M y boss is awesome. He is a graduate of Baltimore’s culinary school, former owner of a restaurant, and has a chunk of experience from working in kitchens of various kinds. Having him stating his confidence in me passing my ServSafe exam with flying colors just had me awestruck. It shows that he believes in me, as well as the owner when she stated her excitement for my class. I have two attendees so far so keep your fingers crossed for more! Yesterday before I left, we had a mini conversation which began after I asked him about what sort of baked good he enjoyed since I didn’t have much to do last night (so I thought) and I wanted to bake him something. (Me in italics)
“What sort of baked good do you like? I want to make you something,”
“Well, I like eggs. How about flan?”
“…That’s not transportable with ease.”
“Uhm, how about a good herbed bread?”
“Uh, a good bread would be rather difficult in one NIGHT. What about muffins?”
“Muffins are good. I like fruity muffins.”
“Finally. Fine then, I’ll make you gluten free muffins that’ll knock your socks off!”
If you’re a hardcore foodie I guess like me, you’d find that humorous. I told a few people who aren’t, I guess, food aware and they didn’t find that as comedic as I did. That, however, is one of the reasons why I love working there. The language is the same. I went grocery shopping for a class last night and, since gumbo was on the menu, I was on the search for file powder. File, for those of you who don’t know, is ground up sassafras used to thicken gumbos. It’s popularity is limited due to it’s assumed poisonous characteristics, but, now since it goes through many processes, it is now found on the market shelves. In fact, I have some. Have I used it yet? No. Why? Because I haven’t made gumbo in a good while. Why? …I don’t know! I just haven’t! Stop questioning me! One of the reasons, however, as I haven’t tried using the file powder is that I love okra in gumbo and that presents the same reaction as the file powder in the gumbo, which, is what we ended up using in the recipe as opposed to the file powder since it was unfound.
That’s also what I mean about speaking the same language (me again in italics).
“Hey, it’s me. I looked everywhere and I can’t find file powder,”
“Hm, okay, you got everything else though, right?”
“Yes. I was thinking, though, couldn’t she use okra instead? It has the same effect,”
“Yeah, I was thinking about that. I’ll make a few calls to see if I can get a hold of some real fast. If not, that’s what the chef is going to have to do.”
Isn’t it awesome? Finally, finally, someone – actually more than just one – is on the same page as me. I mean, they even use terms that I’m not familiar with and I absorb information like a sponge. This is like the pre-culinary training and hell if I’ll be a measly line cook. Even if I have my business to solely run, I’ll be content. Maybe even a small café down the road, nothing big or fancy, just simple. It’ll be mine where people in my condition and those not as well can enjoy the food I present. There’s just something about hearing people coo with enjoyment over something I’ve created; it’s just so emotionally and mentally satisfying.
Now, about the muffins; these muffins were created due to a few variables: one, I had a lot of cantaloupe in the fridge, two, I just wanted to be creative, and three, he said he liked fruity muffins. So, tada, cantaloupe muffins were born! The result: taste test approved. Phillip loved them. I couldn’t eat them because I added yogurt in the muffins and since I recently discovered that dairy causes ear infections and sinusitis (http: . I’ll later have a write up about it), I’m really staying AWAY from dairy because it explains a lot of how I’ve been feeling within the past two months. Go figure. I did find a dairy free ice cream that I love, which I’ll also do a write up for later on. So, yes, no more yogurt, goat cheese, or Jarlesburg for me.. I need to get over my fear and just try the darn soy yogurt or make my own. I don’t know why but I just have this fear that it’ll resemble chunky tofu that has a vanilla flavor.
Fear no tofu, fear no tofu..
Cantalope Muffins with Strawberry Jam Glaze ¾ cup soy flour ¼ cup cornstarch ½ cup tapioca flour ½ cup potato starch ¼ tsp baking soda 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp cream of tartar ¼ tsp xanthan gum 2/3 cup sugar 1 tsp ginger
6 oz vanilla yogurt (or plain yogurt + 1 tsp vanilla) 2 eggs, beaten ¾ cup oil 2/3 cup mashed cantaloupe, drained
1 tsp lemon juice
1 large tbsp strawberry jam 1 ½ tbsp water
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease or line and spray a 12 muffin tin pan.
Sift all the dry ingredients into one bowl and stir until well combined. Make a well and add the oil, eggs, drained melon, lemon juice and yogurt. Make sure you drain the melon because it has a lot of water in it. If you add in all the water, it’ll make the muffins dense and take longer to cook. If you end up adding too much liquid, the muffins will need a longer cooking time in a lower degree temperature oven, otherwise, they’ll burn.
English: if you add in took much liquid, reduce the heat to 325 and cook 30 minutes.
Your batter should resemble a very thick pudding. Spoon this mixture evenly into 12 muffin tins and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Once they are finished, remove from the oven and let cool.
Once the muffins are cool, combine the jam with the water in the microwave and heat for about 15 to 30 seconds. If you add in too much water, just add more jam. The result should be a thick syrupy-like consistency. Gently brush the tops of the muffins with the strawberry jam enough to give them a tinge of color and to coat the tops evenly.
There is nothing more that screams summer than these muffins which should pair well with an ice cold glass of lemonade or an afternoon cup of tea.