I am heading into week three of this quarter and wanted to give you guys an update on what I am learning so far! Knife skills, stocks and sauces are what we have covered so far.
In knife skills, we learned how to chop, mince, chiffonade, julienne, dice and tourne. This translates to lots and lots of onions, carrots and potatoes getting butchered by me! Essentially, learning proper knife cuts will not only look aesthetically pleasing in your final product, but will also greatly help the cooking time of your vegetables. If everything is the same size, you can reduce the risk of some vegetables turning into mush while other pieces are crunchy.I found TONS of Youtube videos that gave great tutorials if your interested in diving into learning these yourself!
Stocks and sauces have also been a blast to learn. Stocks always have flavoring, liquid, mirepoix ( 50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery) and spices. Stocks can take awhile to simmer, but once it's made, you can store your stock in the fridge for last minute soups, sauces, poaching liquid or really any other use you can think of! Below is the table found in my textbook that gives you the correct ratios of ingredients for the basic stocks to give you an idea of how they are made.
In addition, we also made what are known in the culinary world as the classical mother sauces: béchamel, velouté, tomato, espagnole (brown sauce), and hollandaise. What surprised me is how much BUTTER is in every single sauce! My favorite sauce to make was the tomato sauce as I adore tomatoes and it actually is a really healthy way to perk up any dish.
I had lots of fun making the mother sauces, but it was also really inspiring to think about what other sauces I could experiment with that would be more in line with a healthy lifestyle. Below is a picture that shows the mother sauces.
Next week we head into soups and chowders so I can't wait to see what I can pass along!