Lesson 38: Potatoes and Souffles

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Today we were greeted by Chef Anna, our new Chef Instructor.  I must say, I love her spunky sense of humor and intelligence in the kitchen.  She really made the day a lot of fun!

She owns her own hotel/restaurant in upstate NY called Ruby's Hotel.  I checked out the website today and noticed that she specializes in creating a menu with fresh, organic ingredients.  Most of the produce even comes from her own garden.  My food philosophy is largely focused on local, organic foods and creating simple dishes out of the best ingredients, so I loved reading that her philosophy on food is similar to mine.  Maybe one day my parents and I will take a little road trip to have dinner at her restaurant!

Today we made lots of buttery, creamy potato and root vegetable dishes.  We began by tourne'ing more carrots and parsnips (still extremely difficult, but I'm getting better the more I practice).  Later on in the class we blanched and "glazed" them in a reduced syrup made from chicken stock, sugar, and butter:

We peeled and partially cooked thin slices of potatoes for our potato gratin (shown at the very top of this post).  To assemble the gratin, we layered on the potatoes, gruyere & parmesan cheeses, and warm heavy cream.  Soo unhealthy, but sooooooo good!!

We also made pureed potatoes and sweet potatoes.  For the Idaho potatoes, we simply cooked the diced taters and smashed them in a ricer.  I whisked in some melted butter, warm cream, salt, and pepper.  Each group added a special addition to their mashed potatoes-- my group added roasted garlic.  I must say, the other flavored potatoes were pretty awesome too-- wasabi & caramelized onion.  For the sweet potatoes, we just seasoned it with melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg.  Very sweet and yummy!

The two most interesting dishes of the day were the Carrot Timbales and the Broccoli Souffles.  A carrot timbale is like a souffle, but had more of a gelatin texture and did not rise that much.  The hardest part about making the broccoli souffle was whipping the egg whites by hand.  No electric mixers at culinary school apparently!  Got my bi-cep workout today at least hehe.  Loved that Chef Anna called me "Betty Crocker" because I had to use a toothpick to test the souffles.  She cracks me up!   Here's a picture of our beautiful souffles (that sadly fell after siting out too long)

I felt so full from all of the rich, creamy dishes of the day that I only had room for one more carrot timbale when I got home.  Soon after I had some cheesecake (lets be serious, I never skip dessert!)

Tomorrow we have another quiz (boo)  Then, we will be cooking legumes!  I'm excited to make falafel pitas and baked beans!


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