade he’s ever given in a 101 class was 9.5 and we shouldn’t expect to be pros on the first test.    Except my friend Mitch got a perfect 10.  His cuts were amazing!