This week’s class and menu were DELICIEUX!! We were making a superb French menu of:
Swiss Sesame Pastries
Shrimp & Orange Salad
Rack of Lamb
Pears Belle Helene
There was very little introduction to the menu or the ingredients because the French cuisine and preparation I think has been widely adopted in America, although still messed up from time to time.
We started with the snack, as the dough had to properly chill to be able to roll it out. These little pastries ended up being cute little crackers that had such a pow flavor in your mouth, yet had the characteristic taste of a Cheez-It, although they were warm straight out of the oven and darn delicious. The dough began with mixing a significant amount of butter with very good swiss cheese. We then pulsed flour and cream alternating in the food processor until we had our dough to let chill. Later we rolled this out and then made cute little diamond shapes before brushing with an egg wash and topping with either sesame seeds or poppy seeds. These were a delight!
Next we marinated our rack of lamb. Like all roasts are to me, this was simple and straightforward and would make a great entertaining piece. I did learn how to shop and pick one out, that you want equal weight racks and usually the smaller the better (around 1 – 1.5 lbs each). You also want them Frenched or to ask to be Frenched. The lamb she likes is from Oregon and she recommends buying American lamb over New Zealand lamb. The marinade was actually more Asian and she prefers that. She likes the use of soy to salt the meat and she doesn’t use a crumb coating because it makes a mess and loses itself during the carving. Other than marinating the lamb we intertwined the bones together and popped it in the oven for just 30 minutes for medium rare. It was delicious.
Our sides included a potato gratin and glazed carrots. The food processor really sped up the cutting of the potatoes and once we had these we really patted them dry. We layered these in the pan with dabs of butter, salt and pepper, and good Gruyere. Once the layering was all done we added whole milk to about half way up the pan and then in the oven that went for 60 minutes. This was the best dish of the whole night! The glazed carrots were standard again. The only difference we did here was fake Frenching the carrots by cutting the large bulk carrots in half and then shaving them to French tips.
Our salad was light and refreshing. We paired cooked shrimp meat with orange segments, butter lettuce, spicy watercress, and a very good creamy dressing. And our dessert was tasty. We poached pears in a light syrup until fork tender. We let these chill to room temperature. We made a great fudge sauce with just chocolate chips, vanilla and cream. I learned how simple making a fudge sauce is and that it is very easy to heat and reheat over and over again. To complete the dessert we had cold vanilla ice cream with the warm pears, hot fudge sauce and slivered toasted almonds on top. The contrasting flavors, temperatures, and textures were really nice!
All in all a great class. Somehow this class took us longer than any others, with me not leaving class until around 10:30. I still got home by bike around 11pm. Only two classes left!