Week 9 Skills

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ok, I'm copying and pasting from my journal again because I know some people need the pictures off of here so I need to get this entry up.

Thursday, June 3, 2010
Objective: Beef Tenderloin au Poivre, sugar snap peas, tournes of potatoes and carrots, chicken pot au feu

Utensils used: Chef’s knife, slotted spoon, tongs, filet knife, bird’s beak knife
Today I learned:
-how to break down a tenderloin
-that tournes are much easier for me when starting with a round product
-to shallow poach, the water should be 160-180°F
-Sear steak and hold in refrigerator to stop cooking process
-Put steak in the oven right before plating to finish the cooking process
-that everyone makes mistakes

Personal observations: Today we watched Chef break down a tenderloin into individual steaks. He showed us the usable vs unusable parts of the meat. He showed us how to butterfly the steaks that are smaller around to make normal looking steaks so that we don’t waste product. At our table, we each got two steaks to work with. I used salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and turmeric to season my steaks and then coated them in olive oil and let them sit for a few minutes while I gathered the mise en place for the sauce. I made sure that the pan was very hot and seared both sides of the steak. I then took the steaks and placed them on a half sheet pan and held them in the refrigerator to stop the cooking process while I made the sauce and other items for the plate. When the other items and sauce were almost ready, I put the steaks in the oven to finish the cooking process and immediately before plating, placed the steaks on the grill on the presentation side to give it nice cross markings. Chef, Curtis, and Natane all loved the steak. Richard actually moaned.
The sauce for the steak was also AMAZING. I wanted to just eat it plain, it was THAT good. I used brandy to deglaze the pan and demi glace with beef stock to get the right consistency. I did not need to use a roux or a slurry.

I also got much better at tournes today. I learned that when I start with a round product, it is much easier for me to get the 7 sides. I think this is because I have more of an artistic eye and can just gauge it easier that way.
We broke down chickens again today and it was even easier the second time around. We then cut up the chicken breasts into cubes to use in the Chicken Pot au Feu *I keep wanting to call it pate a choux.* This did not turn out well. We aren’t sure if the chicken stock used was rancid or what exactly happened, but everyone’s had a funky smell...and taste. I tasted just a dab of the sauce and it was definitely off.

Friday, June 4, 2010
Objective: Yankee Pot Roast, Coq au Vin, potato pancakes, carrot tournes

Utensils used: Chef’s knife, slotted spoon, tongs, bird’s beak knife
Today I learned:
-How to make a pot roast that is tender in a fairly short amount of time
-How to make potato pancakes
-To use oil instead of butter for pan frying because butter will burn

Personal observations: Today we made pot roast, coq au vin, potato pancakes, carrot tournes, and sugar snap peas. We trussed the pot roast and the recipe said to season and dredge it before searing all the side to seal in the flavor. We did this, but once it was braised, the flour breading got soggy and pretty much just fell off when we cut the meat. If I were to do it again, I don’t think I would bread the roast at all.
I have ALWAYS wanted to make potato pancakes but just never have. I was excited to give it a whirl and was thrilled with how simple it was. I adored the flavor and scarfed down way too many of them with the amazing pot roast gravy as a condiment. I almost forgot and used butter to pan fry the pancakes, but thankfully Chef caught me before I made the mistake.

We had kind of a hard time plating today. The pancakes kept sliding all around and not letting us layer the slices of meat like we wanted to. We also made a mess out of saucing the plate but next time I’ll do better.

I am feeling much more confident at the end of this class cooking real food. I am confident that I will continue honing my skills, especially my knife skills. I am more passionate about real food than I was before this class and am more open to the idea of cooking in a “real” kitchen as opposed to JUST a bakery at some point *probably the starting point* in my cooking career.


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