Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fresh pasta, exploding blenders, and I need more practice shopping.

Since my last post, I got As on both tests, in Basic and Safety and Sanitation. I wish purchasing was going so well. Ugh. I hate the online class format. It's just basically read the book, answer questions and take a quiz. I much prefer to be lectured at by a teacher. I have a meeting with my teacher on Wednesday to discuss what I can do, review the two quizzes I bombed, and whatever else comes to mind. I'm sure I'll do just fine in Purchasing, I just need a little reassurance right now.

You'll have to use your imagination on the next part. I've been having some camera battery issues and thus, I am photo-less.

A couple weeks ago in Basic lab, we tackled soups. We made consomme, a flavorful, clarified broth. If you make a stock, it's usually a bit cloudy. To clarify it into a consomme, you add clearmeat to it and simmer. Clearmeat is a mixture of lean ground meat (the same flavor as the stock), mirepoix (carrot, celery, onion), lightly beaten egg whites, and an acid (we used a bit of tomato paste). You mix it all up raw (it's really gross), add it to cold stock, and put it on the stove. Once it comes to a boil, you turn it down to a simmer and leave it alone. The clearmeat mixture cooks and attracts impurities from the stock. It floats to the top and forms a "raft." The raft cracks naturally and acts like a filter. It's super cool! Making consomme was one technique I was most excited about learning. You end up with this crystal clear broth with a big flavor. Ours was beef. All I could think when I tasted it was that's what I want next time I'm sick. Yummy! If you try it, be sure to season the consomme with kosher salt! The iodine in other salt will make the consomme cloudy and all your hard work for not! This lab was particularly interesting because it was very apparent who the serious students were. We were the ones standing over our pots talking about how cool this process was. In the soup portion of this lab, we made a cream soup. I chose cream of mushroom. I put my hot soup in the blender, whizzed it up, then set the blender on the counter to take the lid off. I went to pick it up and the bottom of the blender stayed on the table. You know the bottom part that screws on so you can take the blades out? Yeah. Somehow came unscrewed or something while I was blending. Soup went everywhere! It was awesome. Especially since it was my lunch. Luckily, about 7 people in my class offered to share theirs with me. I should have gotten a picture of that mess. Too funny.

In Basic lab, we also made fresh pasta, the week before Fall Break. We made miniature veggie lasagnas in ramekins. CUTE! We also made ravioli and tortelini. The tortelini was so much easier than I thought it would be. We had three fillings we had to make, to be shared by our table. There were three of us at my table, the same three people from the previous week's sauce lab when we made communal tomato sauce. I made the goat cheese stuffing for the tortelini. I used goat cheese, cream cheese, garlic, shallot, mint, tarragon, basil and parsley. It was very good. If I'm not mistaken, this was the first lab we've had all year without a clarified butter sauce!

1 comment:

S said...

I've done that with the blender before, only with margaritas. So sad.
Now I'm craving goat cheese tortelini. It sounds awesome!