Should I Cook Chicken?
Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day, everyone!🍷 For those, like me, who didn’t know, the third Thursday of November is Beaujolais Nouveau Day. It’s a red wine made from Gamay grapes that are produced in the Beaujolais region of France and by law, have to be harvested by hand. In past years, there used to be races to get the first bottles to all the markets around the world. Good sense has prevailed and now, producers ship the wine ahead of the 3rd Thursday of November and release it globally at 12:01 am, local time.
Yesterday was our last wine lecture with Colm McCan and he promised to come back today and bring us a Beaujolais Nouveau so we could participate in the worldwide fun. And, it was fun! The wine was light, fresh and fruity and felt like a party in a bottle. This atmosphere was enhanced by the fact that at 6:00pm, when Colm was serving us, it was pitch dark outside and felt so festive inside. We commemorated the moment with a class photo, which I wish I had to share in this post.
Bonus point, it was an organic wine.
So, if you have a chance, run down to your local wine shop and pick up a bottle and join in the worldwide party today. Cheers!
Incredibly, tomorrow will bring the end of our 9th week of class. I simply can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. This week itself has flown by and I’ve learned so much. For example: I made puff pastry today, which is surprisingly easy to make, carved up on a cow to extract the sirloin steak I had to pan grill, made the Béarnaise sauce I intended to dip it in and made focaccia bread all in the same day. That’s just one day.
At some point this morning, we realized it was dark in our kitchen. Quite snakebit, from all the power outages we’ve suffered, several of us exclaimed over the lights being out and were told that word had come from on high that we didn’t need them and could cook without them. 😳 Really?? All along, we’ve been told we need to rely more on our ears and sense of smell. Like, listen to something sizzling, or smell something to get a sense for how done something is. Maybe lights off in the kitchen was meant to make us more keen in those other senses…
Apart from the frenzy in the kitchens, we’re all wound up tight as springs worrying over our exams and what we’ll cook for our final meal. Currently, I’m all over the world. Last week I was thinking I’d cook a roast and Yorkshire puddings, horseradish sauce, etc. Later in the week, I got to filet a fresh Irish salmon and roast him and so I thought, “Salmon! I’ll cook salmon!” The staff said, “Not so fast. If you think fish for your final meal, have a plan B. The fishermen might not get the fish you’re wanting.” So, then, I thought of a Thai-inspired menu starting with pork tenderloin satay with peanut sauce, something for the main course, ending with a coconut sorbet. Then today I thought “Steak and potatoes! I’ll make that for my exam meal.” Now, I’m thinking a stew. I need to find something and settle on it.
Our menu is due a week from today.
We only have three hours to prepare it. Then, we have to serve it to three teachers. Everything matters: the creativity of the menu, presentation, taste, doneness, etc. And, we have to have an occasion for making this meal. This one point is driving some people to distraction and haven’t a clue as to where to begin. Not me! I have already dreamed up a million scenarios and story lines that I might be making whatever meal for. And, I’ve got the wines picked out to pair with it too. Which is another element they’ve asked us to include.
Which brings me back to Colm McCan and tonight’s Beaujolais Nouveau party. It was our last time to have him deliver his lessons in a bottle and tours around the world and I am so sad. I adore him. He’s such a great guy. He has beautiful manners and is hilarious in his mannerisms and speech. I will definitely miss him. I wonder what it would cost to get him to come to Dallas for a wine tasting?
The next time we’ll see him is in two weeks when he gives us the 100 question wine exam. Sigh. Our time here is on the downhill slide. Still a lot to learn and do and fun to have with these wonderful people I’ve come to know and live with for a 1/4th of this unreal year. In a very real way, they’ve all come to feel like family. ❤️
Well, I need to get my order of work finished so I can glide into my day tomorrow and dive into bed by 10:00. Cheers, all! 🍷