Friday, September 30, 2011

5th week - Chicken

Top left clock wise: Chicken tenders with chipotle dipping sauce and beer battered onion rings, Roasted Chicken with Gravy, Chicken sauté with garlic mashed potatoes, Wing with SE Asian Style peanut Sauce, and in the center Chicken Fricasse with Broccoli.

Today we butchered chicken. The way the teacher showed us was different from what I learned in high school, and it was a whole lot better this way. The first step is to cut the back bone out. Then you pop the keel bone out of the chest. From there you can take the legs and wings off the body, and debone the breast. Lunch was full of chicken.

Team1: Breast of Chicken Saute with Red pepper coulis, Garlic Mashed PotatoesThe chicken was yummy. I would make it again. The garlic mashed potatoes maybe a tad more flavor. We did not make the red pepper coulis. We made the sauce that was with the chicken recipe. It did contain roasted red pepper though.

Team 2: Chicken tenders with chipotle dipping sauce, Beer Battered Onion Rings
The tenders were my absolute favorite. I did not care for the chipotle sauce. I loved the onion rings.

Team 3: Chicken Fricasse with Sauteed Broccoli Rabe, Curly Endive, Apple & Gorgonzola Salad
This was good as well.

Team 4: Roast Chicken with Chestnut Dressing & Giblet Gravy
The breast meat was maybe a tad dry.

Team 5 : Deep Fried Chicken Wings with SE Asian Style Peanut Sauce, Asian Slaw. The wings were okay. I like my wings wet. The Asian Peanut Sauce was complex in flavor, but heavy in my opinion.

Sorry, for the messy plate. We go around a table as a class and hold our late and get food.It's a bit crowded.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A picture of me working at Sucre

I was looking at Sucrés Facebook page and ran across a photo of me. What a surprise! I probably could have held the bag better, but if I'm not mistaken I am making the Kalamansi Chocolates. You can see that some of the cavities are not coated with chocolate. That is because they had cracked. Oops! Somewhere the temperature went wrong. Most likely they got left in the freezer a tad too long. Chocolate, if you don't know, is very temperamental. Any slight change or not paying attention could mess it up. I looked so peaceful.

Friday, September 23, 2011

4th week - Mother Sauces

From top left clockwise: Mesclun Salad with Rasp. Vinaigrette, Roman Flat Bread, Macaroni and Cheese, Broccoli Almondine with Maltaise sauce, Tomato Sauce pasta, Pan fried chicken with carrots and pan gravy.

There are 5 Mother Sauces : Hollandaise, Tomato, Brown, Bechemal, and Veloute. They were classified this way under Auguste Escoffier after simplifying Careme's work. Each of these sauces makes many small or intermediary depending on the types of added ingredients desired.

Each team in our class was assigned a mother sauce to make.

Team 1 : Hollandaise, Broccoli Almondine (roasted almonds, Maltaise)
Maltaise is a small sauce of Hollandaise You add Orange zest and juice to the finished product. I believe it needed a bit stronger orange flavor. Hollandaise is still not one of my favorite.

Team2 : Tomato, Meat balls (pasta)
The group was missing a person today so they did not get to making the meat balls for the pasta. I would not compare this sauce to a store bought sauce. I have never tried making one from scratch so I have no bases to judge off of.

Team 3: Brown Sauce, Mesclun Salad with Rasp.Vinaigrette, Roman Flat Bread
This was the only sauce we did not get to taste today, because of the time it takes to reduce it down. We will try it next week. The Romain Flat Bread which was supposed to be thick came out rather flat, like a cracker. Just did not have time to let the dough rise properly.

Team 4 : Bechemal, Macaroni & Cheese
The mac and cheese was good. I would have loved some more Cheddar in it. I'm not sure I love bechemal sauce. I find it heavy.

Team 5 : Chicken Veloute : Pan fried Chicken with Pan Gravy
This came out good.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

3rd Week of School

During second week of school, I only had two Hospitality Classes and Fundamentals of Cooking, since Labor Day was a Holiday.

No holidays this week, so I had all my classes. On Monday, in Principles of Cooking, we started in the kitchen for the first time. Even thought is was the first day, it still seem more chaotic than it should have been. We started the class by going over a few things. We did a measures conversion test (not graded) on tablespoons, teaspoons, cups, pints, quarts, and gallons. I missed two due to simple math errors. Oops! Need to slow down a little and think. Then we did the morning line up, where everybody lines up and the Chef checks the uniforms. Then we went into the kitchen and got ready for class. Getting ready meant washing our hands, getting a sanitation bucket and wiping down the tables, and then get a cutting board.

Then the teacher demonstrates a few things and then we started cutting vegetables. Some different cuts, ex. Julian, small dice, medium dice, and large dice. The instructor did not truly pay attention to the correctness of the cuts. All of our cuts were going to be used for the stocks. The funny thing was, we did not get to make stock. I know that our class is not long, but it made me disappointed. What is the point of attending culinary classes, if you don't do any hands on. I want to learn, which is why I went back to school. In my opinion there is only one way to learn cooking and that is hands on. There is only so much a person can get out of a book.

The next thing we started was making our lunch that we the students were all going to eat. It seems like making our own lunch is more of a concern than teaching us how to cook. My group was responsible for making the Caesar salad. The other groups made other dishes. The only part that didn't turn out correct was the foccasia bread, because that group didn't have the right amount of time to let it rise. It turned into a flat bread. The teacher almost did just about everything for each team. The instructor put together my teams salad dressing, team 3's pasta, and team 4's soup. After all the dishes were finished we sat down and ate it, and then it was time to clean up the kitchen. The soup was pretty good, the pasta and cookies were good too.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

First full week of school

Oh boy! Lots of work got handed to me this week. It is like a never ending list. Talk about me being overwhelmed. You would think I was studying to be a doctor. But it is all good and it is important to my education. I just need to buckle down and get my self organized. The tough thing about school these days is that just about every class has a different source (program) on the computer where you get assignments, turn in homework, download articles to read, and take quizzes on. I like the old paper method. That way I don't have to get on the computer 50,000 times a week to check and make sure I didn't miss anything. Technology today is driving me insane. Yes, it has its good points, but please give me a break by just giving me one location/platform on the web to find all my school information.

I start in the kitchen on Monday, September 12. I can't wait! The only thing that bothers me is that we work in teams. Right now I am only in the kitchen one time a week for roughly 4 1/2 hours. So the first day in the kitchen we are making stocks. Well, what it boils down to is that each team is assigned one stock to make, and then next week we are assigned one mother sauce. So, for example, I will have made chicken stock and Hollandaise sauce in school and never make the other ones. Now, I do realize the school budget and class time are both small, and what we pay for the class is a lot smaller than the bigger schools. But ....., this seems a little weak to me. So hopefully somewhere I will gain the knowledge from observing what the other teams are doing or I'll be able to fit it in at home. But in my opinion it is not the same learning by yourself.

The one thing we also do in this class is make lunch for the culinary students to eat. The same principle applies to making lunch as the things we make in class. Not all students get a chance to make all the items (in fact, a very small percentage will we even get hands on with). I believe the first week my team gets to make a caesar salad. It should be really interesting to see how this all works out. I'm hoping for the best.

We also got to take a tour of the kitchen and boy is it the cleanest kitchen you have seen. For as many years as this kitchen has been used at Gwinnett Tech, the kitchen looks bran spanking new. They are very strict on keeping it clean. As the Chef said, for the most part, they always get 100's on their heath inspections.