eI’ve got a lot to write about today, and they don’t fall into the same post, so I might be doing the multiple post thing again today.
I was never a big cook, but I enjoyed it when I did it. Not being able to do it after going blind was definitely a loss, and when I started doing it again, it felt soo good! At first I just wanted to be able to use the microwave. When I was in the hospital, the nurse put a little bumber thing from an EKG electrode on my call button, so I could find it. So I did the same thing with the microwave. My physician friend took some electrodes from the hospital, and my other friend stuck them on the 1, 5, 9 and start button. It worked like a charm! Later my rehab counceler put actual bump dots on the microwave that are much nicer. She also put bump dots in strategic places on my stove and oven dials, so that I can line up the dots for certain temperatures.
At Saavi, where I get all my “blind training”, they have classes that you take in order, so that you start learning skills in a good sequence. The first class was Goals, and we talked about adaptive timing, how to spread butter on stuff, how to pour liquids, stuff like that. The next class, Stars, was a little bit more involved, and we learned things like adaptive measuring. I never would have thought to measure the way they taught me. Its pretty hard to pour into stuff, so we dip. For example, say I want a teaspoon of cinnimon. I use a metal measuring spoon, bent like a ladle. So the handle is perpendicular to the spoon. I dip the spoon into the cinnimon and level off with my finger, and there I go.
Now say I want a half cup of milk. If I want to, I can pour the milk into a bowl and dip in the measuring cup. I just take my 1 cup liquid measure and pour in some milk, and then feel to see if its about half. Works fine for now, and I’m not dirtying a bowl.
I use a double sided spatula too. Its like tongs, but its two plastic spatulas that come together for gripping.
A safe way to load the oven is to where an OvGlove on both hands, open the oven door from the side. So let me see if I can explain this. I stand to the left of the stove and put my left hip against the counter. With my right hand, I open the oven door all the way down, so that it doesn’t fly back up and hit me. My baking sheet is on the stove ready to go. With my right hand, wearing protection, I trail the side of the stove down, on the inside, until I feel the rack. I pull out the rack, and then with both hands, loswer the sheet into the oven. I never would have thought to do it this way.
Another thing they suggest is to start with a cool cooking surface. So instead of preheating, you can start with a cool instrument, and then add additional time. Coming from the land of preheating though, I don’t do this.
My favorite cooking instrument is the George Forman Grill. Its a small size, and with my spatula, I can tell where the edges are. I make melt sandwiches, hamburger patties and I even grilled season broccoli on it and that was yum!
So now I have to tell you about my decision to make french toast today. I should have started with my morning walk here to explain why I had an appetite haha! Anyway, in my beginning cooking class, we made Fabulous French toast. It was actually a lesson showing us the electric skillet, but I use a frying pan at home. Anyway, it was so good, that when I did my grocery order I made sure I had everything for it. The difference is the vanilla. I had never put vanilla into french toast batter before and its delicious!
So, I decided to make it. I wouldn’t call it a disaster, but I wouldn’t call it a success either.
Hmmm, I think I’ll post the recipe. I’ll go get it. Ok, its copied, but I’ll post at the bottom so my screen reader users don’t have to encounter the recipe before finishing the blog.
Anyway, I got all my ingredients mixed up, placed my frying pan on the burner all nice and centered, added some butter, and turned on the medium heat. I always use butter to grease a frying pan. The recipe calls for oil. Should have followed the recipe…I dipped my first piece of bread in the mix, put half on my double spatula and trailed the pan with the spatula to set down the bread. I added my other piece. The recipe says it will take about 4 minutes on a side. I should have timed it…I thought 4 minutes was up, so I turned it, and kind of felt with the spatula to see where it was. It didn’t really feel very “golden”. Oh well. I wait a bit longer and take out the first piece. It had stuck a bit when I tried to turn it…I plopped it on the plate and it was alump of bread, so I put it back. Finally I took them both out and there was the smell of burning butter. I felt them and some parts were burned and other parts soft. Ok. I need to use the oil. So I turn off the heat and eat the first two pieces while the pan is cooling. It doesn’t taste like it did in class. It tastes, fried. Darnit, I’m eating it though after all that effort. I was out my pan, dry it, and then think, I don’t want a lot of oil, and I don’t want to pour the oil into a bowl to ladele it out. So I got a paper towel, held it over the pan, while pressing it to the top of the oil bottle. This worked like a charm. I greased the pan in this manner, and didn’t get too much oil.
I heat up the pan again, and add two more pieces. I accidentally moved the pan. And now its hot, and I can’t tell if its centered. So I put on my OvGlove to feel for the burner. This time, I get my cell phone and check the time, so I can time 4 minutes. I turn the pieces. I did this with the last 4 pieces, and they came out ok. I thought about never making it again, but one always has to work out the kinks, right? I couldn’t finish it all, so I stuck the plate in the microwave. I have a mess to clean up in the kitchen. Egg batter on the counter from having to handle the spatula and then needing to set it down. I’ll get to it eventually.
Oh, another trick I learned is cracking the egg. Hold the egg in your non-dominate hand, palm up. Take the side of a fork in your dominate hand, center it on the egg, and give it a firm whack. You’ll get some egg on your hand, but this way its being broken over the bowl, and its such a small crack that there’s less likelyhood of shells. If its quiet in your kitchen, you’ll hear and feel any shell that might have fallen in when you beat the eggs.
I’ve cooked a few things now, and I have to say this was the hardest. I think it’ll just take practice though. It wasn’t so horrible, thats for sure hehe, and at least I can do it.
Ok, here’s the recipe now. Maybe if there’s interest, I’ll post the other recipes and talk about cooking them. Oh one thing that was recommended to me, that I follow wholeheartedly, and if I talk about cooking again, I will keep saying. If you’re blind, you have to rely on your remaining senses. So, keep it quiet so yo can hear. Smell for anything burning. And most important, don’t leave that stove or anything hot, ever. Don’t answer the phone, don’t answer the door. someday I might deviate a little, but for now, it is so important to give hot things my full and complete attention.
Fantastic French Toast
Ingredients: 2 eggs 1/2 cup nonfat milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 6 slices whole wheat bread syrup or other toppings (optional)
Instructions: 1. Preheat the griddle over medium heat, or set an electric frying pan at 375 degrees. 2. Put eggs, milk, and vanilla in a pie pan or shallow bowl and beat with a fork until well mixed. 3. Grease the griddle or pan with a thin layer of oil. 4. Dip both sides of bread, one slice at a time, in the egg mixture and cook on the hot griddle or frying pan. 5. Cook on one side until golden brown. Turn the bread over to cook the other side. It will take about 4 minutes on each side. 6. Serve with syrup, applesauce, fruit slices, or jam.
Nutritional Information: Per serving: 100 Calories 13g Total Carbohydrates 3g Total Fat 1g Saturated Fat 65mg Cholesterol 5g Protein 160 mg Sodium 1g Fiber