Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 21

Today we observed a cooking demo. Our chef instructor made Cotes de Porc Charcutiere, Pommes Puree (Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes and demi-glace sauce with Gherkins) and Asperges Froides with Sauce Hollandaise (Cold Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce). 

First I must give you the run-down on a few of these ingredients. 

White Asparagus vs Green Asparagus

White Asparagus comes from the process of etiolation, which is basically deprivation of light. Dirt is kept mounded over the emerging asparagus stalks to ensure that they never see any light and without the light they cannot produce chlorophyll, thus there they have no green in their stalks. 

Gherkin?... Say What?

Pronounced "Grrr-Kin". A Gherkin is of the same species of a cucumber and they are usually harvested at 1-3 inches in length and brined in vinegar like pickles. Gherkins are called "Cornichons" in French. 

Now back to the dishes. Personally, white asparagus does nothing for me and I would prefer green asparagus any day over it's creepy white (and somewhat bland) counterpart. I honestly believe that this white asparagus and hollandaise sauce recipe was created by a French chef who was looking for an excuse to eat hollandaise ....anything is good drenched in hollandaise, right? Nonetheless, we observed the creation of this classic French recipe. 

The pork chop recipe was delicious. I probably wouldn't have paired gherkins, veal stock, wine, and pan drippings together on my own but it was a really pleasant combination of flavors - the gherkins and gherkin juice added the perfect bit of acidity to the final sauce. 

Bottom line : It's all about the technique and mine is improving daily!

I just realized today that next week is finals week which means the end of Culinary Foundations 1 / Sanitation classes and the beginning of Culinary Foundations 2 which is all hands-on work ...can't wait!

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