Posts tagged ‘sauce’

October 28, 2011

Happy Friday Things

I feel like I have so much to share today! I probably should have done two separate posts, but I just don’t have time!

First up, class last night was great–much needed after Tuesday! We only had two recipes, and they were both very simple, low key recipes: Strip steak with french fries and a sauce called Chevron (tangier and way better but similar to hollandaise) and fillet mignon with a bordelaise sauce (basically a type of red wine and veal stock reduction).

Strip Steak with French Fries and Chevron Sauce

Strip Steak with French Fries and Chevron Sauce

Despite the beauty of the strip steak, I’m just not a fan. It’s way too chewy for me. There’s only a small amount on my plate because I saved the rest for either my boyfriend or my brother. Since filet mignon is my favorite (I know, I know…such a brat!), I opted to pair that with the chevron sauce for lunch.

Fillet Mignon with Bone Marrow and Chevron Sauce

Fillet Mignon with Bone Marrow and Chevron Sauce

Such a fancy meal looks funny being eaten this way, right?!

Anyway, I had a few fun surprises at work today. During our meeting to go over the December issue, one of the editors brought in some Halloween candy to share. I think I may have a new favorite candy!

Take 5

Take 5

Has anyone ever tried these? They are an amazing combination of pretzel, caramel, peanut and peanut butter and then coated with milk chocolate. They are so salty and sweet. I love it!

And then a few hours later, UV vodka delivered a case of this baby to one of my coworkers.

White Cake Flavored Vodka

White Cake Flavored Vodka

Since there were so many bottles, we each got to take home one. I don’t normally like cake-flavored food and drink items, but I can’t wait to try it–It reminds me of Jessica’s cake batter martinis, a drink I still think about how many months later?!

This afternoon I’m off to gather the last-minute pieces of my Halloween costume. I was gonna stay in tonight (I say that every Friday), but looks like I’ll be out and about. There might even be a dessert bar at my brothers apartment that I’ll have to attend (he makes this drink called pie–tastes exactly like apple pie! and I have my cake batter vodka!). Our mom is so proud.

Happy Friday!

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
Do you like cake-flavored foods and drinks?

October 5, 2011

Emulsified Sauces

During last night’s class we focused on emulsified sauces (sauces that don’t bind together unless you bind them with a protein such as egg–kind of like how salad dressing separates unless you add mustard or something).

Just as we were about to get started making our five emulsified sauces (mayonnaise, hollandaise,  bearnaise, buerre blanc, and sabayon) the first alarm went off. Now, you’d think the fire alarm at a culinary school would readily alert you that there is something potentially dangerous going on but, instead, it’s a pathetic little beeping noise. Anyway, we all paraded out of the classroom and down four flights of stairs onto Broadway (arguably one of the busier streets in Manhattan) in our uniforms. It was literally a sea of white. Needless to say, I now know what it feels like to be an animal at the zoo. There were dozens of people stopping and taking our picture–some people even pulled over in their cars to photograph us. It was all very weird really. Luckily, it was just a drill and we were able to return to work only about 5-10 minutes later.

I was nervous about last night’s class, because emulsified sauces can be tricky at first. They are delicate and can break (not bind together) if they get too hot, too cold, ingredients are added to quickly, and more. We made two of the sauces (the mayo and the hollandaise) by ourselves and then we made the other three in teams. I was with my semi-usual partner, Ron, again. I really enjoy working with him, because we seem to work well together, but I also really enjoy his company.





However, today was our first failure together! Our bearnaise sauce was coming together just fine and then, at the very last second, it just broke. Ron said it looked like yellow vomit. He was pretty much spot on. boo hoo. At least Chef was nice about this particular failure. He said that it was a good learning experience and that it seemed like we added too much oil and that we should have just stopped when it looked nice and thick. But, to make matters worse, we then messed up the buerre blanc–even though Chef said that was the easiest of them all and the hardest to mess up. Secretly, I think it would have been fine, but our assistant chef turned up the heat and the butter bubbled a bit. I think it got too hot after she turned it up, but I guess it was my job to monitor and it and turn it down if I thought she had made the heat too high. Oh well. The good news: The class was short on time due to the fire drill, so we somehow got away with not showing this dish to Chef.

The last sauce we made together, the sabayon, actually turned out deliciously. We made the prettiest little arrangement before plating it for chef, and he really liked both the taste and the visual appeal of our dish. It was a great way to end the night. I actually liked the sauce so much that while I was across the room, I spotted Ron going to throw away the sabayon and I literally ran over demanding he save the sauce so we could take it home. It was a weird instinctive reaction, but it was very funny and had us laughing pretty hard.

Sweet Sabayon

Sweet Sabayon

Tomorrow night we have our first test, so I’m going to spend the majority of my night locked in my room studying. It’s on eight chapters and I really just don’t know what to expect!

October 3, 2011

Fall Comfort Food: Sauces and Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Saturday seems like an eternity ago….

I was really tired going into Saturday’s class from a late night, not to mention my ankle was swollen to about 3x its normal size after a few spills. Needless to say, a Saturday night class seemed daunting.

Saturday was sauce day, so we worked on the 5 French mother sauces (named this because they are the basic sauces from which many other sauces can be derived). I got to work with a guy that has quickly become one of my better friends at school. I was glad that we worked pretty well together too.

We managed most of our sauces with little criticism from Chef, but had a harsh wakeup call when we went to make our white wine sauce. The sauce requires a decent amount of heavy cream, but there was little more than a drop left by the time we gathered our ingredients together. This was our second-to-last recipe of the night, and Chef seemed a bit less patient by this point. He basically said there was nothing he could do about the fact that there was no heavy cream left. Instead of pouring out some of the mixture to make it a bit equal to the amount of cream we had (why didn’t we think of this at the time!!), we just made do with the small amount of cream we had, but it just wasn’t enough and our sauce was far from what it should have been. Oh well! I guess we are still learning, and everything isn’t going to come out perfectly every time.

Bechamel Sauce


Besides my aching foot and the unsuccessful white wine sauce, class was pretty fun and very filling. One of the more advanced levels was hosting a charcuterie buffet—I didn’t love the stuff, but it was great to try a lot of different things made by others in the program. We also made homemade macaroni and cheese with the béchamel (creamy butter and milk sauce basically) AND we had the normal family dinner which consisted of sundried tomato and mozzarella risotto, carrots, pork, and more. Now you see why it’s hard to stay skinny and be a chef!?

Charcuterie Plate

Blurry Charcuterie Plate

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Inspired by a recipe Chef served us at FCI
Serves 8

16 ounces elbow/penne pasta

4 cups bechamel (recipe below)

4 cups sharp cheddar, shredded

1/2 cup breadcrumbs, toasted (recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cook pasta according to package directions and prepare bechamel sauce.

2. While bechamel thickens, prepare toasted breadcrumbs.

3. Place pasta in casserole dish and cover with bechamel. Stir in cheese and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

4. Bake for 30 minutes.

Adapted from FCI textbook
Yields approximately 4 cups

3 T butter

4 T flour

1 liter milk

salt, to taste

cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)

nutmeg, to taste (optional)

1. Melt butter over high heat. Gradually whisk in flour, careful not to let butter or flour brown (This makes what is called a roux and it is a thickening agent for your sauce). Whisk until mixture is frothy.

2. Add milk and bring to a boil (a rolling boil is imperative to cook out flour taste and help sauce thicken). Turn heat down and simmer mixture for 10-15 minutes, until thickened.

3. Add salt, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.

Toasted Breadcrumbs
Yields 1/2 cup

1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs

2 T butter

1. Melt butter and stir in breadcrumbs over medium heat stirring constantly (to prevent breadcrumbs from burning) until toasted to a dark golden.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese With Bechamel

Recreated the mac and cheese with bechamel for my family

 *Note: I didn’t price out any of this recipe because I didn’t plan on sharing it, but since it requires very few ingredients, it’s very inexpensive and easy to make.