Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Finals Week

It's time for my Breakfast and Pantry practical already. Here's what the test is on:

Sunny side up
Over easy
Soft scrambled
Hash browns

and a wild card dish. I drew a frittata which is an open-faced omelet.

Today, the Chef said that we could make the eggs and then finish up with pancakes, hash browns, and the wild card dish tomorrow. I felt ambitious, so I went ahead and made the frittata as well (filled with bacon bits, red onion, red pepper, and cheddar cheese).

I missed a total of 1/2 point so I was ecstatic. I'd never poached an egg in my life before this class and now I'm a pro. My partners call me the Egg Queen. Who knew?

Three days 'til summer vacation!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Bette Davis Centennial

April 5th is the centennial of Bette Davis' birth, so TCM is appropriately celebrating with a day long Davis fest.

I've been a lifelong Bette Davis fan, but I've stuck with what I know for the most part. I've seen All About Eve, Now Voyager, The Man Who Came to Dinner, and yes, Return to Witch Mountain, at least a dozen times each. Last year, G & I caught The Petrified Forest (1936), a tour de force starring not just Davis, but a villainous Humphrey Bogart. We also watched Dark Victory as well and were mesmerized.

Whenever I'm lucky enough to see a Davis film that's new to me, I'm wowed. "Why haven't I sought out more of her work?" I say to myself each and every time. So thanks to TCM, I'm filling up the DVR with The Letter, Jezebel, and Dangerous.

Just a note: If you haven't seen All About Eve, I highly recommend it as your next classic film rental. That 1950 screenplay is better than most scripts that come out of Hollywood every year since.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Photos from Pastries Class

I want to brag about my work, but I don't have the proper cord with me to download from my phone. So please consider this a space holder for now...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Long Day

Started the day in B&P class where we made a muesli (oats, milk, sugar, lemon juice) which will sit overnight. Tomorrow we'll take it and make parfaits with it, so I'm told. We also made pancake batter and practiced our griddle technique. I'm not really into pancakes (I'm more of a French toast/waffle girl), but I have to admit, this was a top notch batter. The pancakes were super fluffy. Our fellow students couldn't wait to get their hands on them. We had to find some maple syrup for them too. They're so demanding.

The chef demonstrated a French toast technique near the end of class. He also showed us how to make one of the custom salad dressings for the school restaurant, an apple cider vinaigrette.

Once B&P ended, I walked across the hall to the pastry classroom to volunteer for the afternoon. There's some black tie gala being held at the school this Saturday so all of the chefs are looking for volunteers to prep food and desserts. I volunteered for pastries for extra credit. Whoo hoo! Two of my favorite classmates also stayed late today; we made pecan flan, linzer tarts, and yellow and chocolate short dough. I had so much fun, I might stay late again tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Class--Breakfast & Pantry

Today was the first day of Breakfast & Pantry. What a breath of fresh air. A week of demos and lectures before we really hit the kitchens full-time. We work in groups of three. We actually get to eat what we're cooking. And the chef is...a goofball. I know, I know. It's disrespectful to call him that, right? But he is a goofball. I say it with love.

After a brief introduction to the class, Chef demonstrated egg cookery 101. Sunny side up, over easy, over medium, scrambled, and omelets.

Toward the end of class, Chef let us go to the kitchens to practice these egg techniques. Dozens of eggs, clarified butter, lots of saute pans. I'm a newbie when it comes to runny yolks. I've only just started to be able to appreciate dipping toast into a runny yolk. So trying to make sunny side up eggs is a bit of a challenge. Just not my personal preference. I also learned a new way to cook an omelet. Chef acts like he's scrambling the eggs first and then mushes them all back together. He places the fillings on top (today we used ham, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese) and then rolls the omelet closed and onto the plate. We'd never seen such a fluffy texture. We were impressed.

The biggest challenge in all of the egg prep is controlling the heat of the burner. The chef wants no color on any of the eggs. At home, I like browned edges on my over medium eggs so I'll need to readjust.

Tomorrow we continue with eggs--poaching technique and Hollandaise sauce.