Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Of the Plum Lyon

Today was the day I waited and waited to arrive.  And it is here.  I had researched cooking schools in Lyon, the "gastronomic capital of France".  Plum was what I was hoping for and indeed they had a day for me to register while on our trip.

What a day!  Arriving at the door of PlumLyon is a bit of a feat all by itself, but to go in is a different fare.  The marble work space, the lovely stoves and ovens and the habitat of the owner in perfect order.

 We meet Lucy and student  Trent, and then waste no time getting ready to leave.  Off to the market first thing, and by market, I mean walking through outdoor market shopping for all food for the meal.  Everything except, wine, chocolate and bread was from the market (with the exception of the special cheeses).  We hiked up a very steep road to the top to see the market.  We turned to catch our breath and the view was spectacular.

Then, we trolled through the market street.  It was so crowded and moved so fast, I could not take the camera out of my bag.  The people push and move, not in a mean way, but certainly in a steady stream of pressured momentum.  Babysitters with children shopping.  Elderly waving pennies or the equivalent.  Many languages and ages all gathered to visit, commerce and be outside.

Lucy, our guide and instructor, leads us through the market and we look, but don't stop.  We smell, but don't eat.  We listen, but don't talk.  Colors, odors, noises, senses on high - how grand.  We select our vegetables and our meats and then off to the Boulangerie and the Cheese shop and the Chocolate shop!

Back down the hills and into the kitchen.  First order of business is aprons, white and clean.  Then we were handed our towels.  I sort of felt official when I tucked my hand towel in.  My fellow classmate, Trent and I were ready to roll.

  The courses are placed on the board and then our challenge is to deliver the meal as outlined.  Ourss is the Cuisine de Marche.

  •  Bouche Sausissons
  • R lettd'ole
  • celery en remoulade

Mayonnaise is not just yellow stuff in a jar in France.  It is homemade egg yolk and oil mixture, it is lemon and herbs and perhaps mustard or wine.  It is a heavenly spread or dip or addition to an herb salad.  It is, in short, fabulous. 

Chopping Herbs Turns Out to be Harder than you Think!

But Plated, it is superb!

Our Hostess, Lucy!

Our first course of celery and mayonnaise and salami, with lovely sparkling white was wonderful.  Lucy did a lovely job teaching us the plating.

Isn't she lovely!

Lapereau (rabbit)

Lapereau (rabbit)

The chopping of the lapereau was mostly a de-boning.  I am used to meats that need attention as my husband hunts and provides many interesting cooking opportunities.  I think this served me well when de-boning the rabbit meat.  But, Trent is the king of the chop and mince!  His knives were moving the entire time.  He can certainly turn a pile of Herbs into a pile of herbs quickly.

This is good because the rabbit now prepared, we are moving onto the Entree.

  • Mille Feville de Betrare
  • Chevre fine Herbs A resson

Trent chops

Soft cheese and herbs Ready to mix

Lucy grates the beets

Now that the sliced beets are on a sheet we can begin the plating

Lucy provides an example

Trent prepares his plate

all ready to serve!
 That was amazing and the beets were slightly crunchy, which is the best.  loved the almonds in the herb salade.
cleaning the mushrooms from the market and Lucy provides the brushes to remove the pine debris

Mushroom came wrapped in paper and we cleaned them and left the excess in the paper.

The recipe for rabbit, Ballotine de Lapereau involves rabbit saddles, herbs and mushrooms.  The other ingredients are cooking fata nd salt and pepper.  Cleaning and cutting the herbs and mushrooms are the first step.

The mushrooms cleaned and prepared!

Ah, Trent our superb chopper, is mincing the onions.  He is extraordinary at this task.  Once we have the Confit d'Oignon  simmering away, we move on to the Buerre Blanc, which is our white sauce.  

Once again, our Trent is off chopping away at the shallots this time.  We are preparing to add the wine, shallots and chopped tarragon to the pan.  Lucy adds the cream and reduces the sauce.  In the meantime, she has taught us how to roll the herb mixture into the rabbit saddle and tie it off with twine.  She is a master, and Trent and I are learning to tie our shoes all over again!

The struggle of describing a cooking class for the non attendees is to keep the attention of the reader beyond the cooking.  So let me tell you at this moment, we have occupied four hours of Lucy's time.  She is patient as the day is long, answering questions, listening to our amateur cooking banter.  She also is sharing her home.  The Kitchen is conveniently in the front door room, which makes sense because this is her business.  But tucked shortly behind, is the family life and the patio, which is full of fabulous iron beams.  The house itself, totally redone by Lucy and her husband, is magnificent.  Wood beams traverse the ceilings.  Marble slab in the kitchen is for pastry chefs what hot grills are for barbeque.  They renovated a marvelous space for teaching and living and it is most wonderful.  I imagine it is great for family life.  Lucy is not only smart and lucky, she has laid a plan that is most sensible and eloquent.  The brightness in her eyes reveal the happiness in her heart and her cooking.

 Back to the kitchen.  We now have immersed our tied rabbit with stuffing into the pan of butte and duck fat.  Just enough mind you  to brown the small packages of goodness.

Captain Trent takes over the turning of the rabbit

love the luxury of the gas stove

Meat at rest, notice the steam...

meat prepared for the snipping

Plating was supposed be like rabbit ears along side the rice with onion confit

This is so beautiful, market to table, rabbit, onion, salsifi. buerre blanc!

plated and divine

Back in the Kitchen

Lucy is caramelizing the sugar for the Tarte Tartin

Trent and i raced to see who could peel the most apples

Lucy lays the apples in the pan in the proper order for the tarte

Final touches on the tarte

 Lest I have forgotten any steps, Lucy please forgive me.  the most important part is her teaching and our learning.

While the tarte bakes, Lucy brings out the cheeses.  The plate is full with Comte, Mt Blanc, Arome de Lyon, Epoisse, Brique and Brebi, Mimolette, Crozea

 We eat our cheese course and then voilĂ  the tarte is comple.

upside right out of the oven and then

right side up and voila!

Thank you Lucy!