- Sear against the grain of the meat, you get a better sear.
- When presenting meat with sauce, put sauce on the seared parts, but leave the cut parts un-sauced so you can see the doneness.
- No mise cups (small plastic cups) of sugar in the kitchen, they get mixed up with salt too easily.
This was our first day of Level 2. We were in a different kitchen, right next door to our old one, but slightly bigger. It was a strange feeling looking in on the Level 1 students just starting out and learning about L’etuvée. How far we’ve come in just 4 weeks.
Chef Jeff turned out to be much more comfortable-to-be-with than rumour had it. Stern, but fair and very straightforward. We got a list of Chef Jeff’s rules, (“no tongs in my kitchen, dump the white pepper”) and he gave us study guides and other great stuff to help us out. He gave an incredible description of what is happening when a wine is reduced (an aha moment for me), and several other colourful analogies – when sautéing, imagine your at the beach, not in a crowded sweaty bar. Apparently Emma looks like she goes to bars! I think Level 2 is going to be much better than I had once feared.
Today we first prepared Roast Chicken Grand-Mère. I had heard that this dish is on our final test – I thought how fitting since my mom grew up in Grand-Mère Quebec. However I also heard that during our final we all pick a recipe card out of a box and have to cook that. Time will tell. Like the lamb stew last week, much of the work was in the garniture: potatoes cocotte risolée, pearl onions, quartered mushrooms, sautéed bacon lardons, and a jus de roti (reduced wine and veal stock cooked in a mirepoix and browned chicken trimmings). We stuffed the chicken with thyme and a bay leaf, trussed it, seared and butter based it, and into the oven. Not uber-complicated, and it tasted quite good. The twist was we had to prepare 4 plates per team. This also meant we got to eat two plates each. We also had to follow the rule: If the dark meat is on bone, the white meat is off bone, etc… I was determined to get this right, because I screwed it up with the duck. The chicken tasted delicious… as if my grand-mother had made it!
The second dish was a venison loin (in this case deer), which we “barded”. Barding is when you wrap with a fat – in this case bacon. (Larding is when you inject fat.) We rolled our venison loins in bacon, tied with twine, seared, butter basted and into the oven. Again this was the simpler part. We then cooked a sauce Bordelaise (we’ve done this several times so I’m starting to get the hang of it, though ours was a little too nappant). We also cooked potato darphin (shredded potato pancakes). We all got practice our flips again.
Baguettes at the bakery class, and off to replace my lost thermometer.