Its been a quiet week on the blog—And I have a lot of catching up to do. My computer broke, which explains my absence, but I’m back now and all is well 🙂
I really wanted to write a whole post about the walk I took around Paris last Sunday. It was superb. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance up until now, and since over a week has past I’ve now forgotten what it was exactly I wanted to say. I can tell you that the highlight was definitely a visit to one of the most famous patisseries in Paris, where I traded in all my pocket change for a delicate rose macaron filled with raspberries and cream.
While I would have been happy with baking some more of these in my Monday patisserie class, chef had other plans, and we ended up making these relatively unexciting cheese pastries. Puff pastry layered with cheese. nothing particularly new or inspiring, especially as we’ve made the pastry before. I didn’t think these were all that good or worth the effort, but I guess the point of making them was just to get some practice with a somewhat complicated dough and show another application of our knowledge. When i got home I ended up deconstructing these a little, removing the cheese and adding some jam.
Then we made some brioche dough, which I really enjoyed. I don’t understand how anyone could not love making bread. This dough we ended up wrapping around a sausage (not really my ideal use), but i brought home the leftover to bake later into something.
And here begins the real adventure of the week…..the Rabbit.
I knew before I started that I’d find butchering a rabbit way easier than dealing with fish. In fact, I really enjoyed it. it’s cool to see what’s inside, what organs look like, how everything fits together. I don’t really remember anatomy being a standout subject to me in school, but it’s certainly interesting. It has always amazed me how much cooks I’ve met know about bodies. Most of the time, I’ve gotten confident answers to my inquiries about the names of specific muscles or the function of some tissue or another. It almost inspires me to study up.
Anyway, the rabbit. over the course of two class periods, we took it from being the warm and friendly-looking specimen you see above, to being this pile of body parts….
we then packed the ground meat into the bottom of a piecrust, layered it with the larger chunks and some pieces of lightly fried foie gras, and then more ground meat over the top. Then, the entire pie was wrapped in a layer of puff pastry.
My pie honestly turned out excellent. Chef might have even used the word “superb”, and such praise is a little hard to come by around here so I was walking on clouds most of the way home. I know I did a good job on the rabbit, and I think I have a knack for working with dough. At least, I love it, and maybe that shows. Some of my classmates have been rather vocal about how much they dislike our baking exercises, but it’s hard for me to even fathom how anyone could!
I did make one crucial mistake, however….I can debone rabbits and make excellent pastry, but I sometimes have really bad ideas for how I should decorate things. In this case, I decided I should cover it with polka dots. I thought it would be cute. And seriously, what screams “RABBIT PIE WITH FOIE GRAS AND TRUFFLE JUICE” better than some polka dots?? In my defence, pre-baking, it totally was an adorable looking pie.Unfortunately during baking, the puff pastry puffed and I ended up with this monstrosity.
At least my biggest error was only aesthetic.
As for the rest of the pie, I had a hard time enjoying it. It tasted delicious, but just seemed a bit too rich and indulgent for me. Might have been better in a fancy restaurant on nice china, but I was just in my messy little room eating off a $1 plastic plate from target. I ate one slice, and that was enough.
Also, If anyone has a rabbit on their hands and aren’t sure what to do with it, I made videos of the rabbit-butchering, start to finish. I thought about posting them but then decided most people probably don’t want to see all that. But, if anyone out there happens to be curious about how to properly debone a whole rabbit, let me know!
ANYWAY. life was less fun after rabbit butchering. We ended up wasting a day of class learning about eggs again. We’ve now dedicated two full classes to preparing eggs (the previous one I’ve evidently not written about yet), and none of which have been an omelet, which I find suprising. Of all the dishes we made, only one seemed like it’d be something anyone would actually try to make again. Maybe it’s because most of us grew up in cultures where eggs are primarily simple breakfast food or snacks, no one was particularly excited to see more hearty preparations. I understand that these are very classical ways of preparing and incorporate a lot of useful techniques, but still. Whats the point if it isn’t something you’re excited about?
Eggs were cooked perfectly on both dishes, but the chef complained that I served too much food. I’ve noticed I tend to get the same critiques every time—either my sauce is too thick or I’ve got too much on a plate. I often don’t agree with him (I make my sauces the consistency I think they should be, and I think people should be served the amount of food they would reasonably want to eat) but I’m accepting the fact that for the mean time I have to make things to his standards, not mine.
Anyway, that’s the end of Week 6! Before I go, though, I can’t resist introducing you to my new little baby::
Have you ever seen such a cute little face? I’m in love.