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~ Fin ~ Intro of Culinary Arts

April 1, 2009

I’m a bit surprised how fast 6 weeks goes when you’re a grown up. But here it’s all 6 weeks later and its spring AND I’m done with my Intro to Culinary Arts class at the Restaurant School of Philadelphia.

Last night was an ode to wet cooking methods, with a pretty killer menu that took every BIT of the 3 1/2 hours we had to work:

Mussels Steamed In Beer
Pork Ragout with Tomatoes and Rice
Braised Chicken with Tart Green Apples
Poached Pears with Brandied Chocolate Sauce

I can totally see how these classes being good or bad would depend almost 100% on the teacher, but I totally lucked out – our instructor is awesome, the assistant chefs are great, and it was every bit as hands on as I was hoping. There’s tons of tips and insights that the instructors just throw out during the class. And I’m looking forward to figuring out with my “team members” all the “extras” that the chefs told them to add to their dishes (so I can actually recreate this stuff).

True to almost every other week, for our final class there was a crazy amount of food to take home, making it worth waiting til 10p to actually sit down to dinner (apparently 76 sucks ALL the time).

And in honor of my successful completion of a non-graded, noncredit course, I give you the boy’s favorite class recipe – with chef modifications:

Deep Fried Banana Fritters


2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp rum
4 bananas, cut into 1 inch chunks

Peanut oil for frying
Powder sugar for dusting

In a med size bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, and milk. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and add to the egg mixture. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter and rum. If you’re heavy-handed with the rum (like I am), you may need to add a bit more flour to get a good consistency (by which I mean it should be the consistency of heavy cream). Let sit.

Preheat oil to 350 degrees. Oil should be at a depth of at least 4 inches so that the bananas will be totally immersed during the frying. Dip the bananas into the batter and place into the hot oil. If you value your arm hair, try not to splash yourself, because oil burns. A lot.

Fry the bananas to a light golden brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve hot, dusted with powder sugar. And maybe chocolate sauce. Actually, that sounds delicious – service with chocolate sauce or honey or vanilla ice cream.

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