Monday, August 22, 2016

Cooking Class Part 2

I went to the second part of my cooking class. We made three dishes. The first dish was pea, prosciutto, and Parmesan risotto. The second dish was blanched green beans with Dijon vinaigrette. The third dish was pan seared scallops with a citrus-thyme gastric. And, the final dish was blackberry croustade with flaky pie dough and homemade whipped cream. Spoiler alert; everything was yummy. Let's start at the beginning.

The first dish we made was risotto. It was super simple especially because all the ingredients were prepped and ready. Many chefs use this technique called mis en place. This is a French term that translates to "put in place."  After prepping and measuring all the ingredients for the recipe.  Warm 6-8 cups of low-sodium chicken broth. We coated a large saucepan with oil. When the oil shimmers, add shallots. Cook shallots until translucent. Add wine. Then, it's time to start the rice.

We used Arborio rice, and toasted the rice in the oil. Then, gradually add chicken broth broth 1/2 - 1 cup at a time. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the broth is absorbed. The broth and rice should be simmering. Repeat adding the rice while stirring. One of my fellow students had made risotto before. She shared a helpful tip; if the pan is sizzling, it's time to add more liquid. Taste the risotto. When the risotto is creamy but still has bite, you're done adding liquid . . . and almost done stirring. Turn of the heat. Then, we add the finishing touches: prosciutto, peas, and Parmesan. Taste and see if it needs anything else. We added salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

This is the risotto after adding stock twice. It's not really creamy. The chef encouraged us to taste at this point. I would not recommend it. The rice was crunchy and stuck to our teeth. It was definitely not done.

This picture shows the risotto after we added the last of our chicken stock. We were finishing simmering until the liquid evaporated. At this stage, the risotto was al dente and creamy. It's almost done!

Add your flavorings. We add peas, prosciutto, Parmesan cheese, and butter to flavor our risotto. It was creamy and tender. The peas added a fresh pop. The Parmesan and prosciutto added a salty bite. So, good! 

The second dish was blanched green beans with Dijon vinaigrette. I've used the blanching technique before with broccoli and green beans. Blanching is submerging a food, like green beans, in boiling water for a few minutes. Then, you shock the food by submerging it in ice cold water. This stops the cooking and locks in the bright green color. 

Adding a vinaigrette was a new way to prepare green beans. I loved the acidity of the lemon, Dijon vinaigrette. The herbs in the vinaigrette were fresh and brightened the flavor. The green beans were crisp, and the roasted hazelnuts were rich and crunchy. So good! 

The third dish was pan seared scallops with a citrus-thyme gastric. As a Louisiana girl, I love seafood. Scallops are sweet, tender, and a little sweet. Scallops cook quickly, so it's a great, quick protein to make. Look for dry-packed scallops and make sure you remove the adductor muscle. We seasoned the scales with salt and pepper, and seared the scallops in canola oil for about 2-3 minutes per side.

We made a citrus-thyme gastrique. Gastrique sounds like a fancy, complex term. But, it is a simple a vinegar-based sauce with caramelized sugar. I tasted the scallop without the sauce, and it was good. Then, I added the gastrique, and it was phenomenal! The gastric add a punchy, bright citrus element from the orange and the sweetness of the sugar complemented the slight sweet scallops.

The final dish was blackberry croustade with flaky pie dough and homemade whipped cream. We made the dough in a food processor. It was super easy and flaky!

We prepped the filling with blackberries, lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch, almond extract, and lemon juice. The almond extract was a delicious addition!

Then you poor the filling into the dough on a baking sheet lines with parchment.

Tip, use the parchment to fold the dough over.

We topped the croustade with whipped cream.

I encourage you to try something new. Invite a friend. Learn something new. Don't be afraid to try a new recipe, and taste something new! That's it for cooking with class part two.

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