Butter and Cream    

August 4 1998
Still cranking
Sweetbreads are not a dessert

The task of the day:

Classical French Cooking

Today Chef LeRoux (The Butter/Flour Mixture?) was our chef, for classical French cooking. Class was very good, and I was paired up in my same team. This was good, I'm begining to like working with these guys.

Some "exotics" got used today. The above mentioned sweetbreads (thalmous glands of the veal, very tasty, but bad for you), truffles, snails, real dover sole, and skate wings. It was a shame that our group didn't get to use any of the neat stuff. Oh well.

* * *

Today's menu:

  • Potato Pancake with Smoked Salmon
  • Steak with Mushrooms and Bordolaise Sauce
  • Potato Gratin
  • Crepes Souzette

* * *

I drew crepe detail today as neither of the other guys is big on pastry or flour containing items. The crepes came out okay. In the normal way, the first one was a loss, the rest came out fine. By the end it was trivial. The sauce is pretty weird. It's very sweet when you are done (although when plated with the crepes is less so), but as you are making it the sugar solidifys as soon as you add in the cold liquids. The result is large sugar lumps that scare the heck out of you until they begin to dissolve again in the liquid.

We did some nice plating today. The smoke salmon plate in particular came out nice. Small rolls of the salmon (fresh smoked, here at the CIA), slices of crisp potato pancake underneath, with creme fresh (a yogurt-like milk product) on top.

I plated the folded crepes into a nice fan pattern, and topped each one with a dollop of whipped cream (uncalled for in the recipe, but I needed to do something), along with some orange and lemon zest.

While we were working on all of our other things, we had enough extra time to reduce down some stock to form a heavy glace. We'll be cheating this into something later in the week, I'm sure :-) Even with all of this, we finished an hour ahead of time. Team Number One rocks!

The Chef made some very nice comments about how I was working in the class. He asked if I had any formal training, and was surprised that I didn't. He said that I seemed so comfortable, he figured I must be a full time chef already. Neat.

* * *

Tomorrow will be Nutritional Cusine, which is "heathly fine dining". Once again, I think this the case of following up the "bad" food with the "good" food. We probably won't get to use our "secret weapon" of glace tomorrow.

I feel very tired and bloated now. This AM class stuff is difficult. I ate breakfast this morning, so I'm feeling like it should be the end of the day. Given that I need to get up at 5 tomorrow, I guess it is like it being the end of the day. But it's strange to feel this way at two in the afternoon.

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Copyright 1998 Tom Dowdy
Comments? dowdy@poubelle.com