We got of to a great start last week with our first class for new culinary students, 30 of the 50 signed up, actually showed up for class!! First order of business, Knife skills. I started with a demonstration of proper cutting techniques, how to protect your fingers and the difference in small or medium dice. After the demo, and another reminder to be very careful, my new students began working on carrots, onions and celery.
I was lucky enough to have plenty of help for this class from two faculty members, and one Mountie Mom!
Of course 3 of my seasoned veterans showed up to help with instruction and organization, Thanks Ladies I really appreciate your support!!
I moved from table to table moving hands, repositioning fingers and changing dice size….and at the end of the first skill session, we had accomplished our goal. Sometimes just getting over the fear of a big knife is part of the issue. My students diced about 15 lbs each of onions, celery and carrots…my prep work for soup for the rest of the week.
After about 45 minutes of practical skills, we move onto instruction. Today’s session begins with Sauces. A good foundation in any culinary training should start with the Mother Sauces,a basic understanding of sauces, will help as we move forward into different aspects of cooking.
Today’s instruction focused on two of the Mother sauces, Bechamel and Veloute. There really isn’t much of a difference in the two sauces and I find myself blending them together more times than making them classically.
Béchamel Sauce (white sauce)
This should always be one of the first lessons in any culinary class. When well made this sauce can be used many different ways, often making leftovers stretch or giving cooked foods new life. The French term for this medium-thick white sauce is béchamel. The foolproof way to attain a perfectly smooth sauce is to have the milk hot when added to the butter and flour. It uses an extra pot, but as you become more proficient, this step may not be necessary.
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk, heated (use stock for Veloute)
Salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don’t let it brown — about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat. To cool this sauce for later use, cover it with wax paper or plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
How hot should the milk be?
Warm the milk on low heat just until little bubbles begin to form at the edges. Then remove from heat.
To make the bechamel a cheese sauce Stir in 2 cup grated Cheddar cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking, this will make a perfect sauce for baked Macaroni and Cheese.
Now the only difference with this sauce and a classic Veloute is instead of Milk , you use stock. Doesn’t seem like much of a change, does it. Mama Jeanette didn’t think so either, when she taught me these sauces, they were interchangeable, there were times she wouldn’t use all milk in a bechamel, and I cant say I ever saw her make a veloute that didn’t have cream in it, and ever cream soup I have ever made starts with stock and finishes with cream…..go figure.
As Mama Jeanette would tell me “sonny boy, you just gotta make it taste good, I don’t care what the book says, if it don’t taste good, no one will eat it”.
Thanks for stopping by I hope you enjoyed seeing what were doing at the Mount!