Lesson 4: CHEESE and herbs!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today was a FUN day because we got to try lots and lots of cheese!  But first, we got to class and set up our cutting board stations and got ready for our second chopping lesson.  We were each given 3 potatoes to medium dice.  I finished a little early and was able to practice my small dice on a couple of carrots.  A pretty easy and short chopping lesson.  

As we cleaned up our stations, Chef Allen took out the cheese and all of our mouths started watering.  He told us we'd have to sit through the nutrition lecture before we were able to try the cheeses.  We reluctantly sat through an hour of nutrition, where he mostly told stories about how he can't stand vegetarians and vegans.  Then it was cheese time!  We started out with the mild cheeses, like brie and manchego.. then ended with blue and goat cheeses.  We also had 4 baguettes and french butter.  I seriously felt sick by the last cheese and was ready to go into a cheese coma.  

While we were sampling cheeses, Chef took our medium diced potatoes and showed us how to par boil and saute them.  He put them in generously salted water and let it come to a boil.  Then he drained them and immediately spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  He heated up some clarified butter in a saute pan until it was extremely hot.  He put the potatoes in the pan and lowered the heat.  After flipping them a couple of times, he let them slow cook for about 20-25 minutes.  The result was a salty, buttery, crispy potato.  I can't wait to try it on my own!

Next, he took out a variety of herbs and told us what they were.  We were able to smell and taste them and tape some of them to our notebooks.  Tomorrow we have a quiz where we have to identify those same herbs.  I know herbs pretty well, so I wasn't too worried.  I taped some marjoram, cervil, and curly parsley to my notebook just in case.. since I'm not used to working with those herbs.  I'm going to start bringing my camera to class to I can try and take some pics to show you all.  One girl did that today with the cheeses and I kicked myself for not bringing my camera!  TGIF tomorrow!  I hate to say it, but I am pretty excited to have a couple of days off... traveling into the city every day is starting to get a bit tiring!


Anonymous said...

I have a question about those saute potatoes, although I don't expect a reply :P, If you were getting ready to saute potatoes for lunch services would you blanch the potatoes ahead of time (maybe 30 minutes) before lunch service began, and set them out on cookie/lined parchment then saute to order?

One time I tried to parboil the potatoes a day ahead and leave in the fridge covered with clear wrap. Next day I tried to saute they, didn't quite have the crispiness as the one where you freshly parboil/drain steam dry and saute right away.

I'm just really curious about the preparation for saute potatoes in a restaurant style to order. Not like a breakfast place where they saute them up first and reheat :(. Is my expectation of saute potatoes too demanding?

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