Then it was time to carbo-load! At lunch, I could have used a shovel.
During the afternoon demonstration, our headmistress made a warm salad with beef fillet medallions, a warm salad with lamb's kidneys, different dishes made with Ray or Skate, Tarte Tatin (the king of French tarts), walnut cake, creme brulee, "mille feuille", chocolate truffles and Irish Coffee!
Though Ray or Skate are rather large fish (they look like kites), you really only eat the "wings". And, unlike most fish, Skate is best eaten a few days after it is caught, or else it will be rather tough. Its best simply poached and drizzled with a little "black butter" (AKA butter browned in a saucepan and splashed with white wine vinegar - do this right before serving).
After class, our headmistress gave an evening talk on how to start a Farmer's Market. They are the perfect solution to consumer demand for fresh, local foods, and farmer (or artisan producer) supply of excess goods. Our headmistress started the first farmer's market in Ireland, after taking a page out of San Fransisco's book. Now, they are all over the country! Some small scale producers and free range farmers survive off farmer's market sales alone. It is a great way to bring business into a community.
- To prepare kidneys, peel off any "suet" remaining (the thick, protective fat layer surrounding the organ). Then, cut them in half lengthwise so that you can open it up like a butterfly. Peel off the outer membrane, and remove any inner "plumbing". With a quick wash, they'll be ready to sear, bake, chop, etc!
- "Mille Feuille" is a three-tiered sandwich made of puff pastry layers and various filling. The puff pastry is cooked plain, then dredged in sugar and thrown under a hot grill to caramelize on both sides. You build the "club-sandwich" with the caramelized puff pastry sheets, jam, pastry cream, and whipped cream. It's delicious!