This weekend, I attended another cooking class at Bekins Real Cool Cooking School inside a home appliance store in Grand Haven, about 20 minutes south of Muskegon.
Last time, I learned about roasting, a dry cooking technique. This time, I learned about poaching and steaming, a wet cooking technique.
Chef Tom Reinhart demonstrated poaching using shrimp. He created two poaching liquids, one with a southwestern flair and one with an Asian flair. The southwestern poaching liquid contained water, tequila, lime juice, lime zest, garlic and chili powder. The Asian poaching liquid contained water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, scallions and blood orange zest. (He even threw in the stems of broccoli after he cut florets to serve with our other dish.) He let them heat through and simmer for quite a while, never allowing the liquids to come to a boil and keeping them between 160 and 180 degrees.
Reinhart then added the shrimp to the liquid and cooked them until they just turned pink, only about 3-5 minutes.
Reinhart demonstrated steaming using chicken, jasmine rice and two vegetables, broccoli and asparagus. He rubbed a bit of soy sauce on a few chicken breasts and sprinkled some ginger, garlic and scallions over the top. He did nothing to the rice or vegetables, allowing the natural flavors to stand out on their own.
Reinhart put the chicken, rice and vegetables in a convection steam oven, which was interesting to see but not all that practical to use, since the majority of people don’t have a steam oven in their homes. He set the timer for about 25 minutes and put the veggies in with only about 5 minutes left, because they don’t need to cook as long.
We tried everything, of course! I was most impressed with the southwestern shrimp. I could really taste the tequila, lime and chili powder. I also enjoyed the chicken, but I felt that while it retained much of its moisture in the steaming process, it hardly absorbed any of the flavors of the soy sauce, ginger, garlic or scallions.
Overall, I once again enjoyed my time Saturday afternoon. I learned a lot about poaching (including how to properly poach an egg after a bonus demonstration while the chicken, rice and vegetables
cooked steamed), and I loved the poached shrimp. I learned, too, about steaming, but I was disappointed with the food—I found it pretty tasteless—and the use of the steam oven.
I can’t wait to incorporate these techniques in my kitchen soon—maybe even this week!
P.S. I don’t have any of the “professional” pictures from class yet, but I will add them when I see them on Facebook. 🙂