TWO FOR ONE...CULINARY SCHOOL RECAP

WE HAVE A LOT TO CATCH UP ON!!!  WEEK 5 OF CULINARY SCHOOL STARTED OUT WITH FOOD PRESERVATION, A SUBJECT THAT I LOVE AND HAS BEEN AROUND FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.  BEFORE REFRIGERATION, PEOPLE HAD TWO OPTIONS, EAT THEIR FOOD RIGHT AWAY OR PRESERVE IT FOR LATER.  THE MOST COMMON TECHNIQUES USED BACK THEN WERE AIR/SUN DRYING AND SALT CURING, SOME ALSO USED SMOKE FROM THEIR FIRES TO PRESERVE AS WELL.  
THE GRAVLAX, OR "BURIED SALMON", BELOW IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF DRY CURING USING SALT AMONG OTHER INGREDIENTS.    
 OUR CHEF INSTRUCTOR ALSO USED BEETS TO CURE THIS SALMON, GIVING IT A BEAUTIFUL PURPLE-PINK HUE.  

OUR CHEF INSTRUCTOR ALSO USED BEETS TO CURE THIS SALMON, GIVING IT A BEAUTIFUL PURPLE-PINK HUE.  

 THE GRAVLAX WAS FANTASTIC ON TOP OF SOME BAGELS THAT A FELLOW STUDENT BROUGHT IN FROM HIS BAGEL SHOP IN HOBOKEN CALLED O'BAGELS!

THE GRAVLAX WAS FANTASTIC ON TOP OF SOME BAGELS THAT A FELLOW STUDENT BROUGHT IN FROM HIS BAGEL SHOP IN HOBOKEN CALLED O'BAGELS!

THE NINETEENTH CENTURY IS WHEN FOOD PRESERVATION MADE LEAPS AND BOUNDS, THANKS TO NICOLAS APPERT AND LOUIS PASTEUR.  APPERT MADE THE DISCOVERY THAT WHEN VEGETABLES AND EVEN CREAM WERE ADDED TO SEALED GLASS JARS, AND THEN HEATED FOR A PERIOD OF TIME, THE MICROORGANISMS RESPONSIBLE FOR DECAY WERE KILLED OFF.  THUS THE PROCESS OF CANNING AND STERILIZATION WERE BORN.  
LOUIS PASTEUR WORKED OFF OF THIS TECHNIQUE AND DISCOVERED THAT THERE WERE HARMFUL ORGANISMS THAT THRIVED WITHOUT OXYGEN, ALSO KNOWN AS BEING ANAEROBIC.  HE INVENTED THE PROCESS OF PASTEURIZATION TO KILL THESE ORGANISMS OFF BY HEATING LIQUIDS AT HIGH TEMPERATURES FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.
WE ALSO LEARNED THE PROCESS OF SEALING AND COATING, WHICH INVOLVES APPLYING AN OILY OR WAXY COATING TO FOOD.  CONFIT IS A POPULAR EXAMPLE OF THIS.  TO CONFIT IS TO DRY-CURE DUCK (OR MEAT) AND THEN COOK IT IN IT'S OWN RENDERED FAT.  WE WERE ABLE TO BRING SOME DUCK LEGS HOME TO USE, SO I MADE A SALAD AND PLACED THE CRISPY LEG RIGHT ON TOP.  THAT MAKES IT HEALTHY, RIGHT?!
 THE CRISPY LEG WAS PLACED ON TOP OF SIMPLY DRESSED DANDELION GREENS AND ARUGULA, BLOOD ORANGE SUPREMES, BUTTER PEAS, CHARRED RADICCHIO, PISTACHIO AND FINISHED WITH A BLOOD ORANGE GASTRIQUE AND PISTACHIO DUST.

THE CRISPY LEG WAS PLACED ON TOP OF SIMPLY DRESSED DANDELION GREENS AND ARUGULA, BLOOD ORANGE SUPREMES, BUTTER PEAS, CHARRED RADICCHIO, PISTACHIO AND FINISHED WITH A BLOOD ORANGE GASTRIQUE AND PISTACHIO DUST.

SPEAKING OF SALADS.....WEEK 5 ALSO CONSISTED OF SALADS, WHICH MAY SEEM ODD, BUT THE TECHNIQUES TO ASSEMBLE THESE CLASSIC SALADS WILL DEFINITELY MAKE US BETTER COOKS.  WE MADE THE FRENCH CLASSIC, NICOISE SALAD, WITH BUTTER GREENS, TUNA, ANCHOVY, BELL PEPPER, OLIVES, POTATO, HARICOT VERTS, AND TOMATOES.

WE ALSO MADE A COLD VEGETABLE SALAD CALLED "MACEDOINE LEGUMES".  MACEDOINE REFERS TO THE SIZE OF THE VEGETABLES WHICH ARE CUT INTO 1/2CM X 1/2CM CUBES.  THE VEGGIES AFE MIXED WITH MAYONNAISE AND IT IS PLACED IN A RING MOLD WITH TOPPED WITH A TOMATO FONDUE.

THE POTATO, A SIMPLE TUBER, WHICH HAS BEEN A STAPLE IN FOODS A LOOOOOONG TIME.  AND WHILE WE CAN SPEND A LOT OF TIME ON THEM, WE WILL BREAK IT DOWN AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE. 

THERE ARE TWO CATEGORIES OF POTATOES, STARCHY AND WAXY.  STARCHY POTATOES GET A DRY, FLUFFY TEXTURE WHEN COOKED AND DO BEST WITH DRY COOKING TECHNIQUES SUCH AS BAKING, FRYING AND MASHING.  WAXY POTATOES HOLD TOGETHER AND STAY MOIST, WHICH ARE BEST FOR WET TECHNIQUES LIKE GRATINS, STEWS AND SOUPS.  STARCHY POTATOES INCLUDE THE IDAHO, RUSSET AND YUKON GOLD.  WHILE RED BLISS, YELLOW AND ROUND RED/WHITE ARE ALL WAXY.

FRENCH FRIES!!!! WELL, TECHNICALLY "PONT NEUF" ARE MADE USING A TWO-STEP PROCESS WHICH RESULTS IN FULLY COOKED, CRISPY POTATOES.  THE POTATOES ARE COOKED FIRST AT 300-320* FOR 5-6 MINUTES, WITH NO COLOR.  THEY ARE THEN DRAINED AND FRIED AGAIN AT 350-375* TO ACHIEVE COLOR.  WE ALSO ADDED ROSEMARY, THYME AND GARLIC!

THIS GRATIN MADE WITH GRUYERE WAS A HIT AT THE FIREHOUSE!  IT WAS GREAT WITH OUR STEAK DINNER!

THE END OF WEEK 6 INCLUDED FISH!  FINALLY WE ARE STARTING TO COOK PROTEIN!  IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, THE MORE WE "COOK" THE HAPPIER I GET.  I LOVE THE FAST PACE OF COOKING, AND THIS IS MORE MY SPEED.  THE KITCHEN WAS HOT, IT WAS NOISY, AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

WE LEARNED THE ART OF FILLETING.  IT IS NOT EASY BY ANY MEANS, BUT WITH OUR INSTRUCTORS THERE TO HELP, IT CERTAINLY MADE IT A LOT EASIER.  

 FISH COOKED IN PARCHMENT PAPER, ALSO KNOWN AS "POISSON EN PAPILLOTES"

FISH COOKED IN PARCHMENT PAPER, ALSO KNOWN AS "POISSON EN PAPILLOTES"

 SAUTEED TROUT, GRENOBLE STYLE....OR TROUT PAN FRIED WITH A BROWN BUTTER, CAPER, LEMON SAUCE.  DELICIOUS!

SAUTEED TROUT, GRENOBLE STYLE....OR TROUT PAN FRIED WITH A BROWN BUTTER, CAPER, LEMON SAUCE.  DELICIOUS!

CAN'T WAIT TO GET THIS WEEK STARTED! STAY TUNED......
Posted on April 25, 2016 .