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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week 8 at San Francisco Cooking School

We went whole, well half, hog this week!  Thomas McEntee, from 4505 Meats, came to our class to show us how to break down a pig.  As with the lamb, I enjoyed it immensely.  This is a Berkshire Pig, this breed of pig is known for all its awesome marbling which helps give it extra flavor.  This pig was around 200lbs and we got half of it.

A size comparison of the piggy, for your pleasure.  Wilbur was an excellent model, he stayed still the whole time.

I was lucky enough to be the first one to work on the pig, I got to cut off the front quarter of the pig.

As you can see, I'm quite pleased with myself.

We spent the entire morning breaking down the pig into various cuts that we could then cook.  Some things cooked fast, while others (braises and roasts) took longer.  There was pork for pretty much all this week.  And if that wasn't enough, we also worked with beef!  I was a little disappointed to find out we would not be breaking down a cow, or even part of a cow.  I suppose a cow is way too large for us to handle and cook quickly. (The following pictures were taken by my classmate Mandy.)

 Braised pork shank, sauerkraut, cider braised pork belly, and sautéed apple

 Pork shoulder braised in stout

 Pork scallopini with a lemon butter sauce and fried capers

 Pork chops a la charcutiere

As you can see, we were not starving this week.  By the end we all just wanted a salad and a nap.

We started some charcuterie projects this week and got to play with the meat grinder as well as the sausage stuffer.  My teammate Julia, and I made Rabbit Terrine.  I don't know that I'm a fan of terrines mostly because I'm not a fan of cold wet meat, but I guess we'll see.  Other teams made sausages - boubin blanc, and chorizo.  Some teams made crepinettes which are ground meat patty things rolled up in caul fat.  Caul fat has the most vile scent ever.  It's the fat the holds the pig's intestines together, like a little bag.  The end result was delicious but the small while they're being made is horrid.

And finally, we started baking!  We made muffins - orange ginger, bran, oatmeal, etc, as well as some donuts!  We talked about gluten and different kinds of flour and why some flour is better for baking bread, and some is better for pastries.  We talked about how gluten effects your baking and the difference between whole wheat and white flour.  I'm pretty pumped about all the baking we're going to be doing this upcoming week.

Molasses Donuts! (Picture taken by my classmate Harriet.)

It was a wild and busy week.  I came home with about twice as many recipes as usual but it was fun, fast paced, and delicious.  I expect that we'll be getting crazier and crazier from here on out. 

Oh yeh, this week marked the half way point!  I'm half way done with the class room portion of culinary school!


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