After being thrown into the culinary frying pan last week, I’ve started to find my rhythm in the kitchen. Although it still feels like a foreign language, my culinary skills have started to develop. My knives no longer feel like dangerous objects to be feared, but more along the lines of extensions of my hands. It’s exciting. As someone who hasn’t done a lot of cooking in his life, it feels good to be delving into this other side of things.
We started the week off the classic potted dish, chicken fricassee. This flavorful chicken is braised in stock and white wine. It’s then removed from the pan before adding heavy cream to the pan juice. The emulsion is then reduced to nappe consistency, before being tossed back with the chicken. The end result is an incredible, velvety tender meat, with a beautiful rustic appearance. To acompany the dish, we made glazed carrots, and utilized the leftover rice from the previous week to make fried rice.
The next class was spent discussing proper pan frying techniques before, moving into pastas and cheese. Each group was tasked with making a filled pasta of their choice, along with a batch of fresh cheese for the filling, and fresh mozzarella to be served on the side. The fresh cheese was made by adding vinegar to boiled water and agitating. This caused the whey protein to separate and cheese curdles to form, which were then filtered out using a cheesecloth. The end result was something akin to ricotta cheese albeit slightly more acidic. The pasta was made with a durum flour based egg noodle recipe. My team chose to make a simple and fresh dish, consisting of ravioli, garnished with a tomato brochette and balsamic reduction. The chef was pleased, and so were the team’s stomachs. The next day was somewhat laid back, as the chef demoed shellfish cookery and had everyone grill steaks for dinner.
With the breakneck speed of the program post fundies, I only have one week left of Café Savory. Pretty soon, I’ll be back to the bakeshops, and then on to externship. This final week is sure to be filled with many more delicious things, that I will be certain to post about.