Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

The Big Cheese?

Posted: September 12th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 11 Comments »

I am an impulsive cook. Typically, my impulses are good. Especially when it comes to flavors, mostly because I have preferred flavor profiles that I stick with. A culinary comfort zone if you will.

Outside the kitchen, I am rarely impulsive. I prefer to ruminate on situations, make a decision, and stick with it. I don’t make snap choices.
On Thursday, unfortunately, I forgot that. I read an article on the Tasting Table daily e-mail about the Brooklyn Cheese Experiment – a competition for amateur cooks, involving cheese. Since I make a mean Macaroni And, I decided this cheese cookery competition might be worth a look. So, on impulse, I went to the Cheese Experiment website, and filled out an entry form. I’d had an idea for a pumpkin macaroni and cheese kicking around my head for several months, and this seemed like a great time to try it out. Mind you, the competition was 3 days away. And, after completing the entry form, I discovered that the competitors needed to bring enough to sample for up to 350 people.

oops.

So, I did what any resourceful person does — e-mailed my friends, and asked them if they could come over on Saturday to taste-test, should my submission get accepted to this thing. And then, I e-mailed Alyssa, hoping that if nothing else, she could give me some advice or calm me down and tell me that I was capable of cooking a tasting sample for 350 people. After all, what are lifelong best friends for when you’re panicking, if not to grab you by the shoulders, shake you firmly and shout, “SNAP OUT OF IT!!!”
Thankfully, Alyssa did just that on the phone a few hours later.  When I told her I’d never actually….made the recipe I was competing with, and in fact, didn’t even have a recipe, she still, without question, told me that I could not only do this, I could do it and be competitive. Then, she did something that few people I know would ever have done. She offered to test my theoretical recipe. She asked me to review with her what I planned to do, what seasonings I planned to use, and then told me that since she was planning on messing around in the kitchen anyways, she would be more than happy to mess around with it, review it, and tell me later on that night what went right, and what went wrong. This went a long way to easing my panic, and you can read all about it on her blog.
The upshot of all of the craziness was that I did some adrenaline-fueled math, and figured out exactly how much Macaroni and cheese I needed in order to give 350 people tastings. Those of you who know me will know that ONLY adrenaline from pure terror/panic could cause me to accurately calculate how many gallons of food I needed, and therefore how many cups.

Today was taste-test day. I made my practice sauces, and had several excellent and honest friends over to judge my creations. I also had some amazing, way-above-and-beyond help from Bakezilla, who is a multi-faceted girl if ever there was one. She embroidered aprons for me and Jesse with the Pretty Girls Use Knives logo, as well as our names, on them, AND helped out immensely by hand-drawing and lettering our sign. What a pal. Seriously. If you ever need help, create a cooking gang. These ladies will do just about anything to help a pal, and I promise you, I would do the same for them.

So now, it’s after 11:30 at night. I have 7 quarts of pumpkin-bechamel simmering. Tomorrow, I’ll reheat it, add the cheese, cook the pasta and grind the bacon-cheddar biscuit crust. Then, we’ll pack the foil pans in a box, and go wow’em at the Brooklyn Cheese Experiment.
I’ll be live-tweeting the event, so if you’re on twitter, follow us at www.twitter.com/pguk_tweets or just check in to see what we’re on about. :)

I get by with a little help from my friends. With this much help from them, I’d better kick some ass. :)


11 Comments on “The Big Cheese?”

  1. 1 Carlos said at 8:55 pm on November 16th, 2014:

    dined@minnesota.germania” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó….

  2. 2 glen said at 1:32 pm on November 24th, 2014:

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    hello!!…

  3. 3 stanley said at 4:48 am on November 25th, 2014:

    winded@desires.grabbed” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî!…

  4. 4 Brad said at 7:47 pm on November 30th, 2014:

    reasoned@mules.brendan” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó….

  5. 5 James said at 10:57 am on December 6th, 2014:

    chauffeured@ladle.kittis” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!…

  6. 6 freddie said at 10:39 pm on December 11th, 2014:

    fission@swifts.wops” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî….

  7. 7 Claude said at 12:38 am on December 17th, 2014:

    punctually@powers.barest” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

  8. 8 jackie said at 9:35 pm on January 15th, 2015:

    permissibility@achieve.seagoville” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!…

  9. 9 carlos said at 10:09 pm on January 15th, 2015:

    vances@evading.alokut” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  10. 10 tyrone said at 8:28 am on January 16th, 2015:

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  11. 11 chester said at 4:14 pm on February 2nd, 2015:

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