Week 9

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

American Regional- Pacific Northwest

I was really excited to prepare mussels this week. As I told Chef Ridsdale, I somehow had managed, again, to not prepare mussels in the entire 5.5 quarters I've been at AI. He looked at me and says, "HOW?!?" I respond with, "I just never did." I've been pushing myself this quarter to really work on things I'm not totally comfortable with. I mean, school is the place to mess up, right? I'd rather do it there than at work.

Speaking of work, the station behind me to my left prepares a mussels dish that looks SO fabulous. That is the REAL reason I wanted to make the mussels this week- because they look so amazing coming off the line at work. The mussels we prepared were in a Thai Coconut broth. Oh my goodness. This sauce was AMA-AAAAAA-AAAAAA-ZING! I made some Crostinis to go with it by slicing some french baguettes really thin and spreading them with garlic butter and sprinkling them with fresh parmasean and toasting them. I didn't care much for the mussels themselves, but the broth with those crostinis were divine.

Friday I prepared a Roasted Pear Salad. Not too much to say here. Basically pears were peeled and roasted (I roasted mine with a little brandy and a little water) and then two of them were pureed with a little oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, then chilled to make the dressing for the lettuce. The top was sprinkled with blue cheese and toasted hazelnuts. The flavor was decent, but nothing spectacular. In my opinion it was a "I wouldn't send it back, but I wouldn't text a friend about it either" kind of dish.

Chef asked me to make the dessert this week. The original recipe for this Strawberry Brulee just has you chopping up strawberries and tossing them with a little sugar and lemon juice and then topping it with whipped cream before sprinkling it with sugar and attempting to brulee, or caramelize, the sugar. The problem with this is that heat and whipped cream do NOT mix and it usually ends up, apparently, being a soupy mess.

Chef asked me to prepare a meringue, instead, to top the berries with. I thought this was a perfect time to try out a really cool presentation idea I saw recently. This presentation was a cupcake topped with a hollowed out strawberry which was filled with a liquor and LIT ON FIRE. Dessert. Fire. Um, yes please!!! It was really hard to get a photo of the fire because the flame was blue and didn't show up very well, but I was able to get an alright photo where you could see it a little. The photography department was working on food photos this week so I took the food down there and they weren't able to get photos with the flame either. They did get some pretty good ones, though. I haven't been able to get those photos yet, though. I'll get them back next week.


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