I have always loved exploring new textures, flavors and foods throughout the world. Everywhere I went, I made sure to know all the kosher restaurants and make an appearance there at least once. Could you imagine going to Mexico, India, France or Israel and not trying their cuisines? Visiting ancient ruins and trying the food, it completes a trip. Culinary school is like a trip around the world, and yes tasting is part of it. I know it's a little bit of a setback for me but I do manage and am learning tons!
I have to say that I have gotten really good at eyeballing the right amount of salt needed for certain dishes and ingredients. I think of the texture, then add the salt according to how much that product will soak up. The only thing I had to get used to was meat. Keeping kosher, I salt the meat ever so slightly because it has already gone through a heavy salting in the kashering process to remove the blood. The first time I made pan seared chicken, I was told it was bland. I had to get used to the fact that when chicken and meat were on our butcher block at school, nothing had been done to it yet.
I am starving after each class, and getting home at 11 pm without having a proper meal since lunch, I ate whatever was in my cupboard. Dinner usually consisted of fruit, leftovers from Shabbos, or worst case scenario, something snacky. I am very into health and balanced meals, and this was not my norm. It wasn't until the "potato class" that I discovered I could easily make myself a baked potato! Anyone that keeps kosher knows how to not starve in any situation where kosher food is not available. Tuna sandwiches at Disney World, cold cereal at continental breakfasts, catered and quadruple wrapped meals on airplanes. Any of these ring a bell? In Cancun, I even brought along an electric burner and pan to make eggs, grillers and chicken. And the list could go on.
After 2 weeks of the same double wrapped baked potato, it started to get old. It was great though, I was coming home not famished! Potatoes are a great carb that has gotten a bad rap over the years, but I'm bringing it back! Last week I began inventing different combinations. I have started off slowly, adding cream, butter, milk, double stuffed, etc. Yesterday, I decided to jazz it up a bit. I made baked potatoes with cream and avocado! I recently tried this at my first visit to La Carne' Grill. At first I was confused by the idea, but the taste was amazing! It makes sense, avocado is a fat. The only hesitation I would have had would be that the avocado would be hot (which would make it turn black), but it was room temperature. Mix the avocado with some warm mashed potatoes and voila! I still have many more combinations to try. I get my inspiration from the leftover ingredients that we are given at school on a given day. I am sure to have some flops along the way, but spicing up a pretty bland ingredient taps into my creative nature which i am excited to keep on discovering, and sharing with you!