Lab on Monday required us to cook through several recipes using fruit. Of course, we have cooked with fruit before (during Wet Cooking Methods, for example), and we’ll cook with it again. But when we have a lab session, our goal is to focus on a specific food or technique. Therefore, we will get multiple chances to repeat techniques and to work with certain types of food.
A great example is how we worked with fruit on Monday: we fried plantains, grilled bananas, poached pears, and boiled apples. Several different methods organized under one theme – fruit.
Below: Some lovely ripe Anjou pears (reddish) and Bosc pears (yellowish with a twinge of brown). An apple, some berries, and all types of fruit.
Below: Apple-ginger chutney with bread.
Below: Poached Anjou pears with vegan yogurt, berries, and crumbled ginger snaps. Pear peel was used to create the ribbon designs around the stems.
Below: Poached Bosc pears. The cinnamon-anise poaching liquid was reduced to a syrup and golden raisins were added. It’s common in lab for more than one team to make the same recipe, as with this dish and the one above. Often, the teams will receive slightly different instructions for demonstration purposes.
Below: A festival of fruit!
We are moving so quickly through our curriculum – time is really flying. I’m learning a lot but it’s going by fast. To support my learning, I cook at home, and I’ve started partnering with a fellow student to cook together once a week. Also, I’m trying to take advantage of opportunities to explore new and good food. In the spirit of Jiro Ono (see blog post on Jiro Dreams of Sushi), I’ve also decided that I am done with so-so food.
Until now, I’ve been satisfied with occasionally eating what was handy or convenient, even though it was bland or uninteresting. I’ve committed to all but eliminate those instances in an effort to expose myself to as much good food as possible. It’s all with the goal of becoming the best cook I can be and taking advantage of this time I have in culinary school.