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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Week 14 at San Francisco Cooking School

I've made it to week 14 with all my fingers, and no burns.  I'm considering myself super lucky to have not injured myself horribly during this experience.

Sacha Lauren, from Winters Cheese Company, visited our class and taught us how to make Ricotta, Mozzarella and Burrata cheese!  We started off with Ricotta because it's really straight forward and super easy to make.  Mozzarella on the other hand requires exact temperatures and pulling.  You have to stretch the cheese curds to make the mozzarella smooth but you can't stretch it too much or it will become tough.  Burrata is really thinly pulled mozzarella with a cheese and cream filling, you want to stretch the mozzarella so thin that you can't even tell it's a separate cheese.  We enjoyed the fruits of our labor with a caprese salad for lunch. YUM!

 Cheese, we made that!

We learned about tuiles this week.  Excuse my language but tuiles are a bitch to make.  They're really thin crispy wafer things that you can mold.  The trick is that you have to mold them while they're still hot.  Many fingers were slightly singed and many a tuile was tossed out.  I am not a fan of the tuile.

Lace cookie, tuiles.

But don't worry because we also made Brioche!  Apparently brioche is in my wheel house.  The dough is super sticky and you have to throw it down on the table to knead it.  Nic, my partner this week, managed to throw his down on the table with such force that some of it ended up on the front of me.  We made brioche loafs, knots and various other delicious bites.  We saved some of the brioche dough to make flamiche, which is like a quiche but with brioche dough.  I was quite pleased when I asked Chef Plue (SF Cooking's resident - and super awesome - pastry chef instructor) if "on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being awesome and 1 be the most horrible thing she'd ever seen, how she'd rate our brioche knots," and she said, "3." I'm pleased because it wasn't a 1!

 Brioche knots!

 Ham and cheese flamiche!

And then, the day I'd been waiting for all through this course came, the day Bill Corbett, from the Absinthe Group, came to visit!  He makes some of the most amazingly delicious desserts I've ever eaten.  He is a pastry God as far as I'm concerned.  First we took a little field trip over to the "commissary" where all the prep for the desserts happens before being sent out to the various Absinthe Group restaurants.  They have a steam convection oven!  It was such a great kitchen, and the set up was great.  I'd love to be able to work in a kitchen like that.  After the tour of the commissary Bill came back to school with us and we made a whole bunch of different dessert components.  After everything had been prepared we got to play with playing and combining flavors.  It was such a great day.

 Plating creations! (None of mine are shown as I ate them all.)

To celebrate the end of the week we made cheese burgers and finally used the deep fryer for fries!  Sadly there are no pictures of this marvelous event as we all shoved everything in our mouths so fast.

Next week we plan for restaurant week!


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