culinary school- week 3- (140 lbs.)

Chicken Saltimboca

Well, the pace continued as we wrapped up our third week. If I never see another chicken, it will be too soon. After de-boning one and cooking (and eating) it 7 ways, plus the preparing and ingesting of assorted accompanying pig products, I’m really close to buying myself a one way ticket to Vegetarianville….or maybe it will pass. Time will tell. Add to this the butter, cream, pastry, and bread….one thing is for sure; these days, evenings are for homework and salads. I have decided to enter my weight with each week’s posting, just for the heck of it….This week I weigh 140 lbs. Hey! I’m 5’ 8” and big-boned.

Diane & Willie’s Cream of Lettuce Soup With Fennel Seeds

Every week we are assigned a new partner. For each Monday-to-Friday stretch, we work together as a team; planning, assisting and learning together as we go. The pace is fast, and good communication is key (as is maintaining a ready sense of humour). I have had 2 partners so far, and have enjoyed working with both of them immensely. This week I was paired up with Willie, a delightful, petite young woman from Malaysia. On Monday we were assigned a surprise soup test…..make a cream soup based on a mystery ingredient in 20 minutes, using no recipe. Our mystery ingredient? Lettuce. Oh joy. We opted for the addition of some fennel seeds to compliment the lettuce, et viola! Not only did we make ourselves a damn fine soup, but we completed it on time. I must say, we were pretty pleased with ourselves. I would definitely make this recipe again, especially if I had some extra lettuce kicking around in the fridge.

Diane & Willie’s Cream of Lettuce Soup With Fennel Seeds
(Serves 2)

1 tbsp (non GMO) canola oil
½ cup onions, diced
¼ cup celery, diced
¼ cup carrots, diced
¼ tsp toasted fennel seeds, crushed
1 clove off garlic, minced
½ head romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped
1 ½ cups water
Bouquet Garni (1 bay leaf, 6 peppercorns, 1 sprig each of thyme and parsley, tied in a cheese cloth)
1/4 tsp salt
¼ cup heavy cream
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Sweat onions in a medium size pot. Add carrots, then celery. Next add the fennel seeds, allowing them to moisten and release their essential oils. Then add the garlic and the lettuce. Cook until the lettuce is starting to wilt. Add the water and the bouquet garni. Bring water to a boil, add the salt, and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for about 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are ‘fork tender’. Put the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Press the soup through a strainer (back into the pot) and return to the stove. Render the cream into the soup slowly, using a ladle. Heat the soup fully, taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Serve.

Quiche Lorainne

Again, here is a list of some of the things we have prepared in the last 5 days:

Hollandaise Sauce & Poached Egg (Gastride & Sabayon)
Sauce Poivrade & Sauce Chasseur
Pan Seared Sole with Beurre Blanc

Surprise Soup Test (Cream of Lettuce With Fennel Seeds)

More Baguette
Flaky Pastry + Quiche Lorainne
Sweet Pastry + Lemon Tarts

Smoked Salmon & Goat Cheese Quiche
De-boned a whole chicken
Chicken Breast en Papillote (in parchment paper) with Lemon & Tarragon
Jambonneau de Volaille (chicken leg stuffed with forcemeat)
Braised Chicken Thighs (dry rubbed, pan fried, then simmered in an Asian sauce)
Chicken Stock

Epi Baguette (Scissor Bread)
Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry With Rice
Southern Fried Chicken
Chicken Saltimboca

Epi (Scissor) Bread

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