fancy feast

After six months of drilling the basic cooking techniques into our minds, the chefs had us browning bones and scraping up ’suc’ in our dreams.  Now that the essential steps had become second nature to us, the chefs were finally able to bring us into the 21st century with some new twists on the old routines…smoked surf and turf duo with a trio of beets, quail and sweetbread pastries with shitake mushrooms, and frozen chocolate nougat with a sour cherry coulis.  Now, this is modern French cuisine, at last!

The lobster chartreuse with candied orange and lemon appealed to all the senses with its bright, beautiful colors, succulent texture, refreshing citrus aroma, and a taste that just brought everything together!  Perhaps the only things missing were the sound effects… unless, of course, you count mmm’s and smacking your lips together in ultimate satisfaction =P

Of all the fancy dishes we made this week, the one I would definitely make again for a fancy feast or on a special occasion would be the Provencal-stylee crisp-wrapped lamb fillet with a summer vegetable tian.  The lamb was seared on the outside to help retain its juices, encrusted with a pistachio pesto crust, wrapped up in a tidy package of crisp, layered warka dough, and cooked to an absolutely perfect shade of pink in the oven.  Now, the skill in that, ladies and gentlemen, is no joke!  (Of course, having a meat thermometer helps, too =P)  

The rest of the menu that day included a fresh salmon terrine dressed with fried leeks and a surprisingly delicious licorice panna cotta dessert.  I’ve never been a fan of anything licorice, but this particular dessert had just a slight hint of the flavor that kept me coming back for more.  This is definitely one of those desserts that you just can’t stop eating after one little taste.  Before you know it, you’re scraping the bottom of the martini glass and poof, you’ve just increased your daily caloric intake by 100%!  Seriously dangerous eats, but hey, what a way to go, right? =P

Our special guest chef this week was a familiar face we met back during our Intermediate student dinner, Chef Phillipe Pentecote from Le Petit Bordelais.  I still remember his unforgettable second course from that evening… roasted yellow bass filet with squid ink pasta paired with a glass of Entre Deux Mers by Chateau Laubarit, 2007.  I was a little disappointed he didn’t demonstrate this particular dish since I been longing to taste it again, but nevertheless, he did prepare a three-course meal for us with the help of his two young, super good-lookng sous chefs ;)   The French boys were definitely the icing on top of the cake and had all the girls smiling at the end of the week =D

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