Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fish and Pork & Beans

Sorry I'm behind again!  I'm going to combine the rest of last week's classes, so then I should be almost caught up.

On Thursday, we had our pork butchering demonstration - the chef had a full pork loin which he then butchered down into roasts, medallions, etc.  Luckily, we don't need to learn the muscles, joints, etc. on the animals - we just need to know the primal cuts and where they come from.  Science has not really ever been my thing, especially anatomy, so if we had to learn all of the muscles and stuff, I would fail out quickly.

After the demo, we set about cooking, but not the pork.  We did fish instead because it's quicker.  We started out with fried eggplant - pretty standard, eggplant, breaded and then pan fried until golden.  I liked it much better than I thought I would.

We then deboned some rockfish and put it in parchment paper along with olive oil, caramelized onions, zucchini and fennel.  The parchment is then sealed around the fish, creating a pocket.  Put in the oven, where it steams the fish.  Once it came out, we made a sauce of tomatoes, black olives, olive oil, saffron and basil, which was served over the fish.  I'm not a big fan of olives or chunk tomatoes, like that, but it had good flavor - very Mediterranean.

Sorry for the picture - I forgot to take it until I was halfway through eating.

On Saturday, we started out making baguettes again - this time we added sourdough starter for some flavor.  I have trouble rolling out my baguettes - they taste ok, but they are ugly.  Also, because I tend to roll so much, they don't rise quite as much.  Practice needed.

We then did one of my favorite desserts - carrot cake.  It was a pretty traditional cake - carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  We added walnuts to the cake, which I happen to like.  I like that bit of crunch in the cake.  When my table made ours, we added a little too much shredded carrot to our cake, so we called it "healthy".  It was really tasty.  We added a small can of crushed pineapple to the recipe, which made it very moist.

We then used our pork from Thursday night to make pork and beans - yep, you read that right.  However, these weren't just any pork and beans - the pork was seared (with bacon, I might add) and then we made a braise.  While the pork was braising for a few hours, we cooked our beans with some flavor.  The beans had soaked for 2 days before we started cooking them.  When the pork was tender, we combined the pork and the beans for a stew.  It was delicious! (again, ate before taking pictures).

Finally, to go with our pork and beans, we made cornbread - southern cornbread with sugar.  Ours came out really well, which we then topped with butter while warm.  Delicious!  I would definitely make pork and beans and cornbread for guests!

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