The Last First Day of Class.

Sorry for the late post – I need to readjust to this whole school thing!  Today was my first day back to school, and the first day of my sophomore labs – for some reason I was really nervous.  Here at JWU, we have freshman labs which are all based around specific cooking techniques and practices, but in the sophomore labs, you are expected to already have the techniques mastered.  The expectations are a lot higher, and the classes are a lot more intense. 

My fabulous dog sitter, Michele, had my car up on campus this morning, so I got the treat of having Casey drive me to school and keep me company, while I ate my oatmeal in the passenger seat and tried to keep myself from getting too nervous.  My first sophomore lab is International Cuisine – the same food that we were serving in the dining room class, but this time I am making it!

Here is a general shot of our classroom – see those awesome woks on the right side?  They are like gigantic fire bombs that you control with levers using your knees!

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Typically the first day of this class is spent learning about food from CHINA, but my class is in for a special treat this week.  Does anyone remember the old cooking show Yan Can Cook – one of the original PBS cooking shows before Food Network existed?  Well Martin Yan, star of the show, and certified Master Chef, will be at Johnson & Wales tomorrow for a Distinguished Visiting Chef dinner! 

Because I lucked out and happen to be in the International Cuisine class right now, we are working on prepping all of the dishes and getting ready for the big show tomorrow night.  It’s really cool to be part of such a fun event!  We’ve been told that there is a possibility that Chef Yan will come to our classroom to help cook tomorrow – crossing fingers!

So there was no real focus to today’s menu, but I still snapped pictures of the interesting stuff for you guys.  There are so many new and unique ingredients in this classroom – such a great learning experience.  Let’s get the sad one out of the way – live lobster :(

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These made me very sad.  In order to cook lobster, they HAVE to be alive (otherwise they produce bacteria rapidly), and I kept trying to reassure them and soothe them before they hit the boiling water :(

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Alas, there was no saving them.  While I have my own beliefs about treatment of animals and seafood, I recognize that the learning environment of a classroom is not the right place for me to voice those too much.  My hope is that others will be influenced by my example, not by my nagging.

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Other things I worked with today:  fresh lo mein noodles – DELICIOUS!

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That will be topped with this amazing spicy peanut sauce for tomorrow night.  I can’t wait!

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We also learned about prepping and using fresh lemongrass, which made me encouraged for if I ever end up on an episode of Chopped

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Another fun ingredient I hadn’t seen before – Chinese long beans!  The are sooo long and curly, but supposedly taste very similar to regular green beans.

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For one of our recipes, we needed a product called palm vinegar, but since that didn’t exist in our pantry, I was instructed to melt an entire jar of palm sugar into rice wine vinegar…

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Voila – pretty cool! 

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Before the end of class, we got a demonstration on how to use these high powered woks.  It is amazing (and slightly scary) how hot these get in such a short amount of time.  You can see and hear the heat booming up out of the burner!

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Seeing Chef Pearson work on the wok and cook the food gave me a whole new appreciation for the art of stir-frying!

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After class, I had my afternoon sanitation class (and almost fell asleep I was so tired), and I was finally done with classes around 3pm.  I walked out the doors to find THIS…!!

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I am so excited to finally have some nice weather!  I was starving when I got home, so I enjoyed a small bowl of granola out on the beautiful screen porch with Casey and the dogs.  I polished off the last of the homemade granola – definitely need to make more!  Notice my fancy new light blue collar?  That means I’m one term away from graduating!


Yesterday’s long drive and this morning’s early wakeup caught up with me, and I decided to enjoy the nice breeze out on the porch by taking a much needed NAP!  Apparently a small yellow dog decided to join me…


And a some point a brown dog decided to be part of the nap crowd too!  :)


I slept WAY longer than I wanted to – I hate that!  That’s why I never take naps.  Looks like I missed my chance to go running outside.  I’m telling myself it’s okay because my body clearly needed the rest more than it needed the run.

Now I’m off for a dip in our newly filled HOT TUB, and then making dinner with Casey.  Heading to bed early tonight to get myself back on track with this crazy school schedule…

Biggest Loser tonight – yay! :)