Friday, November 6, 2009

a few thoughts from the kitchen and beyond.

my third week of baking 101 class has come to an end. I have learned a lot, seen a lot, and yes even set things on fire. I can feel myself growing in culinary knowledge, gaining experience, expanding my food tastes.

First off, last night Charlie, Rebecca, and myself took an adventure to Woodfire Grill. If you watch Top Chef you may know the name Kevin Gillespie - Woodfire Grill is his baby. We were curious as to what was going on in this mans head - what he could put together to wet our appetites.

The result?
a seven course tasting of fantastic goodness.

1 - Deconstructed Waldorf Salad

2 - Saveed Egg with Beans in a Tomato Jus

3 - Seared Scallop with Lima Beans and sauce

4 - Celery Vinger Soup with Parsley

5 - Woodfire Quail with Apples, Turnips and an Apple & Turnip Sauce

6 - Braised Pork Belly with Watermelon Radish Salad and Cumin Carrots

7 -Banana Fritters, Chocolate Mousee, Vanilla Creme with a Caramel Sauce

7 - Apple Shortbread with a layered Creme topped with an Apple Crisp Ring and Glazed Apples

I do not remember all the wonderful combinations and sauces, my mind was spinning; dizzy and intoxicated. this concludes my first tasting.

to culinary school now:

I shall start with the savory day. We were instructed and demo-ed Chicken Marsala. Now I dont know why, however I did not agree with the Marsala & stock combination.

I made it though. My chicken was perfectly tender (I owe it the the light seasoning, flour, and butter..yum). I added carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and mushrooms to my sauce reducing it twice with the addition of Marsala and Red Wine. I also added a whole garlic glove, green onions, ginger, lemon zest and lemon juice.
My conclusion : The sauce, eh. The chicken, YYEEAAHH!!!

However I was a little bored after this so this came about:


These little babies were amazing! They are a simple yeast dough pastry, baked and the soaked in a simple syrup. My syrup included: Sugar, Water, Puterican Rum, Whole Cloves, and Lemon Zest. The result was rumored to taste like CHRISTMAS! I am proud!

After we soaked the baked yeast pastry in the Christmas sauce, we made vanilla whipped cream by hand, piped the cream and topped with chocolate.

Savarin Chocolate

Savarin Brochiee

and one more shot:



Now we move on to the last day of Baking 101 class - Today, we learned table side desserts.

Crepes served with slices of fresh oranges in a syrup consisting of caramelized sugar, orange liqueur, orange peel, and orange juice.

Not my favorite, but I did enjoy the crepes.

Crepe Suzette

and the close up shot:

Crepe Suzette closeup

Ours came out too acidic due to the orange juice reduction (should have just kept it thick).

anyways, on to....


Cherries & Liqueur (Kirschwasser) Flambee served as a sauce over ice cream. I must comment on the ice cream here.
Chef made the most incredible ice cream - creamy and tasty. I believe she used a Vanilla Creme base which made all the difference.
and yet, I am still not a fan of the cherries.

Cherries Jubliee

and lastly....

Bananas and ice cream served with a dark rum, banana liqueur, and sugar sauce over top.

This was my favorite! For my personal dessert, I did not soak the bananas in the syrup first and I found the flavor to be more fresh.

Bananas Foster

and this concludes the Baking 101 class.

Personal thoughts:
tonight, Charles and I watched Julie and Julia. I loved this movie - not only is it about cooking and blogging, but doing something, finishing something that brings you pleasure. I find myself relating a lot with Julie Powell whenever she has worked so hard on something and then it fails - cooking is not always as glamorous as some people may think. There is a reality out there, the reality that long nights will be spent in the kitchen remaking things and tweaking products and yes, even failing again and again. However, it must be done. Failure is just another way of elimination and when I cook, I want the best of the best to be made. It would only make sense that when I eliminate all the unnecessary ingredients and bad practices my food becomes something of art. I want to try harder. I want to put more effort into what I make and not find some sort of reason why I cant cook dinner tonight - I know that culinary school is where I am supposed to be at this chosen time - God has me here for a purpose. My desire is to follow and respond accordingly.

(This is probably one of the longer blog posts that I have managed to write - just bare with me now.)

I went to sleep dreaming about recipes, going through the motions of cooking something, thinking of dessert syrup combinations, thinking of what I can make for breakfast with what I have in the kitchen, etc. and then it was 3:30 AM - I awoke. Im laying in bed trying to sleep and my mind is racing, thinking about Savarin, pastry cream, poached eggs, butter, vinegar, and an assortment of other ingredients. I got up, grabbed a raw food book and started reading. I am eager to try new recipes out of it, after a quick run to the farmers market of course.

See: I want to eat raw. I just need to get my but in gear and again, stop making excuses as to why I cannot do something and charge full steam ahead, beating that recipe like it owes me money (just keep reading).

This is my challenge to myself : concentrate on learning outside school (whether this is making dinner more often, blending new raw food, practicing piping skills, or just eating something that I have never eaten before).
is this do-able? yes. will i fail? yes. am i going to give up? you can bet your next meal i wont.





thank you for reading. :)


fosterhood said...

I can't believe you remember all of the courses from our dinner! It was great to meet you and I look forward to following your cooking/baking adventures!

Sarah Lewis said...


it was great meeting you too! i enjoyed the extravagant dinner and friendly conversation.

:) I hope NY isnt too cold.

hannah | honey & jam said...

i'm jealous! i'd love to go to the woodfire grill, it sounds terrific.

Kb_Mal said...

I'm not sure what's better - the food or the photography of the food. Gorg!