Saturday, November 19, 2005

Cookin No. 34 - The New York Chocolate Show and The End of Meat Cutting

What is it about chocolate that makes it so absolutely wonderful? What secret drug is hidden in delicious delectable wonderful gooey succulent chocolate? I don’t know these answers, but I know that when I walked into the main room at the New York chocolate show this weekend, all I could smell and see was delicious chocolate. The moment I stepped threw the threshold a man was offering me a sample of the most delicious truffle that had ever entered my mouth. It was nearly impossible to go far without grabbing another sample. Sample after sample my friend Jeremy and I made our way threw the show. There was a company from Japan called Mary’s, they had employees making designs on the chocolate so the customers could see how it was done, and I have to say it was amazing. Such delicate work went into designing an intricate flower, such fine details. And the samples that they were offering were green tea and white chocolate ganache. I am not usually a white chocolate fan, but these were so refreshing, such a flavor that just cleansed your palate and sent you back on your way to taste dark sinful chocolate.

Everyone has a secret food that they savor in the confines of their private home, my secret love is chocolate. Although I share this with many people out there, I always feel like the only person who is tasting something utterly divine at that moment. For me, dark bitter chocolate, and the way it melts in my mouth, warming my body like a fine wine, nothing can top that sensation. And so I walked threw the chocolate show singing and dancing on cloud nine.

Chef Susan also appeared at the show, and it was refreshing to see that she is a normal person who wears clothes other than her uniform. We tasted some desert wine together, and then lost each other in the crowd. Jeremy and I found our way to the chocolate spa, where people were receiving chocolate massages and drinking green tea. Its amazing what people will do with chocolate. After the spa, we decided to take a break and headed out into the streets for a lunch of something other than chocolate. We found a cosi and sat and chatted for a while. I am glad to have made such friends in school, to be able to go into New York with someone who will watch food like I do is wonderful. It almost feels like we share an inside secret, knowing how food is put together. I am sure that the jokes we make seem kind of silly to other people, but to sit in a diner wondering if the lemon meringue pie was made with a French or Italian meringue is really funny to us. I suppose its true, no sane person will ever enter this industry.

Chocolate Geisha

Joque Torres

Speaking of the industry, on Friday in meat cutting class we worked on duck. And Chef Susan got out a package of grade A foie gras and seared it quickly on each side for us to taste. Oh, it melted in my mouth, such a wonderful flavor. I do enjoy foie gras, it’s a shame that other people can’t truly appreciate the rich wonderful flavor of this delicacy. So Rob and I took it upon ourselves to have as much as possible.

On Tuesday we started on fish. Because the Fulton Fish market in New York was moving its location, our fish order was late, and the poor delivery guy got lost trying to find the school, so Chef Susan headed out to find him. He was found, and we got our fish. We started by cutting into turbots, and then we had to gut and scale a whole fish. I actually found that a little hard to take, I can’t say that I enjoy the feeling of fish guts in my hands. But at least I only had to do one. On Wednesday we moved onto mollusks and cessations. I got to make my Moules Mariniere, which is mussels in white wine. We also made clams casino, calamari and other things like frog’s legs, which tasted like chicken with the texture of flesh, and Beluga caviar, which was salty, and I have no idea why this is such a sought after delicacy. Then Thursday, the day which we had to do what I had been dreading this whole class, Lobsters. These poor beasts were just sitting in a cardboard box waiting for their boiling doom, and many of the kids in my class were joking around about it. Doing childish things like positioning the lobsters in suggestive ways, or purposefully irritating the lobster trying to get it to fight with another one, it was a somber day for me. After the lobsters were killed we made sushi, I have to admit, that I am no good at sushi. Or maybe it was because it was my first time, but my spider roll came undone. Oh well, I just had to eat it all. Hee hee, I love spider rolls.

Moules Mariniere (Mussels in White wine):

1 shallot diced
1 onion diced
A lot of butter
A lot of white wine (enough to fill 2 inches of the pot)

Start with the shallot, onion and butter in a large pot, cook until they are translucent in color and the butter is melted, then add the wine. Let this come to a simmer, and throw in the mussels. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mussels have opened and are an orangish color. Take out and put in a nice bowl. Grab a chair, the rest of the wine and have at it!

Today we had our final exam, I did very well, I got a 100, which I was very happy with, that means that I have a perfect score so far. I got a 100 on every test, I am sure that I won’t end up with a 100 for my final grade, because no one gets perfect participation points, so I hope that I got a 96 or something along those lines. I still can’t believe how well I’m doing, if only I applied myself like this in high school… egh, who cares about high school.

On Monday I start Skill Development with Chef Scott, I am looking forward to a new class, but I will miss Chef Susan, and I’ll have to get used to a new teacher.

My Sushi

Fish Heads

The Lobsters

Until next time my friends, Bon Appetite.


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