Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The McCheeser 3000: The Ultimate Omelet Showdown

This week we had a little friendly competition in our foods class to see who could design the best omelet. By the time class was over, we had omelets made with Nutella, whipped topping, strawberries, bacon, ham, cheese, and everything in between. It was very interesting trying everything out. 

In this post I'm going to share my omelet: The McCheeser 3000! This is an omelet that I designed myself. It was a simple egg omelet with a macaroni-and-cheese mixed with sausage filling. Then it was topped with parsley for color. Many people were very skeptical about it, but I though it turned out pretty well :) The winner's have not been announced yet, but I think I might have a pretty good chance.

1. The first step is to prepare a box of mac-n-cheese. The specific instructions on the box include boiling the water, cooking the noodles, draining the noodles, and adding milk, cheese, and butter.

2. After making the mac-n-cheese, set it aside for a moment and get out 2 microwavable sausage patties. Microwave these patties and cut them up into small pieces once they are warm. 

3. Put the sausage pieces in a bowl with about a cup of mac-n-cheese. Mix it together. This is the filling.

4. Set this aside for a moment and make the omelet. The omelet that I made was very simple. Start by putting 2 large eggs, 2 T of milk, and a dash of salt and pepper into a bowl. Whisk them together and pour into a greased frying pan.

5. After the omelet looks cooked, carefully take it out of the pan with a spatula and put in onto the desired serving plate. 

6. Add the filling to half of the omelet and fold it over. Add parsley or sprinkle cheese on the top for decoration. Enjoy!!
The finished product - Delicious!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Conclusion of the Egg Unit

After doing all those labs, I'd have to say that the most interesting on was the egg emulsion and the mayonnaise. I was surprised that the egg combined the liquid and oil into one mixture. As we whipped the ingredients, they completely changed texture, and it was kind of cool. There are definitely a lot of things that eggs can do to be helpful when cooking.





Angel Food Cake

We observed 4 different types of angel food cake. The first one was a box mix that had one step. The second one was also a box mix, but it had 2 steps. The third one was made from scratch, and the fourth one was a yellow sponge cake. Here are our observations:






Hard Boiling Eggs

Ingredients/Equipment:
- 2 large eggs
- 2 medium sauce pans
- Tongs
- Plate

Directions:
1. Place one egg in a pan, cover with water and bring to boiling.
2. Allow egg 1 to boil (not dry) for 10 minutes.
3. Place egg #2 in a pan, cover with water and bring to a boil.
4. Turn off heat when boiling begins.
5. Let stand, covered for 15 minutes
6. Run cold water over both eggs to stop cooking process.
7. Crack eggs once cool to handle and cut open.
8. Taste and observe.

Texture and appearance:
- The white is white
- The yolk is yellow
- Both the yolk and the white are solid - nothing runny
- The white is smooth, slippery, and shiny
- The yolk is not shiny, it's a little dry

Which strategy was better?
- If this lab would have gone perfectly, the texture and color of the eggs would have been different according to how long they were cooked. However, something didn't go quite right and the eggs both looked exactly the same. Therefore, we can not conclude which strategy is better because both eggs turned out the same. However, in this case the 10 minute strategy would be better because it cooked the eggs faster. :)






Monday, May 4, 2015

Coagulation of Protein

In this lab we learned that an egg coagulates (Turns from a liquid to a solid/semi-solid) when it is cooked. We explored this concept by making our own fried eggs. There are many different ways to fry eggs, but we chose to make an over-easy egg and an over-hard egg.

1. The first step is to get out a medium-sized frying pan and spray it with cooking spray. Then put it on the stove on Low/Medium heat and allow it to warm up.



2. For the first egg, the over-easy egg, just crack the egg into the pan and let it cook. Make sure to start the timer and record how long it takes for each of the eggs to cook.Take it out with a spatula when the white of the egg is firm and white. Put it on a plate.



3. As soon as the egg is off of the pan, stop the timer and record the time. Observe the texture and appearance and record.

4. Now it's time to cook the second egg. Prepare the frying pan in the same way as the first.

5. Crack the egg into the pan and let it cook for awhile. (Don't forget to set the timer). After a few minutes, flip the egg over. We don't want any runny spots.


6. Once the egg is firm and fully cooked, take it off of the pan using a spatula and put it onto a plate. Observe and record the texture and appearance.


Here are our results and observations:

Egg #1 (Over easy)
Time to Cook: 2:41
Appearance:
- Cream-colored
- Yellow, runny yolk
- Shiny middle
- Crusty, dark edges
- Smooth yolk
Texture:
- Smooth
- Some parts slightly runny
- Some parts a little crispy
- Slippery

Egg #2 (Over hard)
Time to Cook: 5:05
Appearance:
- Light brown/yellow
- White specs
- Oddly shaped
- Egg yolk was yellow
- Dry (Not gooey or shiny)
Texture:
- Spongy
- Slippery
- Smooth
- Rubbery

This is an example of the Coagulation of Protein. 



Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mayonnaise: Emulsifier

Continuing on with our unit about eggs, we learned that an egg is an emulsifier, which means it mixes together foods that would normally not be able to stay mixed together. We learned this concept when we made our own homemade mayonnaise.

However, before we started making the mayonnaise, we learned about oil and water (or other liquids). We mixed oil and water and saw that they don't blend together. Instead, the oil just bubbles up in the water and makes its own little blobs separate from the water. (We'll get back to this concept in a minute).

Just oil and water = not mixed!

Equipment:
- Glass bowl (2)
- Whisk
- Dry measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Liquid measuring cup

Ingredients:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 pinches salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 cup oil

Directions:
In a glass bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and the dry ingredients. Combine lemon juice and vinegar in a separate glass bowl then thoroughly whisk half into the yolk mixture. Start whisking briskly, then start adding the oil a few drops at a time until the liquid seems to thicken and lighten a little. Once you reach that point you can relax your arm a little bit (but not too much :) ) and increase the flow of oil to a constant stream (but still thin). Once half of the oil is in add the rest of the lemon juice mixture. Continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated.

You're done! Keep refrigerated and enjoy!

During the process of making this mayonnaise, we witnessed emulsion. As one can see, we had both oil and liquids similar to water in the mayo. At first when we added oil and water together they didn't mix together. However, when we were making the mayonnaise, we had oil and liquids similar to water  plus an egg. The egg is what made the substances fully mix together. It's an emulsifier. Eggs are very important when it comes to making recipes like this.

Oil and liquids with an egg = fully mixed!




Egg Foam

In this unit we are learning about eggs. Eggs, including the white and the yolk, can do many different things and be very helpful in the kitchen. This week we are exploring the different qualities that an egg has in cooking. We started with the egg white in this lab entitled, "Egg Foam". We explored the different stages of an egg white when it is beaten: soft peak, stiff peak, and over beaten.

Equipment:
- Egg separator
- Small bowl (to store egg yolk)
- Medium-sized bowl (2)
- Electric hand mixer
- Hand mixer
- Stopwatch
- Egg

1. The first step is to separate the egg using the egg separator. Put the egg yolk in a small bowl and store in the fridge to use later. Let the egg white fall into a bigger bowl to be used in the lab.


2. Start first with the electric hand mixer. Start the stopwatch and begin beating the egg white on high speed. The egg white has reached the soft peak stage when the mixer is lifted out of the bowl and the peak folds over like a wave. Record what time it took to get to this. 

3. Continue beating the egg until it has reached the stiff peak stage. The stiff peak stage is reached when the mixer is lifted out of the bowl and the peaks stand up straight. Record the time it took to get to this stage. 



4. Continue beating the egg until it is over beaten. When it is over beaten it will start to look grainy and dry. Record the time it took to reach this last stage. 

5. Put the electric mixer aside and get the hand mixer out. Continue this entire process with the hand mixer, and make sure to record the times to compare them. 


Our Results:



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Oats

Continuing on with our study of grains, we learned about oats. We prepared three different types of oats: steel-cut oats, old fashioned oats, and quick oats. Our group was in charge of the old-fashioned oats. Then we taste-tested. 

Old Fashioned Oats (1 serving)

Equipment/Ingredients
- Medium-sized sauce pan
- Wooden spoon
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of Old Fashioned Oats
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- Stove-top

1. Put the water (and the salt, if desired) into the pan and boil. 

2. Once the water has boiled, reduce to medium heat and add the oats. 

3. Cook the oats for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. After 5 minutes, remove from heat and serve in 2-3 minutes. 

5. Enjoy the oatmeal! Add brown sugar, fruit, cinnamon or raisins for extra flavor, if desired. 



This is a picture of all three different oats that we cooked. They all had a very similar taste, which was fairly bland because we didn't add any toppings. However, the textures were very different. The quick oats had smaller chunks, and it was a little smoother. The old fashioned oats were a lot bigger and had more of a rubbery texture. Also, there was less moisture in the old fashioned oats. The steel cut oats also had a rubbery texture, but the pieces were a little smaller and harder. 

After trying all three, I think my favorite one was the quick oats, simply because I liked the texture. 
If I were to make this again, I would try adding salt to the water or add fruit to the oats to see if that would enhance the flavor. 


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Couscous

During this unit we learned about grains and the different forms of grains. We were given a list of different grains and were told to prepare one of them. Our group chose to prepare couscous, a grain that is similar to rice, only smaller. Other groups chose to prepare white rice, brown rice, and grits. Here's how we cooked 2 servings of couscous:

1. Put away remaining dishes and prepare sink for washing more dishes.

2. Gather all equipment:
- Medium saucepan
- Dry measuring cups
- Liquid measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Wooden spoon
- Knife
- Bowls (to serve)
- Spoons (to eat with)

3. Gather all ingredients:
- 3/4 c. couscous
- 1 c. water
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 T. butter

4. In medium saucepan, combine water, salt, and butter. Bring to a boil.


5. After the mixture is just boiling, stir in the couscous and cover the pan with the lid.



6. After couscous is cooked, remove from the heat, keeping the lid on, and let it sit for 5 minutes.

7. Fluff the couscous lightly with a fork before serving.



8. Clean up the kitchen - do remaining dishes.

9. Enjoy the couscous!! Yummy!!




If we were to do this again, I don't think I'd really change anything. I think the couscous turned out really well, and I'm happy with how our group worked together.

After trying all the other grains that different groups prepared, I'd have to say that I liked the couscous the best - by far! The brown rice wasn't cooked all the way, so it was kind of gross. The white rice was really bland, and the grits had a weird slimy-corn texture that made it hard to eat. I'm not saying that they're bad grains, they just weren't my favorite :)


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Homemade Ice Cream

Ingredients:
- 1 c. heavy whipping cream
- 1 c. milk
- 1/4 c. white sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 bag crushed ice
- 1 c. coarse salt
- 2 pint-sized bags
- 1 gallon sized bag

1. Start out by preparing the kitchen. Put away all remaining dishes, wipe the counters and prepare the sink for washing more dishes.

2. Combine whipping cream, milk, white sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and stir until dissolved.

3. Pour this mixture into one of the pint-sized bags and seal it, squeezing out as much air as possible.

4. Place this sealed bag into the other pint-sized bag and seal it tightly.

5. Fill the gallon-sized bag 1/2 full of ice and add 1/2 cup of salt to the ice.

6. Place the pint-sized bag mixture into the gallon-sized bag and seal it tightly, squeezing out as much air as possible.

7. Cover the bag with a towel (to protect hands) and massage/shake for 5-10 minutes. Check it every once in a while to see if the mixture is thickening. If it is not thicker after 10 minutes, add more salt.

8. When mixture has thickened, take out of the bag and pour into a bowl to serve. Enjoy!

Overall, I think we worked together as a group really well. The ice cream was really good, and I'm really impressed with how smoothly everything went! If we were to do it again, I think I would have added a little more ice to the bag to speed up the process.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Stir Fry

1. Put away remaining dishes and prepare the sink for washing dishes.

2. Get out all equipment:
- Cutting board
- Damp hand towel or wash cloth
- Chef's knife
- Frying pan
- Spoon
- Dry measuring cups

3. Get out all ingredients:
- Potato
- White onion
- Carrots
- Zucchini
- Broccoli
- Vegetable oil (3/4 t)
- Soy sauce  (1 tsp)

4. Cut the veggies
- Potato - julienned
- White onion - julienned
- Carrots - julienned
- Zucchini - julienned
- Broccoli - florets

5. Measure out vegetable oil and pour into frying pan.

6. Put on high heat and stir fry the vegetables until they have cooked.

7. Add soy sauce (and optional ground ginger) and serve. Enjoy!



This recipe was unlike any recipe I've ever done before. I learned a lot from it. I think we did our cuts very neatly, and we all watched each other to make sure we were safe and proper. The stir fry was pretty good, even though I'm not a huge veggie fan. If we were to do it again, I think we should cook it just a little bit longer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Smoothie Lab

We made strawberry-banana smoothies today that were full of vitamins, minerals and all kinds of nutrients! Here's how we did it:

1. Put away dishes and prepare the sink for washing more dishes.














2. Gather all ingredients and measure them properly according to recipe.
You'll need:
- 3/4 cup of ice
- 1 small banana
- 1 cup of strawberries
- 1/2 cup of spinach
- 6 oz container of plain yogurt
- 1 cup of 2% milk















3. Add all ingredients to the blender, starting with liquids and soft ingredients.














4. Blend until it has reached the desired consistency.



5. Unplug the blender and pour smoothie into cups to drink (use rubber scraper if necessary)















6. Drink the smoothie!! Yummy!!
















7. Wipe down blender, wash remaining dishes and wash counters.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Food Safety Labs

The Danger Zone

We poured hot water into two separate containers. One container was shallow, and the other one was tall. My hypothesis was that the water in the shallow container would cool faster than the water in the tall container. The starting temperature of the water was 111° F. We used a digital thermometer to test the temperature of the water every 5 minutes.

After 5 Minutes
Tall = 102° F
Shallow = 92° F

After 10 Minutes
Tall = 102° F
Shallow = 85° F

After 15 Minutes
Tall = 97.5° F
Shallow = 79.1° F

After 20 Minutes
Tall = 94.1° F
Shallow = 77.7° F

The data supports my hypothesis, "The water in the shallow container will cool faster than the water in the tall container." This experiment showed us that we should store food in tight, small containers when putting it in the fridge because it will cool down faster.



Bacteria Colonies
We swabbed various objects around the school and observed the bacteria that grew.






1. The thing that surprised me the most about this lab was just how much bacteria is on everything. Even stuff that I thought was pretty clean still developed some pretty gross bacteria.
2. The place that resulted in the most bacteria was definitely the door to the girls' bathroom. The spot where people put there hand to open the door was really gross! There was a huge spot of fuzzy, moldy stuff growing bigger each day. It was nasty!
3. I learned a lot from this lab, and I will definitely be applying it. I think I'll seriously start making sure that I wash my hands before doing anything along the lines of eating or cooking. The objects that we tested were all things that I might touch on a daily basis. Just seeing how much bacteria is on them really makes me want to make sure I always wash my hands!

Hand Washing
This a video we made about how to properly wash your hands. Get rid of all the germs!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJjVII1Sysg




Dishwashing
This a video we made about how to properly wash dishes. Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Goals and Recipes

My Goals:
- Learn how to cook basic things
- Learn how to eat healthy
- To try new things

Recipes that describe me:
Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit Salad
Ingredients
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, diced
  • 1 lb fresh pineapple, diced
  • 12 oz fresh blueberries
  • 12 oz red grapes, diced into halves
  • 4 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges in juice, drained well and sliced into halves
  • 2 ripe bananas, diced*
  • Honey Lime Dressing
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp lime zest (zest of 2 medium limes)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Directions
  • Add all fruit to a large mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together they honey, lime zest and lime juice. Pour over fruit just before serving and toss to evenly coat (as it sits for a few minutes the juices will gather at the bottom, so toss again before plating).

Peanut Butter Oreo Pie
Ingredients
  • 1 package of Oreos, divided use
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 oz whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
  • Hot fudge topping, for drizzling
Directions
  1. Place 25 Oreos into food processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs.
  2. Add melted butter and pulse until combined.
  3. Press into bottom and sides of pie dish. Set aside.
  4. Roughly chop remaining Oreos.
  5. In bowl, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and peanut butter.
  6. Fold in whipped topping.
  7. Fold in 1 cup of the chopped Oreos. Save remaining chopped Oreos for topping.
  8. Pour peanut butter filling on top of pie crust. Sprinkle with remaining chopped Oreos.
  9. Freeze at least 2 hours.
  10. Once ready to serve, drizzle with melted fudge topping.