School is back in session and this quarter covers hot and cold methods of cooking. The first 5 weeks will be spent on cold food preparation, otherwise known as garde manger, and the last 5 weeks will cover hot food preparation. A sampling of the items we’ll work on includes sandwiches, canapes, pates, terrines, seafood platters, and salads; and methods such as stewing, braising, grilling, sautéing and pan searing. The menu of foods we’ll prepare is wide and varied, and a few of them, I’m not sure how I’ll get through. Terrine? Pate? Chicken liver parfait? Eeeeck! None of the above sound appealing whatsoever, but I’ve been surprised by things before, perhaps I’ll be surprised again.
Also part of this quarter is a nutrition course. So I will learn how all the foods and nutrients work together to create a balanced diet. I’m sure there will be lots share from that, too.
We eased back into the first week with a couple of pretty simple classes. First we spent an entire night on egg cookery – making everything from French omelets, to quiche to eggs benedict. I’m getting quite the whisking arm after all the hollandaise and mayonnaise we made last quarter, so making this this past week was a piece of cake.
The second night we spent entirely on fruit plates. There were a variety of items to choose from and the chef demoed a few knife cuts which included making a bird of paradise out of an apple, properly cutting citrus segments (also known as supremes) and making roses out of tomato skins. Surprisingly, a lot of these were simpler to do than you would think. As long as you have a sharp knife and a steady hand, it’s easy going. We each made our own fruit plates and at the end of the night, we paired up with someone and made a platter big enough for 5 people. It was somewhat of a boring night for me, but the group part was a little more fun. I have a couple of pretty simple techniques that I can apply in the future, but I don’t see myself spending a lot of time perfecting this sort of thing.
If felt great to be back in the kitchen and I’m super excited for this quarter, even if I don’t end up liking a few of the things we make. Having the knowledge is always beneficial!
Next week: hot and cold sandwiches including Ruben and Monte Cristo.