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JWU RI week 7

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I know I said I would update now because I would know my grade for dining room, but sadly I do not. The instructor I had wasn't there yesterday and I didn't want to bother the sub about it, so it will have to wait until later today.
I am having a pretty good time in Continental Cuisine. On our first day, we were not making masses of food for the dining room like we usually do, but we had to put together a meal for ourselves. This usually involves using up things that are about to go bad or that there are small amounts of. I was at a table of four whose job it was to make a salad. The chef threw ingredients at us, including spinach, a couple red and green apples, a bottle of apple cider, a big ol' hunk of domestic bleu cheese, some tomatoes, and romaine lettuce. I asked chef if we had to use all the ingredients and he said no. My immediate idea was just to make a simple spinach salad tossed with bits of apple and bleu cheese and make some kind of dressing out of the cider. A creative person in my group wanted to make a blue cheese and apple patty, bread it, and fry it. To tell the truth, we all thought it sounded odd, but we let him do it. When we tried it we all loved it! (Except for one girl who says she is allergic to the mold in the cheese.) So he ended up making a bunch of those and we set to work preparing the spinach. We also put the cider on the stove to reduce, still unsure of what our finished dressing would be.
After the reduction cooled and was about the consistency of honey, I tasted it. Amazing! It was like tart honey. We decided it was good that way, and we tossed it into the salad.
Amongst the other dishes were roast turkey, beef stew, a vegetarian casserole with eggplant and cheese, mashed potatoes and a couple other things. Everything was delicious.
Yesterday we set to work making our first menu for Continental. I was in charge of the chicken and leek soup. I didn't salt it heavily because I know some people like it really fresh tasting and other people like that canned, oversalted flavor, and I figured they could add their own salt if they like it that way. We get our stock from the stocks and sauces classes, so that was out of the way. I sliced some leeks on a 1/4 inch bias, and prepared some parsley for the topping. I had saved deboning and skinning the chicken for last because I was not looking forward to it, but I realize now I should have done it first. I had also been thinking about sanitation and how you should usually do veggies before meat, but this contradicted the theory that you should do the most time consuming things first. However, I think deboning and skinning meat will become less time consuming when I learn how ;)
Anyway, I made a pretty messy job out of the chicken and probably wasted a lot of meat, but I think I did okay. I especially had a hard time separating the meat from the bone and tendons on the leg.
I cooked the barley separately ahead of time at the advice of my chef. I heated the stock to a boil and added the chicken and leeks. I brought it back to a simmer and let it cook a while, and then a few minutes before it was done, I added the barley. I had purposely undercooked the barley ahead of time so it wouldnt get overcooked when I added it to the soup.
After class, chef told me the soup was good. We also had creamy mussel soup, some roasted veggies, roast chicken, veal and lobster rouladen, and roast beef.
As you may be able to tell, the main focus of this class will be roasting and braising. Today I am making the salmon. The recipe calls for a notoriously nasty "crust" which is basically a dough that is rolled out and cut to fit on top of the salmon which is then baked. The dough never really gets crunchy or anything and it is just weird. Everyone always changes this recipe. I have an idea for a simple bread crumb crust and I will run it by chef and my partner.
I will update later with my grade for dining room!
post #2 of 10
Kate it looks like you're having a blast at JWU!! I know you did well on your exam, smart people usually do. :) Tell me, how are your classes structured. Are they one subject for "x" amount of weeks or do you tackle several subjects in a more traditional semester format? Keep those reports coming, I love hearing about students' experience in school. I don't have the journalistic nature to post weekly progress reports. You go, girl!!!:D
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
post #3 of 10
How dissappointing to look forward to your grade and not get it. You sound like you are really trying to do your best, so I am sure it will be fiine. All that you are doing sounds like so much fun. I am envious, five more weeks before I start.

How nice to havae creative people in your group. It takes courage to do somethine different, I am sure, but that is how you learn. What did chef think of the cheese and apple patti

Keep up the posting. I really enooy them.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Chef liked the patties ;)
The way cooking labs work is like this--we have one class a day for 6 hours a day, for 9 days. Like right now I have Continental Cuisine only, from 1:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Some people have morning cooking labs which run from 7 until 1, I believe. If you have academics I believe it is like a regular schedule where you have a few classes Mon-Wed-Fri and a few Tues-Thurs, but don't quote me on that. You have academics for one trimester a year and cooking labs two trimesters a year.
I still don't know my dining room grade, but she says she will have it tomorrow. I really hope she does, because thinking about it does preoccupy me just a little bit.
Today the salmon came out well. Too bad my partner came up with the same breadcrumb idea I had last night! I did not get to try the finished product because I was eating in the dining room instead of our food in the kitchen. The food in the dining hall had good flavor but I do not think it was prepared well. The trout still had bones in it, half of the cheese grits were hiding under the fish and there was some kind of weird vegetable on the side that I could not pinpoint. Oh well.
Tomorrow I am chef of the day, which did not go over well when I had American Regional, but I hope it goes better this time.
post #5 of 10
Sounds like you're having a blast Kate. You will definitely do well in school. I have a question for you which you might want to take to an instructor. How do you properly salt and pepper? This goes for everything, soups, meats, dressings, etc.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
That's a good question. Everyone tastes things a little differently. You would think there would be a general rule of thumb for seasoning, but every recipe I come across says "to taste". I will ask around!
I had a dream last night that I got my paper grade and my exam grade, but not my final grade, and I asked the instructor about it and she said I had to look it up in...Reader's Digest? I think that bad food really got to me last night. :(
post #7 of 10
Hi Kate. Funny coincidence. I wanted to take something with me into the"readiing room" this morning. Paper was not here so I just grabbed something. Have been cleaning out closets .The first thing I laid my hands on was a Readers Digest, November 1991!
While reading their "Toward More Picturesque Speece " I read this: Q. What is the proper name for shish kebob? A Shish ke-Robert. Sort of lame humor

A few minutes later I turned on my computer. There was s post from you saying you had had a dream about Readers Digest. Now, I rarely buy the Readers Digest, but love it every time I do because there are always uplifting articles in it. (Do you hear the music from "Twilight Zone"

Any way I am not a fortune teller or physcic, believe in making your own luck, but I think that coincidence is a sign that you are going to do real good in your test? If anything, maybe I perked up your spirits!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
That is an odd coincidence. I think it's pretty cool when that happens. Makes me feel like I'm in the right place.
Well I hope none of you are as anxious about my dining room grade as I am, because I still don't have it.
Class went well today except for when chef left at 5 and the teaching assistant (TA) came in. TA's tend to try to tell you to do things totally different from how chef told you. It really kind of pissed me off. He told me I had to go to the dining room all by myself and do the whole premeal (tell the servers what each dish is like, what is in it, if it's vegetarian or not, how it is cooked, and if it is at all different from how it's prepared in the recipe book or described on the menu). Usually one person from each dish goes and tells them how their thing was prepared. So I was all set to go and then the TA tells me he's going to send a person from each dish. Grrrr :mad:
But I did a lot better with taking the orders from the servers and preparing their trays. It's really not hard once you have taken dining room and you know what the servers are expecting you to do.
I have a hard time with the artistic aspect also. Chef of the day is in charge of pairing up an entree, starch and veggie. I try to make a variety of shapes, colors and textures on each plate, but then something will turn out different-looking from how I expected and it isn't so stunning. It's also difficult for me to choose garnishes. I hope we have a class in plate presentation, or at least get exposed to it a lot more.
Tonight I just had a bowl of tomato bread soup for dinner and I hope to not get sick like I did yesterday.
Tomorrow a partner and I are making osso bucco. Yum!
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
A B! I got a B in dining room services. I got an 80 in my homework assignment (each class gets assigned a writing project due usually day 6 or 7), an 82 on the scantron final, 96.5 on quiz average, and only a 73 on the practical, which is where you get tested on how you actually serve. I guess I did okay overall because while my technique may not have been perfect I always tried to have a good attitude about it and I never did anything hazardous or rude or anything, lol.
Yesterday we made the osso buco. My partner was the same guy who had come up with the apple-bleu cheese cakes the first day of this class. He is generally a pretty off-the-wall guy but he works hard and has a good grasp of the material. He kept me in stitches all day but we concentrated well on the entree. I did not get to try the finished product, but I think it came out well, judging from how it looked when we did show plates.
Monday I am making some kind of sweet and sour cabbage thing. It shouldn't be too hard.
A couple comical moments to share: Thursday when the TA came into class he said "So who is the chef in the way?" I didn't understand him at first but soon realized he meant 'chef of the day'. So I said oh, that's me!
Yesterday someone called the mise en place "mess en place". It is quite fitting!
One funny thing I forgot to mention is when we walked into stocks and sauces on the first day, one guy took a look at the stovetop and went "Oh! Look how sexy those burners are!"
I have a paper due Tuesday on "a great dining experience". We have to write about a good experience we had with food, the company we kept, where it was, what we ate, etc. We have to write out the menu of what we ate, and include a recipe of one of the things we ate, fit to a yield of 6 servings. To be honest, I don't usually start my papers until 3 or 4 days before they are due. That's not to say I don't think about them a lot and jot down ideas, but I don't start the actual word processing until later. I just work better when I can get it all out at once.
Well I have to go!
post #10 of 10
Hi Kate. Super on quiz, which means you know your matirial. My theory of the two kinds of grading is that like in a quiz if 1 and 1 equals 2, it will always equal 2. If you are being graded on something you do ,it can be judged by two different people two different ways. One other thing if you did not think your were A number 1 perfect, and you got a perfect grade, you might doupt the grading process. This is not just advice, I am pep talking myself, for when I start :D

Cute about the sexy burners. I guess we foodies can get carried away. When I was working in an office job, and practicing for competition at the state fair I would be talking about some recipe and I would see them roll their eyes, as if to say" there she goes again". I said, "Look, I don't have a prince charming to dream abut, so I dream about chocolate ganache!

You must have the soul of a newspaper writer.When you write under pressure the words seem to come faster, sharper and more exciting!
Keep up the good work.
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