Hors d’oeuvres take 2 (class 50)

Day two of ultimate slowness. The thing is, I was 95% complete and I drew it out. I ended up being the 3rd to last person to plate. WTF. I can’t have public opinion of me wane. Even the slowest person beat me. (My head is buried in hand at moment.)

Here are my mistakes:

I got all my stuff to go and the teacher changed things a tiny bit. Then I put the dough in the fridge-okay so not really supposed to put in fridge. It was supposed to be in a warm place (if I wanted my dough to rise today.) I cut chives, two bunches-why oh why. I am not sure. In the end I really only needed a table-spoon, 1/2 of the recipe. Then I started with my dish and the chef helped. While I waited for my dough to rise in the sun-the correct place-I helped a team-mate chop some stuff. I reminded him of the sauce he had to make. Then I tidied. I started to cook what amounted to buckwheat pancakes. I HAD TIME. Then I am not sure what happened but I had 37 minutes to go, doable. I started plating but sought out a non chipped tray. In the end it still took me a little longer to plate. First I had to do a dollop of cream, then top with a little bit of caviar, then sprinkle chives. Remember I did 2 bunches. As usual, the garnishes like that usually go unused.

In the end I made it to the table 2 minutes after one of my teammates. Well he would have made it sooner but a pot of water was boiling for the longest time and most people were using other cooking methods and so I asked another kid and then I turned it off. I am not sure if we yelled out, “who is using water”, OOPs. We did not even remember that our teammate had not finished. He was ahead of us before but we remembered after the incident that he needed boiling water and lots of it, to boil his shu mai.

I guess I have been out of the loop of planning, scheduling, and prioritizing since leaving years of meeting/event planning. I should be able to manage this stuff. It is just following directions.

Each new time is a time to be better.
Like me, try to grow from your ways. My empanadas were good but the way-just late.


Hors d’oeuvres-take 1 (class 49)

I have graduated to the slowest person in class. Here is how it happened. I often have to clean, sometimes have to help, or volunteer to assist at the pot sink for things that should be managed by the people who put them there. Then I over estimate how much time I have and slightly under estimate how much time my finishing up will take.

Dead last. My empanadas, really I think I could have duplicated at home in a short time. I still had them in the oven and the teacher was going over the dishes presented on the table. If I ever wanted to cry, it was then. My own embarrassment. (here is a picture of my friend mutilating my empanadas after class-fruits of my labor)

mini empanadas-2 bites at most

I was already frustrated and then I called my friend and also my boy friend who was hanging out with her. There was no answer. WTF. So when I found them where I had entered the park, I was almost fuming. I shared my snacks with them and they were glad to have some of my deep fried platter.

deep fried platter half gone

To friends! May they love and support you in all your endeavors. (both cooking and eating)

Practical and Market Basket II (class 48)

spinach gnocchi with a mushroom sauce, vichy carrots and veal rib

Rib of Veal-large piece
Spinach Gnocchi

well i can run you around the world with stories and also my team is like the A team–we still keep on trucking no matter what adversity jumps in our way

lets just say the teacher yelled a lot-he yelled at any and everyone
he gave us a good spanking verbally-it was funny most of the times.

In the evening we did our practical.
Here is what we did:
a lot of mincing and dicing
we then fabricated a chicken using the various pieces for various things
1) we made a braise with a leg, thigh and wing
2) we made a grilled pillard (pounded breast)
3) we pan-fried a breast with a pan sauce
The rest we stored for another class.

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We were done by about 4:30 but it took us a little to clean up so we were not done till about 5 ish.

I am tired. It is funny how a non book focused academic activity can really tax your brain.

Till next time–if you want the gnocchi recipe, let me know. I made it about for 3 meals so far.

Happy food time.

Market Basket-I esplain you my frey (class 47)

A room filled with food

Chef says-“go outside and when you come back there will be things there for you”, to us

Our table got a lobster, lamb shank, mussels, clams, and salmon. The assignment was to make a complete dish-protein, veggie and starch. We could use anything in the classroom and in two carts stashed in the back hallway.
Here is what I did.

Yam circles and crisps as my starch
Sautéed salmon covered with thinly sliced yam circles as protein
Strips of peppers, zucchini, and carrots sautéed as my veggie

Here is the drama.
Well, when faced with many choices and having to kind of invent a dish, I was like well what can I cook that goes together and what techniques can I use? It is funny, we learned all these techniques but I did not even think to use most of them. I seem to have forgotten how to puree, make a soup, braise. I am so serious–forgot like, have to pull it out of the brain closet. Then I made my fish, which had some sugar from the yams. Well I tried to turn it and then I sort of stopped and also forgot the color I was aiming for. At the end it was slightly dark. Our class room guest got to witness that. When I was preparing it she looked along with curiosity. My additional yam circles were too little for a veggie portion so I quickly boiled some more and put into the oven. My veggies sautéed were good. In the end only the salmon was a little dark. My dish was shades of orange–red peppers, yams, salmon, carrots–I had a sliver of green in the zucchini. Chef commented on that. Next time we will hit the mark.

In the morning we had done knife skills. We minced shallots, garlic and parsley, diced onions, celery carrots, potatoes and peppers, made supremes of oranges, tourne’d potatoes (long diamond shapes) etc. It was a field day for concentration and our knives.

Market Basket was fun but nerve-racking for me, as I could not readily come up with a recipe and at least till halfway through I was still deliberating how to finish and up till the end I did additional prep.

Well we have another day of that tomorrow. YAAAYYYYY.

I am sure there are many people out there who would like a market basket moment.

Till then!

Trailing at JOJO–64th Street NYC

I visited this place while still working in Manhattan, a few blocks away. I simply called, made an appointment, was absent during lunch, and went to meet the chef. Thanks goodness for flexible lunch hours. I met him around 3ish. Here is what I thought about the place.

I have decided to try another approach to keep things interesting.

1) quiet
2) small
3) oldish
4) no connection to the kitchen
5) black chef in addition to head chef
6) abla espanol anyone
7) patience is a virtue
8) small spaces can be fun
9) one room school house
10) classy restaurant, kind of dark but definitely bistro -ish (downstairs at least) upstairs dining room made me feel like I was in a formal house–fun feeling, since I like that kind of decor
11) family meal–thumbs up, I like this (i have a tale about another place)
12) have the externship, checking around for closer to home and larger place–but in end have this one

definitely not knocking this place as it is now familiar–i have to admit i have learned about so many more restaurants while a student–i feel like i need to try them all out–but the real fun would be recreating those meals at home for the discerning eater.

till then–happy trails

Miami eating

Here is the run down of places we dined at.

Tuesday lunch–Puerto Sagua–rice and beans, plantains, with Spanish beef done right (1-5 scale, 5) (whole meal)
Tuesday dinner–Devitos–rigatoni with sausage and a ginormous salad with a bunch of stuff (1-5, 5, 5)

Wednesday lunch–Izzi’s Cubi Thai–Massomala (?) Curry, shrimp wrapped in egg roll wrappers (1-5, 3.5, 3.5)
Wednesday dinner–The Food Factory–Argentinian Beef Salad w/mangoes, Shrimp w Spinach (1-5, 4, 4)

Thursday lunch–Bubba Gump Shrimp–Po boy Sandwich, Pecans, Chicken and Strawberry salad (1-5, 3.5, 4)
Thursday dinner–Cafe Barcelona–Tapas: Croquettes, Sauteed Scallops, Garbonzo beans with spinach (1-5, 3, 3.5, 4.5)

When you go, let us know so we can add to our list for our next visit.

Until then, eat well.

Trailing at David Burke Town House-July 13

Wow. What a night! I am exhausted. I worked a full day and then worked in the kitchen from 5:30 or so till about 11pm. I am your superwoman–get is right. Personalities galore and then personalities that emerged towards the end of shift.

I accidentally ended up in this kitchen as I was actually trailing for a job, not an externship. They had no idea that the day before I had accepted a position. I am glad I said yes. I did not get this kitchen job.

I worked with the garde manger chick who was from CIA–yup the big dogs school. I used this as a way to get experience in a kitchen. It could not hurt. It also lets you see restaurants production and you now know if you would tell your friends to dine there. 🙂 It was rather funny because at work they spoke about this place but I dare not let on what I already knew.

Here is what I learned.
1) what/who pushes out the food ( a loud foreman type of guy) (how does one get that job as there is no actual cooking involved but you have to know about cooking)
2) what are the pressures (the chick I worked with was under the gun to clean a whole bowl of cray fish–I started to help her and realized I had to be out for my own job in the morning. man I am glad I was not her at that minute and the kitchen manager was like, “so when can I have it”)
3) what are the realities (there are like 20 people in my living room space, including ovens, fridges, storage areas, dishwashers and dish stations, the owner can stroll through whenever)
4) who yells and screams (the foreman and people saying “behind”, hot pan, pickup, is my meat ready”)
5) who has the toughest job (the dishwasher and the cooks over the heat–there was some additional flavor to the pastas and steaks–you did not hear it from me)

Ciao for now–stay out of the kitchen if you can’t handle the heat, closeness, or the people. Other than that, feel free to linger in any free space you can find. 🙂

Mexico -Olah Foodies (Class 46)

wow, so you will enjoy this–we certainly did.

rude awakening number 103–so we have our fave Chef–yay. We do not dislike other chefs, we just like the reality that our fave chef brings.

Here was a partial list of the meals prepared:

moles sauces (with green beans and chayote and then with turkey)
tomales (yum, meat and fish)
a bunch of variations of rice
chx w avocado
achiote chx (great)
chx w pumpkin seed sauce (green sauce)
Sopas (yummy-i loved these)

Man it was a long and busy day. Lunch was most excellent as this was only in the morning. We did not even get to the evening.

In the evening we had the following:
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
Lobster Ravioli (yummy, I took the spinach leaves they rested on.)
Lamp Chops with lemon confit and pignoli crust
Sea Scallops layered with spinach and truffles, enclosed in a bell shaped pastry–to die for
Rabbit Casserole
Aoupe au Pistou (pesto soup–did not taste this, it was green after all. Actually green anything natural is good for you.

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Where is our Chef?, Class 45

So we had Chef Pretty Boy-blast from the past. I was like–oh well, so the rumor about us having a certain chef was shatterd-life will go on.

So we had been off the week before. The previous weekend I trailed at Cafe Boulud–did not get it. I kind of knew when the chef/demi – chef was like, oh you can go if you like. He was actually saying –don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

So back to class–we had groups and groups we did. An email was sent around soliciting members and actually before then the groups were already chosen. It was like some secret society stuff. No worries, diversity with out the adversity is okay. I like my team as it is a healthy challenge to keep it all together. I was group leader and that was tough but I feel it is the real world–motivate, encourage, assist–you are a team after all and you inevitably have to work to the best of the team.

Team work bites some times. I like I in team sometimes.

Till then–work well with your colleagues, then throw a pie in their face, you will feel better.

Desserts part due–Class 44

Sunday was a real mishmosh and at times seemed unscripted and disorderly. At first we could not agree if we were supposed to work in teams of 2 or our two teams, black and red. After much banter back and forth, we noticed that some people had already begun to prep as if in teams of two so we just did what was left over: cut fruit and temper chocolate (melt it down so you can re-mold it, basically). Then we started piping–disaster. If it is too thin and not in a mesh shape it breaks when you try to lift it off of the parchment paper. I broke several cars, houses and random shapes. Oh yes, I was having fun as well in between serious shapes. The guy next to me was even piping hearts. What are we in grade school! 🙂

We got to plate the cheese cake and Panna Cotta. I have to say, the panna cotta looked fun to work with. I only worked with the cheesecake and a fruit tartin. I also made a little fruit tart–similar to the frangipane tarts we made a few weeks ago. The mixture rises to surround the fruit so you can only see the top and it looks like a giant cookie–in a way. I also used some tuiles. We had extra batter. I enjoyed my cheesecake after. It was actually better than the cheesecake I bought out in the past. I am not a cheesecake fanatic but usually like to get it with a thick cookie bottom. We had that in class, so I enjoyed it to the fullest.

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Go out and get yourself some cheesecake. Even better I can send you the recipe. The two cheeses are cream cheese and marscapone cheese. YUMMY when mixed together.

The Cheese is On!

Enjoy the plating picks.