Week 11: Thursday, Musselling our way through Normandy

Rough start to my day. I came in and had a talk with my group on hot line. Storming Norman was on point, so I knew the group would be micro managed. See Norm has beautiful physicist/architects pencil writing and his time lines are quite precise (take a look at his day planner sometime). Jason (”meth boy”, because he comes from Wyoming not because he is an actual user (Wyoming and other isolated states are the meth capitals of the US) informed me the mussels were not yet available. I said no problem, I’m sure they will come in soon.Sure enough they came in and I told “meth boy” to bring them over so we could start to process them. He did and I had an inkling this was going to be an intense day based on the amount of tasks ahead of us.The main course, Sole Normande, had the following elements: Sole, Mussels, Oysters, Shrimp Mousseline, apples, rice pilaf, spinach and a fish/oyster velouté finished with a liaison. All of this on a 10″ plate.

My idea was to cook off the mussels, keep them in some of their cooled liqueur and add the rest of the liqueur to the fish fumet. I would then reheat them in beurre fondue à la minute.

Well in the time that I went to the bathroom or grabbed a cup of coffee, Chef Dale came by and grabbed the 4# bag of Maine mussels and took them to the walk-in.

So that put a damper on our time line.

We also had anticipated making a shiitake mushroom & roasted garlic cappuccino for an amuse. At around 1:oo pm we found out that the duxelle we had made Tuesday had disappeared. We were about to give up on the whole idea, but then we powered down to get out a similar concept by making a quick duxelle with button mushrooms and thinning it out to a soup.

We barely pulled off the menu on time (in fact we were 15 minutes late) but I was proud that my group overcame adversity and focused on completing the original plan. We had a visiting student who will be attending the next program helping us out. Thanks Elizabeth for your help.

The amuse looked like this:


We had issues with our foam. We took roasted garlic and puréed it cold with some skim milk and let it steep for a few hours. We then strained it through a fine mesh chinois. I believe that the relative density of the milk changed with the addition of the roasted garlic (even if it was strained out) so that we couldn’t get the foam we wanted to achieve. The other way to create a hot foam is to thicken the milk or cream slightly by adding gelatin or methocel. The flavor of the soup was great.

GarMo put out a game hen terrine with a puy lentil salad.


Finally it was our turn and I thought that this dish might take my group a while to plate but thanks to Stormin’s lacrosse coaching skills and execution diagram they were able to put the whole course out in 7 minutes.

We had a nice Pouilly Fumé with the meal, which is a delightful sauvignon blanc from the Loire valley.


We finished the meal with buckwheat crêpes filled with caramelized apples and a yummy caramel ice cream.

This day marked the final France lecture which was on the region of Normandy and Brittany. I have a particular fondness for Brittany maybe because it reminds me so much of Ireland.

We were all tired at the end of this day.


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