I recently applied to my dream job at America’s Test Kitchen. Now, I am very comfortable in the kitchen (despite how ridiculously small my kitchen is) and I am confident in my skills, but since I have never been to culinary school, there are certain skills that I’ve never had a reason to perfect as a home cook or as a dietitian (do you know what goes into Bearnaise sauce? Cuz I do.). For example, I’ve never filleted a fish, baked pate a choux, or made the various challenging components of Eggs Benedict. It’s not that I couldn’t do these things, I just never had. So, guess what I did… I made a list of every technique that I was shaky on and decided to go through all of them in one weekend!
After making a list of techniques and ideas, I put together a list of recipes that combined a lot of these skills that would be doable in a weekend plus a few evenings. I went to Wegmans and just went totally nuts. The resulting menu was as follows:
- Skin-on salmon
- Homemade pasta* with brown butter sage sauce
- Roasted broccoli rabe and broiled cherry tomatoes
- Roasted rainbow beets with citrus vinaigrette
- Goat cheese gnocchi with beet green (don’t waste food!) pistou, toasted cashews, crispy prosciutto, and blanched cauliflower and asparagus
- Chocolate souffle for 2 topped with candied lemon
- Eggs Benedict (poached eggs and hollandaise)- turns out it’s not as hard as it looks, but I still hate it no matter who’s cooking.
- French omelet (just so I could practice that cute rolling technique)
- Meringues (I’ve actually made these many times, but I had SO much egg white left over from the pasta and sauces that need only yolks)
- Salted caramels*
- Cream puffs with pastry cream filling*
- Fried Chicken
- French Fries
- Fried eggs with asparagus and Bearnaise sauce
- Creme brulee for 2
- Roasted butternut squash soup with enoki mushrooms
- Dutch oven bread (I’ve made this many times too… I just wanted to make it!)
Later in the week:
- Chocolate Truffles
- Sugar cookies (it may seem simple, but so much can go wrong!)
Wherever you see a link to a recipe, that is where I got my instruction from… but that doesn’t mean I stuck to the recipe! In many cases, I halved or quartered the recipe because if I made this much food in one weekend, I’d go insane with all the leftovers. I also didn’t follow instructions when it came to cutesy flourishes, and rather stuck to the basic techniques and used them in my own constructions. And wherever you see an asterisk, that’s where I royally messed up and had to start over- some of these recipes are very touchy, but that’s what practice is for. Everything ended up a success!
Eventually I’ll get around to writing posts and recipes for most of these, but all-in-all it was a weekend I’d like to remember and recreate. Stay tuned later in the spring for my take on these recipes and techniques, and to see all the beautiful pictures I took!