Well, I didn’t want to deny you the chance to look at ALL the final projects we did in our class. Here they are.
Time for the most exciting part of our class: final projects. This is the time in the class where we put all we’ve learned to test. We need to pair a wine to a dish and be able to bring out certain elements in the wine.
Every student was assigned a wine, and then we had to describe the taste, aroma, and texture, and come up with a dish. We all discussed the dishes, and then the big day came!
My wine is an oaked chardonnay (white) that tastes equally sour and bitter, and had vanilla, butter, citrus, smokey, and toasty aromas. It is medium-bodied, so the food should match that intensity (not too heavy and not too light). My goals are to bring down the bitter in the wine slightly, and to enhance the vanilla and butter aromas. I wrote a theory paper on this, which you can read here.
Here is what I came up with: a breaded chicken roulade stuffed with spinach and breadcrumbs, a barley lemon herb risotto and a salad of frisee and shaved fennel with orange segments, candied walnuts, and an orange vinaigrette. And the sauce is a vanilla beurre blanc.
Turned out quite nicely. The vanilla beurre blanc brought out the vanilla and butter aromas in the wine, and the bitter salad and spinach brought down the bitter of the wine, making it less bitter. Plus, the citrus elements in the risotto and salad matched up with the citrus aroma in the wine, and everything tasted really good.
Awesome experience, and awesome class.
Quick update from me tonight… I finally learned how to chiffonade properly. For some reason, I’ve been doing it wrong so far!
Well, not entirely wrong, but in a way that wasn’t efficient and didn’t look good.
A chiffonade is a knife cut we use for leafy herbs like basil, cilantro, and parsley. Basically, you cut the leaves into very fine strips. So far, I had been stacking the leaves and rolling them, and then cutting them.
Yesterday, Chef showed me how to get a finer cut – I had given him a rather rough chop – oops!
So, we stack a couple of leaves on top of one another, making sure they are dry and the knife is sharp. Then, we DON’T roll them but instead start cutting very very fine strips, moving our fingers along the leaves in tiny increments.
So much better! Immediate success and feelings of pride on my part.
Thank you, Chef!