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A project that won't hurt my GPA

I have a small break in my school/work schedule Friday, and some time ALONE at home. I want to mess up my kitchen with a fun project, but I need to start and end on Friday. I've considered ravioli and mole, which I've both done before but I can't decide. Any input or new ideas would be great.

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  1. handmade pasta is a lot of work, but a lot of fun - i always make it with my goddaughter as she likes cutting the shapes

    what about phyllo dough or pate a choux? or croissants?

    tres leches cake? lemon meringue pie with homemade crust, lemon custard and handwhipped meringue? souffle?

    jacques torres' chocolate chip cookies that get refrigerated for 24-36 hours before baking?

    hand-made tortillas? empanadas?

    experiment with a new cuisine -- just go to the library, borrow a cookbook with a new cuisine, close your eyes, open to a page, and cook that.

    1. How about potstickers/dumplings? You can make a really big batch and freeze most of them for future use, and enjoy some on Friday. :)

      1. Have you ever baked bread? There's nothing more fun and satisfying. Or smells better whilst it's baking! Make a big batch of dough, and turn some into dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, breadsticks, etc. Freeze them for snacks next week when you'll be studying again.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Channa

          I love making bread! What type of dough would you recomend? A brioche or white sandwich? At what point does it go in the freezer? My guess would be after the first rise, but I've never frozen the dough before. Any recipes or hints?

          1. re: corneygirl

            I think white sandwich dough (maybe with a little egg in it) might be the most versatile. It depends on what you like, and what you want to make. You could divide it into portions, and mix different additions into each -- olives, nuts, cheese, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, or all. Well, maybe not all!

            Or you could make French bread (shape as baguettes, boules, little hard rolls) and use some of the dough for pizza Friday night.

            I'd freeze everything after baking. I think the quality would be better, and it will be so nice to thaw (even in a microwave) a bit of homemade bread every day, without having to do anything more to it. Sandwich-type bread freezes very well, and you can slice it before freezing, then remove one or two slices at a time to thaw. Crusty breads should probably be frozen whole, and then recrisped in the oven before serving.

            If you want to freeze some French bread dough for future pizzas, divide it into balls, and freeze them right after kneading. Before using, thaw overnight in the fridge or several hours at room temperature.

        2. What about gnocchi? I love the idea of making up a huge batch of anything and freezing for the future, snce you're a busy student.

          5 Replies
          1. re: chowser

            I like this idea, but I don't have a ricer and SO might kill me if I buy kitchen gear without him getting fishing gear. Is this necessary? The colander trick sounds like a nightmare.

            1. re: corneygirl

              I use a grater and it works fine. I've made sweet potato gnocchi with ham for dinner and it's a great combination.

              1. re: chowser

                That sounds really good. You grate the cooked potato right?

                1. re: corneygirl

                  Yes--requires teflon hands.:-) But, it goes quickly because the potatoes are soft.

                  1. re: chowser

                    That's what I'm going to make, along with Marcellas Tomato Onion Butter Sauce. If I still feel like cooking I'm going to do bagels as well. Thanks for the tips.

          2. Homemade bread is good, maybe try a foccacia? And do braised short ribs since they take all day long.

            1. Home made sausage. Make patties and freeze, or roll up in plastic cling wrap to make links and freeze.

              Seafood Boudin - cooked rice, cooked shrimp, cooked fish... is a great simple intro to sausage making..

              1. How about preserving? Its spring and there are some primo selections (depending on where you are) or early fruits or veggies that you can set up and enjoy over time. Maybe some strawberry jam?

                If that's too ambitious, make some pesto. Simple to do, not many ingredients, and totally versatile. If you make a project out of it, you can litterally make pounds of it and fill your freezer. No need for careful sterlizing and sealed containers. Just get a set of pint or half-pint sized plastic containers, fill 'em up, and freeze them. [Groceries charge a premium for small bunches of basil, but you can often get better deals on larger quantities by talking to the grocer or heading to a farmer's market.]

                Another simple preserve that does not necessarily require dealing with the sterile canning process: hot pickled carrots -- super simple, lasts a long time -- if you can keep from snacking on them obsessively. Pickled beets is another fave that is simple to do.

                1. i would make something that will keep in the freezer such as dumplings, ghocci, long simmered pasta sauce, lasagna, pate a choux (great frozen and baked for small sandwiches), bake a pound cake with a sauce using the berries ripening now. Make some scones base for the freezer.

                  planning for a day in the kitchen sounds great. i should do that sometime.

                  1. I'd say a couple kinds of soup --it's no fail, you can use any and all kinds of ingredients and you've got the makings of some great down-the-road dinners for you and friends. We had one very nice dinner where I made three kinds of soup --Fr. onion, a sausage/vegetable/pasta peasant soup and potato leek --served with good bread, salad and a great selections of cheeses. You can do for you solo or w/ friends.

                    1. Maple fudge is a good project for spring. The maple syrup, while expensive goes a long, long way...

                      The only special equipment you need is a candy thermometer.

                      1. I want to try these next time I have a project, looks like fun.

                        http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...