Cooking Class 17: What’s up with Mr. R?

So I had to take the train and I arrived at class early. I had enough time to change and eat my yogurt and still make it on time for class. One of our classmates was late. He came in in such a hissy fit mood and he was so slow and was refusing to really take part. It was the three of us at first. So we divided up the duties and hoped that we could still finish the assignments in time. When he came in, he was unproductive and the other girl at our table was furious, but she hid it well. I was a little take aback because this guy was usually my partner, but today he just held the space. He prepared the Veal Blanquette.

So here was the run down for today.

Whole Fish w Olives (red snapper) n Capers. I volunteered to do this. I like being able to practice taking the fish off the bone. I honestly feel that the more technical things are less coveted as most people may not want to do the tedious work, as in any other profession. I do however like the challenge of taking the meat off and not destroying it in the process. I de-boned the fish and then cut into fillets. After I marinated it with a mixture of minced garlic, lime juice and canola oil. It sat in the fridge for a while. Sadly, we cooked it too late and the bottom of the fish was half cooked. That was a waste of a good fish.

Braised Beef Cheeks –yummy
It smelled so good and was so juicy. I never knew that the other cheeks cooked well. It looked like a meat mess (red and while pieces like it was ripped, and it was like the stuff you could not decipher 😦 fortunately–it just needed to be cleaned up) We seared the cheeks and then using the fond and sauce left over, added a bunch of veggies, and some red wine. We returned the cheeks and then covered with parchment paper and let cook for 3-3.5 hours. It come out so moist. I used thongs to take out of the stew and it was like holding marsh-mellows, almost. It smelled so delicious. (if you want the recipe, send me a comment) Oh I forgot to mention that this it not a quick dinner. It is more like an Easter thing, where you prepare the day before.

Osso Bucco -big meat. It was like over-sized oxtail, really. This came out so good. On the plate it as like GIANT food. I guess we are used to food that just sits flat on the plate. Well like the cheeks, at the end it was not quite falling off the bone but was soft. It would be a good stew on a cold winter’s night. We used veal shanks. We were almost done preparing this and had a few minutes before plating time. We forgot to make the Gremolota. It is a garnish of garlic, lemon rind and Italian parsley. The presentation was a good ridiculous. 3 large bones on a plate with meat, and then sauce, a plain (no veggies in it) sauce surrounded it. I can only imagine how much something like that would go for in a restaurant.

One of my favorite vegetable preparations: Endives
I did not know that I would like endive. I was able to prepare it from beginning to end. I cooked the endives with strips of bacon in a large saute pan. The bacon strips are wrapped around and you try to get it browned. I did not get it BROWN, like cooked bacon, but it was cooked 50% of the way. Then I added chicken stock and put in the oven to braise. After, on goading by my teammate, we browned the endives. We used a salamander-heat formed by long tunnels of flames on the top, -in about 10 minutes that bacon was crisp and the dish was beautiful. I want a salamander. You know when you cook something but it does not quite have a good color but cooking much will over cook it, well this is the solution. When we served it , it was pretty and when we ate it, it was great. I LIKE endives. If you want to complete recipe, comment and ask.

Braised Fennel
I could deal with this but it is too stringy and hard to pull apart. You need to cut with the grain, not against. Your knife will seem ineffectual. Someone else prepared this one. It is pretty as the shape is like a fan but I could do with out. It is prepared much the same way as the Endive, less the bacon.

We had our food for lunch. Good tasting and somewhat good for you. God help the meat eaters.
in the evening we made stick to your bones stuff.

Chicken Stewed in Red wine or as it is formally known–Coq au Vin
I always get to prepare the chickens. This preparation has pearl onions, and mushrooms. I seared the chicken-60% cooking it I think. The chicken was cooked in the bacon fat. Then after removing the chicken we had to flambe–why why why. That means, dip the pot into the flame and then have it catch on fire and it releases all the crap from pan. It was then cooked in about 32fl oz of wine (only a little is left after cooking) and then we plated it with the mushrooms and onions. It was a beautiful stew. I like the taste but I think a more flavorful wine would have made the difference. -my opinion.

Next was Veal Blanquette
I watched it get made. It was a long process, I guess similar to mine but all the items had to be prepared separately. So help you if you only have a tiny stove with 2 burners. One burner has the veal boiling, 2 frying pans had the pearl onions and the mushrooms steaming. In order for the sauce to be white, no browning could occur so all non-browning techniques had to be used.

Provencale Lamb Stew (Ragout de’Agneau) Provencal
This was excellent–almost beefy. Our teacher changed the run of the recipe. He should have just handed out his own. He changed the oil, amount of garlic, type of wine, and we added a thickener. This was a fairly simple dish and my partner prepared it. This tasted so good. I felt like it was a delicate dance in my mouth.

The last and most veggie friendly dish was RATATOUILLE–yes I have the recipe. A while back my bf and I ate a Belgian restaurant and he had it. It was tomato heavy and almost had no other taste. I could not even tell what other veggies were in it. Also I had not eaten zucchini, eggplant and squash in great amounts to even know what they really tasted like. In this recipe-you tasted all the wholesome goodness and it was a pretty color. Yellow food is a rare thing–unless you are counting yellow skittles, yellow Easter fare. 🙂 Maybe you have more yellow than me–not to be confused with a light BROWN, which is the color of all friend foods.
Here are the ingredients: yellow squash, zucchini, red pepper, green pepper, eggplant, onions, shallots, tomatoes mashed up, and some basil to top of at end. It is basically a one pot deal. Onions are browned first and then all the veggies are added and simmered till tender. It is not runny either. It is a great veggies dish and a great way to color up a presentation. TRY IT AND LET ME KNOW!

Man I brought home a little of everything. At the beginning of class the teacher said that this would be stick to your bones food.– Home cooking that was satisfying. I was afraid to eat a lot during the middle of the day as I get the ITIS pretty bad. So I ate and chased it with some coffee, more like a latte. That carried me through the evening.

Remember, if you want a further explanation or a recipe, let me know. I can scan it for you or type it up.

So eat well, enjoy life.
Ciao

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