Home > cooking, Cooking school > Knives and Fire IV

Knives and Fire IV

Today, we talked about recipe conversion.

What is recipe conversion? It’s taking a recipe meant for X number of people using portions of A size, and doing the math to make it for Y number of people using portions of B size.

Step one – determine total yield of both. XA= Old total yield. YB=new total yield. Divide New by Old. This gives you the conversion factor. Figure it to at least two digits past the decimal point. Then multiply the amounts of each ingredient by the conversion factor. If necessary for ease of measurement, convert from ounces to cups or pounds to ounces. And round to integers or halves or quarters whenever possible. If you get, for example, 4.992oz, round to 5 oz. It’s just easier.

I like math, but it’s not everyone’s friend. And, for some reason, I was stuck on weight when we changed to volume, so I thought a quart had 16 oz. Ah, well.

Then we made salads today – I made Ceasar again – this time alone. And I made torn croutons (take baguettes, slice in half lengthwise and pull out the crumb. That’s the croutons.) and got to use a salad spinner on my cleaned romaine lettuce. And so, I missed much of the making of flavored margarines.

I was seriously worried if I was working too slowly, but Chef assured me that it’s just that I’m paying attention to detail. But I’m missing things – segmenting citrus fruit, making mayonnaise – that I have to do at home. I want a chance to be creative and pretty, too. Ceasar salad is just mixing and serving. I hope I get a chance next week.

We were asked to cooperate more. So I blanched someone else’s tomatoes with mine (as easy to do seven as four. This is true.) And I asked for help, too, but that’s not easy for me.

I’m just tired, and worried that maybe I’m too old for this.

On a different thing – several people slipped and fell yesterday. So, today two new rules were announced. One was that we had to work to prevent water on the floor. Two was that anyone who came to class, starting Monday, in improper shoes (sneakers, flats, Crocs, dress shoes – shoes that either were open to danger or lacked non-slip soles) would not be allowed in the cooking area. They can attend lecture and watch, but not cook. I just got a new pair of casual shoes yesterday, to replace a worn-out pair. Just plain black lace-ups, but they have the all-important non-slip sole. I’m waiting on a pair of steel-toed work shoes, but they won’t have arrived by Monday. So I’m glad Chef approved of the other pair.

We also discussed proper thawing of frozen foods, especially meats. The best way to thaw frozen food? Three days in the fridge. You get a better product as well as a safer one – thawing at room temp increases the chance of cell rupture, and therefore of moisture loss. You just need to be organized and think ahead.

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