Thursday, December 18, 2008
I've now begun my externship for the final 6 months of training at: Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant (http://www.tersiguels.com). SQUEEEEE!
Two days down and it's been exactly what I hoped it would be. I'm so glad I chose here. Take care everyone!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
LE FILET DE "TILAPIA" AUX AMANDES
Tilapia is one of those fish that even those who don't like fish, tend to like. This sauteed variation uses a buttery lemon sauce with almonds to dress it up. Next to it? Ratatouille! I could eat this all by itself with a loaf of good French bread every day, all day! Made it the same night and hubby was delighted. I definitely want to make it again soon. No, this is not the fancy prepared version from the Disney movie but I can bet it tastes just as good as what the critic sampled!
LA CREME BRULEE
Creamy creme brulee with a little cigarette cookie on the side. Luscious! I would love to have had some melted chocolate to dip those cookies into, made some crushed pistachios too. No matter, this was delicious.
Le Menu August 13, 2008
LA SALADE DE TOMATES
LA VINAIGRETTE AU BALSAMIC
No, no picture. Nothing exciting to see here. Move along.
LE MEDAILLON DE PORC POELE
JUS A LA SAUGE
LA POMME PONT-NEUF
A nice medallion of pork with a pan sauce using sage leaves. Sage is a wonderful compliment to pork, adding just the right savory flavor. And a little goes a long way. The fries are basically steak fries that are named after a bridge in France. If you look at the fries on their side the look like little "bridges". These are cooked the same way as the pomme frites but take longer for obvious reasons.
Remember how I said to check behind team mates to see what they're doing? This is one of those times where I should have but didn't. And it's possible it wasn't their fault but... The molds were prepared with shortening and powdered sugar. These cookies would have tasted great except for the flavor of SHORTENING that was pronounced on them. Ah well. I'll want to try this at home one day, I just need to price molds.
LES FRAISES AU VIN ROUGE
LA GLACE A LA VANILLE
This was pretty when it was first plated. Ice cream with a warm sauce of strawberries, simple syrup, and red wine. Understanding how food stylists would have done this dish for a photo shoot fascinates me.
Le Menu August 15, 2008 (Nothing the day before because we had a field trip)
LES FONDS D'ARTICHAUTS A LA GRECQUE
Boy you waste a lot of artichokes to make this appetizer. Delicious yes, but would be very expensive. Mushrooms were apparently the original vegetable used here but carrots and other vegetables would also work. Make a day or two ahead and prepare to get rave reviews.
LE POULET SAUTE MARENGO
LA POMME DARPHIN
The hash brown potatoes are definitely a favorite though cutting them with the mandoline is a pain. As for the Chicken Marengo, this is a dish who's history shows what ingenuity and pressure can do for someone. Talk about a mish-mash of ingredients: chicken, shrimp or crayfish, and a over easy egg on top. WHAT?!? We skipped the seafood part, and I didn't put the egg on mine. Apparently Napoleon was delighted though and the dish became famous. To me this was an early "Iron Chef" creation.
The original French King cake. Puff pastry filled with the an almond paste. This would have had a little plastic figure hidden in it much like the version served in New Orleans for Mardi Gras (where do you think they got the idea). I hated to cut this one it was so pretty. Glad I did because it was delicious!
LE BEURRE BLANC AU SAFRAN
LA POITRINE DE VOLAILLE POELEE AUX CHAMPIGNONS DE PARIS
LES POMMES RISSOLEES
LES PETITES CAROTTES
LES FRAISES AU SABAYON
Sadly I didn't get to try this one. I mean I tried the one Chef Patrice demoed but time was of the essence and I only had enough time to serve the dish. It's fruit in a caramelized meringue like sauce.
Le Menu for August 6, 2008
LA SALADE CAESAR
Yes, I made Caesar salad dressing. We used pasteurized eggs and anchovies packed in oil. It was really, really good. I doubt I'd make this much at home from scratch because I don't have much use for the anchovies... yet. I can't believe that the anchovies were actually kind of tasty. We'll see where this leads.
L’ESCALOPE DE VEAU VIENNOISE
LE GRATIN DAUPHINOIS
LES HARICOT VERTS A L'ANGLAISE
Bread veal with an elaborate sauce and garnish. We had to peel and slice lemons, top that with a half a green olive and wrap the olive with an anchovy. The sauce (hard to see in this picture) was an interesting concoction using a hard boiled egg and herbs. But it worked! Cheesy baked potatoes and string beans. I can apparently make a mean batch of cheesy baked potatoes.
LA SALADE DE FRUITS FRAIS
Palmiers, sometimes called Elephant Ears is another dessert that is great when you have leftover puff pastry and don't want to toss it out. I have to be careful or I'll eat far too many of those darn cookies. The biscotti was easy to make (why do they charge so much for them again?) much to my friends at Combattitude and my husband but I just can't get much into them. The fruit salad is the most elegant version I've ever seen or eaten. Perfect for when you have a mess of fruit and need to do something with it before it goes bad.
Le Menu for August 7, 2008
LES GNOCCHIS A LA ROMAINE
LA SAUCE TOMATE AU FENOUIL
OK, there are 3 types of gnocchi. The one everybody knows made from potatoes, this one made using semolina, and a third using the same Pate Au Choux from the desserts I made earlier, but boiled. This version reminds me of a lasagna-like dish using polenta. We sauteed butternut squash and placed that between the layers and then made a fennel flavored sauce. Incredible. Bryan's new favorite pasta dish and most appreciated when served to my friends at Combattitude.
LA TRUITE SAUTEE GRENOBLOISE
LES BROCCOLIS A L’ANGLAISE
LES ENDIVES BRAISEES
This time we sauteed trout and served it with braised endives and broccoli. Unfortunately this shot isn't as nice as what I served because we about ran out of the endives and broccoli. No matter, it was tasty.
LA TARTELETTE AU CITRON MERINGUEE
I still need to work on dealing with pie dough quickly. It tasted great but getting the dough thin enough and into the form was a PAIN IN THE BUTT! The lemon curd we made is zingy which I like. Then we did a simply meringue on top. Did you know there are 3 types of meringue? French - the kind everybody makes from egg whites and sugar, Swiss which has been warmed up a bit to melt the sugar and start to cook the egg whites a touch. Italian is egg whites mixed with sugar cooked to the soft ball stage. We're talking HOT! This is the same stuff that you mix with butter and flavorings once it's cooled down to get buttercream frosting.
Le Menu August 8, 2008
LES RAVIOLIS DE CREVETTES
LA SAUCE A LA CRÈME ET BASILIC
This is the dish that made me want to buy a pasta machine. Haven't yet but I still want one. The raviolis are filled with minced shrimp and butter then dressed with creamy sauce (similar to an Alfredo) with basil. My team mate and I made pigs of ourselves on this one.
LES OEUFS BROUILLES PORTUGAISE
LES POMMES FRITES
No, this is not a normal plating but we needed to get the techniques in somehow. The french fries are properly cooked twice. The first blanches/cooks the inside, the second crisps up the outside. Lesson learned, don't leave french fries around or people will walk by and sneak of with them! The eggs are scrambled until you get little curds and it's still a little wet. Not the way I like them but the technique to get the texture was worth learning.
LA MERINGUE AUX FRUITS ROUGES
Take the meringue we'd piped a few days ago, cook it at low heat until they're dried out. Layer them with berries. Drizzle with a berry coulis (sauce) and whipped cream. I'd love to see this served to some little girls having a tea party. =)
LES POMMES VAPEUR
LES HARICOT VERTS A L’ANGLAISE
LES BROCCOLIS A L’ANGLAISE
More filleting of flounder. Getting much better at that. This dish did teach me one very important lesson that will serve me in my future (school and work life)...
LES ECLAIRS AU CAFE
Le Menu July 30, 2008
Ignore the fact that it looks like a frog, I truly enjoy working with puff pastry. We'd made the puff pastry the afternoon before and this was the first thing we made with it. It's puff pastry filled with a layer of cheesey good Mornay sauce. I'd like to try these for appetizers at a dinner party.
LE COQ AU VIN
LES POMMES A L’ANGLAISE
LA MOUSSE AU CHOCOLAT EN TULIPE
I didn't work fast enough and the tulip cookies didn't mold properly around the champagne glass to get a flute shape. Still, the cookie was good and the chocolate mousse was nice. I need to work on the mousse however. It didn't feel like I got it completely right.
Le Menu July 31, 2008
LE GASPACHO ANDALOUS
This is one sexy dish. Perfect for a Summer lunch or a start to a sultry meal. I have to agree with the person who said it reminded them of a Bloody Mary in a bowl. Just alchohol free. LOL! The garnish and little croutons we made really add that extra punch to the finish. This was made recently to share with some of my friends at Combattitude. Most finished it right then and there in the studio!
LA COTE DE PORC POELEE
LA SAUCE CHARCUTIERE
LA POMME PUREE
A nicely cooked bone in pork chop, served with a pan sauce finished with a few slivers of cornichons (non-sweet gherkins), served with the creamiest mashed potatoes ever. We used a ricer to get the potatoes nice and smooth, heavy cream that had been reduced to make it extra rich, and of course butter. WOW!
LE MILLE FEUILLE
I present to you, the Napolean. This improperly referred to dessert isn't French at all but Italian. The name just got confused when it came here. I don't think Mom will care as long as I make plenty of them for her.
Le Menu August 1, 2008
THAI EGG ROLLS
It helps to learn these from a person who's actually from Thailand. So good. So simple. So easy to eat too many! I've made them twice more at home and look forward to making them for a party. The do freeze very well.
LE SAUTE DE PORC AUX HARICOTS BLANC
This is not your canned pork n' beans, no siree! Savory white beans served with an incredible pork stew on top. Why do we not eat more things like this in restaurants, I just don't know. Hearty, this will be perfect as the weather starts to turn cooler.
LA TARTE TATIN
Upside down, caramel apple pie. The perfect dessert when you have leftover puff pastry. The fact that it can be reheated just tickles me completely! There are several stories as to how this dessert came to be. One story says it came about because the cook forgot to put the bottom crust in the pan. Another story says the apple pie fell on the floor and this was the only way to salvage it. I don't care, it's just delicious. I really need to make some puff pastry to use at home soon. I recently saw a recipe that uses pears that I'm now curious to try. Oh, and Chef Somchet has a hard time pronouncing my name so she's nicknamed me "Tarte Tatin". Close enough. =)
LE POTAGE SAINT GERMAIN
After making this one, I think I'll never see beef stew in the same way again. So simple in ingredients but the results are mouth watering. The only thing missing from this plate are the zucchini. Time just didn't allow and something had to go!
This is one of those desserts that looks straight forward but each part requires patience and care. The sauce is called Creme Anglaise (think melted vanilla ice cream). The meringues floating on top are poached in a flavored milk. The clear lines were suppose to be caramel but again, time became a problem so the original dishes that went out from my table didn't have any. Properly made, this is a stunning dish that will make you feel like a kid again. A pampered kid, but a kid none-the-less.
Nothing dramatic here. A simple salad of tomatoes and onions with basil used as the flavoring for the dressing. The tomatoes came from Chef Somchet's gardens which makes it special though. =)
This time we learned how to cut salmon steaks, grill and finish in the oven. And for anyone who didn't know... SALMON HAS A TON OF BONES!!! The sauce was the most complicated thing. The base was a Hollindaise, which then turned into a Bearnaise, and finally with the addition of the tomato concassee, the Choron sauce.
Take the Pate Au Choux dough and fill it with ice cream rather than pastry cream, top with chocolate sauce and nuts and you've got Profiteroles. Oh baby! Talk about trying to eat only one!
Monday, August 4, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
LES OEUFS POCHES BENEDICT
LES POMMES DE TERRE SAUTEES LYONNAISE
This is the one I got to serve. I don't eat runny eggs so I made mine fully cooked. Bryan laughed because one green bean is out of place in the shot. NEXT TIME!!! I can now make a mean Hollandaise sauce though. There have been two exciting thing about taking this course I hadn't exactly expected. Well, take that back. One I did, the other I didn't. My list of foods I like is growing. I'd never had quiche until we made it that first week. And now I'm a huge fan of the stuff. I'd never tasted Hollandaise sauce until I made it for the Eggs Benedict and think it's marvelous now. Still not getting down the runny eggs but that's fine by me. The other thing I've discovered is that there are so many things I can do for myself in the kitchen, the lost art of cooking, that I wish I could show everyone what they're missing.
LES CHOUX A LA CREME
This little bugger is going to be on my first exam and I have to get it right. It's a dough called PATE A CHOU where the issue is the amount of eggs to put in. It's not the same every time. It depends on the wind, the moon the stars, and a good eye to know when the dough has had enough. Too much and you get a runny dough that wont pipe correctly. These above are pretty darn good but I made them too small so they're more gumball size than jawbreaker size. They're thin filled with my old friend... pastry cream. Not bad but still not right.
Le Menu for July 16, 2008
LE POULET ROTI
LES JUS AU THYM
LES EPINARDS AU BEURR
LE RIZ PILAF
I can roast a chicken with the best of them now! OK, maybe not the best but I can do it all by myself and with great results. I can also make a very good rice pilaf just don't go by the giant mound shown on this plate as to how it should be plated. I was serving to someone who really likes rice and requested a larger serving than originally called for. Worked for me since I love rice too and made a huge helping on my plate (this one) as well. I under estimated the amount of spinach to cook which I shouldn't have since I cook Swiss chard at home and it shrinks in a similar fashion. I gave the proper amount to my "customer" so I only ended up with the little amount here. And yes, this is my plate since it's got the drops of sauce and out of place rice on it. Can't serve a messy plate, now can I? =)
LA CREME AU CARAMEL
OK, this is the best one of the bunch and I'm not going to blame anyone on the results. I can't tell if I did something wrong or the oven we used was at the wrong temperature. The little holes you see along the edge are from bubbles made while the custard was cooking. It cooked too fast rather than nice and slow. I'm not a fan of this dessert but I will make it again for practice purposes.
No pictures of this dish because I was terribly disappointed in it. I fillet the flounder just fine but I can only think I overcooked it because it completely fell apart while trying to plate it. That and my team never got to making the little potatoes (I'm getting ready to practice those once I finish this post because that particular cut is on the exam) so there really wasn't much to look at.
These are little meringue-like cookies that are delicious. We didn't get to use the prettier molds so they look like little corn muffins at first but they taste delicious. These will definitely be made at home. No pictures because I want them of how they're suppose to look. Just trust me, they're good!
OK, ignore the combination of items since I didn't pick the menu. I need to work on folding my omelet in the pan, it's definitely not easy, but it tasted great. Again, I cooked mine completely because I just don't do runny eggs. Making the pasta and the sauce was really amazing and dare I saw... DELICIOUS! Buying pasta in the store will have to do until I get my own pasta machine because this was fabulous. We'll be learning how to incorporate veggies and stuff in it at a later time to get colored pastas. As for the sauce, I need a food mill! Or be content with a chunky sauce. Either way, this was a great experience. Oh, and a neat little thing you can do with your own pasta. When boiling the water, throw in some garlic cloves, thyme, and bay leaves when you add the salt and olive oil. Right before you cook the pasta, skim that stuff out. It will add extra flavor to the pasta and I can't think of anyone who wouldn't want that!
LE PARIS BREST
- Keep cold food at 41 degrees or lower, keep hot foods at 135 degrees or higher. In between, you need to start worrying about bacteria and what not getting on your food.
- FIFO: First In, First Out. Don't push old products to the back and put new food stuff in front. Use up the older products first.
- Reject any food stuff that isn't in good condition. Whether while in the store or you're about to use it at home. Dented cans, puffy cans, rusted cans. Smelly food, slimy food, fish with sunken or cloudy eyes, meat that's color has turned, etc...
It's fascinating stuff.
OK, on to the fun stuff... THE FOOD!
LE POTAGE JULIENNE DARBLAY
Currently my (and Bryan's) favorite soup. This is a leek and potato puree soup that has some cooked julienne vegetables on the bottom as garnish and a little surprise. I made it at home and the only thing I had to change was the fact that I don't have a chinoise... yet! I simply pureed the soup as best I could and did not worry that I couldn't strain it. It was still just as delicious.
LA SALADE COMPOSEE
It was surprising to learn how many different categories salads fell into: tossed, composed, bound, vegetable, and fruit. Composed, the one above, it exactly as it sounds. A bed of greens with the various elements arranged on top and then the dressing. I made an emulsion dressing of Dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. Once you've made your own salad dressings, you'll never buy from the store again!
LA SALADE AU CITRUS
LA VINAIGRETTE A L’ORANGE
LA MACEDOINE DE LEGUMES
This one is hard to explain from the picture and I should have taken more angles. The salad is a simple bed of lettuce with oranges and grapefruit wedges on top. The dressing is a vinaigrette using the juice that came from them. In the tomato halves, what is hard to see is a salad of various vegetables we cooked individually to preserve their flavors, then bound in mayonnaise we made ourselves! I so like making my own mayonnaise!
This plate reminds me of something you'd serve at a tea or some other outdoor even where you don't want too much or anything heavy.
LA TARTLETTE AUX FRAISES ET KIWIS
Are you drooling? I know I was. This lovely tart made up for the stress I went through trying to make the PATE BRISEE dough (think pie crusts and quiche bottoms). This time we made PATE SUCREE which is a similar dough but sweet. That and I made a fairly good pastry cream. I've since been able to make excellent pastry cream if I do say so myself. I made three of these total. The prettiest one was already taken to a "customer" before I could take a picture.
Let me explain the "customer" comment. It's pretty cool. The food we cook is our lunch, is served to the pastry students 3 of the days I'm in school (their course overlaps ours by one day), the school staff, and anyone who's visiting the school that day. We have to learn to serve it on time, correctly seasoned, plated cleanly, and at the right temperature. The more dramatic plating skills come in phase 2. We're just concentrating on getting food that tastes right out now. We do get feedback from everyone on how the food came out. It becomes more Iron Chef like in phase 2 because we'll get days were we have to turn random ingredients into a meal and area chefs and such will be invited in to taste and critic. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!