Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fine Cooking I: Week 5 (or the end)

Week 5 covered French Crudités (Vegetable Salads), Sauce Mayonnaise and Variations, Greek Court Bouillon (apparently this is BS), Grilling and Broiling Techniques for Proteins and Vegetables, Marinades, Tenderizing and Flambéing Technique.

We all prepped, chopped, assembled, grilled, carved and flambéed to create the meal below.

Vegetable Salad Plate
We were all assigned different salad recipes. This week the recipes were only ingredients - we had to figure out the proportions on our own. It was intimidating in theory, but actually was not so bad. I wouldn't have felt remotely comfortable in this situation the first week.

The salads included guacamole two ways, jicama, potato, fennel, green/watercress, beet, red cabbage and cucumber. One of the guacuamole's included the green curry paste and it was DELICIOUSLY spicy. I need to find that paste. Our group made the green/watercress salad with a delicious impromptu asian vinaigrette that I only wish I had written down.

I made a beet salad consisting of beets, celery root, chives and homemade horseradish mayonnaise. It needed more horseradish in my opinion, but I was super proud of how it looked! Funny thing. I kept the beets and celery root separate as I didn't want the root turning pink only to have Chef Jane come tell me to combine them asap. Apparently the mixed colors are part of the salad's beauty.
Grilled London Broil
We used a french marinade for our London Broil. Jim's grill marks were divine. To get the proper grid marks, you place the meet at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock. If you are cooking with "serious" meat with fat i.e. red meet, lamb, etc. then you shouldn't coat the grill with fat as it will prevent the caramelization you are seeking. The meat was good, although a little rare for my taste.
Mixed Grilled Vegetables and Fruits of the Season
Unlike "serious" meat, vegetables (and fish) require a bit of oiling to not stick to the grill; they also require a different rotation to get the grid marks correct. You rotate the vegetables and fruits in quarter turns around the clock to get the grid marks correct. Grilling is BRUTAL. The heat overwhelmed me. I like the results, but don't think I'll ever become a grill-master. The eggplant, zucchini and apples were my favorites.
Flambéed Bananas, Haagen-Daaz and Caramel Sauce
I'm really excited to have a caramel sauce recipe. I love caramel and have made caramels numerous times, not that I ever have posted about it, but I didn't have a sauce recipe. I also love ice cream and bananas. You'd think this dessert would be a perfect fit only flambéing did not love me and after flipping a very hot banana into my hand I forgot to burn off enough cognac to make my serving truly tasty. Oh well...at least I wasn't burnt. Next time I won't give into peer pressure and try to aggressively flip the bananas for other people's amusement when I had already flipped them.

To see all the pictures from Fine Cooking I, you can go here. As you can see I took more pictures each week as I got more comfortable with the people in class.


  1. yum! when are you coming to dallas to cook for me!?

  2. If I don't have to grill I would probably attempt whenever I get to Dallas. How are you liking your job so far?

  3. Hi - I was searching online to learn more about this class and stumbled on your blog. I'm thinking about taking Fine Cooking I at ICE. Would you recommend it? Thanks!

  4. Hi Sarah - Yes, I would recommend the course. If you haven't done so already you can click the label "institute for culinary education" and see a full summary for each of the 5 classes. If I remember correctly I outlined the class format in the Week 1 entry. :)