I wrote the title to this post as a riff on a song title, and then I just realized that I will be talking about pasta. I love it when stuff like that happens.
I literally have no idea what I last wrote about. Perhaps I should either write more, or just read my last post so I know where to catch up from. I’ll just work backwards since I know I haven’t touched on anything I did this week.
Today and yesterday were designated chicken days. Yesterday, we were given two chickens. On one, we had to truss it in the old fashioned way using what’s called a brigade needle (the process is called bridage, or something like that.) It’s much tougher then simply tying string around the bird to keep everything together. We then had to season that up real nice and roast in the oven. Simple. The other bird we had to do a little dismantling. We had to remove the breasts and leg/thighs cleanly for use today. With the roasted bird, we had to also make French fries (hand-cut), and a trio of glazed vegetables, which we have made at least 3 times before. Today, we took the breast and leg/thighs and stuffed them! We cut a slit down the side of the breast and added duxelle (think “mushroom paste,” but it’s tastier than it sounds.) To the leg/thigh, we de-boned it, which I have never even seen before, and then stuffed it with a pecan, shallot, garlic and breadcrumb combo. They were both absolutely amazing. These days were really great for me because I have always been a little timid when it comes to carving or portioning a chicken. It was great. Tomorrow, we’re doing leg of duck in an absolutely amazing looking glaze. But, that’s tomorrow. I’m working backwards for now!
Tuesday we did two full plates. A sauteed pork chop with potato puree, and a reduction sauce. I guess, technically, that’s not a full plate since there is no veg on the plate, but I’m not deleting anything. We also had to do a veal cutlet that we pounded out and sauteed, served with blanched peas and lettuce, a mashed potato cake and a cream reduction sauce. This day was tough and admittedly I did not finish because I got frazzled. I had the answers right under my nose, I just didn’t (or couldn’t) stop to think everything through.
I’ll jump through the days prior really quickly for the sake of time. We had a frying day (which was amazing.) Actually, I’m going to talk about this day because it was awesome. This day happened to be on a Monday. On the Friday before, we had our shrimp put into the marinade that we were using, so it had 3 days to soak and marinate. So, we made battered and fried shrimp. Huge shrimp. 16-20 in a pound shrimp. With a mayonnaise-based dipping sauce with lots of herbs and some curry powder, which was equally as delicious. Then we also made fried cod and french fries with an aioli (which is basically garlic mayo.) I did a great job on this day, and it was really a lot of fun. It also helped break down a personal fear that I have of frying. But that’s for another post.
Prior to fry-day, we did a lamb stew with glazed vegetables and a weird braised lettuce dish that I did not finish. Before that, we had egg day. Egg day was great. We were each given free reign over 24 eggs, needing only 7 in the course of our production. It gave us a lot of opportunity to practice and ensure that we were turning in our best work that day. Before egg day, we had pasta day. It was so great. Again, the techniques we used were so simple, it really brought down my perception of homemade pasta dough. We rolled ours out with rolling pins, no special equipment needed! We made fetuccinne in a fresh-made alfredo sauce, and ravioli and tortellini with a cheesy filling, one served with pesto and the other with a simple brown butter. It was another really fun day. We got to get our hands dirty, and really create some great tasting food. That’s what it’s all about anyway, right?
I would say that so far, the school process has really exceeded my expectations. It’s not really fair to say that though, because I literally had no idea of what I was getting myself into. I’ve learned so much, much more than I have in a long time in other classes, and it’s all getting me more excited about food in general. Excited about eating too, of course! I really want to start getting back into updating the blog here more often. Even if it’s just a quick 200-300 word blurb about what I did that day or something. I’m still cooking at home too, so I can definitely keep any new revelations posted here as well. But, as I have mentioned in the past, time is so precious these days that it’s hard to find time. But let’s just take one day at a time, shall we?Stay positive, love your life and play with your food 🙂