Consumed by Consommé

First off, let me just say – WOW!  I was blown away by all of the awesome comments and conversation generated from the previous post about portion sizes and measurements!  You guys are awesome – keep it coming!

Today’s recap has to be short and sweet.  I am entering into FINALS WEEK, where everything is sort of crashing down around me.  I am a hopeless procrastinator :/

Moving right along – today we made consommé!  If you aren’t familiar with the term, it is a crystal clear and intensely flavorful broth that is made through clarifying and fortifying chicken, beef, or veal stock.  We started by prepping all of our ingredients – vegetables, herbs, peppercorns, and ground beef – and adding them to a few quarts of beef stock.

IMG_2192

The basic method of making consommé is to create a “raft” of vegetables, meat, and egg whites that bind together.  When the stock reaches a gentle simmer, it bursts through the surface making a small hole, and forming a sort of volcano-like eruption…

IMG_2194

The liquid continues to roll up and over the volcano and back down, filtering the stock each time, allowing the impurities to settle on the solid mass.  After an hour of volcanic eruptions, we strained our stock, leaving this disgusting pile of lava…

IMG_2199

And this beautiful crystal clear tub of consommé!  This is definitely one of those items that looks so basic and simple, but is actually very expensive and time consuming.  It isn’t usually featured on menus because customers don’t understand the labor and ingredients involved to make it, and therefore won’t pay for something that seems so simple!

IMG_2200

We also made more cream sauces – this time they were onion flavored – blech!

IMG_2195

And then onto the biggest project of the day – hollandaise sauce.  Ohhhh my…

IMG_2196

I whisked and whisked and whisked until I seriously thought my arm would give out!  I am definitely laying off the hard core arm exercises until my practical exam on Thursday – have to save my strength!  I was so terrified of my sauce breaking or scrambling – this stuff is so sensitive!

IMG_2197

I did finally get it to the right consistency, and then created a compound béarnaise sauce by adding a reduction of shallots and tarragon.  Right after I took this picture though, my sauce broke :(  Good thing today was just a practice day!

IMG_2198

We have to make hollandaise and béarnaise on our practical exam day, and I am really nervous about it.  I am honestly considering practicing it at home tomorrow night – we’ll see.  Today was another rough one on the tasting front too – tasting multiple cream sauces and gobs of hollandaise sauce all before 10am is tough on the stomach!

Tonight and tomorrow night are PACKED with school work –literally taking over my life.  Two written exams, one practical exam, and one more huge project to get through and then I am freeeeeeee!

Alright, back to the books.  Thanks again for all the awesome comments today!  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the EatSmart Precision Pro Food Scale!