Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another fish and more

Our menu on Monday was not difficult, but was time consuming.

We started out making “American Pie Dough”. We’ve made several doughs now, and this is just a variation on others that we’ve made. The others we have made are all butter, but this one had Crisco, along with butter, in it. It definitely makes for a flakier crust, although I’m not sure it’s so much flaky, as it is crumbly. It was hard to work with and did crumble when we removed it from the tart pans.

While the dough was chilling, we made lemon curd. I’ve made lemon curd at home before, but this was a bigger quantity than I’ve made. The recipe calls for 2 cups of lemon juice and yep, we do squeeze our own lemons. I would guess at least 30 lemons were used. Squeezing lemons is not a fun thing to do when your fingers have microcuts on them (or hangnails). A tip is to microwave the lemon for about 15 seconds before cutting them open to get the most juice out of them. I think rolling them on your cutting board firmly before cutting them does the same thing, which is what I generally do. I knew the curd would take a long time to make – you have to heat the mixture until thick, stirring constantly. It takes a good 15 or 20 minutes to do this. So, while I squeezed lemons and made the curd, my table partner did pretty much everything else.

Our first course was vichyssoise, cold leek and potato soup. We made the hot version a few weeks ago, which I liked much better. I’m not a big fan of cold soup, it always seems like a surprise to me when I taste it, even when I know it’s cold.

Our main course was tilapia with brown butter almond sauce on top. We’ve made similar sauce for other fish entrees, but I liked the addition of the toasted almonds in this one. Someone in the class had made rice pilaf to go alongside.

The lemon curd and pie dough was used to make lemon meringue tarts. Once you have the components, all you need to do is make the meringue and then use the torch to get it brown. The class experimented with how much sugar to add to the egg whites and also used granulated or confectioners sugar to see any differences. We used half granulated and half confectioners at my table. It was a bit sweet, but ok. I liked the lemon curd and tart shell together, could leave the meringue.

I like my table partner that I have this week. He’s the same person who I worked with on the open house last month. We work well together, which always makes me feel better.

I have a “term paper” due on Monday on Cinnamon. We were all assigned a spice to research and that’s the one I got. I haven’t done research much since college, when you had to go to the library and look at a bunch of books (after taking a nap in the carrel, of course). It’s much easier now that we have that thing called the Internet! But, it’s a full paper, bibliography and everything and then we have to give a 5 minute presentation in class about it. Yahoo.

Have a good Wednesday, everyone! I think we are making risotto tonight. My stirring arm is becoming very strong.

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