I'm super excited that my online cooking course just started!

Backstory

While working on my startup project, I've been on a bit of a self-improvement binge. Of course, one of my self-improvement goals is to improve my general fitness. This means eating healthy and working out. Unfortunately, sometimes I'm frustrated by the lack of healthy AND delicious options near my house and every single time that happens, delicious wins. So for 2015, I set a goal in my Goal board to "Make food that tastes better than most restaurants".

Luckily, this goal is easier than it looks because I don't like heavy foods and prefer lighter tasting dishes for the most part (unless its spicy). Since this is counter to most American restaurants, just by using less oil, decreasing the size of the carb portions, and cooking ethnic dishes, I can cook healthy foods that appeal to me that aren't available nearby.

However, I wanted to improve my basic techniques and increase my efficiency in the kitchen. Currently, cooking is something that takes mental energy and I want it to become second nature. Improved technique will also improve the taste of the food I make and improve the results of my cooking experiments (I rarely lookup recipes except for when I'm playing with new ingredients).

Rouxbe Initial Assessment
Daikon & Spinach miso soup and Miso Broiled Black Cod
(The miso soup is what I cooked for my initial assessment)

The School

I'm taking the professional cook certification course on Rouxbe, a cooking website that is used for internal training programs at Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Google, and a host of other companies. What sets this company apart from other cooking sites is the focus on fundamentals and the professionalism of their video courses. If most cooking sites contain recipes and specific instructions, Rouxbe teaches you how to use a knife properly, how to saute properly, how to know when the oil in the pan is ready to start pan frying.

Although I am not trying to become a professional chef, the endorsement by places I recognize to have good food as well as the American Culinary Federation gives me confidence that I have chosen a good program.

I'm also fortunate that I supported the company when they were raising money and became a lifetime member, hence making this course free for me which is a requirement given that my startup is currently bootstrapped.

The Assessment

The first task for Rouxbe is to create a "go-to-dish". Something that you make on a regular basis without much thought. For those that know me, I love my soups and recently, my go to soups are Japanese soups – either a suimono or miso soup.

Since I love daikon after it's been softened in a stew or soup, I chose that as the main vegetable and grabbed some spinach sitting in the fridge. I soaked kombu in the water for a few hours while coding and then brought the water to a simmer. I then turned off the heat and soaked katsuobushi in the kombu stock for thirty minutes. After removing the kombu and katsuobushi, I strained the dashi stock and then boiled the daikon in the broth. I added in spinach at the end, turned off the heat, and mixed in shiro miso. Voilà!

I'm excited to see how I change as a home cook as the course progresses. The majority of the course will be western foods and dishes so expect the contents of my food blog posts to change.