Day 8 – Soups! (and a test)

12 Jul

So, I forgot to take pictures of our food today :(. We were moving pretty fast to finish all 4 soups after our first test. Ahh, the test. As I am not a mayonaisse lover, I bombed the question that asked what are three derivative sauces you can make from mayonaisse? Ummm, tarter sauce, of course. Aioli, of course. I think I intentionally blocked out the mayo chart in the book. Some other sauces you can make from mayo include: Verte (mayo with green herbs or chlorophyll); Remoulade (may with mustard, capers, minced cornichons, chervil, tarragon, parsley, and anchovies); and Chantilly (2/3 mayo to 1/3 whipped cream); and Andalouse (mayo, tomato coulis and diced peppers).  Next time, I’ll remember.

So, onto soups. We made split pea with croutons, “farmer-style” vegetable soup, french onion soup, and beef consomme with vegetable garnish. This was my first true consomme ever. We used beef marmite, egg whites and juliennes of carrots, celery and leeks to make a “raft” of flavor and fat that floats to the top during simmering, so that you what you are left with (if you do it right – yeah, Mark, we did it right) is a clear, amber broth. We started the consomme, split pea, and french onion before lunch. Here’s some of the crew in the lunchroom. My partner today was Mark, who is standing third from the left. I’ve worked with everyone in the picture once, except for Victor. They are (from left to right): Bobbie, Anne, Mark, Tom, David, Ian (standing), and Victor. So far, everyone has been very helpful to one another and nice.  I know “nice” sounds “nice”, but they really are and nice cannot be underrated in this world.  This group has some good camaraderie. 

I think my favorite was the French Onion (Gratinee a l’oignon) because who doesn’t love toasted bread with melted gruyere cheese on top? Here is the adapted recipe, which was actually quite quick. Yields: 4 servings.  Ingredient list: 1) 2.5 oz. butter, 2) 1 lb, 5 oz. onions, finely sliced, 3) 1 T all purpose flour, 4) 1 garlic clove, chopped, 5) 4 oz dry sherry (crucial ingredient), 6) 1 Qt. chicken, beef, or combo stock, 7) baguette or bread slices, 8) 5 oz. Emmenthaler or Gruyere cheese, 9) salt and pepper to taste. Directions: 1) Heat butter in soup pot, 2) When hot, add onions and cook over medium heat for 20-30 minutes. You want to sweat the onions, but not brown them quickly.  It should take the full 20-30 minutes to start to get some color on them. If they are browning too quikcly, turn down your heat, 3) When the onions are soft and just starting to get some color, turn up the heat and add the  garlic.  Cook a few more minutes, 4) Add the flour in and stir to completely coat the onions, 5) Add the sherry and reduce down by about 1/2 to cook off some of the alcohol, 5) When it is reduced, add in the stock and cook at a low simmer for 20 minutes and then season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remember that if you’re starting with stock that has any salt content to it, you should be very careful when adding more salt at this stage. You’ll be topping the onion soup with cheese that also has salt in it, so you don’t want to kill everyone’s palette with too much salt.  6) While the soup is simmering, get an oven proof bowl and either cut baguette slices that you’ll float on top of the bowl covered with cheese, or if your bowl has a small enough opening, take a regular piece of white sandwich bread and use the bowl to cut out a round piece of bread that fits nicely on the entire top of the bowl, like a cover (neat trick, Chef Tomm).  Saute some butter in a pan and brown the bread on both sides.  Then, grate the cheese, 7) When the soup is done, pour it into a bowl, put your crouton(s)/bread on top and cover the entire top with cheese so that when the cheese melts, it oozes down the sides. Place the bowl on a sheet pan and place in the oven to broil the top of the cheese until there is a nice crust on it. E voila!

Thanks to the pastry crew, every few days we get to taste some of their delicious creations.  This pic was from last week. 

I think tomorrow is going to be one of my favorite lessons, to date. I’m a big pickle and lemon fan, and we’re making pickled jardiniere of vegetables and preserved lemons. But, the capper is likely to be the gravlax. Whenever I eat gravlax, I think about some of my best friends from law school, especially BC who is an avid fisherman who smokes steelhead from Oregon rivers as a way to preserve his fish. Mmmmmm….

4 Responses to “Day 8 – Soups! (and a test)”

  1. Bee Leng Chua July 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    Rachel – thanks for sharing your new world – food! You’re embarking on your dream and I wish you so well. I myself love to watch Food Channel (certain shows like Giada at Home). So reading your blog is like reading “Food Channel”. The pics are a bonus!
    Keep them coming!
    Bee Leng

  2. Bev July 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    hm- m-m …..need to find oven proof bowls. By following your description even I might be able to make French Onion Soup! Thank you – thank you.
    More hugs – Aunt Bev

  3. Brian July 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Great directions, Rachel! French onion soup turned out perfect. So easy to follow along and your tip on how to cook the onions was super helpful!

  4. Victor July 18, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    You finally got to work with me and bobby last week! Must be awesome working with such “nice” guys! 😀

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