Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Final, Part Two

So I've been busy, and posting on the blog has taken the greatest hit until I woke up yesterday morning with a scratchy throat, which soon developed into full-blown strep. I've spent nearly the whole of this beautiful Saturday lying in bed and sleeping, lying in bed and reading, and now lying in bed and blogging. I've been cooking and baking though, plenty. My second of three final practical exams for vegetable-starch-protein was Wednesday and went wildly successfully. Chef Reichardt was impressed that I made my own mayonaisse for the Waldorf salad (I can't believe no one else made theirs), my apple and pear mostarda (a sweet and sour sauce) was the best in the class (and he claimed he had some awful mostarda), and at the end of my pork tenderloin entree he declared that I was a good cook. Incredible. I was very complimented. And then I screwed up the dessert.

It was creme caramel reversee, or more popularly flan. Maria made cute little almond florentines and a strawberry gastrique. I burned the caramel four times. Four. I would look away for 0.2 seconds only to look back at a black and nearly smoking pan of sugar. Considering that I'm a pastry student, it was a little embarassing that I had so much trouble with the dessert. In the end, the flan was creamy with a simple syrup just barely shy of a bitter burned flavor.
Pork Tenderloin or Chop: adapted from Jamie Oliver
1 loin or 2 chops
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
salt and pepper

The fennel really complemented the pork in this dish. It was so simple, yet really quite delicious. I just rubbed the outside of the loin and/or chop (I had chop to practice and loin in class), heated the oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat and pan fried the pork until it was done, leaving the loin at medium instead of cooking it all the way through and drying it out. In my opinion the tenderloin was a much better choice.

Pear and Apple Mostarda: yields 1 quart from James Peterson's Sauces
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 apples, cut into wedges
2 pears or any other combination of fruit, cut into wedges if necessary
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

This sweet-sour sauce goes well with pork. Again, it is incredibly easy. I brought the vinegar and sugar to a light boil on the stovetop and then added the apples, pears and some cherries that we had in the classroom. I left the saute pan on simmer, stirring occassionally for half an hour. Once the fruit is softened, remove it from the pan, raise the heat to high and reduce the liquid to the thickness of a sauce.

Waldorf Salad with Honey-mustard Mayonaise Dressing: serves 2
bunch of arugula
1 apple
1 stalk celery
1/4 cup walnuts
handful grapes

3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon mustard, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon honey

Chop the fruit and vegetables to a similar size for the salad. Set aside.

I started this by making the basic mayonaise out of James Peterson's Sauces in which I whisked the yolks, mustards and vinegar together. Then slowly poured a combination of both oils into the yolks, whisking constantly. The mayonaise will thicken up quite a bit. Just go until the oil is completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Add the honey and a bit more vinegar. Taste and adjust mustard, salt, pepper, honey and vinegar to taste. You'll want to have the vinegar to water down the dressing a bit so it's easier to pour. Toss the mayo with the fruit and vegetables and plate the salads.

Creme Renversee aka Flan: from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
To make the caramel, bring the sugar and water to a boil in a sauce pan. Remove from heat once it has just barely browned. Pour into four to six oven-proof molds.

Preheat the oven to 325. In a stock pot, bring the milk to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Once the milk is simmering, pour it slowly into the egg mixture while whisking. Then pour the custard into four to six bowl molds which already have a bit a caramel in them. Place the molds in a baking pan that is filled with enough water to come halfway up the custard dishes. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, until the custard has set. Remove from oven and let cool before turning the molded custards out onto serving plates.

1 comment:

Jess said...

yum - that meal looks great! from what I've read, it seems quite a high compliment that he called you a "good cook", so congrats!