Sunday, December 2, 2007

Cooking Methods

Here's a chart of cooking methods we talked about a few days ago, so I wanted to transfer that on to all of you.

Other important terms/info: Carmelization - This is the oxidation of sugar, and since sugar (in some form or another) is present in most everything, the cooking process turns them brown.

For blanquette, it says it must be finished creamy, but this doesn't mean add cream. You can make a sauce creamy by adding a starch, such as flour or corn starch.

Something I have discovered recently is that in Europe, braised and stewed dishes are more common than in the USA. Here in the US, big cuts of grilled, broiled meat are hugely popular. Also, grilling and broiling takes much less skill than braising.

The history behind this is that braised meats are "peasant food." The tough, big cuts of meat (shoulder, rump meat) has always been cheaper than the prime cuts (prime rib, sirloin). In Europe, the elite, upper class would get the tender cuts of meat, where the farmers would get the cheaper, tougher items. These people were crafty, though. They had to find a way to make this tough items edible, and so braising was discovered.

Here in the US, we have had much more accessibility to the tender cuts of meat, so they have become very popular and common at pretty much any restaurant.

I am a fan of big, tender cuts of meat, but over the last few years, the complexity of braised dishes excites me a lot more. I have found myself ordering a stew of rabbit, braised pork loin, and braised game hen knowing I will get a good sense of the chef's skill level.

For next time:
I'm thinking i'll do all the potato cuts. Also, Derek made a good point last time, he recomended I do an explanation of every knife, and its uses and how to use it, which is good! I want everybody to tell me what they want to see, and I will do my best to deliver.
For the knife demonstrations, I will get to that, but I can only do a few right now, but as I get into the meat and seafood classes, i'll do more.

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