I know you’re just dying inside to know how my terrines turned out.
Well, after poaching them in a water bath (the oven was 350, the water 180 and the internal temp of the terrine a precise 155) and weighting them with bricks, setting them in the cooler overnight and poking them with curiosity, the terrines finally popped their molds today.
It was a bit of a vexing sight, actually, to see these terrines naked without their protective barriers keeping them in shape. They were…well, let’s be honest here. They were mounds of poached meat.
Let me sum up this whole terrine thing. A terrine is a fancy meatloaf and an aspic is a savory Jell-O.
Now that I have that off my chest, I can say I pleasantly surprised at how they turned out. Our mushroom terrine, in its happy little triangle mold, was actually quite beautiful–creamy pink at the top, eggshell white the middle and earthy grey at the bottom–all in all quite fancy.
Our rabbit terrine was even prettier. Studded with pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts along with tender slivers of rabbit tenderloin, it looked like a treasure chest of meat wrapped in bacon.
Of course, from the outside, they weren’t very pretty, and the gelatinous residue left in the terrine mold was unappetizing, despite the chef’s insistence it was “delicious and good for your bones!” (I tried it. It was cold, congealed and slimy. I pride myself on trying everything at least once, but I won’t put that stuff in my mouth again.)
And, last but not least, our heirloom tomato aspic. We carefully removed it from the mold, propped it upright as it wiggled towards freedom and tried to gingerly cut it without tearing its gelatinous innards apart. We mostly succeeded.
This is, of course, Le Cordon Bleu, where it’s a big deal to make a big deal out of French food, so we designed a giant garde manger spread using an aspic platter as a centerpiece (made simply like a Jell-O stained glass, colored gelatin can become an art form). We handmade our own mustards, which were potent and vibrant and pack a real whollop. I will share the recipe, slightly modified after trial and error, below.
And I’m sure you want to know what everything looked like, right? Of course you do! Well, here it is: our platter of Garde Mange Goodness.
While on the topic, let us dissect this picture, which is truly worth a thousand words.
It’s like a scavenger hunt.
Bottom left corner: two (empty) cups of (crappy) coffee from the school café. This serves several purposes.
- A) Caffeination. We work in the industry and go to school. We stay up late, wake up early. We are dedicated! We are motivated! We are hard workers! We are… EXTREMELY tired.
- B) Warmth. Those classrooms get so cold during lecture. When the ovens aren’t on and the burners aren’t lit, it’s like taking notes in a freezer.
- C) Friendship. *Cue the awwww noises.* We take turn buying each other coffee. (It’s only a dollar a cup.) But really, it’s the thought that counts, because we know exactly how who takes what in their coffee. That’s always nice.
Upper left corner: The potted plant. We’re supposed to make our tables look nice, but we’re just one giant back-of-house. These spiffy, rather dusty, plants that have probably been here since the school opened are the extent of our decorating skills. And the blurry students in the background are rushing to get things done because there’s never a slow moment in the kitchen. Go, go, go, eat, eat, eat.
Upper middle: look at our cute chef pants. All checkered and fancy.
Lower right: I made those place cards. I wish I could have made them fancier.
Dead center: a yin yang aspic platter. That pretty green color comes from parsley. We killed it in a food processor, strained all the juices and viola! Natural food coloring,. Gorgeous. The immediate right of that showcases our tomato aspic, followed by the mushroom terrine, bordered by the rabbit terrine. Yay, garde manger!
And now, as I promised, a kick-butt mustard recipe. And I really do mean that–this stuff is potent. It only takes a little, but it goes a long way and you’ll love it. Just trust me.
2/3 c ark beer
2/3 c dry mustard
dash white pepper
1/8 t allspice
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1T packed brown sugar
2T white wine vinegar
1T caraway seeds
1. Combine all ingredients except the caraway seeds, mixing to combine thoroughly.
2. In a double broiler (a bowl over boiling water) cook the mixture, stirring constantly until smooth and thick. Taste, adjust seasonings.
3. Add caraway seeds, combine well.
4. Stores well refrigerated for up to two weeks.
This powerful mustard will help any terrine go down. (Not that I didn’t love the terrines… I just found the mushroom terrine a bit chalky. I’m not a fan of poached meat, I guess.) Let’s face it: they’re kind of a genius idea, and a huge moneymaker.
And who doesn’t like the idea of meat Jell-O?