RSS Feed (xml)

Site Design

Powered By

Powered by Blogger

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Culinary School - Q7 Grades

The grades are in for Fall 2011.  My 7th Quarter brings 2 more A's.  In Nutrition I finished with 112.23%  and in European I finished with a solid 96%.

Next Quarter is my last kitchen class.  It is also supposed to be my last quarter in this program but this program doesn't technically exist my campus so...  I am having issues with the school and the diploma program that I am working on with the Dean of the school.  I will walk in the graduation ceremony March with my friends and beginning in April I will do an externship and receive my diploma in June.  When school starts in July I will return to take the first of 3 classes I have left that are needed for me to get my Pastry degree and I will graduate again in March of 2013.

Culinary School - Q7 Weeks 9 & 10 European

I missed week 9 because I was sick.  It was supposed to be the food of Switzerland.

Week 10 was supposed to be Russian food and week 11 was supposed to be our final but since so many of my classmates were graduating this quarter they had to take their final in week 10.  They allowed all of us to take the final week 10.

We made Borscht, Russian Style Green Beans and Chicken.

Culinary School - Q7 Week 8 European

This week was supposed to be Germany but Chef was almost 30 minutes late arriving and most of the class was about to leave when he arrived so we staged a coup and told him we refused to cook the menu for that day.  He told us that since he was late we could make whatever we wanted using the food from the Germany req.

We all made something and enjoyed a family style meal.

Culinary School - Q7 Week 7 European

Menu: Braised Endive with Almond Cream, Consommé Brunoise, Tomato Clamart, Warm Oysters with Zucchini, Potatoes Parmentier, Chicken Sauté Marengo, Butter Lettuce Salad, Crème Brule

Summary: This week is our last week in France. The food seems pretty straight forward. We are making Crème Brulé. This is one of my favorite desserts to make. I make it at home all the time because it is so easy and delicious!

Food: Braised Endive with Almond Cream – Our endive was a little undercooked. But we had a great flavor on the sauce. It was smooth and creamy.

Consommé Brunoise – My teammate forgot to Brulé the onion and all of our Brunoise was used in the raft. It was kind of bland and needed way more seasoning.

Tomato Clamart – I thought these stuffed tomatoes were tasty although Chef Morgan said that she thought the peas were overcooked and that the dish needed salt, which I don’t understand at all since I finished the dish with a flourish of salt. She also thought I had cut too much off the tops of the tomatoes.

Warm Oysters with Zucchini – The zucchini looked pretty. It was sliced very thinly. The broth needed more seasoning and we need to pay more attention to making sure each serving has the same number of slices of zucchini..

Chicken Sauté Marengo – We needed more seasoning on the skin of the chicken and to plate with more precision. We served this with the Potatoes Parmentier. These should be cooked in smaller batches to achieve the golden color and the parsley should be added at the end.

Butter lettuce Salad – this was a simple salad of butter lettuce with apple cider vinegar and sugar as a dressing. I forgot to take a picture of this dish, but Chef Prime said it was nicely balanced.

Crème Brule – Chef Morgan commented that the custard was spot on. When a spoonful was taken out it should hold its shape and not run to fill the spot. It tasted delicious!

Culinary School - Q7 Week 6 European

Menu: French Onion Soup, Veal Kidneys, Lamb Stew, Stuffed Swiss Chard, Watercress Salad with Endive and Cucumber, Crepes stuffed with Lemon Soufflé

Summary: Things went much better in the kitchens this week. A lot of people were absent so we only had 2 teams. We presented all the food from both teams together.

Food: French onion soup is my most favorite type of soup. Ours was delicious. We did two different presentations of this. The first was the classical presentation with the toasted crouton and covered with cheese then melted under the salamander. The second presentation was the way it was described in our books. Placing the bread with shredded cheese in the bottom of the bowl and then pouring the soup over it. I prefer the classical presentation. Chef said the soup was good but could have used a touch more salt and perhaps a hit of chopped parsley as a garnish.

Veal Kidneys – Chef said that our parsley needed to be a little more crispy. The kidneys were very buttery and perfectly cooked. Our sauce was really good.

Lamb Stew – the sear on our meat was really good. It could have used a little more salt and the portion size could have been a little smaller but the flavor was really nice.

Stuffed Swiss Chard – The rice was a little undercooked but the dish was well seasoned. We need to watch for consistency when plating. The sizes were not all equal.

Watercress Salad with Endive and Cucumber – This salad had good flavor. Need to watch to make sure that all components are evenly dressed.

Crepes stuffed with Lemon Soufflé – This dish was really delicious. It would be the perfect ending to a meal that was heavy with meats and other rich foods. The crepes were nicely browned and the filling was very delicate.

Culinary School - Q7 Week 5 European

Menu: Ratatouille, Soupe de Legumes aux Petite Coquillages, Le Blanc de Poisson Belle Mouginoise, Filet de Porc Farci Lyonnaise, Salade de Poire, Mousse au Chocolat

Summary: This was a hard week in the kitchens. It seemed like every team struggled with timing and the food. I know my team did. It was just a very disappointing week for me.

Food: Ratatouille and Filet de Porc Farci Lyonnaise – Our Pork was a tad overcooked. The Potatoes we served with it were very salty. I thought the Ratatouille needed more seasoning. It was just kind of blah.

Soupe de legumes aux Petite Coquillages – I didn’t get to taste this soup because of the shellfish but Chef said the scallops were perfectly cooked and the flavor of the broth was very good but that the clams and mussels were not cleaned properly. They were a little sandy and chewy.

Le Blanc de Poisson Belle Mouginoise – Chef said the fish needed to be trimmed up a little more and be handled with a little more finesse. The vegetable were nice. Chef said they had a nice bite.

Salade de Poire – This was a nice light salad. Chef said the vinaigrette was very nice and the whole dish was nicely seasoned but that we need to tighten up the knife cuts.

Mousse au Chocolat – This was perhaps, our biggest failure of the day. The flavor was good but the texture was completely off. I think the problem is that the chocolate started to seize before the whipped cream was added to it. I was so disappointed at my team’s epic failure of this classic French dessert. This is such an easy dish to make and being advanced students we should not be making stupid mistakes like this.

Culinary School - Q7 Week 4 European

Menu: Zuppa alla Pavese, Gnocchi de Patate in Salsa di Parmesan-Reggiano, Vitello Tonnato, Osso Buco Milanese, Cicorietta Saltata con Pancetta, Risotto alla Zafferano, Panna Cotta

Summary: The recipes this week are fairly straight forward. Why anyone would ruin a nice piece of veal by covering it with a tuna sauce is beyond me.

Food: Zuppa alla Pavese – Our soup was ok. I thought it needed more salt. The crouton was really hard. Chef suggested a little bit of vinegar to brighten up the taste with some acidity.

Gnocchi de Patate – I really liked this dish. The sauce was delicious but it was a tad on the thick side. We need to make sure that the gnocchi is actually hot when the dish is served.

Vitello Tonnato – Chef said we had an interesting presentation. The veal was nicely cooked. It was light and refreshing. It maybe could have been better if the slices of veal were thinner. Chef said it was a good job. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of this dish.

Osso Buco Milanese – Chef said our veal was a little bit undercooked but I thought it was nice. The flavor was really good. Chef liked the gremolata but I thought it had too much lemon in it.

Cicorietta Saltata con Pancetta – We were not given any Chicory for today’s menu. Instead we were given endive. I liked ours a lot but Chef said it was over cooked.

Risotto allo Zafferano – Our Risotto was on the dry side and the rice was very undercooked. I have seen this happen before when someone tries to rush the cooking of risotto. It needs to be some slowly adding the stock slowly one ladle at a time allowing it to be fully absorbed each time. It also needed more seasoning.

Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries – Our Panna Cotta didn’t have time to fully set up so I ended up serving it in a glass similar to a zabaglione. I made a blueberry coulis and used that to decorate the plates. I thought it turned out very pretty.

Culinary School - Q7 Week 3 European

Menu: Tomato Bruschetta, Roasted Garlic Aioli, Tagliatelle al Peperoncino, Melanzane Involtino, Pollo alla Toscana, Basic Polenta, Asparagi al Parmigiano-Reggiano, Tiramisu

Summary: While I don’t always agree with the recipes we are given to cook, I do follow them. This week was especially frustrating to me because we had a hard time, there was no security guard to open the door. We did not get all the ingredients we needed and still had to present our food at the same time we would have if we had started on time.
Food: I liked our bruschetta. It was really good but Chef said that he couldn’t taste the roasted garlic aioli. I followed the recipe we were given but it didn’t turn out the way Chef was expecting it to be an he suggested making it by hand next time.

Tagliatelle al Peperoncino – Chef said ours was nicely seasoned and cooked properly. I really liked the flavors. This would make a nice winter evening dinner.

Melanzane Involtino – Ours was a little salty because the sauce was salted as were the cheese and ham. Chef asked us to pay attention to the size of each ingredient. Our eggplant was a nice thickness but the cheese was sliced too thick.

Pollo alla Toscana – Our porcini sauce was broken because it reduced too much. The chicken was very nicely cooked. Chef said we are going to work on the sauce again next week because everyone’s sauce was broken. Chef said our polenta was a little too hard and needed more seasoning. After critique we added some parmesan cheese and the left over bruschetta and it was delicious.

Asparagi al Parmigiano-Reggiano – I liked this dish a lot. Chef said our asparagus was very nicely cooked. It had a nice crunch to it. Chef also said next time to pile it higher so that it would add some visual interest.

Tiramisu – Even though our dish didn’t have the time to fully set up and collapsed when we removed the ring, the flavor was yummy. Although, Chef thought the ladyfingers could have used more espresso. We used the amount we were given. This is one of the ingredients that we were shorted on our req.

Culinary School - Q7 Week 2 European

Menu: Peperonata, Braciole, Caponata, Pomodoro Sauce, Orechetti con Carciofi, Insalata de Seppie, Calamari e Gamberi, Tunnu a Palirmitana, Torta Caprese

Summary: I love all Italian food. When I cook at home, Italian is my specialty, and Southern Italy is my favorite region.

Food: Peperonata – I thought this was tasty. Chef wants us to pay more attention to equal sized portions and make sure each dish gets the same amount of each color of peppers.

Fresh Pomodoro Sauce – I make a similar sauce at home at least once per week. This time we used it for the Braciole. Chef thought ours needed more salt. I would disagree. When paired with the Braciole I thought it was good. The Braciole had Asiago cheese in the stuffing and was quite salty on its own. If I were going to serve this by itself as a sauce for pasta I might give it a little more salt.

Braciole – Unfortunately, our pork was over cooked and thus dry. But the stuffing had a nice flavor to it. I tasted this dish from another group and theirs was quite good. Much more moist than ours.

Caponata – Chef thought our Caponata had too many capers in it, and I would have to agree. The capers drowned out the taste of everything else in the dish.

Orechietti con carfioci – Unfortunately, We were not given Orechietti to work with. We were given Penne Rigate. This is very different pasta from the Orechietti. Pasta comes in so many different shapes and sizes because they all have a specific use. While our pasta dish tasted good, the pasta was a bit too al dente for my taste. This might be because of it being the wrong shape. With the Orechietti, the sauce would have clung to the little ear shape better. Chef said the pasta had a nice texture. The Artichokes were very well cooked.

Insalata di Seppie – This salad of cuttlefish, squid and shrimp looked nice on the plate but chef said he wanted the tails off the shrimps. We thought it looked nicer for the presentation. He also said the potatoes were a little over cooked and the dish as a whole was under seasoned. I can’t vouch for that because I couldn’t taste it.

Tunnu a Palirmitana – We presented our tuna in two different ways. One was a whole tuna steak and the other was sliced in small slices. Both were served with the arugula salad. Chef said the Arugula salad needed more acid and I agree. Even just a squeeze more of lemon juice would have brightened up the whole dish.

Torta Caprese – This is one of my favorite things we have made. Chef said the taste was “very delicious!” It had great chocolate flavor and a lovely texture. I would have loved to put a dollop of whipped cream and some chocolate shavings on top of it. It reminded me of a chocolate soufflé!

Culinary School - Q7 Week 1 European

This is going to be an especially hard class.  Our Chef Instructor is new and has never taught before.

Menu: British Isles – Roast Beef with roasted potatoes, broccolini and glazed shallots, Yorkshire pudding, Langoustine soufflé, Fennel – Onion salad, Cheese Herb Bread, Strawberry shortcake

Summary: While I am not generally a fan of the food from Britain, there were things I liked about this menu and things I didn’t like. In my own experience, I find most foods that are truly British to be overwrought. I believe in letting the ingredients speak for themselves.
Food: Langoustine soufflé: I didn’t get to taste it because of my allergies, but Chef said that it was nice. It had a good creamy flavor. They were very pretty and well raised when we took them out of the oven but deflated while we were waiting for Chef to get to us.

Fennel and Onion salad with Tarragon Dressing: I really enjoyed this salad. The combination of the licorice-y fennel and the red onion was nice together. The tarragon dressing was a nice choice but I feel that tarragon has such a delicate flavor that it can get lost if the food it is used with is too strong. Chef said our salad had a nice well balanced flavor.

Roast Beef with roasted potatoes, broccolini and glazed shallots: Chef said our meat was a little over. I still thought it was good. The potatoes to me were a little undercooked. They could have used a tad more color. The broccolini was ok. I think we could have skipped the sauté part and it would have been perfect. The glazed shallots were my favorite part. They were so tasty that I could eat them for every meal! Chef said ours were nicely cooked but he thought they were a little too caramelized (is there any such thing?).

Yorkshire pudding: Chef said it had good flavor but it could have used a little more color. I thought it was one of the most disgusting things I have ever tasted and that is saying a lot because I have tasted some pretty disgusting things since starting culinary school. I mean, this is basically flour cooked in beef fat. ICK!

Sauces: Our mustard sauce was too thick. The flavor was ok but it was like gelatin. The horseradish sauce was delicious! I love horseradish! The gravy had too much pepper and not enough salt. I also thought it was too thin but chef said no, that was fine.

Cheese and Herb Bread: This was the very first time I have made bread using yeast. I have had a fear of yeast that I am working on conquering so I took on the bread this week. Ours had a great color on the outside and nice crust. The flavor was good, but the loaf was kind of dense. Chef said that was because it didn’t have the full time to rise properly. I will pay more attention to that next time, but for my very first loaf I thought it was good.

Strawberry shortcake: One of my favorite parts of this menu. The shortbread cookies were super yummy. And the flavor of the strawberry coulis was delicious. Even Chef agreed.

Culinary School - Q6 Grades

The Grades are in... I can go into my week off knowing that my 4.0 GPA is secure.  I got an A in both "Management, Supervision, and Career Development" and "Latin".  Next quarter I will be taking Classical European and Nutrition Science.

Culinary School - Q6 Week 11 Latin Final

This week there was no menu.  When we arrived in the kitchen we were given a card that had the dish we were expected to make listed on it along with our assigned presentation time. 

These were the possibilities:
#1 - Green Mole with Arroz Verduas

#2 - Vatapa with Arroz Blanco

#3 - Arroz con Pollo

I was given #3 - Arroz con Pollo. We didn't get a critique on our dish.

Culinary School - Q6 Week 10 Latin

Menu: Mystery Basket

Summary: This week we are working with mystery ingredients and no recipes!

Food: Our menu for this week was 1 fish, 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of beans, 2 roma tomatoes, and another ingredient from the pantry. I made a roasted tomatillo salsa, frijoles negro, rice with green onions, roasted corn with cayenne pepper and cod crusted with Dijon mustard and crushed cashews.

I was really pleased with how my dish turned out. Chef said my fish was perfectly cooked. The beans were tasty but maybe could have gone a few more minutes. I cooked my rice in chicken stock to give it some flavor and I thought it was really good. The way the flavor of the salsa combined with the flavor of the fish was delicious!

Next week is FINALS!  I have really enjoyed this class. Thanks Chef!

Culinary School - Q6 Week 9 Latin

Menu: Camarones Sofrito, Black Bean Soup, Hearts of Palm Salad, Curried Lamb Stew, Stuffed Dates

Summary: This week we are working on Shrimp cookery, Bean Cookery, Stewing, and Emulsions.

Food: First up is our Camarones Sofrito. The tomato sauce had a little kick to it. Chef said that our Shrimp was perfectly cooked. The flavors were really good and we had a nice presentation. I wish I could have tasted the whole dish. I only got to taste the tomato sauce that was still in the pan.

Next was our Hearts of Palm Salad. We paired it with the Stuffed dates. The Salad has an unusual combination of flavors. The lettuce was still crisp. It was dressed properly. We need to be consistent with the size of the tomato slices. Chef said he could eat a lot of this salad. We topped ours with queso fresco and some of the filling from the stuffed dates.

I really enjoyed the black bean soup. It was thick and creamy. We also topped this with some queso fresco. Chef said that soup had good flavor.

Last but not least was the Curried Lamb Stew. This was really good. The meat was nicely browned and cooked perfectly. The Sauce was really good with just the rice. I think it would have been really good with some coconut milk added. Chef said it was a nice job.