During week eight at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit, our main entrees were:
- Poultry Ballotine – a completely deboned chicken that we stuffed and rolled with ground pork, foie gras and chopped pistachios (during class 25)
- White pudding sausage, called “Boudin,” served with sautéed apples (during class 26)
- The presentation plate of Chicken Ballotine (also during class 26)
- Rotated pork tenderloin stuffed with wine-soaked prunes (during class 27)
We started the week with a two-day cooking session and four recipes to complete: our stuffed and deboned chicken, clarification of the chicken stock used to cook our Ballotine, special presentation of our completed dish and finally, a regional sausage dish with turned apples in a light caramel sauce. I think I had five minutes to spare at the end of the second day of cooking!
Our chef gave us a more modern design for his final presentation; my final plate was more whimsical: my take on a flower garden. We made two kinds of jelly from the consume (or clarified stock). We used this to encase our design on the platter using only decorative-cut vegetables. The design could be anything of our choosing. It should have been one of the more “fun” classes, but with so much to do it was a little overwhelming for me. I liked the results, though!
I’m happy to say that we ended the week with one of the easiest classes of the term and something I could almost make in my sleep: pork tenderloin with twice baked potatoes – nothing could be easier than this! The entire class finished their dishes within two hours, so one hour early. This is a rarity, I assure you…
Note to self: Don’t poach the prunes too long or they will fall apart once you try to stuff them into your meat. Luckily for me, we had two tenderloins to work with so one was almost perfect and the second one was “okay” for a weeknight dinner at home. No critics there!
One thing I have loved about this particular term has been the stories told by our Chef; some give us a sense of history and tradition in the French culture and its cuisine and others have been just plain “wacky.” This week we were told that, once opened, if you replace the cork of a champagne bottle with a small spoon this will ensure that your Champagne stays “bubbly” in your refrigerator – could it be an old wives’ tale?
Scientific American, Myth Busters and the French in the Champagne area all agree it’s a myth. Here is a link I found online – you can decide to believe it or not.
It’s the end of week eight and we only have two more demos and cooking sessions to go; our written exam is just a few days away. The main emphasis this term has been on the ingredients used: where they come from, how are they used in the various regions of France and the recipes for which each region is famous or best known.
So, this means we have 29 recipes to match to the particular region across the country. Some in the class took this seriously (me) but many others in the class have not. I found this aspect of French cuisine quite interesting. And then, of course, we are expected to know some of the basic French vocabulary words that relate to cooking – 314 vocabulary words, to be exact. I’m so happy I was able to use digital flash cards; thanks to my husband I found “there’s an app for that.”
Stay tuned to learn about our final dish of the term and my final exam of this semester at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit! In the meantime, do you have a favorite region for French cuisine? Let me know on my Facebook page. I’d love to connect with you there!
Mary Hathaway, owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to Dinner-Diva.com for more info.