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!