My baking rotation has begun and I’m so excited I’ve allotted 2 pounds of weight gain for this next six weeks (I’ll work it off when I start my next culinary class, I’m sure). My new chef instructor is Susie Norris, author of Chocolate Bliss. She left her job in television to become a pastry chef and instructor at LCB so I think we may have a few things in common (though I’m just on hiatus from my job at the moment). I’m anxious to learn my way around pastries and to take a break from the frantic pace of drill sergeant instructor’s class.
We started our class with quick breads, specifically biscuits and cookies. In general, quick breads use chemical leaveners (baking soda or powder) and, as the name implies, don’t take too much fuss, so it was a good place to begin at the beginning. Day 1: cheddar and jalapeno biscuits. A little ho hum but we’re just getting started. In my culinary classes we usually made just one portion, which I got to take home but it was rarely enough to feed Big N and me. In baking, however, I make lots and lots of everything and take my loot home in a cake carrier. I think I’m going to be making some new friends with all my giveaways. My father, who has the most developed sweet tooth I know, has already planned a few extra visits to Pasadena to
take home goodies visit his grandson.
I’ll spare you the details about how I made biscuits, other than to tell you mine rose like they were supposed to and came out light and flaky, just like they prefer them in the South.
That evening I wanted to serve my biscuits for dinner but didn’t have any chicken to fry or collard greens to braise, the preferred accompaniment to biscuits. So I made do with some lamb loin chops, and these beautiful baby squash that I brought home from my weekend trip to Lake Arrowhead. The lamb I sprinkled with my famed dry rub and had Big N grill them while I steamed my squash with some garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. But my lamb needed a sauce, what to do? I remembered I had some cherries in the fridge. So I pitted them and threw them in a pot with a generous pour of balsamic vinegar. I let the vinegar reduce with the cherries, added a little olive oil (rather than butter) at the end and voila, simple sauce. The tanginess of the cherries and balsamic complemented the lamb. Not the best pairing with my biscuits but hey, it’d be a shame to let biscuits go stale just because there’s no chicken to fry.
Next up in my baking adventures: muffins and cookies. I feel my waistline expanding already.