January 2010


Today we made something totally and completely ridiculous. We had to remove the skin and meat from the chicken and get out all the bone, but here was the trick, to do it all in one piece. We went in through the back and removed the spine and everything, then went back and took out the wing and leg bones and when we were done the whole thing was laid out like a little chicken rug on our cutting boards.  Then we made the filling, a bunch of ground pork and ground chicken tenderloins, pistachios, an egg, salt, pepper, Cognac, and chopped ham.  Seriously disgusting but it gets worse.  We spread this mash on the chicken rug and then added a huge Tootsie roll of foie gras, the length of the chicken and maye 2 inches wide, that had been rolled in chopped pistachios.  and more pork hash on top to cover it.  Then the whole thing was rolled up like a burrito and seran wrapped so it wouldn’t get out while it was poaching.  As it was poaching we practiced making hollandaise, and I undercooked mine the first time so I got to practice it twice! The thing has to cook for almost an hour and reach 65 degrees in the middle, but it also has to sit overnight so I believe we get it back tomorrow.  Anyway tomorrow we have only two demos so I’m hoping to get to the local pool to see if I can get a membership if the facilities are nice.  Tonight we went out for kimchi ramen and it was ridiculous, as a result I fell asleep during the new Coen bros. movie A Serious Man, which was good for the part I was awake. Bon nuit.

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Things went smoothly up until the afternoon as I got to sleep in until two, and didn’t have class til late.  At 330 I rolled into practical feeling super nervous about the lobster I would later have to maim, kill, and cook.  My friend went to the hospital last week for some allergic reaction, and I couldn’t get the nervousness out of my system.  We made a three chocolate Bavarois cake.  You start by making a biscuit round to support the cake, which is done after a few mere minutes of baking.  Then you make the cream, and here is where I missed one essential step that I will never ever forget again.  The stupid gelatin.  If you don’t add it before you add the cream to the different chocolates the dark one sets too much and the white chocolate still won’t set.  So when I scooped the chocolates into the cake they should have formed separate layers and they all just looked like some awful tie-dye chocolate.  Also we of course had the hot chef, the MOF who won some award back in his heyday and now wears a chef collar 24/7 to distinguish himself.  Partly he seemed annoyed with me, but also amused.  Yes, it’s safe to say I will never forget the gelatin again.

I’ll get to the lobster in a sec, just wanted to review some of the other things we’ve made since I’ve been a wol.  Thanks to my friend, Meredith’s blog I was able to remember them all.  A note: I jacked her pictures too since I never take them, but if you click on the pictures I’ve hyperlinked them to her blog, which is well-written and worth checking out.

Salmon stuffed with veggies, wrapped in Cabbage (seems like green wrapped or stuffed fish are a huge thing in Intermediate cuisine)

8 piece chicken with some mustard sauce and potato cakes (now when we take apart chickens they leave the feet on, we have to rip out the individual ankle tendons with a ladle before hacking them off)

A stuffed red mullet (supposed to be stuffed with shrimp but the chef let me omit them and just use the olives, sundried tomatoes, and anchovies)

Other than that we’ve done duck a couple times, and guinea fowl a couple times (pintade in French), turns out I loooove guinea fowl.

The schedule has been hard. Sometimes four class, or 13 hours of class a day.  I don’t handle it very well.  Thank God for the weekends, although this weekend we had 6 hours of class on Saturday.  But at least we found out we’ll have a translator in superior, which I’m hugely grateful for. Anyway, the lobster.

Today I killed a lobster. And it was kind of fun.  Aside from my unbelievably itchy hands I enjoyed it.  I did wear gloves, but they had some lobster blood and guts in them by the end.  Seriously, it was like performing surgery.  I started by getting most of the other stuff out of the way, it was fairly simple, just some easy chopping for the sauce, and measuring stuff out for the rice.  Then I attacked the thing.  We had two options: cutting the whole thing down the middle or cutting the tail off and into three parts.  I did the latter since Thivet was our chef for practical, and he is a particularly moody SOB so I just did what he showed us.  The thing is alive with its claws clipped.  But its moving quite a bit, but then it will stay still for a little while and when you think maybe it just died on its own, the thing starts kicking again.  I wasn’t squeaming about killing it since ingesting just a bite of it could kill me I though we were on more equal ground than the others and their lobsters.  We served it up with rice with golden raisins and some sauce that could put me up in the hospital.  Hendrick was nice enough to taste mine for seasoning, and said it was kind of boozy but that he wouldn’t change a thing.

So, hoo boy we’re back for another season of cooking and maddening other Parisian bits.  I do apologize for my cyberspace absence, but the Internet in the apartment has been less than reliable.   Things we have made so far: Chicken saute with a basque garnish which was peppers onions and something else I can’t remember, Guinea fowl with potato pancakes and sauce, a Jamaica cake, chicken fricassee baked with cheese a mustardy sauce.  Man, I can’t remember it all.  Today we cooked a red mullet by not separating the two filets but just keeping them together and stuffing them with some anchovy, olive, breadcrumb, garlic, parmesan, pine nuts stuffing.  Super ridiculous.  The things all had to be cooked and chopped separately which took forever.  We also made an onion custard thing, which I’m going to make again it was awesome.  Just cooked onions in oil really slowly and then added chicken stock to them, then blended them with cream and egg yolks.  So delicious, and was just heated over a bain marie.  Tonight was fun, although my apartment is absolutely freezing and a complete disaster I went out for sushi with the homies and then to a wine bar, and then we were convinced to come to Cory’s apartment for Korean food and beer.  It was a veritable feast. So I’m stuffed with Asian food, and ready for my three classes tomorrow til 9 Pm.  Our schedule has been so crazy lately, a couple times we have had four classes a day which means 13 hours of class and cooking and thinking about cooking for waking til bed, but so completely worth it.  Anyway, I’m back, and so is the blog, even despite my schizophrenic Internet.  I bid you adieu.