RSS Feed (xml)

Site Design

Powered By

Powered by Blogger

Monday, January 31, 2011

Culinary School - Q4 Week 3

American Regional
January 24-25, 2011


Day one
Hoppin John Salad
Sweet Onion Tart with Roasted Tomato Sauce and Scallion-Basil oil
Shrimp Perloo
Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Sandwich Slaw, Potato Salad
Banana Pudding

The Food: Once again, the lesson is pay attention when you are cooking. Our rice for both the Hoppin John salad and the Shrimp Perloo was over cooked. This can happen in just a few minutes. I liked the Onion Tart. The Pulled pork was tender and moist. I am really picky when it comes to coleslaw and potato salad so I was pretty critical of them. For my taste the Sandwich Slaw was a little too sweet. That might have been to cut some of the heat in the pork but I could still taste it and I wasn’t crazy about it. I think that if it was something I had grown up with I would have liked it more, but in my house, we never add sugar to slaw. I didn’t care for the celery in the potato salad either. But again, that’s just my personal preference. I made the pudding and I thought it was really tasty. When I was plating it, I forgot to add the bananas and had to take it apart so I could add the bananas. I was in a hurry and thinking about the plating of everything else and just forgot.

Summary: I thought it was a good night in the kitchen. No one injured themselves; we didn’t burn or otherwise ruin any food. I am really enjoying this class. I like the way Chef Jim leads us. He has a sense of humor about things and that helps make the class more entertaining.

Hoppin John Salad

Sweet Vidalia Onion Tart

Shrimp Perloo

Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich

Banana Pudding

Day Two
The Menu:
Watermelon and Watercress Salad
Fried Green Tomatoes with Blue Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Southern Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy
Pan-Roasted Butternut Squash and Turnips
Peach Cobbler

The Food: I think the menu tonight was my favorite since I started school. Sealing the chicken and buttermilk in the sous vide bag really helped keep the meat moist. The fried green tomatoes turned out crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. The sweetness of the red pepper sauce really complemented the flavor of the tomatoes. I liked the slightly Asian taste the sesame seeds gave the watermelon and watercress salad. Next time I would also sous vide the watermelon balls to give them more flavor. We substituted carrots for the butternut squash with the turnips. The flavor was good but next time I would cut them into bigger pieces. We used berries for our cobbler because there weren’t enough peaches. The cobbler was delicious and inspired me to make a pie at home today!

Summary: I didn’t think I would like cooking the south. But I found the food very tasty. I was talking to someone about fried chicken and I told them how we had done it with the buttermilk and pan frying and then finishing it in the over and they tried it and agreed it was the best fried chicken they had ever had.

Watermelon and Watercress Salad

Fried Green Tomatoes with
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Southern Style Fried Chicken

Peach, Strawberry, Raspberry

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Culinary School - Q4 Week 2

American Regional

January 17-18, 2011

Mid Atlantic

Menu: This week we are in the Mid-Atlantic region. Our Menus include: Vichyssoise, Scallops with Mushrooms and Asparagus, Shaker Style Turkey Cutlets, Potato Croquettes, Spaghetti Squash, Green Beans, and Ginger Pound Cake with Warm Cranberry Sauce.

I really like working with this team. We all work well together.

The Food: I thought the Clams Casino looked good. If I weren’t allergic, I would have given it a try. I think it is imperative that a chef samples everything they serve. I liked the Vichyssoise. But, I like Potato Soup a lot. The Scallops got a nice sear on them, although Marc struggled with them at first. The oil we used for the Croquettes was not hot enough so they didn’t turn out as well as they could have. The Turkey Cutlets were yummy. I wish that Thomas had given himself more time to cook the meat and make the gravy. Even though it tasted good, there were ingredients left out of it. I was pleased with how the spaghetti squash and green beans turned out. I love both of them and enjoyed eating them after our critique. The ginger pound cake was really delicious! We all collaborated on it. We made a whipped cream and added some of the cranberry sauce to it and used it between the layers on the plate.

Summary: I think as a team, we really need to work on our timing and plating presentation. Our plating has been kind of all over the place. We really need to give more thought to how things look rather than just tossing food onto the plate to get it done.


Scallops with Mushrooms
and Asparagus

Shaker Style Turkey Cutlets
with Green beans and
Potato Croquettes

Shaker Style Turkey Cutlets
with Spaghetti Squash and
Potatoes Parmentier

Ginger Pound Cake
with Warm Cranberry Sauce

My Teammate Jose

Our table after our presentation
to Chef Jim

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Birthday Dinner for Loretta

My friend and roommate Loretta had a birthday last week.  I like to cook her a special dinner to celebrate.  A few weeks ago I saw this post on Joe's blog "culinary in the country" and I knew it was going to be perfect.

I cooked this on wednesday night and it was delicious.  I used Dijon Mustard from Saucy Mama.  It was perfect. I loved it and more importantly, Loretta loved it!
Panko crusted chicken with mustard-maple pan sauce,
garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli with prosecco!

Culinary School - Q4 week 1

American Regional
January 10-11, 2011
New England

Summary: This week we will be focusing on the cuisine of New England. I am on a team with Jose, Marc and Alicia. After Chef goes over the syllabus, he appoints me to be “Chef of the day”. My team and I divide up the recipes and plan out our meal. I am responsible for making the New England Boiled Dinner. To me this is basically corned beef and cabbage. I also make the horseradish sauce to go with it. I love horseradish. I made the sauce kind of spicy because that is how I like it. During critique Chef tells us that creamy soups should be served in a bowl and that cups like the one we served our clam chowder in should be used for thin soups. The reason for this is because thin soups will cool faster than a thick soup so if you give it a smaller surface it will retain heat longer. During the critique of our dessert, Peach and blueberry cobblers, a question came up about the differences between granulated sugar and brown sugar. Brown sugar has molasses added to it during processing. This led to a question about what molasses is. I looked it up when I got home from class. There are two different types of molasses. The first is made by boiling down sugar cane and the second is made by boiling down sugar beets. Molasses also comes in three different grades. Mild, dark and blackstrap. Mild molasses is made from the first boiling, dark is made from the second and blackstrap is made from the third boiling down.

Day two we made cod cakes, and turkey roulade. The dessert tonight was gingerbread cake. We made a cinnamon whipped cream to top it. I thought the cod cakes needed more fish. All I tasted was potatoes. The tartar sauce that Marc made was very good. I think he added Tabasco to it to spice it up. I burnt my thumb and index finger picking up a spider that someone left beside the stove top. I didn’t realize that it had been sitting in or near the flame. This was a good reminder to me to use my side towels to pick up things that might be hot. I really liked the meal.

This class has its challenges for me due to my shellfish allergy. I am not able to taste all of the food or even participate in the cooking of it. But I enjoyed the first week. I can’t wait to get to the central plains and southwest!

Clam Chowder

Clams Casino

Cod Cakes

New England Boiled Dinner

Tomato and Zucchini Salad

Turkey Roulade

Gingerbread Cake with
Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Culinary School - Q3 Week 11

Holy cow!  It's FINALS week!

For our pastry final, in addition to a written exam, we are required to make a composed dessert that must contain the following five elements:

1. A Cake
2. A Buttercream or Mousse
3. A Crunchy Element
4. A Frozen Element
5. A Fruit Sauce

I chose to make a Chocolate Buche de Noel with a coffee buttercream, meringue mushrooms, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce.

We had three hours on the first night beginning after the written exam and about three hours on the second night to finish up and present.  We drew numbers to determine our presentation time.

I scored 99% on the written exam (once again, the highest in the class) and 96% on the practical.   Chef scored me a little low on my creativity for my plated dessert because she thought I was playing it too safe.  However, on the timing portion of the night I scored 15/10 points because I had everything done and was washing everyone else's dishes because I finished 90 minutes before my presentation time.

I was pleased with my dessert, the class as a whole, and my grades.  I managed to get A's in both classes despite being sick and missing four pastry classes.

In Food and Beverage Operations I got a 91% on the written exam and a 94% on my operations manual.  My final score in that class was a 92%.  So, I am still on the presidents list for maintaining a 4.0 GPA!!!

The strangest thing is going from saying, "I'll be graduating next year in December" to saying, "I will graduate in December!"

I'm a fourth quarter culinary student!

Plated final

Whole final

Culinary School - Q3 Week 10

Introduction to Pastry Arts
Week: 10 Day: 1

Sponge Cake
Lemon Curd
Italian Butter Cream
Chocolate Ice Cream
Lemon Basil Granita
Mango Sorbet
Chocolate Tuilles
Coffee Rum Parfaits

Additional Information:
We are making granitas tonight. We need to remember to scrape them with a fork before they are all the way set.

Outcome & Critique:
Tonight was a smooth night in the kitchens. We had everything under control so Chef suggested that I make another sorbet. We chose mango because that is the puree we had in the supply room. We also made some chocolate Tuilles.

What could I have done different:
I think tonight went very smoothly. 

Week:10 Day:2

Today’s Objective:

Specialty Equipment:
Ice Cream Chiller

Mixing Methods:

Assembly Instructions:

Icing lemon sponge cake

Outcome & Critique:
I really liked the coffee rum parfait. The lemon curd was really good too. I am still not a fan of the sponge cake. The chocolate tuilles were very soft. Almost like they had not been baked long enough. I liked the chocolate ice cream. It was very smooth and creamy. The mango sorbet was also delicious however, I would rethink the presentation of it. The bright yellow color made it look like an egg yolk on the plate.

Chocolate Ice Cream and
Mango Sorbet in a
Chocolate Tuille Cup

Coffee Rum Parfait

Sponge Cake with lemon curd filling

Culinary School - Q3 Weeks 8 and 9

Sadly, I don't have reports for these two weeks because I was in the hospital with Pneumonia.  There are only two weeks left of school this quarter!

Culinary School - Q3 Week 7

Introduction to Pastry Arts
Week: 7 Day: 1
Petit Fours -
Cherry Almond Florentines
Langue du chat
Gerbert Macaroons
L’Opera Cake
Chocolate Pecan Cakes

Mixing methods:
Egg Foam

Outcome & Critique:
Tonight we got all of our prep work done. Tomorrow night all we will have left to do is dipping in chocolate and presenting.

Our L’Opera cake is ready for the ganache, which we will do tomorrow. It is resting in the freezer.

What could I have done different:
I was working with Kenny and Bobby again this week. We make a smooth running team.

Week: 7 Day: 2

Today’s Objective:
Presenting Petit fours
Coat L’Opera cake with Ganache
Dip Cherry Almond Florentines
Dip Langue du chat

Specialty Equipment:
Mirrored trays

Assembly Instructions:

The opera cake was assembled last night and has been resting in the freezer.

Outcome & Critique:
Our L’Opera cake was amazing! I have had this many times and I think this was the best I have ever had. The Cherry Almond Florentines were also delicious. I thought everything was well done and well presented.

What could I have done differently:
I was very pleased with everything we made this week. I think petit four week has been my favorite week thus far.

Petit four tray

Petit four Tray

Culinary School - Q3 Week 6

Introduction to Pastry Arts
Daily Journal
Week: 6 Day: 1

Puff Pastry
Lady Fingers

Specialty Equipment:
Pastry bag
Offset spatula

Mixing methods:
Sponge Cake
Rolled-in dough

Additional Information:
I was responsible for making the pastry cream for the diplomat cream for the napoleons as well as the mascarpone cream for the tiramisu. I am getting really good at the pastry cream. That makes me happy because it is used as a base for so much in the pastry kitchen!

Outcome & Critique:
We got our lady fingers made. The first batch was overcooked. They can go from just right to over done in just a few seconds. The second batch turned out perfectly. When it was time to assemble the tiramisu everything was ready. We got those stacked and into the fridge for overnight.

I made the pastry cream for the diplomat cream filling and did the mise en place for the rest of it.

What could I have done different:
I was a bit apprehensive about working on a team with Kenny as he doesn’t seem to like or respect me very much but the night went really well.

Week: 6 Day: 2
Today’s Objective:
Fruit sauces
Chocolate Sauce
Caramel Sauce

Present Tiramisu and Napoleons

Outcome & Critique:

I was not feeling well tonight and left after preparing the chocolate sauce and the strawberry sauce. We had made our raspberry coulis the night before and Kenny made the caramel sauce.

What could I have done differently:
I wish I had felt well enough to stay for the whole class. I was mad at myself for being weak and because I was going to lose points for the class. This is the first time I have ever left early or missed any part of a class since I began this program.

I have looked at Bobby’s pictures of the presentation of both the tiramisu and the napoleons and was disappointed in the presentation. I felt like they were both a bit over done.