Saturday, February 15, 2014

What we learned in culinary school this week: Week 6

I can't believe it's been six weeks already! We covered raw produce Monday and Tuesday, went on a trip to the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesday, then cooked produce on Thursday and Friday.

The school is season driven where produce is concerned. The next Advanced Culinary Arts class (June to December) will use different fruits and vegetables than our class, because they will use what is in season then.

Fruits are sweet, vegetables are savory.

We had kumquats in class. If you rub the peel, it will produce an oil. Also, you eat kumquats whole, peel and all. First time I've had them and they were good.

Organic means no chemicals are used in the growing process. Some organics are shown as "almost organic" because for some small farms, the organic certification process can be prohibitively expensive. Certification is costly and involves a lot of bureaucracy. I remember being at a farmers market a few years back and one of the vendors was explaining that she grew her produce organically, but didn't have her certification because she was in college and couldn't afford to get it.

Made a ton of salads Monday and Tuesday: Baby greens, granny smith apples, dried tart cherries, endive, pears, avocado, grapefruit, fennel, blood oranges, kale, toasted almonds, beets, carrots, celery root, mint, honey, green cabbage, red onion, zucchini, arugula, pine nuts, romaine, frizee, eggs and a variety of cheeses all factored into the various dishes.

Blood Orange and Fennel Salad with Mint.

Thai Style Cabbage Salad.

We discussed various types of cooking veggies: sweating, saute, dry heat, wet heat, frying, roasting, baking, grilling, braising, steaming, poaching, can do all kinds of stuff with them.

We made a Mushroom Fricassee that I absolutely loved. We also learned that you don't wash mushrooms in water, because they'll absorb liquid. You wipe them clean with a cloth.

Green Bean Persillade.

Cauliflower Au Gratin.

No comments: