today in lab we worked with red meats. first we were introduced to a couple different cuts, such as the pork loin and ribs. we made a couple different dishes including meat loaf, pan seared pork chops, fried pork cutlets, and grilled tenderloin. this lab was probably my favorite lab to date because i love red meats, they are my favorite food to work with. my favorite dish was probably the roasted ribs because ribs are one of my favorite foods and also nick did a very good job making the barbeque sauce, which made the ribs. all in all i could work with red meats for the next month and be content with it.
to start, chef backus foster was not our instructor today; seargent behr filled in for her. he ran class a little differently, instead of showing us what to do then setting up stations he showed us what to do and let us free in the kitchen pretty much. we chose which methods we wanted to use and we did it ourselves. first he showed us how to gut the fish, which is a pretty gross process but it’s also kind of fun. you start by cutting the underside of the fish open then reach in grab the guts and then cut them out. after that we began to seperate the filets. for this you come from the opposite side of the fish and follow the spin all the way down until it is seperated, then you do the same to the opposite side. once you’ve seperated the filets from the spine you set the head and spine aside and save it for fish stock; which we will be making next week. when you have seperated them, you take each filet and take the skin off. this process is quite difficult, esspecially if you don’t have a filet knife; which, of course, i don’t. you have to carefully slide your kinife between the meat of this fish and the skin then hold the skin bak while you cut across leaving as little meat behind as possible. once we did this to both sides he showed us a couple different methods of dry heat cooking for fish. he made a tempura batter and a breading then deep fried the fish. he also showed us how to pan fry the fish. after he showed us me and lizz did all of the processes and they all came out pretty well. my favorite was probably the pan fried. first i breaded the fish in a lemon pepper breading, then i sauteed onions and garlic until they were tender then fried the fish in what was left. after the fish was cooked i added the onions and garlic back in and used some white wine to deglaze the pan, i let it reduce a little bit and then poured it over the fish, it was delicious. at the end of lab seargent behr gave us a couple pointers and tips on what to do and what not to do while cooking fish, in the ened i found it extremely helpful and i will remember a lot of the tricks he taught us for a long time. fin, pun fully intended.
so today in lab we learned moist heat cooking techniques. we started off by fabricating a chicken again, but this time we only had to separate each piece not anything fancy. we then moved on to setting up four different stations. one for braising, one for poaching, one for a stew, and lastly one for en papillote. at the braising station, we started by dredging the chicken in flour then brown it in a brazing pan. after that we removed the chicken, deglazed the pan and made a sauce that we were going to braise the chicken in. me and lizz added white wine, onions, mushrooms, carrots, and chicken stock and then finished it in the oven. after that we moved onto the poaching station. for our poaching solution we mixed heavy cream, lemon juice, and some dried herbs. we brought it to a poaching temperature of about 165 and then added our chicken breast and covered it with a layer of tinfoil to keep the chicken from floating to the top. we let that cook for about 15 minutes and then it was done, i think it was my least favorite dish of the lab. when we made the chicken en papillote we covered a piece of parchment paper with oil then put a layer of onions and apples down. we then put the chicken tenders on top of that and then we added some cream and white wine to help steam the chicken. we then folded the paper to seal it and stuck it in the oven for 10 minutes, when it came out we tasted it and it was ok but it was better with some hot sauce. chef backus foster showed us how to make the stew and when she finished it we tried it and it was delicious, but it wasn’t better than the braised chicken because that was my favorite dish in lab. oh yeah i almost forgot we made buffalo wings again, i’d say that they were good but you should know there is no such thing as a bad buffalo wing.
This week in lab I learned how to fabricate a chicken in a new way. I separated the wings, breasts, thighs and legs. I also learned how to retrieve the oysters which I didn’t know how to do beforehand. I made a Chicken Supreme, which is when you leave one bone sticking out of the breast. Then we breaded the chicken tenders and fried them. Next we deboned the thighs and filled them with the stuffing I had made, after this we pan fried them. We also made hot wings, which, of course, were delicious. We made veloute sauce which was then made into a pan sauce and used on the Chicken Supreme. After we fabricated the chicken we roasted the bones so we could make brown stock out of them. I learned the different between white and brown stock. White is un-roasted bones when the brown has roasted bones. I’m really starting to like this lab.
Today in lab we worked on a couple of different grains and pasta dishes. first we made a rice pilaf, but instead of rice we used pearled barley. this was a bit strange because, honestly, i’ve never had barley outside of beef and barley soup. i really enjoyed the texture in the dish and the mushrooms and onions went quite well also. we also made risotto, which happens to be one of my favorite dishes in the world; espcially when there are mushrooms in it, it makes my stomach smile. we actually made our own pasta dough and rolled it out, and i find that process to be highly entertaining. Chef Backus -Foster advised cutting the dough when it got longer, but thats what entertains me, seeing how long i can make the dough without messing up. after the pasta we made spaetzel and gnocchi, both of which i like but hate making . probably more gnocchi than the spaetzel though. all in all for the fourth week of lab i have yet to be dissapointed.
this week in lab we made breakfast foods. we made eggs over easy and a french omlet, which happened to be my favorite part of lab. we also made pancakes and waffles, the waffles were better than the pancakes were but i don’t personally like pancakes so i guess its all about preference. we also had to make our own hollandaise sauce which was a but harder than i thought it was but it was still delicious. we also poached eggs which is not as hard as people make it out to be. lastly, and i hate to admit it, but we made french toast also. now french toast has got to be my least favorite breakfast food there is in the entire world, even the smell is enough to make me gag. although, i sucked it up and made it anyway, but as soon as it was done it quickly found itself in the trash. all in all i enjoyed this weeks lab because i love breakfast foods, and i love cooking them too.
So for our second week of lab, we did our potatoe unit. I’ve always known what a tourne is and how to do it, but i’ve never actually tried to do it until i got to Delhi. My high school teacher wasn’t lying when he said it was the hardest knife cut. When i first tried to tourne a potatoe it looked like a rock that had been beaten by the tides of a hurricane, but after a couple tries i started to get the hang of it. Now i’m not saying i am a tourne master but i have started to make some progress. We also made a couple different dishes around potatoes ranging from duchess potatoes to french fries. I think my favorite dish was the potatoe crochettes, they had the most flavor and the texture was just superb. My least favorite was probably the duchess potatoes just because they were a little to bland; although i must say it wasn’t my least favorite part of class. That was deffiniatly ricing the potatoes because i detest that process with everything i have. If i never had to rice another potatoe again, i could die happy.
So I went into lab yesterday thinking that we were going to sit there and listen to our teacher talk about rules of the kitchen, where everything is, and basicly do nothing, which, we did, but we also practiced our knife cuts. Honestly I was very surprised that we actually went straight to working. I really like the kitchen because it’s pretty spacious, despite all the clutter from the boxes. I can tell already I am going to enjoy cooking in this kitchen very much and i can’t wait to get into the real cooking instead of just knife cuts. Looking at the syllabus, I see a couple of labs i am really looking forward to. For example, I really want to do the fish labs, just because I never really get the chance to cook fish and I want to learn some of the techniques of keeping the fish intact whilst cooking it, because that it one of my biggest problems with fish. Although I have the labs I am looking forward to, I can’t really see one that I don’t want to be a part of, which is a good thing so I am really looking forward to future labs. i am going to have a lot of fun this semester.