Friday, August 10, 2012

French Farmhouse Cooking

Holy blog delay Batman!  (yes, I know I've said that before)....

This summer has been crazy-busy, but so much fun.  I've been to two destination weddings (Cancun and Denver), and there has been lots of fun times and food with friends and family. 

This post has been a long time coming.  My review of the French Farmhouse Cooking course I took. 
I really enjoyed this class.  The recipes were more on the 'rustic' side of cooking, with a lot of great one pot dishes.  I picked up a lot of useful information and even learned how to prepare a rabbit!  (I don't think I'll be doing that again for a while, but it was a good experience...).  This course was 6 weeks long.

Week 1: Introduction
This was a demonstration only class. 
We learned to make Tapenade aux Thon (a basic tuna tapenade), Anchoaide (people who like anchovies will like this), Canard Roti de la Belle Gasconne (roasted duck) with Pommes de Terres au Romarin Cuites au Four (roasted potatoes with rosemary - even though I am not a big fan of duck, these potatoes were roasted in duck fat which made them melt-in-your-mouth amazing), Prunes Farcis (prunes stuff with blue cheese), and Gougeres (a neutral puff, which can be used to make cheese puffs).  These are the same puffs that are used to make Croquembouche (which is one of those things that I would love to learn how to make one day). 

Croquembouche....picture c/o fine cooking...
Week 2:
This week we learned how to make Salad a L'Endive du Paludier (Salt Raker's salad - a Belgian endive salad with olive oil, salt and pepper) and Le Poisson du Paludier (Salt Rakers fish - which is fish baked in a salt crust).  The lab for this class was Porc Cuit au Lait (braised pork in milk - a dish that reflects the cuisine of Normandy).  It was great served with apples and watercress.  Echalotes Braisees (braised shallots) was also part of the lab in this class.  The shallots were sautéed with white wine, thyme and bay leaves which really brought out the mildly sweet flavours of these little onions. 

Week 3:
Rabbit week. 
Before this class, I had never actually ate rabbit before.  I do have a wild rabbit that runs around our backyard named 'Bunny' (yes, I know, it's not very original)….let’s just say that this was one of those situations where I really had to mentally separate the live animal from the one that I was going to eat/cook with.   
Tarte au Chevre (goat cheese tart) was demonstrated in this class.  It was a goat cheese tarte with leeks and cumin.  This recipe was fantastic. 
Salade de Cresson et de Betteraves aux Noix (watercress, beet and walnut salad) was also demonstrated. 
Rabbit with Sorrel was part of the lab for this class.  It was a rabbit stew with bacon and sorrel leaves.  Apart from the fact that I learned a whole lot about preparing rabbit, I wasn't a huge fan of the sorrel – it’s a little too sour/bitter for me. 
Carrots with Juniper Berries were also part of the lab.  This was a great recipe to learn the correct way to glaze a carrot (yes, there is an incorrect way to glaze a carrot....it usually involves some variation of making the glaze first and then adding cooked carrots). 

Week 4:
This week we learned how to make the national dish of the Basque people....Piperade.  It's a tomato, green pepper and ham stew which is thickened with an egg.  It looks like vomit when it's all put together, but it tastes so good...especially with some crusty fresh bread. 
Poulet au Thym Citronne was part of the lab for this week.  It's Chicken with Lemon and Thyme.  It's easy and amazing.  This recipe makes use of something called 'lemon thyme'....which I just happen to have growing in my garden every summer.  Apparently, if you don't have access to lemon thyme, it's possible to combine fresh lemon and fresh thyme over night to make lemon thyme.  This is something I plan on trying out...
Confit de Tomates (melted tomatoes) and Pistou (vegetable soup with basil and garlic) were also part of this lab. 

Week 5:
Morue Basquaise (Basque style cod) was part of the lab for this class and is one of my new favourite recipes for fish.  It's white fish (cod, halibut or tilapia) baked in a red pepper, leek and plum tomato sauce.  Super easy and tasty.  Confit de Poivrons Doux a l"ail (slow cooked red peppers and tomatoes) and Salade de Pet Sai (napa cabbage salad) was also part of the lab for this class.  These were both good side dishes.  Moules au Cidre (mussels in cider) is part of the demo in this class.

Week 6:
Asparagus aux Deux Sauces (asparagus with two sauces) was demonstrated in this class.  The first sauce is a cream sauce with chives and the second sauce was a mayonnaise mustard sauce with lemon.   These are then served with poached chilled asparagus.
Gigot a la Sauge (roast lab with sage) and Haricot Verts aux Oignons (green beans with onions) were part of the lab for this class. 

I really enjoyed this class.  The instructor was incredibly knowledgeable and was able to break down the recipes to ensure that we understood the principles behind French Farmhouse cooking. 

Happy Cooking!

3 comments:

  1. Hi Nadia! I read your blogs and seems to be very interesting and informative. Thanks for share and keep it up.
    Online Cooking School

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