Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not a big fan of the dreaded midterm

Food Prep 1 Lab Midterm came....and went. Though, not fast enough. Well okay, maybe a little too fast. Five minutes to be exact. But let me preface this by saying that about an hour before the midterm I went into panic mode. I started cramming in the 24 different types of lettuce/salad greens (Escarole, Loose-leaf, Bibb, Boston, Frisee, Belgian Endive,Watercress, Arugula, Mache, Mizuna, Treviso....just to name a few)! Identifying the different greens/veggies/fruits ended up being the easiest part of the midterm. I then found out that my three products to produce in two hours would be: Cream of Cheese Soup, Fresh Fruit Salad, and Broccoli with Medium White Sauce. Instantly, I thought I had it made. Piece of cake....or so I thought. I started off making the Cream of Cheese Soup after grabbing every single pot, utensil, bowl, knife, measuring cup, etc. that I would need for these three items. So I start the soup, it took over an hour! Thus taking away from the time I needed for my other two products. I cut my broccoli and let it sit in a cold salt bath while I finished my soup. I managed to finish the soup with only one "speedbump." In grating cheese to put into the soup at the end, I screwed up the amount of cheese needed. Thankfully, the guy across from me said something before it was too late. Risky move on his part (there was to be no talking today), but very VERY much appreciated. So I finished the soup and let it sit in a double boiler as I made my white sauce. While my sauce did its thing I started getting the broccoli ready to go and my fruit plate as well. At this point I think I had half an hour left. Let's just say I was high-tailing it along folks. So in the course of half an hour I managed to: burn my tongue, trip over everything, scald my hands, cut my finger, and run around frantically looking for a "china cup." Oh, and not to mention being five minutes late on presenting it to Chef Easter. I'm not sure how many points are going to be deducted for that but I wasn't too happy. I'm glad I finished but I could have easily spared five minutes of washing dishes earlier in the 2 hr-rush, and made it on time. If only- right? I was the last one to turn it in and had no clue how any of it tasted. Luckily, it all tasted really good and I got everything done. I just need to work on my time-management skills.
So since I was five minutes late I definitely did not have time to take a picture, let alone have my phone on me...so I decided to improvise. Hope you like it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Potage. Sopa. Suppe.

I apologize for my ten day hiatus. Unfortunately, my phone decided to be retarded and delete my picture of broccoli with medium white sauce that I prepared for lab on Tuesday. It was delicious though, take my word for it.
I do have a picture of Thursday's lab results though. It was soup day. I got to make my very first roux and everything. My soup was "Chicken Velvet Soup" and I did not feel prepared at all going into this class. We had a substitute teacher who was ridiculously anal. We weren't allowed to leave any excess pots/utensils on the table, she deducted points for using parsley, and she kept making me mess up. Seriously, Chef Easter kind of just lets us do our own thing- and this lady was on all of our backs. My first mistake of the day was measuring the chicken base in terms of tablespoons instead of teaspoons. Then later on I measured 1/4 cup of pimentos instead of 1 teaspoon. Haha, great lab to screw up on! My final product came out tasting fine. A little floury tasting....but that could have had something to do with the other 10 soups I was trying at the same time. Oh and they were all cold by the time she let us eat. But hey, at least we got out early. My midterm is tomorrow, I'm starting to go into panic-mode. I have all my papers done, I'm just worried about properly timing everything. We have 2 hours to complete 3 randomly assigned products that we won't know what they are until we get there.

OH! And Thursday night I had gourmet dinner service. It was some Asian cuisine thing and it all smelled really delicious despite being mostly seafood. There was this soup that smelled amazingly of cinnamon, pistachio bread, and this great-looking salad. It was a nice small group of about 50 - so the night went really fast (9:15 or so). Not early enough to jet to the Tyrone Wells concert unforunately :-(

Friday, February 13, 2009

Potatoes & Pudding

Before I dive into my next three endless days of work, I just wanted to update you on my last Food Prep Lab. The first item I made was a twice baked potato. It was really easy to make and tasted soo delicious. I'm definitely saving that recipe.
Then I also had to make cocoa pudding. Once I had in on the stove it didn't seem to thicken up but finally Chef Easter came over and told me I could take it off. After it set up in the cooler and we got around to evaluation time, I realized that it was chewy. I mean, not horrible, but not like your everyday pudding.
BUT I did find out I'm get 100% in the class so far on all the stuff I've done to this point. It's exciting, but the hardest parts are yet to come (i.e. meats).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Things are looking up

The pictures here on the right are of the two dishes I did today for lab. The LEFT is an apple-pineapple slaw and the RIGHT is a cardinal pear salad with cherry gelatin that wouldn't cooperate at all.

This morning did not start out well. I got to Sanitation and Safety lecture 1 minute late and missed a pop quiz that was worth 100 points. Then I had 2 hours of down time so I went to the computer lab and checked facebook + did my mise en place sheets for class. Then went to Food Prep lab were we did the above items, chowed down, and cleaned up. Then I had another 2 hours to kill before my next class started (hence the study-pic) so a friend and I went to the library and did some of our homework (amongst Culvers vs. Bbops arguments). Then I went to Nutrition, my final class of the day and it was hard to stay awake.

The other picture posted is of some cupcakes I made at work the other day. It took some time to perfect, but I finally got it down and I'm so proud of them :-)

Soooo, that was my day. But things around here are looking up. At least for the time being. We've been having 60 degree weather, which has caused a few to whip out the shorts. The sun has been out. I'm making friends. And I'm starting to get on top of my homework (finally). We'll see how long this lasts.....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Main Dish Salad Presentation

What you are looking at here is my very first food preparation lab presentation. We selected one main dish salad on Tuesday and then came in today to actually produce and present our product to Chef Easter. I picked chicken salad because....well, I LOVE it! It was quite a different recipe than what I am used to (it contained pimentos and sliced almonds), but in the end it tasted equally as good. I also had to make mayonnaise with two other students and didn't quite turn set up right, but oh well.
Producing was the easy part, once I got my hands on the cantaloupe and lettuce I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do or what would look nice with the large quantity of chicken salad I had. So I did what came to my mind at that moment. The first thing to come to me was the cantaloupe fan. I spent a while looking up online last night the many different ways of cutting a cantaloupe and then when I got down to it- I didn't pick any of them. I was also fretting over which kind of lettuce to use when he only ended up providing us with one choice anyway. Then once I had that all together I realized it looked a little bland so I had five minutes to figure out some little garnish. Ended up doing a stiff celery flower. I didn't have time to soak it in water so I cut the slivers into different heights, stuck it in the middle of my chicken salad and fanned it out a little to add the height aspect.
I'm very proud of my first lab and look forward to fruit salads next Tuesday....