Sunday, May 6, 2012

Stir-Fry: Cooking 101 with Bon Appétit!

I wish it were last weekend again. Even if the weather was as dreary as it was today, at least we didn’t have the dismaying prospect of Monday classes dampening our moods. Even better was that last Sunday we could look forward to celebrating the last few hours of our daylong vacation cooking yummy food with fantastic people. Last Monday afternoon, Bon Appétit and Firebellies joined forces to launch Cooking 101, Carleton’s first-ever campus-wide event that gives students the rare opportunity to use the LDC facilities while learning to cook a meal from scratch. With the generous help of Executive Chef Michael Delcambre, Executive Sous Chef Daniel Watrin, and Dining East Sous Chef Gibson Price, the twelve of us learned how to prepare our very own stir-fry.
Chef Michael teaching us how to cut chicken

Chef Daniel explaining how to cut veggies
The chefs enthusiastically demonstrated everything from proper knife-handling form to preparing our own stock to peeling ginger with a spoon to tossing stir-fry with gusto. The eclectic ingredients in our cornucopia consisted of naturally fed chicken from Ferndale Market; fresh vegetables including baby bok choy, mushrooms, ramps (wild leeks which are awesome and can be found in the arb), peapods, ginger, garlic, and more; and a delicious concoction of a sauce that carried a hint of teriyaki flavor with a secret ingredient: orange.
Divided into three teams that were each lead by one of the chefs, we embarked on our delectable mission. Vayu, Taylor, and I, assisted by Gibson, elected to make a vegetarian stir-fry, in which we replaced the chicken with seitan. I was fascinated by the artistry with which Gibson flipped the stir-fry into the air with such precision and adroitness, and I hope to one day gain even an iota of that skill.
Left to Right: ramps (yum! so fresh and crisp, with a peppery aftertaste), garlic (of course!), ginger (crucial in azn cuisine)
Tori + Yawen + mushrooms + baby bok choy (d'aww)
Stir-fry was originally invented by the Chinese to be quick and delicious, which proved to be true for us. Ideally, the actual stirring part of stir-fry takes about three to four minutes because all of the ingredients are parboiled. This means that they are partially boiled beforehand and therefore cook sooner when they are introduced into the menagerie in the scathingly hot wok. For us, the stir in stir-fry took about ten minutes, and the whole cooking process took less than half an hour. We were able to enjoy the fruits of our labors in no time.
Chef Gibson and his cool flippy skills
So triumphant
Stay tuned for the next installment of Cooking 101 next midterm break. Anybody have any scrumptious ideas for what to cook then? Hope to see you all there joining in on the fun!
Yes, you're hungry now.

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