Coooking Class 15: Braising and Bruising

So like any other day class started. However mandatory team leaders had been chosen. I liked leading others, when I am in the 90% to 100% range in understanding and being able to perform a task with my eyes closed. Well it was my time to shine or crash and burn.

Our class was filled with flare ups, the literal type and the metaphoric type. We had a goal in the morning, to push out grilled salmon, shrimp skewers, pork chops, grilled fennel, onions, grilled potatoes, grilled leeks and asparagus. I might as well be feeding an army and a certified work horse.

Well the flare ups–as usual, too much oil on the grill, too much natural oil in the food and heat for days. There were so many ingredients that it was natural for a mess to occur. One team in particular had trays, containers, and cooking utensils all over their table. If the Chef did not yell, it was because he was talking to another Chef. All you could hear was “table one, clean up, get rid of all those dirty dishes, come on, now.” We got some occasionally, but not the yelling type. He would ask and then he would occasionally walk over and clear off cutting boards. He said whatever he found he would put in the garbage. Lucky for us we had food trailings, like ends of parsley, pieces of leek, extra garlic. All I could say was “Thanks for cleaning up Chef,” and I meant it in the most sincere way.

It was tough being team leader this time. I felt like I had to move the team along. When the girl across from me is leader, I always jump at tasks and get the other guys to help me. The second guy at our table needs a little bit more explaining as he is getting a grasp of English.
The Menu–
Shrimp skewers: shrimp, grape tomatoes, onions, brushed with olive oil, and finished with lemon juice Grilled Salmon: just seasoned with salt and pepper–mine had a flare up on my skin side (lucky me-it was like a black carpet) I was able to peel it off but not without removing some fish.

Pork Chops-chops, that was not a success the first time, it was only half cooked and so I put it back in the oven to finish. It was too thick and huge. It was like a double portion. Who eats this stuff?
Grilled vegetables: let’s just say that Chef said that the class as a whole could not cook vegetables. He said that our onions were undercooked, among other things.

So at lunch we broke to the library where we pow wowed for a few minutes. In the evening we made roasted everything. Beets, small potatoes (fingerling potatoes), roasted chicken (stuffed), lamb chops with dijon mustard and covered with a breadcrumb mixture. I think the chops needed a binder. Plus we made it to 130 degrees–I am not a blood and meat person so that was a candidate for further cooking at home. It looked pretty with the breadcrumbs on it but they fell right off–maybe a dip in egg or something would have helped. (share with me your best chops recipe-I will spread to the masses–Leave a Comment) We also made roasted sweet potatoes- I love those, can eat them all day long.

Chef kept saying all through this exercise and the one before, do not put herbs on the food while it roasts, it will just burn and all the flavor will be lost. There are 3 teams and there were two dishes where this applied, the sweet potatoes and the regular potatoes. In each team, at least one of dishes earned us a good yelling. The Chef asked why the dishes were covered with all that crap. ( basically)

Remember-Chef was not too please and he was still yelling a lot. So he decided to give a paper to write at home due the next day. In its simplest terms, “why couldn’t we follow directions and get it together today.”

I had a dinner to attend at night so I was going to have to write the paper, study for my test the following day, do 8 tourne (fancy cut) potatoes and medium diced potatoes for homework. So what is free time, the time when you are in the shower or on the toilet or eating. I remember: I have so much of that. 🙂

So let’s see what happens on Sunday.
Ciao for now.


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