Our internet was down over the weekend. It was Vern’s birthday yesterday and we got (should be HE got, I know) a wonderful basket of “foodie” stuff! I can’t wait to find ways of using it!
a jar of pickled raisins
port chocolate sauce
cranberry chipotle glaze
blackberry pepper Zinfandel vinaigrette
artichoke and roasted garlic pesto
San Fransisco Cioppino Sauce
Mezzaluna pasta filled with gorgonzola
salty date and almond crackers
and a bottle of a wonderful red wine!
I will have to come up with a great menu for all these wonderful items. I feel a bit like a kid in a candy shop! It will be some time next month probably, but we’ll see.
back on track:
I have a lesson plan/menu planned for myself for the next 2 weeks, based from my cooking school text book. I will be trying my hand at a beef consomme, which looks very time consuming, especially since I will be making another batch of brown stock. Any of the consommes are VERY clear broths. You make a “raft” of egg whites and ground beef that acts like a strainer for the broth to bubble through, the “impurities” are caught in the raft resulting in a clear broth if done right. Wish me luck. Its only as good as the stock you start from! I don’t know what I’ll serve with it, maybe just a wonderful green salad and crusty bread.
After the sauces the text goes into soups, beginning with the clear consommes, to the cream soups, to pureed soups, finishing with chowders. I have made countless soups in the cafe, but this time around it will be “by the book” and maybe I’ll learn something better, quicker, more efficient, tastier etc…..
so after the consomme, it will be cream of broccoli, which I will get to use my veloute sauce.
then a puree of split pea soup—I have flash backs of a nasty, green, mealy, yucky split pea soup from my childhood, that was served outside at the picnic table in the front yard on a 90 degree day. It was awful! Needless to say, since becoming a “grown up” I have not had split pea soup. Hopefully my taste bus have evolved and the soup will taste much better in January or February.
A New England Clam chowder will follow. I make this every Friday all summer long already, but it was just from my own invented recipe. (you should have been there when an “old timer” would come on a Friday when I changed it to Manhattan clam chowder–“This isn’t chowder! I don’t what the heck people are thinking, red chowder, bah!”) The recipe in the text book is much longer, and should be interesting to taste the difference and see what I can glean and use in the cafe.
Finally a South Eastern Asian Consomme with Lemon Grass will finish the soup section.
There are many more soup recipes, at the end of the chapter, but these recipes are all in the chapter with their coinciding text on that particular skill.
For the next section I focused on dinner entrees for my family again, to match the skills that are the focus of the chapters.
I will be working on a grilled chicken with red pepper butter along with grilled vegetable skewers and grilled sweet potatoes with pablano chiles and onions.
Poele of chicken with pearl onions and mushrooms served with polenta. Poele (pwah-lay) is a cooking method similar to braising and roasting. See, now you can say a fancy french word when you brown your chicken first, then roast and baste it! I am not a mushroom fan, so we’ll see how this one goes. (another traumatizing story from childhood)
Then a chicken saute with onions, garlic and basil with lyonnaise potaoes.…(some fancy way of frying them I think)
Pan fried chicken with pan gravy and mashed potatoes…I know, really simple and something I used to do all the time (before losing weight) and should be second nature, but again, this will be the “cooking school version”
Poached breast of chicken with tarragon sauce and baked butternut squash.
Chicken fricassee with broccoli almondine (braising)
I was going to try grilled lamb chops, but the nutrition info stopped me cold, 50g of FAT! are you kidding me?? for a serving of 2 puny lamb chops??? holy toledo!
Roast prime rib of beef with roasted veggies
sauteed veal scallops with white wine lemon sauce, I have no side picked for that one yet…
marinated london broil, with grits and cheddar souffle. This one is to work on grilling meats.
Finally a chateaubriand of venison with a bernaise sauce and brown rice with spiced pecans.
We may go in the hole for the grocery budget this time, but its all in the name of education!
Good thing I started the P90X system this month. For my breakfast and lunches I will really have to focus on good nutrition to offset the rather calorie heavy meals. As long as I keep my workouts focused, and my portions smart, it should be ok.
Just think what it will be like when I hit the eggs, pasta and baking sections! Maybe 2 workouts a day!