Early last week we made "practice" canapés, with flavored butter or cream cheese spreads. Although I had a garnish idea I was initially pleased with (two radish half-slices fitted together to form a convex cross), I was very disappointed in my canapés, even embarrassed. To be blunt, they were both bland and unattractive. But, a lesson learned: the spread must be more intense, both in flavor and appearance, than one might think in order to stand out properly on a canapé.
The next day was appetizer buffet. Everyone had an app to make; I had rumaki. I modified it by leaving off the tasteless but crisp water chestnut and presenting it on a little semi-cup base of puff pastry. The place was a madhouse– there wasn’t enough time and everyone was rushing around trying to finish in time. Chef ended up giving us more time. I had trouble with the puff paste bases and had to toss one half-baked batch. While I wasn’t very happy with the appearance of the finished ones, they tasted good.
Still considering improvements: pie dough instead? wrap the puff paste around the bacon/liver?
Next we moved into Vegetables. There was a day of demos and some practice flipping potatoes in pans, then on Friday it was vegetable buffet. Again, everyone had a veg dish to finish, and each group typically had an extra dish besides. The pace was much more relaxed this time, though. My dish was Orange Beets– basically beets roasted then skinned, cut into wedges, and coated in an orange-based glaze. They were very good and I was pleased with them.
In fact, the entire veg buffet was delicious, easily the best food the class collectively has made so far. I happened to notice while standing in line for my veg, that the state capitol was visible out the window, so I took a picture of it. It’s not a good picture, but at least the capitol is visible.
This week we began stocks and soups. Monday we made chicken stock and began brown stock. Tuesday we made a clear veg soup from the chicken stock, finished the brown stock, made French onion soup, and started a remouillage (second brown stock from the used-once bones). Yesterday we made beef consommé and crêpes. The veg soup and the consommé were delicious, and Dakota got a bonus in the form of the leftover clearmeat from our consommé. She appeared to like it.
Edith, meanwhile, is out of town again, this time in Tucson to give respite to relatives caring for her great aunt. I miss her.