Lesson 20: Soups on a rainy day

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This morning I woke up to HORRIBLE weather!  Dark, rainy, and windy!  What better way to warm up than some warm oatmeal?!  Oatmeal is one of my favorite foods and I have it almost every day for breakfast.  Most people top their oatmeal with healthy supplements, like granola, almond butter, or fresh fruit.  However, I top my oatmeal with WHIPPED CREAM!  I used to just use plain ol' reddi-whip..but I recently discovered that fresh whipped cream is the best on oatmeal because it slowly melts and makes it super creamy!  Seriously, I am obsessed with this breakfast. Sometimes I try and switch it up and have a muffin, but nothing satisfies me like oats and cream!
After some oats and pumpkin coffee I slipped on my rainboots (which were totally necessary this morning) and headed on my way to NYC.  Today's lesson was soo appropriate for the cold, nasty weather-- SOUPS!  After Chef Allen's lecture, each group prepared the day's recipes: Chicken consomme, cream of broccoli soup, and puree of carrot soup.  

I've never heard of consomme before I came to culinary school...and it is the weirdest soup I have ever encountered!  I reviewed the recipe before class and was really confused with all the talk about "rafts" and "chimneys".  Apparantly, we had to wait for a raft to form and then form a chimney?  Uhhhhhhhh?

It became a little more clear once we were able to make the soup for ourselves.  Consomme is basically a clarification of stock and a lean protein.  We whipped egg whites with mirepoix, egg whites, and tomato concasse and added in the chicken stock.  After heating the mixture over moderate heat, the proteins form on the top of the pan, forming a "raft" (aha!).. The "chimney" we had to make involved basically spooning a hole in the middle of the protein mixture to allow steam to vent through.  2 hours later, after straining the mixture and disposing of the weird globs of chicken & egg, we had a clear consomme!  I learned today that consomme is meant to eat/sip in small amounts as a palate cleanser or before a meal to stimulate your appetite and ease your stomach.  Very high class ;)

While our consomme was cooking away, our groups each made the broccoli and carrot soups.  I have to make the broccoli soup on Friday for my practical exam!  It's not your typical broccoli recipe, either..definitely more involved with lots of steps.  The result was a very smooth, thin (yet creamy), tasty soup!  I'm so used to thick broccoli soups with globs of cheddar.  In this soup, you can actually taste the broccoli flavor, which was very refreshing and enjoyable.

Our carrot ginger puree soup also turned out very tasty.  It had a very strong ginger taste, but was also sweet, creamy, and flavorful!

I was supposed to stay after school today and go to the Marcus Samuelson demo, but I actually decided to skip it.  I was extremely tired because I didn't sleep well last night, and I was stressing out a bit because I wouldn't get home until after 11 and still had to study for tomorrow's test.  It stinks knowing I have a long commute home.. especially late at night when the trains don't run as frequently :/   Well, I'll have to find out how it was from other students in my class!  Time for the Top Chef finale then bed!!  (I hope Kevin wins!!)


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