Tag Archives: Cookology

The Delicate Eclair

A few weeks ago I took another class at Cookology.  It was called “French Pastries” and I had been waiting for months to take this class.  I have wanted to make eclairs for a long time but was nervous to try it on my own.  I find it very helpful to have a seasoned chef (pun intended, get it?) walk me through the process so I can ask questions and watch how it’s done.   Unfortunately I don’t remember all the details to write them out here but I’ll leave you with a few photos that should make you jealous.

The patachou step was the most time intensive and delicate.  You have to use precise measurements, heating and mixing techniques.

Patachou

We then put the dough in a piping bag and piped out all the fingers and/or puffs we could.  These baked for a bit and make the light, fluffy, air filled dough you want for eclairs and cream puffs.

Eclairs Baked

Here’s the final product.  We also made the chocolate icing and the whip cream filling stuffed in the middle.  They met all my expectations and more.

Eclairs

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Homemade Pasta

I finally got to take the homemade pasta class at Cookology that I’ve been pining for.  We learned how to make linguini and tortellini, from scratch, with our bare hands.  The table was prepped with individual workstations and all the ingredients we would need.  The majority of them are for the sauces and tortellini filling.  The only ingredients you need to make pasta are flour, eggs, salt, oil, and a little water.
pastaprep1

The first thing we did was make our pasta dough.  It was 2 cups of flour + 2 eggs + salt + oil + water.  You then mix it all together (with your hands) and then knead the dough for ~20 minutes.  It’s a lot of work to knead the dough. It’s a great hand/arm workout.  You want to end up with a smooth looking (not sticky) ball, adding small amounts of water if needed.  Set that aside for 20 minutes and let it rest.  After all the kneading it needs to rest.
Dough Ball

We then made our 3 cheese tortellini filling, which was super simple. 2 tablespoons parmesan, 1/2 ricotta, 1/2 mozzarella, 1 egg, and a pinch of oregano, thyme, and salt.

3 Cheese Filling

We then divided the ball of dough into 3 equal parts and we rolled them into very thin rectangles.  This took a while and again worked the arms. This is a time consuming process when you add it all together.

Rolled Dough

Lesson #1:  To make straight noodles you roll the dough and then cut to the desired thickness.  This means you’re cutting through all layers and when it “unwinds” they will be the same thickness from start to finish.

Cutting the Dough

Close up of my knife skills.

Linguini Size

Then you toss these pieces around a bit, unrolling them, picking them up and dropping them until they look like a professional looking bit of noodles. Ooohhh, aaahhh.
Noodles

Lesson 2: The only difference between types of pasta are they’re size and shape. Tortellini for example, is just ravioli but looped around to form a different shape.

Making the tortellini was a little challenging at first.  I botched the first couple which I left out on purpose. You put a little filling in the center of a square cut piece of dough, then fold it and crease the sides so the filling won’t spill out.  Then you connect two corners and fold back the 3rd one.  I ran short on time and just started making “triangle” tortellini, which in other words is just ravioli.

Tortellini

Now I have my two different types of noodles and I’m ready to boil them.
Pasta!

Lesson #3:  Water should be at a rolling boil and have lots of salt.  It should taste like sea water.  The noodles will sink to the bottom at first and after a few minutes will rise to the top.  Also, there is no time limit on noodles.  You cook them to taste.  So eat one every so often until you’re satisfied.
Boiling Noodles

We then moved onto the sauces.  We were running low on time so I don’t have much to show here.  We made a roasted tomato, onion, garlic sauce to go over the linguini.  It was a bit too oniony for me but it still turned out really good.
Linguiini Finished

For the tortellini, the piece de resistance, we made a browned butter sauce.  It was a half stick of butter, browned, with parsly and a little white wine.  Then we topped it off with parmesan and red pepper flakes.  Yes, it tasted as good as it looks.  I’m very happy with how it turned out and will be making this again for sure.

Tortellini Finished


Chicken 101

Today I got to spend a couple hours in the Cookology kitchen.  I received several gift certificates to Cookology for Christmas and this is the first in the series.  This class starts with a whole chicken and breaks it down from there.  There were only 4 in the class so it was nice to get some quality time with the instructor.    Here’s what we started with.

I wasn’t able to get pictures at every step because my hands were often covered in chicken and didn’t think I should put my hands into my pocket to pull out my phone.  We started by making a cut across each leg to open it up.  Then we picked up the chicken by the legs, gave it the ol’ chicken wing move, breaking the leg bone from the body.  It makes it easier to cut them off when the bones are broken.  Since the leg bone is connected to the thigh bone, you break that connection and perform another cut to separate the thigh from the leg.  Now it’s time for the (chicken) breasts. Cut along each side of the breast bone and keep cutting along the bone (and down) until the breasts are free.  The wings come off with it, so then you cut the wings free.

Once all the parts were free we cut up and sauteed vegetables (celery, carrot, onion), added the chicken carcass and covered it all with water to make our own stock.  Bring that to a boil and let simmer for a long time.

We then prepared the chicken in 4 different ways: sauteed, pan fried, deep fried, and baked.   I learned today that the different between saute, pan fry, and deep fry is just the amount of oil being used, from least to greatest.

We seasoned all the parts with salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper.  The breasts were sauteed briefly on each side and then put in the oven.  They were so moist and flavorful when they came out.

One wing and one leg we coated with egg and flour and deep fried.  I didn’t realize they had to cook so long in the oil (~25 min).  You know they’re done when they float to the top.

 The other wing and leg we pan-fried (1 inch of oil).

The thighs we covered in our homemade curry paste and also sauteed and baked.  I had no idea that curry paste was just a few dry seasonings + oil.  It was so easy, yet so good.

At the end of all this, we strained our chicken stock and were left with pan full of goodness.

I came home with a box full of cooked chicken and a container of stock.   I sampled each one while I was in the kitchen and they were all great.  I think I’ll be buying whole chickens now. It’s cheaper and you get all the various parts to play with.  Give it a try some time!