Methods of cooking weeks 2- 4

The last couple of weeks of class have been the least exciting of the whole program so far. I’ve seen them as sort of the necessary evil one must go through in order to get to the more exciting part in the upcoming weeks. We’ve covered a lot of different topics, but nothing has really captured a ton of my interest.

We spent one night on sandwiches and made a Rueben, Monte Cristo, club sandwich and a veggie wrap. It was an insane amount of food to make in one night. For just a bunch of sandwiches, there’s an incredible amount of work to do. I ate none of them save for one small piece of the Monte Cristo. I had never had one and at that moment, it just looked really good and I knew I’d never order something like that at a restaurant so I gave it a try. To my surprise (or, why should I be surprised that something deep fried wouldn’t be good), I found it to be pretty divine. An excellent choice for hangover food if one is in search of something of that ilk.

Smoked salmon tea sandwich (front), Gougere with goat cheese and pear filling (back).

Smoked salmon tea sandwich (front), Gougere with goat cheese and pear filling (back).

Another night we spent entirely on canapés , which actually, I enjoyed. A ton of different types of veggies, breads, spices and proteins were brought in and it was up to us entirely what we wanted to make so long as we made one of each type of canapé per the Chef’s instructions. It was a good test of time and menu management. We had one hour and 45 minutes to prepare a platter, so as a team we had to make sure that we could finish what we were planning to do in the time allotted.  We pulled together a plate of crudité with hummus, chicken satay, savory gougeres made with goat cheese and pear filling, and smoked salmon tea sandwiches. We only had a recipe for the hummus and everything else was up to us to create – it was a fun night!

The last two classes have been my least favorite, by far. We pickled a whole bunch of vegetables one night and the second night was the dreaded pate and terrine night. Yeckh!! I have never even had pate and now that I’ve made it, I definitely will never want to eat it. There’s nothing appealing whatsoever about cutting away sinew from a duck liver and dropping it into a food processor with fatback and watching it puree into a liquid. Not to mention the metallic smell of the liver. Apologies to those of you who actually enjoy this type of food, but I found it to be a repulsive process – and not just because of my vegetarian history – I wouldn’t eat this even if I was a full on carnivore.

Also, why anyone would waste perfectly good grilled vegetables by layering them with loads of gelatin to make a terrine is beyond me. I don’t see the appeal. Anyway – Charlie has certainly enjoyed having freshly made duck liver terrine in his kibble the last few nights.

The second half of this quarter is way more appealing than the first half has been – looking over the syllabus, I see fresh pasta, risotto, poached fish, roasted chicken and beef bourguignon in my future. Can’t wait!

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