Jun 7, 2007

Techniques of Fine Cooking 1 - Class #4

Today was egg day! Everything we learned revolved around eggs in some way.

The lecture portion started off by going over some of the technical ways to cook the items we were going to be cooking later in the class, such as the temperature the water should be to properly poach eggs, how to properly peel hard-cooked eggs, and how to make clarified butter.

Chef then demonstrated how to peel tomatoes, how to add eggs to water to poach them, how to scramble eggs (in a sauce pan, of all things), how to make omelets (both American and French style), and how to separate eggs whites and yokes.

Then we got down to practice. Because there were no long cooking dishes tonight, we were each able to practice making omelets and poached eggs. My poach was okay, and my American omelet came out fine, but my French omelet was way off, but with some practice, I’m sure it’ll get better. I also blame the non-stick pans which were not in the best shape and stuck quite a bit. I’ll be giving it a try at home where my non-stick pan is in top shape.

After making eggs, I assisted chopping up some herbs for the vinaigrette for the Salad Niçoise. Because our group got first choice on the soufflé type, we got last choice on the tuna for the salad, so we got stuck with canned tuna while other groups got to make seared tuna and a kind of poached tuna. After helping with the salad, I cut up and pureed a few bananas for the soufflé while a group mate made the syrup that the puree would get added to.

Once that was done, he and I whipped egg whites, then folded in the puree syrup and poured the soufflé mixture into ramekins while our group mates plated the Salad Niçoise. Chef demonstrated how to make Hollandaise sauce and then made “fake” Eggs Benedict on baguette since we didn’t have English muffins (they were still great, with a little caviar on top to boot).

While we sat down to enjoy the eggs and salad, we put our soufflés in the oven. In about 18 minutes, we took them out, and I’m proud to say that none flopped. The other groups made chocolate and lemon, and all three were fantastic.

After cleaning up my place setting, I took home some salad and a little bit of each soufflé(which I’m enjoying as I type this). This was by far the easiest class, but it was also the most informative since I learned the correct way to cook things I’ve been cooking wrong my whole life.

Homework includes a frittata and possibly a spinach soufflé. I actually can’t wait to do my homework this week.