Thursday, October 12, 2006

You Hop! IHOP! We All Hop!


(Lame, so lame, but I am plumb out of creativity today...)

My training as a short order cook continues. Wednesday was Pancake Day...and Quiche Lorraine Day...and Crepe Day...more like Crepes of Death Day.

First things, first. Each team had to make Quiche Lorraine, which is a classic bacon and egg (aaugh!! not eggs! no more eggs!!) quiche. There's no cheese or ham or spinach in the classic version...just bacon and eggs (erk!).

I like quiche, truly I do. But I really like quiche with cheese and mushrooms to go with the bacon. Mmmm...bacon. Our quiche turned out okay; the Chiclet and I worked as team to make it. She made the pie dough for the crust, which was a pretty easy dough--called a 3-2-1 Dough, which means 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat to 1 part water. One team got to make an asparagus-tomato quiche to save us from the onslaught of Lorraines.

Here's the recipe we made for Quiche Lorraine:

8 oz chopped slab bacon

Butter or oil, as needed

12 fl heavy cream or crème fraiche

3 eggs

Salt and pepper, as needed

9-inch pie crust, baked blind (this means to pre-bake the crust before you put in the quiche ingredients, which helps keep the crust from getting too soggy)

Procedure:

1. Sauté the bacon in butter or oil until browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain.

2. Whisk together the heavy cream and eggs and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Scatter the bacon evenly over the crust. Add the custard mixture gradually, stirring it gently with the back of a fork to distribute the filling ingredients evenly.

4. Set the quiche pan on a sheet pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

The recipe also mentioned you could sub spinach for half or all of the bacon--ha! Substitute for bacon, my foot! I'm all for just adding it in and let the eggs sort it out. It's a vegetable...it'll balance out the badness of the bacon somehow, won't it?

Then, we moved on to pancakes and crepes. We made buttermilk pancakes, blueberry pancakes, and an oatmeal pancake that wasn't too bad. It was kind of a harvest, Fall sort of thing, where we subbed some quick-cooking oats for some of the flour in the batter and added cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves...of which a little will go a way long way.

Crepes, ah crepes...crepes are a pain in the ass. Or should that be wrist, because that's where all the action is. Chef had a little 7-inch crepe pan for us to practice with, but he said any small saute pan of 7 or 8 inches would work, too. The pan we used looked like this:

Crepe batter is very thin, and you have to work quickly with it to create the crepe. Our pan was fairly well seasoned, so we just sprayed it with a pan release product, wiped the excess, and heated it for a few seconds. Then, take the pan off the burner, put a small ladle of batter in, and immediately start to rotate it to cover the entire surface. The key is to start with the pan tilted as you pour in the batter. After coating the pan surface, put it back on the burner for about 5 seconds and then start to loosen it with a small offset palette knife or spatula. Flip and cook for about 3 more seconds, and viola! crepe.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? Bah! You know it was in no way shape or form an easy skill to master. We'll probably be eating a lot of crepes over the next week or so...in preparation for the ol' mid-term practical.

While I was looking for a crepe pan picture, I can across this
on the Williams-Sonoma website. It's called a Turbotière, and is used to cook whole turbots. I ask you, isn't $830 USD a bit much to pay for a pan to cook fish in? Talk about your unitasker! It's pretty alright, all coppery, shiny, and triangularly shaped, but I think you could poach a turbot in something a wee bit cheaper, don'tcha think? (And, the Williams-Sonoma crepe pans are large and really expensive. The one in the picture above, I found at Amazon for less than $10. (Blogger is having fits and not uploading pictures, so you''ll have to click the links to see them on their respective websites.)

One team made Crepes Suzette, which are crepes with a Grand Marnier and brandy sauce. Any opportunity we get to "drink" in class is a great one, in my opinion! Throw in a little orange zest, and it's fit for a princess...or a paramour, depending on which legend you believe. The recipe on this site is a less complicated sauce recipe than we used, but you get the gist of it.

In the (sort of) immortal words of Johnny Torch: "Flambe on!"

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, but it seems that you left a very vital ingredient out of your Quiche------Poodle spit!

http://nowthepartysover.blogspot.com/2006/10/please-dont-call-me-shirley-call-me.html

Linna said...

I have never had any luck with crepes, but I have a great resource for you. Alton Brown did a whole show on crepes with lots of useful info (resting your batter, etc.).

Go to the Good Eats Fan Page (http://goodeatsfanpage.com/GEFP/index.htm). On the left menu, click on the EPISODE INDEX -> Food or Topic. Look for "Crepe Expectations." There's a full transcript. Worth a read. Did I tell you it was funny?