Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A New Development

I was so bored yesterday that I decided to cook a three-course meal for Richard, myself and three friends. It was an excuse to be busy all day and to use my crystal dish-ware. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by a phone call while I was out getting groceries. This phone call turned my three-course dinner into a celebration.

Many months ago, I applied to be a volunteer at Heifer Ranch. It was one of the many jobs/volunteer positions I have applied for over the past year. During that phone call, Diane, the volunteer coordinator at Heifer Ranch, told me that a new position was opening up for Animal Caretaker. She explained that she thought I would be a good candidate for the position (which would start before February). I informed her that I was absolutely interested in the position, especially after she stated it was a jack-of-all-trades position. (Those are my specialty.) A few hours later, I got an email saying the committee had approved me for the position and it was mine as soon as my background check came in clear.

I have to admit, cooking became a little bit more difficult after this. I was so excited I couldn't stop bouncing around (and squealing, according to Richard). So, in a week or two I will be working on Heifer Ranch, probably through the Fall. I am superbly excited to finally have something work out for me. For a while, I was trying to teach English in South Korea for a year. I ended up having two interviews with schools, but neither panned out. So, instead I will continue to work with agriculture.

My three-course meal turned out fabulously. My friends all approved, especially of the strawberry tartlets. Below you can find the links to the dishes I made. There were, of course, variations made for each recipe. My main comment on variations is for the strawberry tartlets. I used five inch quiche dished to make individual tartlets instead of large tarts. I recommend making only half of the crust recipe for 4 five inch tartlets. I used a full recipe of the custard for the four tartlets. Since it is winter and strawberries aren't in season, I bought frozen strawberries and let them thaw.

Butternut squash and apple soup.             Strawberry tartlets.

When it came time to make the custard I was a little confused as to why it called for corn flour. So I replaced the two tablespoons of corn flour with a tablespoon of cornstarch. I think the flavor was delicious and the thickness was just right with this substitution. I recommend it for a smoother texture.

Sadly, I don't have a picture of the roasted chicken and vegetables for you. I was talking and carving and completely forgot a picture should be taken, haha. But I assure you, it was scrumptious.

Altogether, cooking this meal only took about three and a half hours. Definitely something I would recommend for a weekend adventure. Remember, the key is finding foods that flow well together. Start with a light appetizer, a medium or heavy entree, and a medium or light dessert.

Here are the recipes:

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