Grocery Goodies.

Today was my first real day of my newest class – Stocks, Soups, and Sauces.  The first day of class was six hours of lecture (kill me), so today was our first day actually doing production and making food.  Already I can tell this class is going to be totally different than any other.  For example, instead of a range of ovens, we have these…


Nope, that’s not a keg party – those are giant soup barrels.  Pretty fancy!  My group was responsible for making fond brun de volaille, otherwise known as brown chicken stock.  We started by making a bouquet garni – which is a tied sachet of leeks, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and whole black peppercorns.  Isn’t my bouquet lovely?


We added roasted vegetables and browned chicken bones, and let it simmer for almost 4 hours…



In the end we had this lovely mixture, which the afternoon class will strain and finish.  Stocks take so long to make that we can’t actually finish them in our six hour class period!


While our stock simmered, we worked on some other sauce and thickening techniques.  Such as clarifying butter…


And making different levels of roux.  Chef said that the brown roux should resemble the texture and smell of peanut butter.  Little did she know, I am a peanut butter EXPERT! 


And lastly, we made a potato bacon cheddar soup!  We rendered bacon, simmered potatoes, pureed with an immersion blender, and whisked in the cheddar cheese…




And as always, we worked on our oh-so-important knife cuts.  This is one thing I’m actually pretty good at – probably because I am a visual learner.


When it came time for lunch, I headed down to the New World kitchen with my PB&J and giant grapefruit.  Check it out – I have inspired my classmate Daniel to pack a healthy lunch too!  He is working really hard to lose almost 50 pounds, and so far he has stayed on track through all the temptations that come with culinary school – I am so proud of him! 


Hopefully tomorrow’s class is more exciting – today dragged a little bit.  But you know what was exciting?  All the fabulous stuff I found at the grocery store this afternoon – check it out!  I found a whole slew of new products.  Or if they aren’t new, they are certainly new to me!


First up – canned hominy!  We use this stuff at school, but I’ve never seen it in the grocery store!  Hominy is made by soaking dried corn kernels in a special solution, and then removing the outer hull.  It is also the fresh form of grits, before they are dried and ground.  I am excited to try these at home!


Silk has a new almond milk line that had good nutrition facts, so I thought I’d give it a try.  I am pretty partial to my favorite Almond Breeze, but I’m always willing to give a new product a chance…


The maker’s of my favorite English muffins have a new product on the shelves – Bagel Thins!  I was highly skeptical of these until I checked out the nutrition facts label – nothing weird or artificial, 110 calories, 5g fiber, and 6g protein.  I hope these are good!


Last, and possibly most exciting, Yoplait just launched a line of Greek yogurt!!  There is no info about these on their website yet (really Yoplait?), but they look awesome!  I bought all three flavors available – plain, strawberry, and honey vanilla.  Yummmmm.  I am literally counting the minutes until snack time! :)


What other fun new products are out there?  Has anyone tried something that just hit the shelves?


Don’t forget about the Crofter’s Superfruit Spread giveaway!  Only two more days to enter!!