As we approach the end of culinary school, we’ve been putting into practice the adage that variety is the spice of life. Deviled eggs made with the juice from the beets we pickled turned out really out-of-this-world. And there was more:
Top Three Things I Learned This Week
- There’s a Right Way to Do Things– At least when it comes to pasta. We had a really fun afternoon with Anna Dente, “Queen of Matriciana,” from San Cesario, near Rome. Accompanied by Chef Anthony Strong from local Italian restaurants Locanda and Delfina, Anna taught us about making truly fatto a mano pasta, and four classic Roman preparations: cacio e pepe, carbonara, amatriciana (her recipe is here in Food and Wine), and a minestrone. You’ve probably heard this before, but the secret to all of these is cooking pasta to about 50% doneness in water, then finishing cooking in the sauce, with the important addition of some of the pasta water. Her language was as colorful as her toque.
2. Some Things, While Not Exacting, Are Also Crowd-Pleasers- e.g. Indian Food. We made a departure from our mainly-French repertoire of ingredients and techniques to experiment with Indian spices. We made three curries, the most popular of which was made with homemade paneer (fresh cheese), which is made by curdling whole milk with lemon juice or vinegar, then straining through a cheesecloth and pressing into discs. We also made homemade naan.
3. Apple Tartlets– To use the yield from our practice of making pate feuilletée (puff pastry), we made these pretty little Granny Smith apple tartlets. Making the dough was the most difficult, or time consuming at least, part. The rest of the recipe is simple–
-cut rounds of puff pastry dough
-cut as-thin-as-possible slices of Granny Smith
-arrange in a spiral pattern as below
-glaze with warmed and strained apricot jam
-sprinkle with granulated sugar and some shavings of butter
-bake until the tarts are golden on top and bottom.
Easy and impressive!
(PS- I didn’t learn this is culinary school, but in case you aren’t able to make your own puff pastry at home, I recommend purchasing the Dufour brand. Shh!)
Thanks for coming by! If you’re curious what it’s like to be in culinary school, check out my previous posts and also come back weekly for my latest updates. I’ll be sharing tips, ingredients, and recipe ideas straight from the classroom. And for healthy cooking and eating tips, join my community on Facebook at The Doctor’s Spicebox.