Home > Cooking school > Knives and Fire XXIV (Week 7)

Knives and Fire XXIV (Week 7)

Shabbos Cooking Day

Also, our last production day. I’m going to miss this so very much.

We began with a demonstration of a mandoline – a device used to slice vegetables evenly and quickly. Chef showed us how it made paper-thin rondelles, how it make juliennes, french fries, and gaufrettes (use a ripple-cut blade, fairly thick. Rotate 90 degrees each time. You’ll get slices that look like netting. Deep-fry for a garnish.)

Then we discussed our two menus – one for Friday night dinner; one for Shabbos lunch.

Striped bass in phyllo over a Veracruz sauce
Chicken soup with julienned vegetables and kreplach
Roasted vegetables
Parisienne potatoes and Potatoes Anna
Sweet and Sour Cabbage

The reasoning behind this meal is things that can be kept on a blech ( a sheet of metal placed over a very low flame), a low oven or on a warming tray, and will either not deteriorate in taste or taste better. The fish would be served cold.

Marinated snow peas in Orzo salad
Grilled dark meat chicken with orange glaze
Potato and Noodle kugels

These are items that should be served cold, or are dry and can be reheated *or* are meant to cook overnight.

I made the chicken soup, according to Chef’s recipe. First I cleaned all the vegetables by soaking them in water with a drop of veggie wash. And then I washed the chicken (we used two whole chickens, a couple of legs and some scraps from the grilled chicken) and put it in cold water to cover by two inches, and brought it to simmer.

This gave me time to peel the onions, the carrots, the parsnip and the parsley roots, and trim the celery – none of these would be cut any finer – and to bind the parsley and dill securely. By this time, the soup was starting to need to be skimmed, so I did that, mixing in cold water to make sure I got it all out. We wanted this soup crystal clear. I put in some white peppercorns, a tiny pinch of thyme, a single bay leaf, a couple of cloves of garlic and the vegetables – plus part of a bag full of small cuts of carrots. I let that simmer and began my thin, thin – 1/16th”x1/16th” by 2″ – julienne of vegetables. We used parsnip, carrot and sugar snap peas (purchased instead of snow peas.) Taking chef’s advice, I took my time with the knife cuts, putting the trim of the parsnip and carrot into my soup pot.

I took enough time that I tasted the soup and it was about ready. So I fished out the large vegetables, leaving the onions to simmer a bit longer, and the chicken, which I placed in a separate bowl, taking care to drain any juices to put back in the pot. Then, with D’s help, I strained the rest through a fine mesh china cap. I put three whole onions back into the pot and put it over a very low flame. Then I blanched and shocked my julienne – each vegetable separate, because they had different blanching times, but mixed after blanching. I discarded the soup veg, but put the chicken aside to cool. The chicken still had flavor.

Then I tasted the soup and added a bit of white pepper and a couple of handfuls of salt. And that was it. When I plated it, I first put in some mixed julienne, and then a large kreplach (made by G), and then ladled soup over it. I gave it a bit of a stir so that the kreplach wasn’t hiding all the julienne, and served it forth. It was so very pretty.

It came out delicious – people were taking cups of it and were also taking it home – *Chef* took some home. I’m very proud of it. It also pretty much took up my time.

I watched chef show how to use phyllo dough – keep it covered and moist until use,and then cover it with melted butter or margarine or oil. I watched G make perfect kreplach. E made noodle kugel with chives and baked them in muffin tins, and it was beautiful. L made delicious potato kugel. And Y – Y made the Friday night veggies, the sweet and sour cabbage and roasted root vegetables (in this case, carrot, beet and celery root.) M made the saurbraten, J and S made the fish, T, with the help of our visitor Gw, made the salad and the chicken and D made the cholent. D the assistant made the Pommes Anna and Parisienne. And it made the most delicious display.

After this, I took the soup chicken and shredded it with my very clean hands, and took a lot home to be made into chicken salad.

Monday, we have our final – a written test and a cooking test. Wednesday, we have our school food safety test. And that will be it. *sigh*

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