CLASS #3 at NWCAV

Class 3, Week 3 at NWCAV was the most challenging yet - easily my favourite though! Tonight 3 items were on the menu: chicken saltimbocca served with roasted vegetables, cream of roasted squash (or zucchini) soup, and a baguette. Yup, a baguette from scratch!

The bread preparation and baking required every minute of this class so there was no time to waste. As soon as our demonstration was complete we were at our stations ready to stir, flour, and knead our dough. And then knead our dough! And then knead our dough some more! The covered dough was left to rise (it would get reshaped once and then be left to rise again) and would eventually be ready for the next step. This involved some folding, some rolling and even a little cutting. Thanks to Chef Tony we learned a lovely way to cut into the dough creating the shape/design that you can see in the pictures to the side. A pinch of flour was sprinkled right before the dough went into the oven and that was that. Timer set... with fingers crossed of course!

Next up, the cream soup was a nice and easy task: roast the vegetables, chop the mirepoix, incorporate all together with the liquid, simmer, strain the solids, and blenderize to achieve the right consistency. Topping or garnishing with whatever ingredients you desired gave it that extra delicious finishing touch.

The last dish for the night was our chicken saltimbocca. Traditionally cooked with veal, this chicken dish gave us a chance to practice cooking at an intense, high temperature. Layered with Friulano, sage, prosciutto - and then pressed/pounded together - we browned our protein, turning it over only once. After removing it from the pan, we were able to make a delicious pan sauce adding vermouth, a bit more stock, and then a healthy helping of butter. It's one of the hardest sauces to master, according to Chef Tony - but gosh was it worth the effort!

Overall, it was a busy class, that's for sure! But I love any chance I get to do something totally new...and taking a warm fresh baguette home to feed loved ones (and even lucky co-workers the next day) at the end of it all... I mean, how cool is that?!

As per usual here are some of Chef Tony's DOs & DON’Ts (even a quote or two!) for you to review. Until next week, my Piglets....

DO:

  • pair squash with ginger and/or apples: great flavor combo
  • take the little top lid off the blender when you blenderize: the steam needs to come out
  • use the bottom of a pot to stomp/flatten your chicken breast
  • keep your olive oil in a cool, dark place
  • use dry vermouth instead of white wine when making a pan sauce
  • toss your vegetables in oil - they will roast faster
  • keep your dough slightly sticky: "a happy dough is a sticky dough"

DON’T:

  • fill your blender more than halfway full
  • let the recipe control everything: look, touch, taste, and make decisions of your own
  • use bleached or fortified flour when making bread
  • use expired yeast - check your dates!
  • put ice directly on a burn if you burn yourself: cold water only
  • add wine/vermouth directly to a pan on the element: hold the pan off the heat
  • make your bread from scratch: "bread from a machine is NOT bread from scratch"

cutting

emily baguette

soup

chicken

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