Friday, July 27, 2007

P&P Dinner

It is really very hard for me to put this all into words. I have not yet even really had it sink in that I am, indeed, done with school and that I will not be going back on Monday when the rest of the students will be.
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It is a little sad. I will miss it dearly. However, I will take with me the memories and the skills that I have learned and I will continue to build upon them in another school-the school of life.
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I arrived at the school on Thursday at 3pm to prepare for our 7pm dinner. As the Sous Chef, I was expected to set up the dining room with our Chef and to make sure everything was in order when we started preparing for our guests to arrive.
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When I walked into the building, my Chef walked up to me and told me to sit down. He said that he had some bad news and that I would be very upset about it. My mind raced-we'd heard storied about the semester when 3 students were killed right before graduation (in different accidents!) and I could only think about who it was that was hurting. Luckily, it was not nearly as bad.
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During the brainstorming stage, I came up with an idea for our intermezzo course. I suggested that we serve them on top of an ice bowl and that we light it from below with a LCD light. So, for a few weeks we each collected 32 oz Gatorade bottles. We filled them with water, froze them an unmolded them and finally, melted them down on a hot iron (made for ice) so they were level.
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During the night on Wednesday, the freezer broke and all of our ice sculptures melted. Chef thought I would be upset, but in my opinion, there really wasn't anything we could do about it, so I told him it was fine. Below, you will see the pretty way we adapted, and nobody (except Greg who was a trooper and drank LOTS of Gatorade for me) knew the difference.
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I only had to yell at Tim once-I asked him to prepare the centerpieces, which were breadsticks. I asked that they be on the tables by 6pm, as I knew people would arrive early. I had to ask him again 20 minutes later to start heating them up, and by 6pm I had to say in front of everyone, "I'm not sure how I can convey this to you more precisely Tim, but I need those centerpieces on the table. Get it done!"
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Of course, Know-It-All loved that I yelled at him-but it got the job done, and Tim did not care. He actually did a pretty good job last night and helped me out quite a bit. And thankfully, he got them done, because just as I suspected, people arrived early to watch up in the windows.
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Here are pictures of us working fast and hard to get everything done before the 7pm deadline:
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Me, unmolding and plating my ginger chocolate mouse cakes...
My team sauteing, piping, blending, hustling (me in the corner right) That's my mom's head peeking in the window.
Me jumping in to help Bag Pipe Willy (with his back to you) puree mangoes for his sauce. He was very behind and almost made us extremely late. Luckily myself and Know-It-All had his back and fixed it. At the end of the night, KIA and I talked about how obvious it is that Bag Pipe did not do his internship.
A little conference between myself and my favorite Chef...Hard work=Sweaty MagsHi! Realizing I was being watched...
The dining roomThis is Freddy. He was one of the guys who was originally in my class but dropped out and restarted. He's a nice guy, but not really good in the kitchen. It must have killed him to have to be one of the students to serve our P&P knowing that he should have been there with us...here he is taking soup away from my sister. And here is the soup...Lobster and Corn Chowder.
Salad, with Mango, Avocado and Grapefruit in a Ginger Grapefruit Dressing.

Intermezzo: Key Lime Sorbet

Eggplant Gratin-I will definitely be making this for everyone-because it kicks ass and is one of the best things I have ever eaten.

Spicy Hanger Steak with Cilantro Creamed Corn and Roasted Garlic Truffle Mashed...this is my dish. Oh, it has blue cheese butter on top too. Mmmm...this plate was presented in the wrong way though. The corn is supposed to be on the right.

Dessert: Each person got 3...Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ginger Mouse and Raspberries, Gingerbread Cake with Chantilly Creme and Fennel Sugared Blueberries, Lava Cake with Creme Anglais and Coffee Sauce.Yummy! This is our Chef who took us to the competition, and also who mentored us for this dinner...during his speech about how special we were, he started crying and had to leave. It was very touching.

I like this picture for many reasons. One person knows why.
Listening to our chef's praise...
Chefs...

After dinner we cleaned up and went out for drinks. 3 of our Chefs came, and they bought us drinks and talked to us about things they were not allowed to talk to us about before. We laughed and joked and talked about our mutual respect for each other. It was a great day, and I am one lucky chef...

Update

I see by my stats that everyone is sort of sitting on the edge of their seats for an update...

Everything went WONDERFULLY.

And I am tired.

I have the day off from job #1 but have to work at the club later-and I am waiting for pictures from my sister. (SEND 'EM SOON!!) So I will update you as soon as I get those.

Thank you for all of your emails and comments wishing me luck....and now, I'm off for a nap.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen



Thirteen Emotions I Feel Today
(My LAST DAY of Culinary School)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On Point

I cleaned 18#'s of hanger steak on Monday. For those of you who don't know it, hanger steak comes to you completely covered in stuff you want to take off. It took me 2 hours.

Also done Monday: Key Lime Sorbet, Raspberry Coulis, Rosemary Butter, Blue Cheese Butter.
My classmates did: 100 extra long bread sticks, 4 loaves of French Bread, Lobster Stock, 20 ears of corn, 50 mini chocolate cakes, and a vanilla sauce. We were there cooking until 11pm.

Tonight I made 54 mini chocolate mouse cakes, made butter bowls, filled votives, fancy folded 50 napkins, cut out 100 mini gingerbread cakes, and made a loaf of bread.
My classmates: cleaned fish, made couscous, peeled 25 potatoes, melted down 51 ice thingies, made pesto, tomato sauce and shredded cheese, salted and rinsed 10 eggplants, created 8 eggplant gratins, and made chowder.

We're right on schedule. We will (mostly) arrive at school tomorrow at 3:00pm. Dinner is at 7:00pm SHARP. We will set up the dining room with a formal place setting-complete with 3 forks, 3 spoons and 2 knives. There will be 2 glasses and a bread plate on the table as well.

Centerpieces will be arranged-ours is edible. Butter will be placed, candles will be lit and guests will arrive.

But not before we plate 3 desserts, prep and plate 50 salads, season and grill 27 orders of beef, make garlic mashed potatoes, heat creamed corn, slice and grill off bread, bake 8 gratins, pan sear fish and timbal couscous, dish out sorbet and soup...and lots, lots more...

It is going to be busy, but also, very exciting. I enjoyed this process immensely, and am sad to know that I've seen some of my chef's for the last time. (At least on a regular basis) But, it is time.

And I am so very excited for my friends and family to finally step inside my beloved school-to see where I've aimed my passion and excitement for the last year and a half. I am excited to see them looking in the kitchen windows, watching what we do while we are there-and of course, as any good chef, I am excited to cook them food, from my heart.

I will update you all as soon as I can about the dinner...

Red Handed

Last night we took our last practical and test. We had 3 hours to complete a show quality mirrored platter with: Pate en Croute glazed with Aspic, a flow salad, a sauce and a canape. I made a beet salad that I was very excited about. I even went and bought fresh beets at the store just in case we didn't have them at school!

I got a 98. My chef told me that he could tell when I walked in the building that I was excited for my platter and that I never stopped working the entire 3 hours-which is true.

At the end of the night during our individual grading sessions, he thanked each of us for being the kind of students that restore his faith in teaching! He said that it's students like us that keep him there and that he feels very confident about us going into the field.

He also said that if we are producing the kind of work we are now, that he'd love to see us in 2 years because he knows we'll be blowing people out of the park.

It was very nice. I got a little choked up.

But then we were back to our funny selves when I thought that Know-It-All said that he missed "Anal Porn". To be honest, I can't remember what he really said, but it was wicked funny.

Me: "Um...thanks for sharing."

KIA: "What?"

Me: "Anal Porn? You miss anal porn?! We weren't even talking about that."

Everyone: Laughing...

KIA: "What?!?! I said (Insert what he really said)"

Me: Oh!!! Haa haa haaa.....

KIA: "Yeah...you know...I only have you guys for 2 more days, so I thought I'd let you see the "real" me."

Me: "Oh-I see...you didn't want us to judge you before...so...now you tell us that you're an anal porn czar. Nice..."

See...I know it's weird talk, but I'm really going to miss them.

Wordless Wednesday: New Horizons


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Toosdae ?'s

Hi there everyone! It's Toosdae again and you know what that means!!! Fun question time with Mags! Yay!!!!!!



What? No cheers? C'mon! This is a HUGE week for me....I'm done with school on Thursday and am preparing my final dinner and then Saturday is my BIRTHDAY!!! So...you know where to answer the questions! ;)



1. Are you loyal to a certain brand of condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo) or will any brand do?



2. If you could be 10 years younger than you are right now at the price of taking 10 years off your final life span, would you do it?



3. Quickly, without thinking much about it-what is your gut reaction to the word:

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Kerfuffle


Is it anything close to the real definition?



1. I have brands that I love: Ketchup is Heinz 57-I HATE Hunts. For mustard I love Gouldins and for Mayo it doesn't really matter, however I HATE Miracle Whip and all of the salad dressings that pretend to be mayo. Ick. Toooooo sweet.....



2. You know, this one is tempting to me only because I'd be brought back to 21. And that was right before I made a lot of mistakes in my life-mainly surrounding my ex-husband. I often wonder where I would be and who I would be with if I had followed my gut back then. But overall I'm happy now, so I think I would ultimately decide to stay where I am.



3. To be honest, I first thought of Kermit the Frog, and that has nothing to do with the real definition....

Peas?

Peas Forgive Me!
(If I don't visit a lot this week)
I'm wicked busy preparing for my final dinner at school...I haven't forgot about you!!
(And peas don't forget about me!)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Manic Monday: Wind

Monday's are MoMoLicious!

During a hard time in high school, I talked to a girl friend of mine about how it felt like there were too many hours in the day. (Oh-to know what that feels like NOW!) What I was referring to was that it seemed like I was stuck in that time and that place for so long and that I did not feel as though I belonged there.

I was right. The minute I left that school and went to college, I blossomed and started building a strong foundation of the person I am today.

In response, Liz gave me a book of poetry and inside she wrote something very sweet. She said that she wanted me to enjoy every last second of every last day because I was a wonderful person. And then she sited a poem from the book, which quickly became a favorite.

Life

By Max Ehrmann

I sat with the stars on the hill of life
And looked at the world below.
I ran with the winds where winds begin
And followed them where they blow.

I lay by the sea on the beaten rock
And rode on the farthest wave,
I watched by a child on its night of birth
And followed it to its grave.

And love in the still of the star-flecked night,
When earth was all strewn with gold,
Has lifted my heart like the chords of song
Oft sung in the worlds of old.

And though I have not understood all this,
Made up of a laugh and a wail,
I think that the God of the world knows all,
And someday will tell the tale.


Ah...I just love that. Every stanza, every image...just magical and wonderful to me...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Top Chef: Recipe 3

Sorry for the delay in this week's Top Chef Recipe-I'm a bit frazzled and busy and will be for the rest of the week until Thursday-so please bear with me! In fact, I don't have a recipe knocked out yet, though I made it. I will post it as I can...here are the results. (In pictures)
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White Chocolate & Coconut Napoleon with Fresh Strawberries

White Chocolate Coconut Mouse


Puff Pastry
1st Layer
2nd Layer
All 3!

I can honestly say that the mouse is one of my favorite things I've ever made. It's silky and smooth and the coconut milk gives it a depth that you don't expect. Overall, the dish is good, but not "Knock my socks off" good. If I had more time and wasn't so tired, I would definitely add a fresh strawberry sauce to kick up the flavor and perhaps also add mangos (would go great with the coconut)
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This is a good dessert for people who do not like chocolate (like myself). Putting the layers together when the pastry is still warm makes the mouse melt and glaze the layers, which was Divine...


Recipe to follow...