Week 1- Asian

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Alrighty, folks!

It's so hard to believe that only a year ago I was a nervous wreck standing in front of Chef CJ and asking her how to tie my neckerchief. Today was my first day of Quarter FIVE. I have three lab classes this quarter so you are in for a real treat because three lab classes means three new blog entries every week! Tuesdays I have Asian Cuisine and Wednesdays I have Classical European and Advanced Patisserie and Display Cakes.

Today in Asian we were in Japan. I read the chapter last night to prepare for the class and I was intrigued by the few pages of information they provided. I am interested in the ritualistic aspects of such a simple act such as tea. For next week we are supposed to research kaiseki which is a Japanese dinner of tiny plates. So basically it is the tapas of Japan. Everything is very precise, though, from the timing of each dish to the serviceware it is presented on.

We had an extensive collection of products to learn about today. Many kinds of seaweed, tofu, fish, sauces, and rice were shown. I took video but my memory card got full towards the end of the presentation. One of the things I learned today is that soy sauce as we know it (as in, the kikkoman version) is actually made from wheat, not soy. The REAL soy sauce is known as Tamari and is actually made from soy. The Japanese refer to this by name and not as soy sauce.

I also experienced Edamame (ed-ah-mah-may) for the first time. These are immature soybeans still in the pod. They were frozen in the bag and we simply poured boiling water over them and let them set until cooked. They were not quite as soft as peas but were surprisingly delicious. I think this is a new veggie that I will be adding at home. They were then taken out of the pod and tossed with a little kosher salt. Delicious.

Another dish we made was Japanese Pot Stickers or Dumplings. We combined ground pork and Japanese cabbage with other seasonings and then placed them in wonton wrappers. Thankfully we used premade wrappers. That shaved alot of time off the process. Then we steamed and sauteed those formed into half circles and deep fried the ones we made into the little square packages. Oh my goodness. I really loved these. Not healthy, but so good.

Of course I saved the best for last. We made sushi. Lots of sushi. We made rolls, inside out rolls and hand rolls. My first roll was a little messy but they progressively got better. I'm going to be a pro by the end of this course! No more going out for sushi for me once that happens! I did learn that you need to freeze the raw fish for two days before using for sushi.

I cannot even begin to tell you all the things I learned today. I know that there are a million things she said that I cannot remember at this point and there is SO much to learn. This is going to be such an interesting class and I cannot wait to dive into the information full force.

Tomorrow: Classical European and Advanced Patisserie and Display Cakes!
I contacted my Classical teacher and already have my recipe cards for tomorrow knocked out so I feel prepared. Creme Brulee, here I come! Again! I <3 Creme Brulee!!


Jennifer said...

omg, I can't believe you hadn't tried edamame :) it's my fave!!! I always keep it in the fridge.
curious, WHY must the fish be frozen for two days, I don't think we do that....
I did NOT know that about the tamari sauce/ soy sauce....which we call shoyu. Japan rox!!!! :) just sayin'....lol
and fyi, we call the "pot stickers" gyoza, it's also one of my faves, that and shumai, yummo.
I'm gonna LOVE this semester of classes....whoot whoot!!!!

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