Culinary School Here I Come (30) 2nd Semester Week 5, Viva La France!

And French it was this week. Out with Sopa de Frijo Negro and in with Sopa de Asperges. Out with Baby Romaine Caesar Salad and in with Frisee aux Lardons et Euf Sous Vide.

In simple terms, this is a salad of frisee lettuce, apple wood smoked bacon topped with a champagne vinaigrette and a sous vide egg. The chef recommends breaking the egg and mixing it with the dressing to make an emulsification. It was pretty spectacular. Not as spectacular as smoking the goat cheese for the soup. I will get into that in a few weeks.

Amuse Bouche (to awaken the palate) for the French menu was a Roasted Kabocha Pumpkin Bisque with Creme Fraiche and a Prosciutto Crisp.

Big Island Hamakua Mushroom and Apple Wood Smoked Bacon Voul-au-Vent.

Voul-au-vent, meaning “windblown” describes the lightness of the hollowed out puff pastry into which was spooned a medley of mushrooms and bacon in a cream sauce.

Enough about the food. I will deal with that when I’m in the back of the house. I looked forward to our French menu this week because the group that I was in was responsible to research the menu. The most intriguing aspect was learning and describing the smoking process of the goat cheese for the soup. Alas, I won’t be talking about that until later. It’s soooooo cool though.

Service began with a bang! A party of 12. Fortunately it wasn’t my table. I was a back waiter for the first day of French service. I enjoyed that because I could ease into the menu and still participate with the guests as background. I, however, was a server on Friday and I must say I had a great time. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I don’t care (despise) to be a server. It was actually fun. I knew the menu and I impressed. I was assigned to serve one of the Culinary Academy’s benefactors and we actually got a glowing review.

After a long day of service, we all wait to hear our reviews being read. Done with French and off to the Pacific Rim next week.

It’s been a little frustrating, to say the least, to not be in the kitchen cooking. I solved that problem this week. I threw a dinner party and pulled out all the stops and some tricks from some of our menus past.

My version of the Shrimp Martini is slowly poached shrimp in a red pepper coulis. I must admit it was really good. The poaching didn’t dry out the shrimp which is usually grilled. It was then placed on a sliced fennel and heirloom tomato salad with a simple vinaigrette.

Next on the menu was a Curried Carrot Bisque with Haupia Cream. The soup was served with a dollop of Haupia Ice Cream with the hot Carrot Bisque surrounding it. Dramatic to say the least. Please note the Candied Ginger.

The entree was pretty simple. I served Coconut Curried Red and Purple Potatoes, Broccoli and Cauliflower with Pan Fried Salmon.

I’ve been perfecting my Cheesecake recipe. This was a really good try. Not too much sour cream will make it firmer. The sauce was amazing. I started with a Pineapple & Chipotle Salsa that I made a few days prior. I simmered it down a bit, then pureed it in the food processor. I then added some brown sugar and lemon and reduced it down to a syrup. It was awesome. Hints of pineapple, lemon, and brown sugar with a slight burn & smokiness of the Chipotle pepper. You would never have known there was tomato, onions and garlic there too! This recipe is a keeper.

Off to the Pacific Rim…Loco Moco anyone?

About tinfoilduck

I had this wacky idea to go to culinary school, while maintaining another full time career. I will be blogging about the program and how it affects me as I try to manage my daily life and how I try to keep everything together.
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