Mar 10, 2009

Culinary School: Week Three

The fruits of our labor (sort of, we only made the sauces):  pesto pasta, arugula salad with a classic non-emulsified vinaigrette, roasted asparagus, roasted baby potatoes with salsa verde, tapenade on bread (my group made the tapenade and it was delicious and I don't even like olives!) and mango chutney.  Odd meal, but that was not really the purpose, as the chef wisely pointed out.

These potatoes were a perfect example of working with quality ingredients.  They were my favorite thing on the plate and all that was done to them was a quick wash, a light coat of olive oil, put on a sheet pan and roasted in a 425 degree oven (yes, it is a convection oven and yes, it is a professional oven), a little salt and pepper.  They were perfection; melty and earthy and completely nourishing.

The tapenade.  It had orange zest in it as well as chopped roasted almonds, which surprised us.

Tarragon buerre blanc.  No likey.  Tarragon tastes like licorice and although I thought I would love having a straight shot of butter and cream, it didn't do much for me.

This is classic demi glace, which is made from classic brown stock which is made from veal bones.  The stock is cooled, defatted and put back on the heat until it reduces enough to cover a plate (this signifies it as the lightest of sauces).  We used the demi glace to make red wine reduction sauce.  Again, not a huge sauce fan, which surprised me.  I think I am more a fan of bright flavors, or super thick gravy type sauce, like bechamel.  Give me some flour with my fat or protein...makes sense.

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