Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Beginning to cook real french meals

And so begins Intro to Culinary Skills II - where we begin to cook entire meals (starch, vegetable, and protein) in true French fashion. I prefer baking, but working so late around so much sugar can be hard. It makes my teeth hurt even to just breathe. I like making real meals that I can then sneak out of the kitchen to take home and have for lunch later in the week...

My initial thoughts are that I like Chef Z - he's nice, quiet, and a decent instructor. Tonight we started on chicken. Each night we will have to "plate" one dish - and it's up to us to use the rules of plating to figure out the best way to set it up. Then we get graded on the plating, flavor, consistency, cooking method, and general kitchen organization.

We made
Volaille Fermiere au Vinaigre

This is braised chicken in a vinegar sauce. Sear the chicken on both sides, then simmer, partially covered (about 2/3 up sides) with vinegar liquid mixture until tender. To determine if it is done during a "moist cooking process," never do a temperature check - if the meat is falling off the bone, it's tender.

Poulet Saute Chasseur plated with Nouilles au Beurre

This is just a sauteed chicken breast in tomato-based sauce on buttered noodled. Which, by the way, are amazing. We never ate buttered noodles growing up - just plain. Which I still love. But when you put just the right touch of butter and a nice dose of salt, it's just so good. Clearly I'm late to the buttered noodles game - I know other people have had it since childhood. I got a 38/40 on this dish - my noodles were a little too buttery (again, newbie!), so once I put the sauce on, it got a little oily.

Lessons Learned:
Searing tightens the protein strands on the outside and allows moisture to stay inside the protein.
So Rico and Whiskey cooked up this scheme to make T and Russia work at the tables at the front of the class in order to make it so they can't get away with working so slowly and never cleaning up for anyone but themselves. They made sure they got to class early, and had Country and Sutra set up at our table (it stands 8) - those 4, myself, Nemo, Tennessee, and Irish. We'll see how it works. I didn't really want to be at a table with Country and Sutra again - they are really frustrating to work near. Country is always running (literally running) to get stuff done, and is very sexist and condescending. I can get along with him, but I also don't hesitate to tell him when he is being condescending. And Sutra, well, I've told you before - he's creepy.

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