Cocktail practice

Last week I had the opportunity to be the chef’s assistant for the upper-level cuisine student’s final demonstration class. I helped to pipe cream, bake macarons, fill jars, deep-fry and garnish these cocktail appetizers for their class.

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Of course these aren’t actually the final plated dishes. I took these photos after the finished dishes were eaten. The squid ink-brushed macarons, for example, were served in scallop shells as they are filled with a salted cod brandade.

March 13th, 2017

Salmon and sea bass terrine with spinach, basil and beurre blanc sauce

This dish is yet another terrine. It was cooked in a loaf pan but sliced and plated for the photograph.

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Terrine de saumon et bars aux épinards et basilic, sauce beurre blanc

Beurre blanc sauce is just so lovely and glossy when it’s done right. I found the crisped sea bass skin was a nice touch for texture contrast.

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Salmon and sea bass terrine with spinach, basil and beurre blanc sauce

March 13th, 2017

 

Duck terrine with pistachios, cranberries, and brandy with Cumberland sauce

Terrines are apparently a very, very big deal. This dish is garnished with orange and lemon zest, pea shoots and basil. I find that the Cumberland sauce tastes terrible on its own but makes some sort of sense when tasted with the duck terrine. It’s mostly Port wine, anyway.

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Terrine de canard aux pistaches et canneberges avec sauce Cumberland
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Duck terrine with pistachios, cranberries and brandy

March 12th, 2017

Venison medallions and cured freshwater fish filet

These dishes feature Canadian specialities: freshwater fish (walleye and trout), venison (deer meat) and morels (black mushrooms).

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Médallions de cerf, polenta crémeuse aux champignons, purée chataignes
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Venison medallions with mushroom polenta and chestnut puree-filled morels

The venison is topped with crispy fried sage leaves and garnished with a refreshed venison jus.

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Venison jus

The second dish I made was essentially warm salad. The cured fish was torched à la minute on the skin-side only to give a slightly caramelized appeal.

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Filet de doré et truite mariné aux herbes salées du bas de fleuve, salicornes en salade
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Cured walleye and trout fillets marinated in herbed coarse salt, over a bed of saltwort, asparagus, arugula

 

March 12th, 2017

Proulx Sugar Bush & Berry Farm tour

Last weekend I went on a field trip to a maple syrup farm! We enjoyed a very Canadian brunch and tasting.

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My classmates and I tasting the different forms of maple syrup

I hung out with these two horses, Sparky and Winston, as well as our fantastic tour guide.

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Selfie with a horse!

This goat also kissed my cheek (and then tried to eat my hair.)

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Selfie with a goat!

Finally I did the most Canadian thing of all: rolling hot maple syrup onto a stick in the snow to make a lollipop!

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My maple syrup lollipop

It was a pretty great adventure.

March 5th, 2017

Blanc manger and braised pork shank

These are dishes from what is apparently called “DOM-TOM”: Départment et Territoire D’Outre Mer, or in other words, Departments and Territories overseas from France. This includes areas such as French Guiana, French Polynesia, and Bora Bora.

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Blanc manger noix de coco et fruit de la passion

Coconut and passion fruit cream dessert, which closely resembles panna cotta.

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Jarret de porc en cocotte, riz créole, salade d’ocras et sauce chien
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Pork shank, creole rice, gumbo salad and “dog sauce”

I learned that gumbo salad is a cold salad featuring okra. I have also learned that the french word for “okra” is “ocra”, which is a close call away from “orca”. To be clear: this is not a killer whale salad.

March 5th, 2017

Gnocchi, three ways

The first type of gnocchi is how gnocchi is enjoyed in Paris.

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Gnocchi à la Parisienne

Yep, it’s pretty obvious that this one collapsed in the centre once the steam escaped before I took the photo.

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Gnocchis made with choux paste

I was actually supposed to fill the bottom of the ramekin with bechamel sauce so that it wouldn’t be, you know, hollow on the inside. My bad.

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Gnocchi à la Romaine

My classmate who lived in Rome and attained a master’s degree in Italian cuisine claimed that this is not actually what gnocchi is like in Rome.

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Polenta gnocchi

Needless to say, there was some argument as to whether or not this is gnocchi or just oven-baked polenta.

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Fried polenta gnocchi, with a smoked cayenne aioli
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Pan-fried polenta gnocchi with a parmesan tuille and twig of roasted thyme
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Gnocchi à la Piémontaise ou à l’Alsacienne

This last one is the gnocchi I am familiar with. Potato gnocchi with fresh sage, capers, parmesan and butter is hands-down undeniably delicious in my humble opinion.

March 5th, 2017