the not-so sweet life

Living in France, you not only get a sense of the seasons changing through the weather, but also through the foods available at the markets.  It’s October now, fall is officially here, and sweet, succulent scallops are in season!  Chef demonstrated the trick to extracting the muscle meat from the shell by inserting a knife and running it along the top of the shell first.  Trying to pry it open beforehand would be foolish, as it’s quite difficult and could potentially tear the precious muscle meat.  Using a knife to slice through the upper connecting muscle tissue automatically opens up the shell and keeps the scallop meat intact ;)

Scallops this fresh are absolutely delectable served raw… in this case drizzled with a truffled vinaigrette and served alongside a red potato salad. 

Of course, now, thanks to the global market, even if a food isn’t in season, we can still get our hands on it and enjoy fruits and veggies out of season… at a price =P  On a crisp, fall day, Chef Philippe Clergue (aka Mr. French Bean) prepared a fresh green asparagus & crab charlotte (amongst other goodies)!

Now that our chocolate days were behind us, it was time to say goodbye to the cacao bean and hello to the sugar cane!  After our first day of pulling sugar, I was begging to go back to chocolate.  We thought chocolate was bad, but sugar was just so much worse ><   

After cooking the sugar to a piping hot 160C, we poured the hot lava onto our silicon mats, put on our special sugar gloves, and started pulling… HARD. 

Halfway through our 5-hour practicals, we got a break, and upon taking off our gloves, our hands were red from the heat and covered in our own sweat.  You know how when you were a little kid and took a long bath, you’d come out with wrinkly fingers and toes?  Well, that’s exactly how our hands were… wrinkled from overexposure to moisture.  After a quick 10-minute break, we headed back upstairs to the kitchens and continued to pull hot sugar.  At the end of our first lesson, we were lucky to get even one rose.  Never has a single flower looked so beautiful =P

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