Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Day two of school was stocks. Lucky me, this is something I actually know a little about! Same groups as yesterday - two girls I met on the first day plus a new guy who had missed the first day of school. We had to make brown veal stock and regular chicken stock, and were given the recipes yesterday as homework. Of course, the chef gave us an arbitrary amount of bones, so we had to mathematically challenge ourselves and rewrite the recipe with the new amounts. Thankfully, my math didn't abandon me, even though it has been about 7 years since the last math class. Once amounts were figured out, we fired the veal bones in the oven at 450F and started chopping our mirepoix - the vegetable part of the stock. Well, I organised the vegetables with half our table and the other half got to peel skin off of raw chicken backs and necks. After we finished roasting our bones, the veal bones went into one enourmous stock pot and we started caramelising our mirepoix for the brown stock only - chicken mirepoix does not get browned unless you are making a brown stock.

We kept stirring that huge tray of vegetables until they started to turn all lovely and brown, then we stirred in tomato paste, browned some more, removed all the veggies and deglazed the pan. It looked and smelled SO good. In the end, everybody's roasted bones and veggies went in two huge pots with bouquet garni and simmered away the rest of the day.

We also made a wonderful chicken stock, but I was too busy cutting finicky little pieces of carrot to take a picture of it.
Yes, we had to measure little 3mm x 3mm x 5cm sticks of carrots, and some of those we turned into little tiny cubes. We also had to learn and demonstrate paysanne, batonne and tourne. I can't find a good link to a definition of the last two, so you'll have to trust me when I tell you it is darn fiddly. I keep getting cramps in my arm from holding a stick of zucchini and trying to turn it into a seven sided barrel shape. Or I should say SEVERAL sticks of zucchini. It took me a while to get it right. Theory class was all about soups, so I got to pretend I was smart in that one too. The best part is, our homework from today isn't due until next week! Tomorrow will be two classroom based classes and next Monday we get to make soup in the kitchens.

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