Monday, October 30, 2006
Pantry Practical today! Whoot! You can tell it was exciting, can't you?
This practical is a wee bit different than the ones we've had in the last couple of classes. For starters, we actually got to use the recipe worksheets we had typed up...yes, actual recipes and the procedures. What's up with that? Could it be...an actual break?
Next, the exercise itself is over 2 class days, and half of us are doing one part of the practical, then we switch to the other half.
Today's half assignment was make 1 pint of mayonnaise, 1 pint of red wine vinaigrette, 4 poached eggs, and a rolled/French-style omelet. Let's just say that I rue the day that I ever thought making mayonnaise was cool. Rue, I tell you, rue it. I think I have an actual blister on my right index finger from gripping the stupid whisk. Who knew that cooking was such a dangerous sport? Oh, wait...there are the knives, aren't there? Hmmm....
The kicker in all this, and you knew there was one, is that we only got 18 eggs total to last us the 2 days. On Wednesday, I have to make 2 omelets and 12 pancakes--6 regular size and 6 silver dollar size. So, not a whole lot of wiggle room.
The egg count at the end of the day today was 9 left for Wednesday. I started with 15 regular eggs and 3 pasteurized eggs (for the mayo). I only used 2 of the pasteurized ones, so I have a spare if needed. My poached eggs turned out 75% okay...there was one egg that just fell apart as soon as I put it in the poaching liquid. Chef said it might have something to do with the age of the eggs, because the older the egg is, the less it wants to set up properly. It goes all rebellious on you...kind of James Deanish with a jacket and a cigarette dangling from its lip...if eggs had lips, that is. And, being the paranoid ninny I am, I opted to go with 3 good poached eggs and one crap one rather than use another egg in a poaching attempt, because...what if....what if I need that egg on Wednesday? And the world could end tomorrow, Chicken Little.
Wonder of wonders, the mayo actually became mayo. It still wasn't as good as Mother Hen's was last week, but it wasn't too bad. Chef said it had a good consistency. The vinaigrette wasn't too bad, either...could have used more salt, which seems to be the story of my life.
Enough whining about that crap, let's get to the really important part: the French-style omelet...which was freakin' perfect! No color (i.e., no browning of the eggs), it was properly rolled so you could see 3 layers when you cut into it, and it tasted pretty yummy, too. Take that, Waffle House!
The Chiclet had some real problems with her poached eggs, and I think she may be short an egg or two for Wednesday. I can give her my spare, I think, if she needs it. It's weird during practicals that we aren't supposed to really work with each other, because she and I are so used to working as a team. I must admit that we both scaled some ingredients for the other just from force of habit. Either Chef didn't notice or he realized it was unintentional, because he didn't say anything to us. It wasn't a great plenty of anything, so I don't think it could really be called cheating. Besides, if we've not learned how to measure ingredients properly, then there are many more things wrong than measuring someone's dry mustard for her.
Wednesday's class is going to be great fun...the pancakes will be the death of me in that practical, I know. For some reason, I couldn't make the damn things turn out right when we made them before. It's just pancakes--not rocket science, and I know something about rocket science, and that stuff is hard!
So, guess who's coming to dinner tomorrow night? That would be this lovely lady--Mrs. Butterworth should be stopping by for a visit. Which brings us to the whole syrup controversy that seems to swirl around on (or off) my plate. Personally, I am not that much of a syrup fan. To me, pancakes are a delivery mechanism for as much melted butter as can be soaked into their little browned pores. Syrup, schmyrup...who needs it, if you have enough butter? Every once in a blue moon, I like to put honey on them after I've drowned them in butter...and it must be orange blossom or some other type of flowery honey. I despise, with a capital D, clover honey. Ulee's Gold, it is not. And, The Chiclet? She likes to put sugar on her pancakes, white granulated sugar.
Confession time: I decided to drop the Banquet class. I know, I know, I'm only putting off the inevitable, but it really wasn't making me a happy culinarian. The class dynamic was just weird and had the tendency to get ugly in that Mean Girls kind of way, and hell, I'm an adult now. I don't have to eat all my peas if I don't want to, and I don't have to hang out in situations that make me uncomfortable either. Plus, it was cutting into my work time--going to school 4 days a week from 12:00 - 4:30 puts the big kibosh on any kind of work schedule. Next quarter, I think I can line up my classes a little better and catch up a bit.
Eggs over and out!