In case you didn't know, Whisk Wednesdays is changing a bit. The group formed in June of 2008 after I saw a note on Shari's blog that she was cooking her way through the Basic Cuisine Course of Le Cordon Bleu with an online version of the curriculum. She was more than halfway through the course at this point, and I sent her an email saying that I would love to join in, but I did not have the experience and didn't want to embarrass myself each week. She had not had anyone else ask about joining her, so she encouraged me to just jump in and do what I wanted when I wanted. We chit chatted back and forth and before we knew it, the group was formed and others joined us.
This past month Shari completed ALL of the Basic Cuisine course and the question arose as to the future of Whisk Wednesdays. (A few of us have grown quite close cooking and learning together, and we didn't want to see it end.) That said, however, Shari is now actually enrolled in the Le Cordon Blue Cooking School in Ottawa and furthering her French cooking knowledge and skills there.
Due to limited time, she decided that she would continue Whisk Wednesdays and go forth with the Intermediate Cuisine course for us, but only twice a month. So, for those two times a month, there will be a schedule we can follow doing the curriculum for Intermediate Cuisine.
The remaining weeks of the month will be Free Choice by each member, selecting a recipe of their own choosing from Le Cordon Bleu at Home, the book we have been using for Whisk. This way each person can choose a recipe that fits family tastes and family budgets for those weeks. If you have been a reader here and thought you might like to join in, or own the book and want to actually start using it, now is the time, contact Shari at her site!
For myself, I have decided that I am going to go back to the beginning of the book and start with Chapter 1, proceeding forward each week, to cook/bake the recipes that were not included in the Basic Cuisine Course we used, or ones for one reason or another, I did not get time to complete. (Each week Shari would try to select a recipe from our book that matched one in the course, so as a result we skipped all over the book, beginning to end, leaving hundreds of recipes untouched.)
This week I chose Poulet Roti (Roast Chicken) on pages 6-7 of the book. The recipe was simple to follow and I found the technique interesting. Instead of just sticking the trussed and seasoned chicken in the oven to bake, the chicken was first placed on one of its sides to cook 20 minutes, then on the other side to cook for 20 minutes, then on it's back to cook for 30 minutes. Easy enough to do, and it results in a chicken that is browned nicely all over with a crispy skin.
After letting the chicken sit under a foil tent for 15 minutes so the juices could redistribute nicely, I carved it, immediately seeing how moist and tender the chicken was cooked this way. Raves all around from the guys. This is my new way to roast a chicken.
There are wonderful directions and the ingredient list for the spicing, rubbing, etc. in the book. I still need work on trussing a chicken, I thought I had the string nice and tight, but by the time I moved the chicken this way and that, it all started coming off and getting rearranged so by the end it wasn't tight at all. Sigh. I also need to figure out how to turn the chicken from its side so that the skin does not stick to the pan and pull off when turning (you can see this in the photo on the chicken legs). All in all, however, I was very happy with my first attempt and I know I can practice as we love roast chicken and have it at least twice a month.
I'm excited to start at the beginning and work my way through the book page by page as I have come to appreciate and love cooking from this book for the past 16 months. I am also happy that I can choose recipes that will be seasonally available (or available at all at times), items that are on special of a week at the market, and recipes that I know my family will enjoy. My affair with this book has just begun!
If you would like to see how the other Whisk Wednesday members fared, click here, and then on the Whisk Wednesdays connect to individual bloggers, and as always, Shari has a lot of interesting and great recipes on her site.