Goals: My goals are to not get sick and survive another week of class. I’d like to be more focused too.
Expectations: I think it will be another tough week – finishing salads, Hookipa prep, and breakfast. I heard breakfast is a hard module.
Reflection of Experiences:
Friday was another busy day. We finished up meats – grilled flank steak – and made American potato salad, German potato salad, and whipped potatoes. There was a lot to do, and Chef kept telling us we didn’t have time to be slow, so it was kind of a stressful day. I didn’t cook my bacon enough, so I had raw bacon in my German potato salad. We made the whipped potatoes with a China cap, which I haven’t seen before, and they came out nice and fluffy. My steak went pretty well, and I got better grill marks today; last time when we grilled chicken, it had really weak grill marks. The steak tasted really good with the whipped potatoes. It was a really busy day, and I almost didn’t have time to grill the steak. After class, Chef said we were slow today and need to get it together. It was kind of a rough week, and I was really tired by the end of the day.
Tuesday we worked on sunomono, creamy coleslaw, salad dressing, and mixed greens. I was kind of worried at the start of the day because last week Chef said we’d only have two hours to finish the two salads. It actually wasn’t that bad since I had julienne carrot sleeves from last week. Some of my carrots ended up too big though. Sometimes I still forget the dimensions for julienne. I should do some more practice on that before the final. When I was making mayonnaise for my coleslaw, my emulsion broke, but I was able to bring it back by starting a new bowl with some water. I still don’t like making these emulsions, but I think I’m getting a little faster at least. The coleslaw was really good actually. Most of the coleslaws I’ve eaten in the past have been soggy with too much dressing. The greens from Maui looked and tasted really good. Next time I will look for those at Costco. Overall, today was an easier day.
On Wednesday, we worked on breakfast meats and some prep for Hookipa. The breakfast meats cooked very quickly in the oven. The main danger was burning, which is what happened to my bacon the first time. You have to really keep an eye on the meats since they cook so quickly. The browning looked nice and tasted good. For Hookipa, first we candied the macadamia nuts on the stove with some sugar and a dash of cayenne and cinnamon. It’s neat seeing sugar melt and brown. The nuts had a real nice flavor. We also boiled the lobsters and chopped up the meat. We had to kill one lobster, which wasn’t that bad. The first cut was straight through his head, so hopefully he didn’t have much pain. It was kind of messy getting all the meat out because of the lobster juices and guts. We also worked on prep for the dressing. I had some trouble with my onion brunoise. It’s hard making such a small cut. The layers of the onion start shifting sometimes. Anyway, it was a pretty busy and tiring day. I’m curious to see how the final Hookipa lobster cup will turn out.
On Thursday we spent most of the day prepping for Hookipa. We finished the dressing, sautéed the lobster, skewered the cherries, portioned things, and packed them. The lobster cooked very quickly and went well with the onions, garlic, capers, lemon, and tomatoes. Most of the prep was pretty easy, but there was some confusion about the cherries, so we ended up recounting a lot of them. It seems like tomorrow will be pretty easy since almost everything is already portioned. We got to try the lobster Manhattan we’ll be serving tomorrow. The cherry is quite strong, so it tastes better eaten separate from the lobster. We also worked on Hollandaise and poached eggs. I didn’t successfully complete either of them though. Hollandaise is so time consuming. For my poached eggs, my water did not want to boil; I felt rushed, and it didn’t go well. One of my eggs had some yolk peeking out. I don’t know how that happened. It doesn’t look like the yolk broke. Anyway, I’ll have to redo all those on Tuesday.
Doing all the Hookipa prep was a positive experience. We got to see some of the process of developing the recipe, and it was interesting to prep, portion, and pack everything for the event. It’s very different from just cooking something and serving it right away. We also got to taste and use a lot of local ingredients. Tasting lobster is always good. I also learned how to candy nuts. Those would make a delicious snack.
Cooking lobster was another positive experience. I love lobster, but I’ve never cooked it. We got to kill one, boil them, remove the meat, and sauté them. I’ll be ready to cook lobster when I can afford to buy it.
My German potato salad had good flavor, but Chef found some raw bacon. Bacon is hard to cook. You have to get it crispy, but it burns pretty easily. One wrong step, and the dish is ruined! The potatoes have to be cooked to the right doneness, the sauce has to be reduced to the right level, things need to be chopped the correct size, and the bacon has to be crispy. It was disappointing because we’ve cooked bacon a bunch of times. I enjoy recipes with bacon, so I’ll continue to work on cooking it properly.
Of the things that I learned this week, I am best prepared to demonstrate to someone else? (list in bullet form)
-American potato salad
-Hard cooked egg
What feedback did I receive from my instructor and how did I use the information to improve my performance?
Chef has said a few of my recent vegetable cuts have been inconsistent, so I’ve been trying to pay more attention to getting the right size. I spent a while on my brunoise cut for the onion for Hookipa, and it went a lot better. I was slow though, so I need more practice to get faster without sacrificing too much accuracy and consistency.