Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Botulism Is Bad

As I was reading through the first assigned chapter out of the text for my culinary foundations course, I realized how lucky I am to be alive. Though that luck may run out once I eat these canned tomatoes because I'll probably get botulism from bacteria toxins. My home kitchen is a hotbed for mold, bacteria and viruses ready to wreak havoc on my intestinal tract.

Canning tomatoes was probably the most sanitary thing I've done in my kitchen. I sterilized the jars and lids in hot water for probably 30 minutes. I added extra lemon juice to add extra acid the pot of already acidic stewed tomatoes, which was actually closer to the consistency of tomato soup--this is what happens without a recipe. The tomato slop went into the sterile jars. Lids on, the jars went into a vat of boiling water for 15 minutes, which I now know far surpasses the minimum temperature required to kill bacteria in vegetables. Still, I doubt Chef O'Donnell would eat my tomatoes, and that man knows what he is doing.
I was a hot mess the first day of class. Thanks to my own idiocy, I thought classes started on Wednesday. Why would they start on Wednesday when it would make more sense to start the day after Labor Day? Right, they wouldn't. Katy saved me from missing the first class and getting kicked out for that reason. Maggie saved me from getting kicked out from not having a uniform. I showed up the first day, and everyone was wearing the proper chef coat, chef pants, skull cap and apron. I had just the coat donated from Maggie's brother. Like I said, hot mess. The chef docked me a few points and tossed me a hair net. 
The lesson of day one at culinary school could be summed up as "forget just about everything you knew about cooking because it was at least off if not totally wrong." You think you know how to make scrambled eggs properly until you've tried Chef O'Donnell's eggs. I am not exaggerating when I saw that they were mind blowing, at least for me. It was so simple. Hot pan, add a teaspoon of canola oil, whisk two eggs until they are completely homogenous (and I mean no unblended egg whites), add the eggs to the hot oil, let sit for just a moment, scrape ever so gently with the corner of a spatula, season lightly with salt while still scraping, just before it becomes completely solid, remove from heat and toss in about a teaspoon of butter, fold it in. Pour the eggs from the hot pan and serve.

These eggs were creamy, just barely salty, and as one student noted, tasted a little cheesy. But after my bite was gone, a flood of sweetness washed over my entire mouth. The eggs delivered even after they were gone. Yes, these were eggs that someone would pay for, but now I don't have to because I can do it too.


Jess said...

Wait, I totally did not know you're in culinary school!!! That is so awesome. I hope you share your secrets here. : )
My scrambled eggs seem to be a work in progress, but maybe with these tips they will finally be what I've always wanted.

Anonymous said...

You are booked for Christmas breakfast and I'm inviting a crowd! Love, Mom

Maria said...

I can't wait to read more about your adventures in culinary school!