Sunday, May 9, 2010

CSB: Day 2


Dorette has an outdoor wood oven and we put it to good use.  We cooked everything in it on the second day of our cooking seminar.  She started the fire around 6:00 am and we kept it going by adding wood every 20 minutes.  The temperature gets to around 750F.
We started by roasting eggplant or aubergine for the papeton.
In France, Chef Érick loves to cook with eggplant.  He has found that quite a few Americans have no idea how to prepare it and therefore think that they don't really like it.  He always takes that as a challenge.  Our papeton d'aubergine turned out quite delicious.
Our chefs roasted tomatoes and herbs in the oven to make a couple of different tomato sauces to serve for lunch.
I could've eaten them just like that.  I love roasted tomatoes.  These grape ones are so sweet.  The sauces were perfect, however.
Dough was made for pizzas and for fougasse, a Provençal pastry.  Dorette and I remembered our early morning outings to visit the Fassy family bakery in Maillane during the teen chefs week in Provence.

Warm fougasse, pain au chocolat, croissant, pissaladière and baguettes... washed down with hot chocolate made by melting Belgian chocolate into hot milk.   Jean-Marie and his apprentices are amazing.
Back to North Carolina and my chefs making dough!
Pizza roulades were made with swiss chard and goat cheese, ready for the oven...
Herbs from the garden were added as a finishing touch before serving.
And it was accompanied by the tomato sauces.
I cleaned my plate...
My mom would be proud.
We also ate our baked fougasse, using the tomato sauces for dipping.  This was very popular with the young chefs, especially the one with rosemary goat cheese added in.
It is difficult to get it baked just right in the wood oven, without burning it or totally covering it with ashes from the fire.  Our chefs were up for the job.
Dessert was a strawberry tart.  The strawberries from the farmers' markets and local farms are incredible right now.  So juicy and sweet.  My challenge is to actually keep them around long enough to make something out of them.  I ate all of the ones I bought last week...  no tart or muffins at my house.

We washed and cut these up and added a few grains of lavender, along with a bit of orange juice (lemon or lime juice would work well, too) before arranging them in the pan and topping them with pastry.  Sort of a strawberry tarte tatin.
We drank tall glasses of water with cucumber slices.  I had never tried this before.  One of the girlie chefs gave us the idea.  Very refreshing.
It was another very successful cooking seminar, both for the kids and for me.
Merci, mes chefs!

Fougasse is the classic flat bread of Provence, related to the focaccia of Italy.  It is known by its cut ladder shape and can be found plain or filled with olives, cheese, anchovy paste, pork cracklings... When made with olive oil (the pompe à l'huile), it is part of the Christmas meal, one of the 13 desserts of Provence.  Every baker has his variation of this regional classic.

Mix the following together, knead for 15 minutes and let sit overnight in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic to prevent a crust from forming and the dough from drying out.

500 grams (2 1/4 cups) bread flour
10 grams (1/2 tsp) salt
20-30 grams bakers' yeast in cakes (more in winter, less in summer)
200-500 grams (1 cup or a bit more) water

The next day, take out the dough, cut into sections, roll it out and make the cuts.  You can add pork or duck cracklings which you fold into the dough, then roll the dough, then fold again, then roll again.  Or you can sprinkle some cheese and sun dried tomatoes on the top, or some chopped olives, olive oil and herbs, or honey... The possibilities are endless.  You can also flavor the dough with orange essence.

Let rise 15-30 minutes in a warm place.  Place in a hot oven (200C/420F) and bake for 10 minutes or until just golden on top.

Bon appétit, Provence, Fassy et fougasse!

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