|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.
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!
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!