Introduction to the Culinary Arts at the Workhouse: Week 2

I’m enrolled in a 6-week cooking class at the Lorton Workhouse. Our second class was Monday, 1/6.

Class began with a discussion of the five mother sauces, and throughout the night we made two of them (hollandaise and a vinaigrette. We made a béchamel last week.), and some veggie chopping and other prep-work.

The night’s menu was:

  • Warm Bacon and Spinach Salad
  • Caramelized Onion Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes
  • Savory French Brussels Sprouts
  • Baked Salmon with Tarragon Hollandaise
  • A “cake” made of layers of crêpe and an amaretto crème anglaise, topped with a chocolate ganache (with more amaretto)

I may not have actually spent two hours stirring risotto, but it sure felt like it. Someone had to do it, and I was in the right (or wrong) place at the right time. Despite the arm-exertion, it was useful to see how a risotto builds up, and get a basic sense for when to add more liquid to the dish.

Making a crêpe was a good confidence-builder: I’ve tried it at home and failed miserably, ending up with something I’ll call “scrambled crêpes”. I tried it a home the next night, and promptly… scrambled some more. After about three or four failures, some tweaking of temperature levels and amounts of butter, and one pan switch, I made about a half dozen acceptable-looking crêpes. Score!

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