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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Cooking School Days 1 and 2

Day One: Knife Skills

The main reason I took this class. I arrived early to find four metal tables set up in a rectangle, with twelve seats around it. Each "station" has a cutting board, a chef's knife and an apron. There are nine women and three men. The men have their own side of the table. The kitchen has a large stove, several fridges and lots of equipment.

The chef is *cute*. His name is Mark and he's not Jewish, but this is a fleishig kitchen and he knows how to adjust. And he's a real chef, which is even cooler.

The first half the class is lecture - in this case, the parts of the knife, types of knives we might use, plus demonstrations of knife cuts. He says there will be a quiz at the end. :)

To julienne a hard vegetable, square it off to a 2" long rectangle. Cut 1/4 inch planks and then cut them into 1/4 strips. To brunoise, cut the strips into tiny cubes. All leftovers go to stock pot.

To julienne an onion, cut in half, peel, cut off the stem end and then make a series of narrow cuts from root forward, changing the angle for the sides. Cut off the root end. Go through for big pieces - into stock pot. To dice an onion, make a series of horizontal cuts, then of front to back and then straight down. For a green pepper, cut off the sides, clean of seeds and ribs and then cut into narrow strips and then into squares.


Second half, after the break, is actual cooking - cutting vegetables for fried rice. Julienned carrots and red onions, small diced onions, brunoised (very tiny diced) shallots and ginger, chopped scallions. Garlic smooshed with salt. He made the jasmine rice pilaf style - cook onions in oil, coat the rice with the oil, add the recommended amount of water and place in oven. He cooked the cut vegetables in sesame oil.

It was good but too salty for me.



First half lecture : difference between stock, broth and soup. Stock is made with bones - white with blanched bones; brown with roasted bones. Broth is made with meat. Soup is a final product. He doesn't see the point of broth since it's more expensive to make and doesn't have as much flavor.

How one can go from stock to soup or sauce - add meat, herbs, more veg, thickener. Wine.

How to make the stocks - proportions for one gallon.

How to make emulsion sauces - demonstrated with mayonnaise and with vinaigrette - how to make a stable emulison for vinaigrette. Talked about hollandaise and buerre blanc, but since it's a fleishig kitchen, couldn't demonstrate. One woman, Shterna, routinely makes mayo for Pesach.

Break.

After break - divided into teams. Each team of three will make either Tuscan Bean and Gazpacho or "Cream" of Tomato and Gazpacho. My team made the bean soup. I...kinda took over - mostly assigning tasks.. Yeah. I do that. The soups came out fine, except neither my nor Donna's knife cuts were that wonderful. That was less relevent for the gazpacho since we pureed it. We also pureed the bean soup but the size of the veggies affected the cooking time adversely. Still. Both were yummy. The gazpacho was a tad weird - made with chicken stock. The tomato soup, for which I have a recipe? DELICIOUS. Made with soy milk. SO making it, even if I need to buy a conical strainer.

He did give dairy alternatives to the soup recipes and proportions for stocks.

Tomorrow - dry heat. We butcher chickens. YAY!

Comments

I'm envious- my cooking has reached the point where I reliably turn out decent meals. But could really use the help of a class to move to the next level. This sounds like fun.

A chinois is great for MANY things. You won't be sorry.

Sounds like loads of fun!

All my cooking purchases these days revolve around kids - I'm about to get a food mill so as to make food for Eva.