Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fry Day

You'll have to excuse the quality of these photos; I found myself with only a camera phone in class on "fry day," and I just had to take an image to remember this smorgasbord of Southern- and deep-fried cuisine. From left to right we've got fried okra, French fries, hushpuppies, Southern-fried chicken and Southern-fried catfish. Just like last week, class went smoothly. It was fun for the second week in a row, and now I think I can relax and enjoy things without the anxiety that I may start the culinary school building on fire--although maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Frying suprised me. There was a little more intuition than I had originally thought, subtle things like not letting the oil get so hot it burns the outside of the chicken before the inside cooks and that the quality of the oil counts. We used butter and lard (something I would never ever ever use on my own, but as Chef said "It's all oil, every oil is just as bad as every other oil, more or less."). The chicken and the fries were the best parts of the day's production. The skin was cripsy and seasoned while the inside was tender and flavorful--nothing too greasy. The fries, who doesn't love fries, were done by the two-fry method, which meant we partially fried the potatoes in oil, let them rest and finished them off at a higher temp. The outside was again crisp while the inside held together with potato goodness.

Chopping and dicing is going better as well, but I still didn't really see the point of chopping things to complete uniformity that is until Tuesday night when I was eating at Mother India, which is this great Indian restaurant but also a total dive. Someone had diced the carrots macedoine (which is fancy for small dice), a one-fourth-inch cube. I couldn't believe it and was incredibly impressed that someone had taken the time. The presentation was nice as the carrots and the peas were about the same size. Who knew that an ethnic eatery would convert me to a firm believer in classical knife skills?

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