Thursday, December 07, 2006
One More Day...
Today was probably the most low-key day we've had in the last 3 quarters. We had no projects of our own, no practicals, just one little test on cheese and some prep work for Chef Pantry and Chef Banquet.
I diced up 2 22-quart containers full of peeled potatoes; they were destined for some sort of mashed potato dish. We trimmed green beans, bagged up bulk pasta, and made some hors-d'oeuvres (last time!!) for a wine seminar/tasting. See, low key.
Chef gave us back our egg projects, and he liked my little 50 ways song. I know he thinks I'm weird, but whatever!
We actually got out of class early today (I know, I was shocked, too), so I had time to go shopping for this volunteer gig that I'm catering on Friday. I'm not actually doing a lot in the way of making things; it's more of a "Costco catering" gig. I'm kind of torn about that, because I have been in culinary school for the last 1o+ months, so I should be able to do something exciting along the catering lines, but I just don't have the time or the energy. I'm just drained lately, and it's hard to muster up the enthusiasm and energy to construct tiny little yummy things, especially since I have no time. While I'm not doing it for money--that "volunteer" word is the big clue--I'm not going to do total crap, either...I have a plan.
It's all in the presentation, baby! And, there's nothing wrong with using quality pre-made products ("quality" being the operative word here), according to Chef Pantry, to supplement your offerings. It goes back to labor costs, both time and money, and ingredients. Yeah, I could make the black olive tapenade that you get at Costco, but it would probably cost me way more in ingredients, not to mention the time it would take to round up olives, etc. and process them, than the $6.95 for the large tub. And, have you tasted that olive tapenade stuff you can get at Costco? It's really good...just ask my ankles when I overindulge in it and make them swell. (It really is hell getting old.)
I'm going to blanch some young whole green beans for the vegetable tray to make it a little different, and make a nice dip for it (bah to the bland and boring ranch dressing!) and other dips for fruit, etc., so it's not like everything will be out of a plastic bag or container. (Do you like this defensive pose I am striking??)
My basic menu for the evening is a veggie tray with dip, assorted cheese platter with crackers and grapes, mini quiches (spinach and Lorraine), spinach dip with pita chips, strawberries and pineapple with Coco-Lopez dip, olive tapenade with crackers, and assorted sweets...the rest of my volunteer group are responsible for bringing some sort of bite-size dessert offering.
I think I have all the basic cocktail requirements covered: sweet, salty, vegetarian...
From the "Now They've Really Taken the Safety Off" Department, I bring you this:
Yes, boys and girls, it really is Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling!
It stopped me dead in my tracks at the Publix last night as I was browsing the cream cheese selection. I had visions of rescue personnel breaking down doors to find people stuck on their couches, empty tubs of cheesecake filling littering the floor, with sobbing family members on the lawn, staging an intervention, and the prying of the spoon from my fat little fingers...which probably wouldn't be so little any more. This might replace tubes of frozen cookie dough as the new pink or whatever you call cookie dough--comfort food? Comfort gooey substance is more like it.
The ad copy reads: "One Step to Dessert Heaven" (wonder if that's via cardiac arrest?). The directions tell you spread it into a 9-inch graham cracker crust, slice, and serve. It also exhorts you to "personalize" your cheesecake by "stirring in mix-ins like Baker's chocolate, Oreo cookie crumbles, and fresh fruit" (look--healthy stuff!) directly into the tub before spreading in the crust. (Ha! who needs a crust? We don't need no stinkin' crust!)
Unfortunately for you, gentle readers, I resisted the siren's call and walked away from it. I don't know if it's the best thing since sex or not, but I just couldn't bring myself to buy it. (Remember the vision of rescue personnel?) But, the lure is still there...it's probably just a matter of time.
Time...yeah, I need time, lots of time...time to really savor a tub of cheesecake filling.
(Yes, I know this is a famous and beautiful painting by John William Waterhouse, and I probably shouldn't have co-opted such a lovely piece of art, but it's all about illustrating the concept! And cheesecake!)