The #YokoChopped #battles aren’t over just yet. But while we wait for Monday’s finale, here’s a sigh of relief breathed during Carrier Strike Group 5’s Fall Patrol.
I remember the first breakfast here. The first egg I cracked, I watched the yolk slide from the center of the whites to its outer edge and then slightly back toward the center. It’s normal for eggs to slide already a bit but once they begin to settle, they stay there. But this egg was subject to the tilt of the grill, and the grill subject to the tilt of the ship. Honestly I was amused. But much like that yolk, I’ve been dancing around the perimeters of my life. I had been working the night shift before I got the opportunity to write this, and life had been a bit rough: long hours of work and little time for anything else, including photos. (I wish I would have taken a greater quantity and quality of photos.)
While on the night shift, I’ve had the opportunity to learn and practice some baking. The job of the night cook is to streamline production for the cooks working the day, to prepare the galley for the next day’s service. I did get to make plenty of desserts and breakfast pastries that I’m proud of- some for the first time. The first dessert I remember making was hot cocoa brownies. By the time I recognized the only chocolate I had to make the brownies was Swiss Miss hot cocoa, it was too late to turn back. My first morning, my first instinict was PB&J muffins- peanut butter batter with a layer of strawberry jam, topped with chopped nuts and dried cranberries. Cinnamon rolls seems to be a Sunday tradition here. My need to explore led me one day to had orange zest, fennel, and ginger to the filling and orange zest on top but I’ve mostly left them alone as a simple comfort pastry.
The most exciting time of my time as the night baker was the day that BLUEBERRIES arrived on board. The scramble to get hands on them before they vanish or rot is exhilarating. I walked away with about four flats each of strawberries and blueberries and intended to return the next night for more. (Had I known, I would have left with a few flats of raspberries.) Honestly, I had been waiting for this day! The other cooks couldn’t understand what in the world I would do with all these berries before the went bad. Up first, I dumped a few containers into a pot with sugar and simmered…forever. To the blueberries, I added lemon juice a bit of cinnamon, basil, ginger, and a touch of black pepper. (Don’t worry. I promise it was subtle. I don’t have the measurements to prove it though.) To the strawberries, I added lemon and chamomile. The rest of the berries found their way to the fruit bowls, blueberry muffins, blueberry blinis short cakes, quesitos (at least that’s what we called the little crescent rolls stuffed with cream cheese and my strawberry jam), strudel, lemonade, fruit tarts (we’ll talk about that one later) waffles, sundaes and my favorite- blueberry coffee cake. I also relived the memory of spritz cookies with blueberry and strawberry jam- those cookies I used to call jelly tops, with a crispy ring of shortbread like cookie, with the sticky, chewy jelly center. On good days we bought the Pepperidge Farm brand. But now I can pipe’em out my own kitchen.
But beyond that, I’ve suffered plenty of interruptions creating this post I have 2 mini-series coming at you. One is the completion of the #JapanButFirst series. The next I think we’ll call Postcards, photos and short stories about the new places I’ve traveled to since Japan.