Sunday, April 27, 2014

What we learned in culinary school this week: Week 15

All over the place this week. Chef decided to have us do a seasonal vegetables refresher course on Monday and Tuesday. Then we did quick breads on Wednesday and brunch on Thursday. Our Friday lunch was breakfast to order and then the school had a famous pastry chef doing a macarons demo Friday evening and I volunteered to help prepare food for the guests attending that event. Whew!

California Chopped Salad. A terrific, light,
refreshing spring/summer salad.

Bruschetta with Fava Bean Puree. A great way to
get people who hate bean (me) to eat them.

Mushroom Bourgignon. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD
this is one of the best things we've ever made. I
LOVED it. So substantial, you don't miss the beef.

Haricots Verts. Another way to get me to eat beans.

Zucchini Fritters with Minted Creme Fraiche.

Asparagus Polonaise.

We also made Green Bean Salad with Pesto, Spring Vegetable Fricassee, Cauliflower Couscous with Quinoa, Eggplant and Porcini "Meatballs" and Zucchini Spaghetti with Pesto, among others.

Quick Breads:
We went over various leavening agents whose properties are very scientific, so it's a good thing I wrote them down because I don't retain that stuff. Long story short - baking powder and baking soda are not the same thing, so don't get them mixed up. In fact, there's a lot of science in baking that I will not bore you with here.

Most baked goods are non-perishable, but taste will deteriorate over time. When measuring brown sugar, the question is always how tightly it should be packed into the measuring cup. The answer: tight enough to hold its form, but should fall apart when tapped. Unlike cooking, measurements in baking must be precise. High end baking is done in weight, rather than volume.  And yes, the toothpick method for determining the doneness of baked goods is legit!

Also, you want to let breads and muffins cool completely before cutting into them, or you lose a lot of moisture.

Apple Streusel Muffins.

Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits.

Banana Bread. Waited until it was completely
cooled before cutting it. It stayed moist for a week.

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread.

You want stuff that you can keep and serve at room temperature.

Fruit salads and platters - you can use less ripe, less expensive produce for salads. Cut up into pieces and add a dressing. For platters, you need the pretty, good quality stuff.

If your recipe calls for room temperature eggs, rather than waiting on them (or if you forgot to set them out) put them in a bowl, cover with warm water and they'll be good to go in a few minutes.

Asparagus Frittata with Fresh Herbs and Goat
Cheese. After taking this picture, we were informed
that we can't use fresh basil for garnish. Too
valuable to waste, I guess. Still, look how pretty!!!

Pommes a L'Huile. Hands down the best potato
salad I've ever had. Will be making this one again.

Fruit Salad with Yogurt Poppy Seed Dressing.

Smoking trout for the Smoked Trout Hash.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake.

Brunch is served!

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