2.16.2011

Gnocchi, Braising and Bread: This Week In Culinary School

Gnocchi with an Herbed Mushroom Sauce and Flemmish Beef Braise
"Heeelloo gorgeous!" is how our beloved Italian classmate, Simone (pronounced Sim-own-eh), greeted us as he walked into class, which of course, broke everyone out into hysterics.  Then in the midst of our bread making, we had (several) laughs over the fact that my friend Genevieve made Chinese Buns.  "Buns" being the operative word here and I'll let you imagine all the wise-cracks that came from that.  It seems amongst all the learning and studying and cooking, our class is developing little family atmosphere.  My favorite part of the day is when, after hours of lecture and running around the kitchen, we all exhaustedly sit around the table and relax into our chairs with a plateful of all of the fruits of of labor in front of us.  I just love the sense of community that comes with school.  

Gnocchi

Getting to what we made in class this week, this might just be my favorite week in class so far.  Monday was all about braising techniques and I learned that I had been doing it all wrong. Well, not wrong, but there's such a better way and little tricks that you can do that yields a much more flavorful braise.  For example, it's not just about throwing things into a pot.  It helps to think about what flavors you want incorporated into your meat before you get started.  For example, do you want straight up onion flavor or are looking more for the delicate sweetness that caramelized onions provide?  I'm just loving how school is totally changing the way I think about food.  And if at all possible, I think I'm falling even more in love with it.  

Sweet, Sweet Gnocchi
In addition to braising, I fought and wrangled my way into being part of the team that made gnocchi.  If you're a long time follower of my blog, you know that gnocchi holds a very special place in my heart.  I make it frequently but, being the kitchen perfectionist I am, wanted to know what I could do to make it even better.  (I think I've been using a little too much flour). Can't wait to make them again!

Genevieve's Buns
Tuesday's class was all about making yeast-based doughs (i.e. French bread, bagels, rolls, etc.) and I was in absolute heaven at the end of class, sitting in front of plates of fresh, just-out-of-the-oven breads of all shapes, sizes and flavors.  I'll take hot bread out of the oven over most anything, any day of the week.  Sigh...

Rosemary Kalamata Rolls
In addition to all the cooking and baking, this week was also a big test week.  I had a baking quiz and my ServSafe test all on the same day.  For the first time in I don't know how many years, I picked up a number 2 pencil (I didn't even know they still made those) and filled in the bubbles on a computerized sheet.  I get the results in a little over the week but I studied my cinnamon buns off this weekend so I feel confident.  It's amazing how much we cram into two days. No wonder I'm so exhausted come Wednesday.  

I think I hear my kitchen calling me....some fresh bread might need to be made...enjoy your day!

13 comments:

Shelby @LadyGouda said...

Um, those rolls look incredible. Like you, I have made gnocchi and baked bread, but I would love to learn how to make them even better! Will try to have a lighter hand with the flour next time as well. I love reading about what you are learning at culinary school!

Elizabeth said...

Mmm. those rolls look so good. Bread must be fun!

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

I just kept saying "so pretty!" in my head as I read this. Everything looks so professional. I've made gnocchi and, while they taste good, they are no where as attractive as yours.

Kristy said...

Love gnocchi and the bread looks fab!!

Megan said...

Hope your test went well! The gnocchi look beautiful. I hope you do a tutorial post. It never works out for me! I have a new recipe for it that I plan to tackle soon though. Crossing my fingers for better luck.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I'm hoping to tackle gnocchi soon so I'd love to hear your trips!

MichellePC said...

Rosemary Kalamata Rolls?! Holy moly. I need some of those in my life!

Boston Food Diary said...

Mmmmmm there is NOTHING better than a beautiful warm piece of fresh bread spread with a little butter...I swear- that is perfection. You are doing some amazing things in school SBK- absolutely amazing. Im sure you rocked your tests because-must I say it again?- No one or thing F's with the SBK!

Aimee said...

only in culinary school can you totally get away with "studied my cinnamon buns off" - LOVE IT!

that gnocchi looks so good. next time you make it i might have to make a not-so-surprise visit to brookline.

also, a whole day of yeasted bread is my literal idea of heaven. i hope there are lots of forgiving sweatpants up there, because i will need them.

hope i see you soon, lady!

Kimmy Bingham said...

Umm, if you want to share your gnocchi or some of those breads... I'll trade you some of my bacon or the scones :-)

Jen said...

YUM I love freshly baked bread!!

Daisy said...

you studied your cinnamon buns off - HAHA. love it. great post.

Alicia said...

Oh man, I can't imagine taking one of those 'fill in the bubble' tests right now. I'm sure you did great! especially if you studied your cinnamon buns off!

Love it
xoxo

What's Hot From The Small Boston Kitchen