Can you believe I only have ONE more day of Classical French class? It appears that I might actually survive! It has actually turned out to be much better than I expected. It is incredibly challenging, but I have learned invaluable information over these 8 days, and I really really like my teacher.
Today I was responsible or making Pommes de Terre Berrichone – potatoes braised with onions and bacon! I started by simmering 1.5 quarts of chicken stock with a sachet of bay leaf, peppercorns, and thyme sprigs.
While my stock simmered, we watched a demo for our sauté practicals, being held today and tomorrow. Luckily I am going tomorrow so I have a little more time to prepare. We have exactly 8 minutes to prep all of our mis en place, and then we are making a sautéed veal dish with cream sauce. I’m nervous!
So the coolest thing about the dish I made today was the creative way that my potatoes were shaped. I used an apple corer, and stuck in up into one end of a red bliss potato…
And then ran my paring knife all the way around the potato, so that it hit the metal of the corer on the inside.
Then I stuck the plunger back in the bottom of the apple corer. (No comment…)
And pushed the plunger in so that the part I had cut around remained on the tube of the corer. What did that leave me with?
A mushroom shaped potato! I thought these were too cute. :)
I made 30+ of these, and them moved on to my next shape…
Mini potato balls, scooped out with a parisienne scoop – otherwise known as a melon baller.
I actually had my friend Jeff help me scoop these while I was sautéing my onions and bacon, and somehow he managed to snap the neck off of not one but TWO different melon ballers! I told him to lay off the steroids. :)
So like I said, while Jeff was busy breaking my utensils, I was over at the stovetop rendering 12 ounces of bacon.
When my bacon was crispy, I took it out of the pan and sautéed
my onions in the bacon fat until they were golden brown.
Last step was to mix it all back together and add in my chicken stock. I brought it all up to a simmer…
And poured it over my potatoes in two separate hotel pans. Popped these babies in the oven for an hour, until they were tender and browned on top!
Afterwards I took all of the scraps and chopped them up – then braised them in the leftover bacon/onion liquid for our classroom lunch.
With a little extra time on my hands, I decided to go ahead and get a little bit of prep done for tomorrow, when I’m making Salad Nicoise. I hard boiled and peeled some eggs, and I am hoping and praying that they are still waiting there for me tomorrow morning!
Other culinary creations from around the classroom – cauliflower balls topped with cheesy mornay sauce…
Seared tuna steaks with a basil oil sauce. (I’m making tuna tomorrow!)
A beautiful salad constructed in a peeled tomato with balsamic and oil garnish, and a creamy gorgonzola dressing…
Puff Pastry with chicken breast that is stuffed with MORE chicken on the inside – gulp.
Now I’m off to Panera to meet my study group to get ready for tomorrow morning’s final exam. Just ONE more thing to conquer before I can finally have my first weekend at home in three weeks. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel…