1. I was actually out from culinary school with a cold 2 days this week, and Friday we had off, hence I have few pictures to share. Given the energy for either school or work, I chose work. School would forgive a couple of absences, and I didn’t want to be that girl at work who’s calling in sick in her second week. Not to mention the couple of lessons that I skipped were kind of sleeper ones anyway – grain salads and legume preparations. Mostly I’m happy with what I’m learning given the expense of it all, but advanced understanding of lima bean stew is not something I’m super interested in paying for.
2. Beginning Thursday, and for the next few lessons, we’re taking all of the various cooking processes we’ve learned and combining them in review lessons. A little saute’ here, a little braise there, so the point is to understand how all of these things work together and how to prioritize tasks so that everything comes out at the same time, whether it requires several hours of stewing/roasting* or an hour of marinating followed by a minute of grilling, or if the process is literally a flash in the pan.
3. One of the things we sauteed on Thursday was sweetbreads. If you are someone who hears the word “sweetbreads” and starts daydreaming about some European bakery, then you will probably be disappointed to learn that sweetbreads are actually the thymus glands of young animals, typically calves. (These glands apparently disappear after 6 months or so of age.) If you are someone who hears the word “sweetbreads” and starts daydreaming about organ meats, then high five. Sweetbreads, in particular, are delicious. I really can do without ever having to eat kidney again (remember the picture of the veal with the big bulbous kidney cascading out of it? Yeah, I ate that) but I could do sweetbreads daily. They have a distinctly glandular texture, but the taste is really mellow and therefore well-suited to being breaded and sauteed or pan-fried. And who doesn’t love things that are breaded and fried?? The picture below doesn’t do them justice, but little pieces of sweetbreads are nestled between the sauteed chicken pieces:
4. My life suddenly became about BBQ this week. This may require its own post, because BBQ is a complicated subject. I have sought out BBQ to eat maybe once a year in New York, if that. Since I now work in a BBQ restaurant, naturally my exposure to such has increased exponentially, but then somehow Thursday’s lesson included *oven-barbecued spareribs (totally cheating, but they were quite tasty) and then Friday night I found myself in a BBQ joint in Williamsburg where I may have become rather opinionated on the topic. (This is the complicated part which I’ll get into later. It may require more/any research.)
5. In honor of the warm weather or maybe just because I like to explain things, here’s the basic gist of the sauce that went with the eggs and potatoes from the photo in the previous post. Saute 1 part shallots in a little butter until translucent. (No browning.) Add 2 parts white wine and 2 parts white wine vinegar, and cook until the liquid has almost entirely evaporated. Then off the heat, whisk in 8-12 parts cold butter, in small pieces. You want to do this off the heat because if too hot the butter will separate, and instead of a creamy-looking sauce, you’ll have an oily-looking sauce. Season with salt to taste and add fresh herbs (TARRAGON – DO IT). Serve over just about anything, because this sauce rocks. If this seems especially rich, consider that Hollandaise is made in a somewhat similar fashion, except that instead of wine and vinegar, you’re starting with eggs yolks. Happy Easter.