Feb 17, 2009

recently i've been blown away at how lucky i am. to have the opportunity to be pursuing something i am so passionate about, to have family and friends who support me so wholeheartedly, and to have a husband who buys me kitchen appliances for gift giving occasions. i've received a meat grinder, multiple knives and a kitchenaid mixer from my fabulous husband, and for valentine's day he surprised me with a beautiful 14 cup cuisinart. i am a lucky lucky girl.

last week i had a terrible time with roux in class - i rushed and screwed it up and it threw me off for the entire evening. so i left class for the week feeling slightly defeated, questioning my purpose and ability. i spent the weekend without cooking much, which simultaneously relaxed me and wound me up, and i showed up at class this monday tired, weak, and praying the night would fly by.

last night in the kitchen we each made a beef consomme from beef and duck stock we made last week. consomme is a broth that is clarified by egg white and ground meat, flavored by additional vegetables and herbs. i have to admit that i'm not entirely convinced that consomme is worth the effort and is any better than a really good quality stock, but i understand the reasoning and uses. chef tasted mine and my neighbors and praised us heavily. i cleaned up my station feeling much better than last tuesday after the roux disaster.

after our consommes were tasted and critiqued, chef called everyone to his demo table, explaining that we would now make crepes. i have never attempted to make crepes, being afraid of the thin delicate batter and seemingly difficult execution required for quality crepe making. we watched chef effortlessly swirl and flip and stack, and then he sent us on our way, saying, "you have the recipe but you will not measure, just make it good." oh, ok.

( i've come to adore chef's little sayings, looking forward to them after each demo, and he keeps sharing new ones with us every week. "you can have a good time now" when sending us off to practice the technique just demonstrated to us, and "just make it good" when someone asks how much salt to add to the consomme, and "it is cooked when i say that it is cooked" in response to a question of how you know when the roux is ready.)

so we went to our stations and i cracked my eggs and added a few heaping spoonfulls of flour, then a few more, until the thick ribbony consistency of chef pierre's batter was achieved. then in with butter, salt, sugar, then the milk, whisking and analyzing until it looked thin and silky like his. i poured a 2 ounce ladel of my batter into my little buttered skillet, swirled and smiled. it looked beautiful. "pear-fect, em-ay-lee!" i heard as chef approched the stack of crepes on my cutting board. "every one, em-ay-lee made pear-fect crepes! come here and look at em-ay-lee's crepes!" as i was turning red i was also grinning, i was reassured of how pear-fect this new career is going to be for me, and reminded of how lucky i am to be experiencing this right now.

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