Day 4 - CIA Culinary Boot Camp
A Week of Learning the Culinary Basics
A Week of Learning the Culinary Basics
Hi folks, well day four has come and gone on my Culinary Boot Camp adventure here at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. I can't believe I only have one day left it has gone by so fast! Another beautiful day here in Napa with a bit cooler temperatures which was very nice especially when we got into the kitchen.
Wow today was a lot of fun! Chef Patrick whom had been instructing us for the last few days needed to leave for the rest of the week so today we studied with Chef Lars. He was the firist instructor they had at this campus and he is really good. He is originally from Denmark so he has a bit of an accent but so far I have been able to understand most of what he is saying.
So per usual we started the day off with a lecture. Today we were studying Grill, Broil, Roast, Emulsion Sauces, and Grain Cookery. The lecture was actually on this topic today which I found very helpful. We discussed quite a bit and of course learned some more french words (I'm getting better at pronouncing them). The one thing that struck me the most was to never cover a roast or steak with tinfoil when resting. You want to cover it with a clean towel because it needs to be able to breathe by covering it with foil it causes the meat to cook more because it traps the heat like a oven.
Chef Lars did a lot of demos today which I loved and we also got to take tour of the school herb garden. The tour of the garden was so much fun! Every morning I have been going for a walk here in Calistoga where I'm staying. I love seeing all the herbs and flowers people are growing as I walk. There will be rosemary growing here that is a huge hedge something you never see in Minnesota. They had a ton of herbs growing in the school garden and it was a blast to taste and smell of them as we walked around. We even picked fresh bay leaves right off the tree.
Touring the herb garden. I didn't know this but if you chew on a few tarragon leafs it will actually make you mouth num. The monks used it when they had to pull teeth! Some of the students participate in a program where they get a box of fresh produce every week from a local farmer so we also got see what they got this week.
When we got back in the kitchen Chef demoed how to fillet a salmon, cut pork chops and truss a chicken. We went over how to make a dry rub and he explained how to dry roast peppercorns and seeds to extract their oils. He also showed us how to make Beurre Rosa which is butter sauce made with a wine/vinegar reduction. It was really fun he had one of the students pan-fry some snapper so we could try the Beurre Rosa as soon as it was done.
How to truss a chicken demo
Demo on cutting up a slab into Pork Chops
Demo on filleting salmon
Demo on making a Beurre Rosa
Demo on extracting the oils from peppercorns and seeds
Because some of the teams had items that needed grilling we also got to go outside for some grilling demos. The grilling area was really cool it had all types of grills including a huge charcoal grill, a tandoor oven, a smoker and a huge wood burning pizza oven. Chef showed us how to light charcoal using a chimney and we talked about the different heating areas or zones. Then it was time to grill some stuff! I love the smell of grilling! First up was a bunch of veggies then pork chops and salmon.
Grilling Demos - love the smell of a grill going
For production today our team was responsible for Roast Sirloin of Beef with Jus Lie, Barley Pilaf and Oven-Roasted Vegetables. The first that we did was get the dry rub ready for the roast which involved popping the peppercorns like in the demo we had for dry rubs. Which by the way if you have never done this before smells amazing. I diced up and got the Mirepoix ready to put down in the base of the roasting pan making a "rack" ensuring that air was able to fully circulate around the roast. After we seared all the sides we stuck the roast in the oven for about 45 mins.
We made a Bain Marie to keep the Beurre Rosa warm to dirizzle over our veggies. Bain Marie's get used in resturants a lot to keep things warm its pretty much a pot of simmering water that you place a container of something you want to keep warm in.
Using a mortar and pestle to crush up the peppercorns I dry roasted for the dry rub
A quick demo for us on how to tie up the beed roast so it cooks even
My Barley Pilaf cooking away!
Next I started working on the Barley Pilaf while the rest of the team attacked the roasted veggies. I have never made barley before or even tasted it to be honest so this was an adventure for me. After making it I found that I actually liked it so this is something that I will likely end up making every once and awhile at home. The process was pretty easy - I diced up a onion and some garlic. Then getting out a rondaeu (a wide, heavy-bottomed pot with straight sides and to handles) I sauté the onions until translucent added in the garlic for a bit until it became fragrant but not brown. Once that happened I added in the barley and tossed everything together making sure all the barley was coated. After that was done I added in some chicken stock and brought it to a boil. After that I slapped on a lid and put the whole darn thing in the oven for about 45 mins.
Carving up the Roast Beef for plating. I was a littler nervous because Chef said it needed to be paper thin which is tricky to cut but he said I did a good job :o)
Tonight our food was presented really pretty complete with signs and risers. We all did a great job I think I tried a little bit of everything including the salmon (I'm not a big fish person). Our roast beef turned out great. Chef said the barley could have been better he thought it was a touch over cooked but he also said it was a pretty boring recipe LOL. Next time I make it he said to add more liquid because it was a bit thicker then it was suppose to be however I got the seasoning just right.
The dishes my team prepared
Tonight for dinner we sat right next to the windows and because the view out window is so goureous I just had to take a picture to share with you. Now you are getting to know me thru this blog here and are probably going guess this but I did buzz over to the pastry area and pick up some desserts. This afternoon they were working on fondant cakes and they made some beauties.
The view out the window in the kitchen
The pastry table there was a ton of cakes
I think my favorite was the ratoutille cake. I didn't go with cake for dessert tonight thou I went with a donut. Now I'm not a jelly filled donut kind of girl I like mine filled with creme (interest dirty joke here...) however with that being said this was the best jelly donut I have ever had. The cherry jelly inside was spot on with great flavor and the dough part was cooked just prefect and had a light lemon flavor. BEST Donut Ever. Needless to say I hope I can score one tomorrow.
The best jelly filled donut ever
Wow like I said in the beginning of this post I can't believe that tomorrow is my last day already. I have really enjoyed this week. I have learned a lot and feel that I am improving in the areas that I felt I was lacking before. I really enjoyed Chef Lars today he was great and all the demos he did today were very informative. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. To end out the night here is a picture of CIA at Greystone at sunset as I am leaving so beautiful.