Today was stock day.
First, however, we had a lecture on kashrut from someone from O-K Laboratories, one of the big four of certification companies (the others are O-U, Star-K and Kof-K).
This time, besides the basics of kashrut itself (no pork, kosher slaughtered animals, fish only with fins and scales, approved birds and no mixing of milk and meat, plus utensils either not used for anything but kosher OR rendered kosher by cleaning and appropriate heat), he talked about some of the difficulties - items not listed in ingredients, such as release agents (oils, for example) for baking or candies, or backhauling (the tank trucks hauling oj to New York don't want to go back empty. They might not carry kosher items back.) he talked about steam jackets - the steam is reused and is used for both kosher and unkosher products and there may be some exchange of taste (this, I'm not sure about, but okay.)
It's also a lot easier to certify a factory than a restaurant because factories don't change on a daily basis, while the best restaurants start each day with no food at all.
After the lecture, we took a quiz on utensils, and then we moved to making stock.
Stock is the basis of everything in the classic kitchen - it makes sauce and soups and stews, it's an ingredient in practically everything. It's also expensive to make, so most kitchens don't anymore.
It's composed of four things - water, BONES, mirepoix (usually, but not always, onions, celery and carrots - 1/2 onions, 1/4 each of the others BY WEIGHT - about 1lb mirepoix to 7-8 lbs of bones) and aromatics - peppercorns, parsley stems, bay leaves, and thyme. These can be tossed in, because they'll be strained out, or tied into a cheesecloth sachet or tied together in a bouquet. We made sachets today.
NO salt. Never put salt into a stock because stocks are often reduced and then you have too much salt. This is especially true for kosher stock, since the bones might be salty already.
So, we each had to make a pot of chicken stock today. That means that we had to wash about 5 lbs of chicken bones and put them in a pot and cover them with cold water - at least two inches over the top of the chicken, and let it simmer.
Meanwhile, we made our mirepoix. Since we were using less than 7 pounds of chicken, we used less than a pound of mirepoix (at least, my partner for the day Solly and I did that.) We decided to do 7/8th pound. Yeah, not that different, but good practice. So. 14 oz. 7 oz of onion, and 3.5 oz each of carrots and celery, in medium (3/4")dice. That's about one large onion, half a carrot and one stalk of celery, as we weighed them. I also put together a sachet of aromatics,making sure to leave a long string so it could be pulled out.
At this point the scum was rising in our stock pot. While Solly gathered the mise en place for our pico de gallo (salsa) to be made after the mirepoix - separately, but, hey, it never hurts to help each other - I moved the stock pot to the front of the stove and began to skim it using a small ladle. Mendy gave me advice on how to herd the scum to one area so its easier to get out. Once it was clean (I cleared the top and then stirred it and cleared it again), we added the mirepoix and the sachet. Note that I never let the stock come to a boil. It must stay at a slow simmer the entire time.
And then, we made pico de gallo. This was a concassé of tomato (two tomatoes blanched, shocked and peeled, then chopped finely), half an onion in small dice, half a scallion in small dice, a garlic clove minced, 1/2 jalopeño pepper minced (slice pepper lengthwise. Remove core and seeds and white ribs. Slice into thin strips and then crosswise into tiny strips.)1 tsp minced cilantro (not as fine as parsley and, sorry, Doctor Science, no squeezing), juice of half a lime, 1/2 tsp cumin plus olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Chef wanted to see the knife cuts (in bowls or on a sheet tray) before mixing them together, and those poor souls who can't eat cilantro could make theirs without. Because of the poor quality of winter tomatoes, we all added a little tomato juice as well.
He liked my knife cuts and Solly liked my salsa.
Chef then demonstrated how to make soy-honey chicken wings (except he used boneless, skinless thighs.) The recipe calls for chicken stock, so it was appropriate. Dredge the meat in flour, brown in peanut oil. Add garlic and chiffonade of ginger. Add honey and then soy sauce - cook until the honey gets thick. Add chicken stock and then some shredded scallions. When the sauce is the right consistency, toss in bias cut scallions and take off the fire. Serve on rice.
He made Sri Lankan rice,which includes cardamon pods and cinnamon sticks and is delicious with the chicken.
Other people cooked, but I didn't.
We then used a saucepan to start straining the stock, which was vented (cooled) in the sinks surrounded by ice water.
We then discussed sauce thickeners (roux, pure starches, eggs, butter/margarine, potatoes, legumes) and the sauce we'd make tomorrow, velouté. This is stock plus roux. Roux=fat and flour in equal parts. Very useful in the kosher kitchen.
And I'm bringing in some unsweetened soy milk tomorrow to use instead of coffee whitener in one of the sauces.