Week 2- World

Monday, July 19, 2010

We were still on Spain this week in World Cuisine. I did so much work ahead of time, gathering a complete mise en place list for all the recipes and checking with my team mates on which dishes each of us were going to do so I could make a list of what I needed to do in what order to get everything done.

Then I got to class. Chef had split us up into new groups this week but I managed to get the same dishes I had wanted to prepare anyways. However, I thought we were going to be cooking paella but she ended up just giving a demo on it instead. This made my mise en place list null and void, pretty much. So we split up the recipes among up and each gathered our own mise en place. I made Chicken with Almond and Saffron Sauce, and decided to make Saffron Rice to go with it. I also made Pears with a Caramel Coffee Sauce.

The chicken tasted REALLY good, and the recipe was easy to follow. There were ALOT of steps to it, though, and I definitely think that a normal home cook may have some troubles with this one, just because of timing. One thing that was challenging about this one was that the recipe called for about 2 1/2 lbs of chicken, cut into 12 pieces. I took a whole chicken and began breaking it down as you would for most recipes. By this I mean that I began taking the chicken breasts off the bone and removing the skin. Chef caught me and asked if the recipe CALLED for boneless, skinless chicken. No. But it didn't specify bone IN, either. Apparently, bone in is what was needed. So she showed me how to break down a chicken for bone in recipes. Yikes. Cutting through bone with my knife makes me anxious. She recommends me getting a cleaver for that particular job. I'll add it to the list.

The pears were really good, as well. Those were a simple, easy dish that surprised me in the depth of flavor for how simple it was. All I had to do was peel the pears and slice them in half. Once I removed the seeds, I place the pears, cut side down, in a pan sprayed with pan spray, and sprinkled them with sugar. Then you bake them at 450 degrees in the oven for about a half hour. Once they are soft, you add 3/4 cup heavy cream and 2 Tb espresso. Continue baking this for another 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool a little, then top with 1/4 cup heavy cream whipped with 1 tsp powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Chef was extremely frustrated today with the amount of dishes people were leaving in the pot sink. Things always seem to be extremely hectic in this class, for some reason. We never seem to have enough time and this makes me really anxious. I understand that kitchens are fast paced, but the cooking part isn't where I get anxious. The end of class is when we are supposed to be doing all our "bookwork" stuff and it all just seems really rushed and I don't feel like I get everything as completed as I would like. We just got light boxes in the labs to use to take pictures of our food in. I didn't even get a chance to MAYBE take food over there to take pictures because everything was so rushed. Also, she set up a beautiful table with different olive oils, paella, and cheeses to taste, but we were so rushed that we didn't get to really experience them like I would have liked. In the same spirit, two of my new table mates *Natane was still in my group* didn't get some of their dishes done, which reflects on us as a group. Natane and I got all our work done, but I guess I need to be watching my table mates from now on to make sure they are doing what they need to be doing. Rookie mistake, I guess, assuming that people are going to complete a set of tasks given to them.

That was my day, today. I know the first couple of weeks are always rough in labs, especially when it's a new teacher and you aren't really sure how things are supposed to run in their lab. Things will smooth out, though. They always do.


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