Friday, April 4, 2014

Culinary Techniques: Week 4

Eggs, probably the most complex yet simple food that we eat. It can take on many forms depending on how it is prepared and sometimes it, although in disguise, it is a key ingredients in the food that we eat. Without eggs, we won't have fluffy meringues or tasty pasta. This week, learned how to properly poach an egg. To my surprise, it was much better than all the other poached eggs I've had at restaurants. It was warm, rich, and creamy.

Also, I learned how to make french style omelets which is different than the ones I am normally use it. It is moist on the inside and has a creamy consistency. Unlike the way I normally make omelets, the eggs are agitated while being cooked and allowed to set when it is almost cooked. It is very difficult to make a good rolled omelet because a good one should not have wrinkles and also shouldn't have color. How can this happen when you are stirring it around the pan like you are scrambling an egg?? I guess I just need more practice. The flat omelet is a bit easier since you are allowed to let it brown, but you just have to flip it over in one piece in the pan. =/

After that, we learned eclairs and cream puffs. The dough is cooked two ways, once on top of the stove then piped on the a baking sheet and baked in the oven. The transformation that takes place in the oven is amazing. The end product looks a lot better than it started. Also, another variation for this dough is to fry it, which will give us churros when coated with cinnamon and brown sugar. YUMM...



I was hoping that we would be making chocolate eclairs but we ended up making vanilla ones filled with pastry cream and coated with fondant. In addition to puff pastries, we learned to make custards. There was the cream caramel which is very similar to flan, and then we also made a coffee flavored pot de creme, unfortunately mine didn't turn out well because we forgot to cover it before putting it into the oven, and eventually got some water in it.

Another good week of learning ended with tarts and quiches. We made apple tart with granny smith filling and topped with slices of golden delicious, bacon cheeses quiche, and almond pear tart.

After a long day rolling crust and filling tarts, I went to a seminar starring Jacques Pepin. I have to say, that he does have a lot of tricks rolled up his sleeves. I would say that he is like a chef magician, making roes out of butter scrapings and tomato skin, deboning a whole chicken and keeping it in one piece, filleting a fish in two strokes effortlessly. 

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