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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