Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Basic Dressings

Monday we started Garde Manger, and I started to come down with a throat ache.
Chef T. While nice, he is a little boring. He lectured about the history of garde manger, appetizers, salads, and dressings. Then he demoed how to make mayonnaise and vinaigrettes. Wow is there a lot of oil in mayo. I rarely eat mayo, and usually only accidentally, because it hurts my stomach, and now I think I might know why - I just don't eat that much oil or fats in anything except, well, fried foods because I love fried foods.
Basic red wine vinaigrette. To Tennessee and I, this seemed creamier than we expected, but Chef said it looked fine. But other people's seemed less creamy. Oh well. It tasted pretty good. Combine vinegar, Dijon, and shallots. Slowly whisk in oil. Then season with salt, pepper, sugar, and herbs (tarragon, chives, and parsley). This is served on the following salad:
2 oz mixed greens, 1/2 tomato, 1 oz carrot, 1/4 head belgian endive, 1/8 head of radicchio, 2 oz cucumber, 2 oz red onino, and 1/4 apple. We didn't actually make this salad, but doesn't it sound good?
Emulsified Mustard Herb Vinaigrette.
I made this one - combine egg yolk, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, shallots, parsley, chives, and sugar and whisk until lightened. Slowly add in oil while whisking constantly. Continue until all oil and vinegar (add walnut oil) is used. Season with salt and pepper.

This tasted really good. I usually hate vinaigrettes because the vinegar bites too much, but this was a really nice blend. And it tastes like there are walnuts in the salad when it's only a minor amount of oil...

I wanted to drink it. Seriously. I ate almost the entire mixing bowl once I tossed it with Romaine.

Ew. I didn't even taste our's. I tasted Chef's and it felt like I might have just drank from the bottle of oil. But that might be the quality of the oil purchasing gets us. Because, you know, $15,000 for a 8-month program couldn't possibly buy you quality ingredients...
Mix egg yolks, white wine vinegar, and dry mustard. Whisk in oil - drips at first, then a light stream as it starts to thicken. You will whisk. And whisk. And whisk. And add oil. And more oil. And more oil.
Tennessee, Irish and I switched off whisking for at least 10 minutes. I was not much help. Besides being tired, I apparently don't have the arm strength. And, sometimes, whisking just seems dirty - I don't think I need to describe for you what it sometimes looks like a person is doing... but just in case you don't live in the gutter like I do: it involves a hand and a male body part. Ha! This was being saved for tomorrow.

Blue cheese dressing. Irish made this. It tasted good, but I don't really like blue cheese (I think I just haven't tried it often enough). Mix mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, blue cheese, shallot, garlic, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, hot sauce, and worcestershire.
Serve on 1/4 head frisee, 1/4 head Bibb lettuce, 1/4 pear, 2T walnuts, 1/4 head Beligian endive. 1 oz red onion, 4 oz roasted beet.
This was going to be my first opportunity to eat a beet (kind of shocking I've never had one before), but we didn't have time to make it because lecture went too long. I think Irish took this home to her doorman. She's so nice.
Lessons Learned:
Garge Manger goes back to the medieval kitchen. It was where they stored preserved meats and food before big banquets.
We will learn platter presentations (you know, good old nitpicky chef stuff). Guidelines for plating a salad: color, height, ingredients cut uniformly, cold food on cold plates, not overdressed, and no food on rim.
To make a good salad, you need to match the dressing to the lettuce. Two types of dressings: vinaigrettes/citronettes and creamy.
Don't store lettuce with any water on it, but also not totally dry. Use bus tubs, with a damp towel over.

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