Introduction to baking. Yes chef.

There's something about spring—like the unexpected, brilliant center colors in tulips—that suddenly makes me believe that I, too, am capable of new brilliance. Like, maybe, baking?

Sure, I bake. I've had my meltdowns. And my better moments. But, really, I'm winging it like the rest of us. Average. And too often take perfectly good recipes and try to make them "healthy." Which is essentially sucking the soul from the dish.

So, with my spring-induced confidence, I called the Oregon Culinary Institute and inquired about baking classes. And I was invited to an open house this weekend.

We made apple strudel. Complete with a butterscotch caramel sauce, creme anglaise and whipped cream. Whoa.

It was awesome. Amazing chefs. Sharp knives. Talk about the chemistry of caramel. The tenacity of gluten. Molecules. Hydration. Ethics of the industry (compost & recycling, yay). It's no wonder I was in love. It's science, meticulous detail and art wrapped into one.

Wrapped using butter, of course. Lots of glorious butter.

For plating, we were SUPPOSED to make a crosshatch pattern with the two sauces. I might have strayed a bit.

For plating, we were SUPPOSED to make a crosshatch pattern with the two sauces. I might have strayed a bit.