Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 19: Lamb and Oysters

Oyster Shuckers

Some days you lovingly cook something, plate it perfectly, get to the table and bite it into and....

Today, I finish that sentence with - "... meh."

Lamb and oysters are admittedly not my most sought out foods. I have had some really fantastic lamb, and some rotten lamb too. I like it grilled, on a skewer, accompanied by tzaziki. I was spoiled in Turkey, the lamb was fresh, young, and always cooked well.

My Partner, trimming up our lamb.

Here in Canada, farms on Vancouver Island and Saltspring raise lamb, but Canadians aren't in the habit of cooking lamb at home, and restaurants (usually) only want the ribs. Farmers are not about to slaughter an animal unless they can sell it all, so they like to sell lamb to restaurants or to big grocery stores by the carcass. We needed a bunch of racks, so our lambs all came from New Zealand.

This one's for you Mellie!
You wanted to see the failures as well as the successes.

Our lamb was far too rare for my taste, (I mean LOOK at it! It was still bleeding!) We were clearly instructed to take it out of the oven far too early. I couldn't eat it, but a classmate could, and did.

I am slowly learning that there are times when you should question the Chefs instructions.

Another group gave me a piece of their properly cooked lamb to try. Nope. Not good. Too lamb-ey.

Anyway. Onto our oysters. We shucked them. My first time to shuck oysters. It was difficult at first, but easy once I got the hang of it. Then the Chefs explained that the dish we were about to make came from "Charlie Trotters", a famous restaurant in Chicago. Rob Feeney worked there. (I must find out who this Rob Feeney guy is. Apparently he's Canada's only Iron Chef? This is where not having a TV gets you!)

So imagine: shucked oysters, beet and ginger juice reduced to a syrup, carrot brunoise par-cooked, breaded oysters and a mixed herb salad with radish and cucumber julienne tossed in a vinaigrette.

My gosh! This dish had so many elements! We even had to crush the quinoa in a mortar and pestle for the breading and juice the ginger and beets ourselves. I do have to admit though, the quinoa as breading was interesting, you can even see here some of the crunchy seeds on the outside.

It looked great but it tasted... you know.

The guy across the table said it best when he said, "It tastes like fried". He was exactly right. For me the best part was the piece of cilantro in the herb salad on top. Love cilantro!

The worst part though, was that in the late morning my allergies acted up, and we didn't have even one 5 minute break for me to run and get something for it. I had to suffer through.

So today was Ok, a little disappointing. I was hoping to fall in love with something, but it just didn't happen.


Today we talked about our favorite dishes so far. For me, the Ginger-Orange-Chilli Beef Stir Fry and Ginger-Star Anise Crème Brule stand out, along with the muffins down below.

But the rest of my table raved on and on about the Chicken Saltimboca, some had even made it at home with good results. I think I really missed out there!

(If anyone wants a recipe, just ask and I'll post it or send it to you!)


  1. Ha ha! I love the lamb shot, only because up until now the food has looked so fantastic i was getting a skewed vision of what cooking school was really like for you. The oyster looked very cool though. Two thumbs up for the photo opportunity, even though it tasted like "fried?" (Did you mean fries?)

  2. Nope you read it right. Tasted like "fried". And "fried" really means "yuck".

    When I whip out my camera, everyone else is reminded to take pictures too!

  3. It's not your fault you got stuck cooking icky food. The oyster dish is remarkably photogenic though.