Consomme, My New Coffee
I’m not sure how I went from being a vegetarian to a consomme lover, but I now look forward to the days when we make consomme in class! Lately consomme has been replacing my morning coffee.
All of a sudden it happened. Life here at the CIA got extremely busy. We had mid-terms this past week and extra classes to make up for the ones we will be missing over the Thanksgiving holiday…so I apologize for the lack of posts lately!
Here are some photos to catch you up to what i’ve been learning (and most of all eating) in the past week!
This week in product knowledge we learned about different types of cultivated mushrooms and wild mushrooms along with stalk vegetables. These are enoki mushrooms. They are known for their delicate, fruity flavor.
White button mushrooms
There is a wide variety of oyster mushrooms both cultivated and wild.
The celebrated truffle. This black truffle is used in the Bocuse restaurant here on campus for Paul Bocuse’s famous truffle soup. One pound of this black truffle costs aproximately $1800. This truffle was a few ounces so it cost a couple hundred dollars.
Our chef made us strawberry rhubarb jam for a treat in class.
One of the reasons I find product knowledge to be such an engaging class is because everyone, including our chef, shares stories and their favorite ways to prepare the ingredients we talk about. It is a great way to learn other techniques for preparing common, favorite ingredients like asparagus. It also gives us the opportunity to become more familiar with ingredients that are new to us.
Our tasting included: oyster mushrooms cooked in garlic and butter (top), teriyaki shitake mushrooms (right) and sauteed cremini mushrooms (left). I must admit that before this day in product knowledge I was not an adventurous mushroom eater. Now, however, after learning about various mushroom types and preparations I am excited to try more mushroom dishes.
This week in fundamentals we finsihed learning how to prepare the remaining mother sauces. The mother sauces (or grand sauces) include: veloute (white stock and white roux), bechamel (milk and white roux), hollandaise, espagnole (brown veal sauce) and tomato sauce.
Learning how make hollandaise sauce. I am building up my right arm with all the whisking we’ve been doing!
We prepared our hollandaise and served it over cooked broccoli.
Espagnole sauce (brown roux and brown veal stock) and a derivative sauce, Jus De Veau Lie (brown veal stock with a starch slurry thickener).
We also learned about dry pasta cookery this week. We will be learning how to make fresh pasta soon – I can’t wait!
We made a simple herb vinaigrette to dress some spring greens to go along with our tomato sauce and pasta. This made a hearty breakfast in class, but I can’t complain its much preferable to fish chowder! Everything in class we make is finished between 7:30 and 8:30. We don’t have to eat the whole plate of food we make, but we are strongly encouraged to eat a good portion of it. You need to sample more than one bite to truly understand and remember how a dish should taste. It makes it much easier to reproduce the dish later on if you understand how it is suppose to look and taste. Needless to say i’ve gotten accustomed to some less-traditional, savory breakfasts over the past few weeks.
Practicing knife cuts in my room. This week we had a knife test, mid-term and our first cooking practical for our fundamentals class.
For our practical we had to produce: chicken consomme, demi-glace, mayonnaise, hollandaise, cooked broccoli and cooked cauliflower.
This was my consomme for the practical.
Outside of class I enjoyed some delicious meals from other classes and restaurants. This is a beet risotto with goat cheese, peas and sage. It is one of my favorite dinners at school.
This was a cheese and tomato croquette that came as a side appetizer to one of my dinners. It tasted like a bite of homemade pizza.
One day I went to Apple Pie Bakery with some friends between academic classes for lunch. I got a chicken Caesar salad with a passion fruit iced tea and macaroon, of course. I also munched on some of my friends Parmesan truffle fries.
There was way too many tempting desserts this week! There is something about exams and dessert that just goes together like peanut butter and jelly. This is a raspberry macaroon. At the end of the day the pastry students sometimes bring the leftover desserts from Apple Pie Bakery into the dinning room. This dessert was from Apple Pie.
I made a stop at the gelato shop for a cappuccino and Madeline cookie while I was driving through Rhinebeck this week.
They had interesting plated desserts this week at lunch. This was a chocolate chip semifreddo that my friend got. I thought it looked like a volcano, so I asked to take a picture.
Another friend of mine got this raspberry cheesecake wrapped in chocolate with a raspberry vanilla sorbet on the side.
Chocolate caramel macaroon at Apple Pie Bakery
An afternoon pick me up after Fundamentals all morning! Coffee and chocolate hazelnut macaroon!
Over the weekend I went out to an Italian restaurant, Stephano’s, about 45 minutes away from school. Incredible, authentic Italian food. We started with fried calamari.
They brought us homemade rolls that we broke open and filled with ricotta butter and roasted red peppers. I loved the ricotta butter. It tasted like Boursin cheese.
The lighting does not accentuate this plate of fra diavolo gnocchi but it was absolutely incredible. It had the perfect, pillowy texture and an excellent, spicy marinara sauce. The serving sizes were gigantic! This plate could have fed four people comfortably. I happily took home the leftovers and enjoyed it for the rest of the weekend!
I can’t think of a better way to end an Italian feast than with a cannoli and coffee! I can’t wait to go back and try some of the other dishes on their menu!
On Sunday I went to the famer’s market with some friends. Unfortunately, it was short lived because it started to rain!
I did get some food to make dinner with friends at night and a hot apple cider.
Due to the weather we decided to go next door to Bread Alone and grab a quick bite to eat. I think it had to do with the weather, but I was craving a bowl of piping hot soup. I had a bowl of their tomato vegetable soup with a multi-grain roll.
I also snatched a few bites of my friends Brioche French toast. It was incredible! I definitely want my own serving the next time I go to Bread Alone!
Sunday night some friends and I enjoyed a family meal that we made. We cooked in one of the lodge-style residence building kitchens. Everyone brought ingredients and between all of us we were able to make salads, bread, chicken marsala with Bucatini pasta, Brussels sprouts with boar bacon, sauteed spinach and cherry tomatoes and chocolate cake.
Sourdough bread from the farmer’s market
We were inspired to make a mushroom dish after product knowledge this week so we made chicken marsala.
It was fun to cook outside of class for a change. I feel like I haven’t had the chance since being at school to cook at my leisure.
Bread, Brussels sprouts, chicken marsala with bucatini pasta and sauteed spinach and tomatoes.
I hope to have another post up later on this week. Thanks for continuing to read!