Wednesday, May 17, 2006
And, They're Off!
And running to their doom! Day 1 of the Practical Final from Hell is over. Only 5 more left to go. Has it really been 8 freakin' weeks since we started this class?
I thought I had gotten lucky today, because my menu was Cream of Broccoli Soup, Roasted Chicken with Pan Gravy, and a White Bean Ragout. I've practiced the chicken several times and made pan gravy 'til it ran out my ears. Ah, that's what I get for thinking.
First, I put my chicken in the oven upside down. Had to turn it over (after Chef pointed it out to me). Then, most of the mirepoix was burned, which I need that for the pan gravy. So, I had to toss some of that out. Next, I added too much tomato paste to the gravy so it had a decidedly red tinge...not good. I tried to thin it out with some chicken stock, but no dice. I think it was the worst pan gravy in history. I also mangled my chicken breast when trying to cut them from the bone...I can do the leg/thigh combo with no problem, but the breast is my downfall. It looked like wild animals had gnawed on it, and none too politely either.
My broccoli soup was fine, but I let it get a little cool while I was trying to get it together to serve it. He said that he liked the texture, but it could use more salt. The beans, which were served with the chicken, were also good, but needed more salt. I was afraid that I would be oversalting things, so I hung back a little with the sodium. Guess I should trust my instincts!
I have no idea what I made for the day, because we all ran late (we were supposed to be finished by 10:30, and it was well after 11:30 before some of us got done). We had to let half the class go to prepare for their turn in the Dining Room class, and a couple of people had to leave for work, so there were only 3 of us who actually finished clean up. The Regional cooking class who comes in after us helped us with some of our pots and pans, and reassured us that they were just as late getting out of their practicals when they were in Principles. That made me feel some better, except I'm really dreading Monday now.
On Monday, it's my turn at the gueridon to cook for masses...and our instructor says we are having a full house. Great...since I've never actually flambeed anything on purpose (flambeed a paper towel on Sunday--that was a bit exciting!), this is going to be highly entertaining. Monday might be the day that the sprinkler system actually goes off.
The guys who are building our outbuilding are here this afternoon--a couple of weeks earlier than we expected them to get around to us. I know, I know...we are 2 people and 3 dogs that all total may add up to 1 good sized dog with a 3-bedroom house and a full basement. You would think we wouldn't have any storage problems, wouldn't you? It's all The Man's fault. He's a such a packrat...saving old twist ties and rubberbands and numbering them and filing them by color. Crates and cases of these twist ties and rubber bands litter our basement. (Okay, I am lying. It's more my fault than anything because I am a packrat, plain and simple. There, honey, aren't you glad I'm admitting it to the world?)
The In-Laws are coming this weekend for a few days, so I'm off to clear a path to a bedroom and bathroom for them. I may be subjecting them to some Puree of Lentil soup and Chicken Fricassee...at the very least, I hope I can be coherent and not continually babble things about food mills, potato ricers, and the infernal pasta machine.