I've got a couple riveting photos of knife cuts for you. I can tell you're excited. In the beginning of each Basic Culinary Skills lab, we practice our knife cuts for an hour or so. Here are mine for the past two weeks. Last week, Chef pulled each of us aside to review what's on our plates, what we're doing right and what we need to keep practicing. He told me that mine was above average work and that I needed to work on consistency.
clockwise from the plastic dish: tournee potatoes, supreme orange, brunoise onion, julienne carrot, rondelle carrot
clockwise from the plastic dish: tournee and batonette potato, bias cut carrot, minced garlic, minced parsley, diced red pepper, chiffonade spinach
Last week in BCS lab, we clarified butter and made Hollandaise. I don't have any pictures of that because Hollandaise is just yellow. Tasty, but not too exciting. We were also treated to an Italian Buffet by another class. It was good. There was a rolled eggplant, ham and cheese thingy that was right tasty as well as a braised cut of beef, maybe an oxtail?, that was magnificent. We're well fed, even if it is pounds and pounds of clarified butter.
In Baking Lab last week, we had a timed practical as well as three assignments to bake. The timed practical was 3 pounds of dough that we had to shape into baguettes and knotted rolls in 20 minutes. We could have an extra 5 minutes, but for every minute we went over, we lost one point off our grade. I'm pretty fast and even I was sweating the time limit. The dough was previously made and refrigerated. It wasn't allowed to warm up as much as it should which made it difficult to work with. The part of the dough that makes this bread, rather than a cake or scone, for example, is gluten which is a protein. Like all proteins, it becomes quite firm when chilled. Bread dough can be refrigerated, but it needs to be given ample time to warm up and relax or the dough will just tear. That's what was happening with this dough. I started to roll out a baguette, but it wasn't cooperating with me. I set the dough down and moved on to my rolls. They were only 2 ounce portions and could be warmed by handling. In the end, I finished in 20 and a half minutes. Someone in my class was annoyed when I finished first and actually said out loud , "oh god" with obvious disgust. (I've recently learned it was Frail Voiced Vegan Girl, but I'll get to that later.) I also received the highest score of 99 points, losing one point for going over the 20 minutes.
We had a big test in BCS. I got an A. We had two quizzes in Baking I. I got As on both. Somewhere in there I had my first test in Safety and Sanitation too. I got an A. Next week, I have a big test in Baking I and a big test in Safety and Sanitation. I'm going to be scarce this week because I have to memorize the names, foods linked, symptoms and prevention measures for EVERY foodborne illness. Do you have any idea how many there are? I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. As a former foreign language major, I can memorize stuff like nobody's business. There's just so much to know, it's almost ridiculous.
Alright, Frail Voice Vegan Girl. Yes, PeeWee, I have one too. Sadly, she's in all of my classes. Even Purchasing. While there isn't anyone who doesn't respect her choice to be vegan, the fact that she's so ridiculously misinformed about that choice has made her the laughing stock of class. We were talking about E. coli yesterday in S&S. The instructor was going over how you get it, which is from both ground meat and produce. Frail Voice Vegan Girl speaks up, but in a barely audible voice, "Is that from when the cows are standing around in their own filth and then they start to eat other cows?" Like, what? Personally, I was too shocked to laugh. Others were not. She got this angry look on her face and said, "They eat other cows." For those of you who are perhaps not familiar with cows, let me enlighten you. They don't have the anatomy to eat other cows, or any meat for that matter. They lack the teeth needed to eat meat, they have multiple stomachs to help them digest the fibrous plant material they do eat, and there is documentation to support that feeding meat to cattle will make them die. Like I said, it's not her dietary choices, it her gross misinformation. She got really angry two weeks ago when the instructor told us that tofu and fake meat products were potentially hazardous foods. She raised her hand. "Does that get into tofu from the slaughter houses?" If anyone can tell me who produces tofu in a slaughter house, I'd be grateful. She kept going on in that class about slaughter houses. Ah, good times. Good times. Oh, I forgot to add that I knew it was her that was audibly annoyed when I finished the baking practical first, because yesterday in BCS she was audibly annoyed when I answered yes when Chef asked if he spelled a French word correctly. She's my new BFF.