Last night cooking with my friend was a ton of fun. She chose the recipe and all we had to do was pick up the ingredients. She chose Beef Bourguignon because there were a lot of components and there was a lot to do in order to make the dish, which gave ample opportunity for teaching and learning.
Before I get to the tips I learned, I must say that my favorite part of the whole process was learning to get the full flavor from some basic foods. The dish had a huge dept of flavor and with each bite, I could pick out the individual flavors, which came together to make an amazing dish.
Here is what I learned:
1. How to hold a knife properly. When you hold a knife your knuckle should be over the bottom of the blade itself. That way you have more control over your knife and less chance of slipping and cutting yourself. (She told me they spent 2 whole weeks just learning to chop veggies, wow!!!)
2. That you can never chop fresh herbs enough. In school her instructor told them that if you have to ask if it is fine enough, it is not, so don't ask!
3. I learned how much flavor you can get from cooking foods correctly.
4. Mis en place is the basis for many dishes.
5. When cooking onions, they need to be cooked longer than any other veggies to get their full flavor
6. Cooking with a small amount of fat is ok, it really brings out flavor
7. When you add good wine to food, you can really pick up the flavor of the wine in the sauce
8. Reduction-- cooking out the water to get the full flavor of the sauce
9. Adding a small amount of flour to meat before you cook it protects the meat
10. Cooking can be so much fun!!!
Once again the thing that struck me the most was how much flavor you can get when cooking whole foods correctly. We cooked onions, carrots, and celery as the base of our dish for flavor, and the intensity of these really basic foods was intoxicating. We did not have to throw in any spices from our spice rack because we let the fullness of these ingredients do the talking.
We all had fun, and we decided last night we will have to do it again. If anyone wants the recipe let me know. I will be happy to post it!!