Week 3- Skills

Saturday, April 24, 2010

This week went MUCH better in skills class. We started out making a consomme which is a clarified stock that is used as a base for many other soups- such as chicken noodle soup. To prepare a consomme, you start with a cold stock and add clearmeat. Since we made chicken consomme, I will use this as the example. You take chicken breasts that have been cleaned of all fat and add it to a robot coupe *food processor*. After it has been pureed, you add egg whites to it and puree until the egg whites have foamed a bit with the chicken. You then puree the mirepoix *onions, carrots, and celery* and add it with the chicken. You also add tomato, herbs, and an onion brulee which is a charred onion half. Once everything has been pureed, you add it to the stockpot with the cold stock and bring it to a low simmer, stirring occasionally to keep the clearmeat from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Eventually, a raft will start to form. This is when the egg whites begin to coagulate and float to the top. As all this happens, it is collecting all the impurities from the stock. Once the raft has fully formed, you lower the heat and cut a "chimney" into the middle of the raft very carefully using a ladle so you do not make the gunk fall back down into the clear broth. After the consomme has simmered for a couple of hours, you carefully strain the consomme through a china cap *special strainer* lined with cheesecloth. If there is any fat on the top, you use a paper towel to blot these spots off. Ours had none.

We also made a French onion soup, which is my favorite but I don't get to eat often because Marc won't kiss me afterwards for about a day. It's my choice to not eat it, because...well, I want Marc to kiss me. It turned out fabulous!

Friday, we made a New England clam chowder and a cream of mushroom. It's very interesting to see how all these soups are actually put together. They aren't terribly difficult to make, it's all just about learning how to adjust the consistency and seasonings for me. I am also learning different little things about each soup. With New England clam chowder, for instance, you have to kind of babysit your pot because the clams like to stick to the bottom. With the cream of mushroom, you can walk away when it's on a low simmer and do some other things and just come back to stir and check the consistency once in awhile. The first photo is the clam chowder and the second is the mushroom soup.

We also made a potato leek soup, also known as vichyssoise, on Friday. I had never worked with leeks, so this was a fun experience for me. I had never tasted this kind of soup before, either. It was a very good soup! I definitely think I will make this at home at some point. We sweat the leeks in butter, which means that you cook them until they turn translucent but not brown, and then add minced garlic. Then you add the potatoes that you have diced or julienned. You then add chicken stock and a bouquet garni *parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns tied into cheesecloth*, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. Once everything is cooked, you puree it all with heavy cream and season it with salt and pepper. This can be served as a hot or cold soup.

As I said, this week went MUCH better and I am feeling more confident. Next week is going to be breakfast foods.

Here is a picture showing that I made the President's list last quarter!! This means that I got a 4.0gpa.


jennifer said...

YAY you!!!!!!!!!!! But I had no doubt!!!!! :)

jennifer said...

and I would like some cream of mushroom soup and some clam chowder. those are my 2 favorite soups, but i usually eat them in Campbell's form :) I've never had leek soup, isn't that kind of licc(yeah, I can't spell that) black jelly bean flavored????
ooh and I love french onion soup. yummy!!! so when you come down, when there isn't family visiting, ie your parents, I would LOVE for you to teach me.

miss you!!!!

Now This Is Life... said...

I can teach you even when my parents are there! Maybe my mom would want to watch, too. :)

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