Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Block 1: Days 13 to 16

Last Thursday, we cooked up potatoes. We did some of the usuals, like twice-baked and scallopped, but I learned some new kinds as well. Lyonnaise potatoes are basically sliced potatoes, sauteed with caramelized onions. Boulangare potatoes are similar to scallopped, in that they are sliced thinly and layered, but layered with caramelized onions and braised in chicken broth and a bit of butter.

Also, the mashed potatoes we made were interesting. Usually at home, we use Yukon Gold potatoes, but at school, we used Russet. We boiled them and passed them through a food mill, then mixed them with egg yolks, which is called a duchesse mixture. We made three variations: piped the mixture into beehive shapes and baked them, rolled the mixture into balls and breaded them in almonds before deep frying them (called pomme de berny), and shaped the mixture into logs and breaded them with panko crumbs before deep frying them (called croquettes). I think the croquettes were actually my favourite.

Friday was a slower day. We just made mayonnaise and a couple of salad dressings. The main thing was that it was our instructor's last day before vacation. So we showed up Monday morning to quite a shock, because our new chef is serious. We realized pretty quickly that we had been babied a lot the first three weeks. Long prep lists were written all over the board and he expected us to know a lot of things that we didn't. It was scary.

We made different salads yesterday. In groups, we got our prep lists together and the chef plated a bunch of salads, like nicoise, cobb, seafood salad, etc. Not particularly interesting. Oh, our new chef also doesn't let us eat anything - no fun.

Today we made pies - apple pie and banana cream pie. We made the pie dough differently from how I make it at home, most notably, without butter. Again, we didn't get to eat it in class, but I bought my apple pie from the market, so A and I will try it for dessert tonight.

Tomorrow, muffins and cookies.

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