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I’m currently lying in my sickbed for the 2nd day in a row. Two days of coughing and sneezing and runny nose-ing. It’s not the end of the world, I’m not even close to knocking on death’s door. But it’s damn uncomfortable. And, most importantly, I’m missing SCHOOL. I’m not paying [insert large sum of money here] for culinary school to lie in bed!

sickbed

Like yesterday, I got all ready for school, made it on the subway, and got about halfway there before realizing this was not. a. good. decision. I felt miserable just sitting there. No way was I going to survive 4 hours of cooking. So, for the second day in a row, I admitted defeat and just took the subway home. (Yes, I’m using paper towels in lieu of Kleenex. I don’t have any Kleenex and I’ve got a nose of steel.)

cough

My lovely shelf, in all of its sickbed glory. Clearly I have this idea that drinking Kombucha and eating soup and oranges will cure me (so far, it hasn’t worked).

Though I may be sick, this does not prevent me from being bored! After watching 4 movies yesterday, I figured I might as well be productive today. So! I will showcase some photos I took at school (waaah…I wish I were there RIGHT NOW) eons ago. Better late than never, right?

And so, without further ado, I present sea vegetable day:

mis en place

Mise en place for our Wakame Cucumber Salad with Blood Orange. Some definitions: mise en place = all the ingredients for a recipe, cut, prepped, measured out, etc so they are ready to go. Wakame = a type of sea vegetable. You might know it from it’s common appearance in miso soup.

cucumber prep

Chef Melanie prepping the cucumber for the salad and making it look lovely by making a pattern with the peel. Try! It’s a very simple technique and makes any plain old cucumber slice look more elegant.

finished salad

Ta-DA! Pretty darn beautiful for a seaweed salad, no?

Next up, my favorite dish of the day (and in the running for top 5 favorite dishes of school so far): Hiziki Caviarhiziki caviar

The hiziki…also known as hijiki…was rehydrated (all sea vegetables you buy in the US are dried), then cooked, then minced. It’s color and size makes it look similar to caviar. We then made a tofu sour cream (completely vegan, and really delicious) to top it. This was FANTASTIC.

My group also made a sea vegetable salad with roasted carrot vinaigrette.

carrots, before roasting

Carrots, before roasting.

shrively carrots

20 minutes later…wrinkly carrots!

plating

Chef, helping us plate the salad so it looks gorgeous. (And dammit, that reminds me I missed the class on plating yesterday. Whine)

finished!

All done! Finished with a drizzle of the roasted carrot vinaigrette and black sesame seeds.

Our final task of the day was sushi!

sushi mise en place

We each rolled our own. Choices for fillings included carrots, mushrooms, cucumber, scallions, marinated tofu, avocado.

filling with rice

First, you put down a sheet of nori that has been lightly toasted. Then, you add a layer of rice (we used short grain brown) at the bottom of the nori.

fillings

You line the fillings in the middle of the rice. Not too many or it won’t roll up properly!

rolling

And then you roll! I’d consult the all-knowing google if you want precise instructions on how to roll sushi. It’s not quite as straightforward as it would seem.

still rolling

Almost done…

finished sushi

So professional! How’s that for some pretty vegan sushi?

And at the end of the day, we celebrated!

happy birthday!

It was chef Melanie’s birthday, so we surprised her with a little candle in one of the desserts we made that day. And yes, it involves sea vegetables! But don’t be scared… the Coffee Custard was made with agar flakes, which are a typical thickener, even in “mainstream” food. It did NOT taste like sea water at all, I promise.

coffee custard

A close-up of the dessert. This was vegan, made with soy milk, so it wasn’t quite as creamy as a custard made with dairy. But it was still pretty great.

And this ends the pictorial tour of sea vegetable day. Now, please excuse me while I go blow my nose for the hundredth time today.

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I’m going to excusIMG_2696e myself from being absent for…ahem…a few weeks and blame it on culinary school. Because let me tell you, it is no easy feat going from sitting in a lovely back-supporting chair for 8 hours a day to standing on your feet for 6. And add moving to a new city to that, as well. New York City, which is quite a city. It definitely doesn’t give you any time to catch your breath, that’s for sure.

But as busy and no-nonsense and rough around the edges the city is, it can also be very beautiful and surprising. For example, after three weeks of concrete and steel as far as the eye could see, I went to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. And wow. It’s great. (Ok, I concede I’ve also been to Central Park in the past three weeks, but this one is just so much less…known. And I loved it for that). It offers you views of the city you probably haven’t seen before. I mean, really, just look at the view of the Statue of Liberty. Have you ever seen her from that angle? I know I hadn’t. It was a refreshing look on something that is so ordinary to me now.

And what about this?IMG_2677 That’s the Brooklyn Bridge itself. I’ve only really seen it in a panorama view, never up so close. And it was magnificent. Now I just have to walk across it, and I’ll be set.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park is located in DUMBO, Brooklyn (rumored to stand for “Down under the Brooklyn Bridge.” The “o” was supposedly added for aesthetic reasons). The park was great and full of life. There were birthday party goers and sunbathers and tourists alike.IMG_2670 And where else in New York City can you see scenes like this: IMG_2686

Very few places, I’d imagine. The Brooklyn Bridge Park is scenic, but dynamic. And it offers views of the city very different than what you’ll get on postcards. And that’s precisely why I’ll be back.

IMG_2666

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