Monday, July 21, 2008

Les Menus for the week of July 12, 2008

OK, so this week was sort of a full week. Only two days of cooking time because Thursday and Friday were sanitation training. I'm pretty confident I passed the exam meaning I now know what to do to hopefully avoid getting anyone sick and to protect myself from false accusations as well (sad how often that happens). I'll not gross anyone out with all the nasty things that could happen in the kitchen but I will say that there are several smart things one can do in their own home kitchens to protect themselves and their families:

- Keep cold food at 41 degrees or lower, keep hot foods at 135 degrees or higher. In between, you need to start worrying about bacteria and what not getting on your food.

- FIFO: First In, First Out. Don't push old products to the back and put new food stuff in front. Use up the older products first.

- Reject any food stuff that isn't in good condition. Whether while in the store or you're about to use it at home. Dented cans, puffy cans, rusted cans. Smelly food, slimy food, fish with sunken or cloudy eyes, meat that's color has turned, etc...

It's fascinating stuff.

OK, on to the fun stuff... THE FOOD!

Le Menu for July 8, 2008


This is a simply and delicious vegetable soup that has a bit of bacon it in for additional flavor. The only mistake I made was that I forgot to skim the soup before serving so it has oily blobs on it. Could have done a last minute blot but was rushing to get my food out on time. Wont make that mistake again.


Currently my (and Bryan's) favorite soup. This is a leek and potato puree soup that has some cooked julienne vegetables on the bottom as garnish and a little surprise. I made it at home and the only thing I had to change was the fact that I don't have a chinoise... yet! I simply pureed the soup as best I could and did not worry that I couldn't strain it. It was still just as delicious.


It was surprising to learn how many different categories salads fell into: tossed, composed, bound, vegetable, and fruit. Composed, the one above, it exactly as it sounds. A bed of greens with the various elements arranged on top and then the dressing. I made an emulsion dressing of Dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. Once you've made your own salad dressings, you'll never buy from the store again!

Le Menu for July 9, 2008


This one is hard to explain from the picture and I should have taken more angles. The salad is a simple bed of lettuce with oranges and grapefruit wedges on top. The dressing is a vinaigrette using the juice that came from them. In the tomato halves, what is hard to see is a salad of various vegetables we cooked individually to preserve their flavors, then bound in mayonnaise we made ourselves! I so like making my own mayonnaise!

This plate reminds me of something you'd serve at a tea or some other outdoor even where you don't want too much or anything heavy.


Are you drooling? I know I was. This lovely tart made up for the stress I went through trying to make the PATE BRISEE dough (think pie crusts and quiche bottoms). This time we made PATE SUCREE which is a similar dough but sweet. That and I made a fairly good pastry cream. I've since been able to make excellent pastry cream if I do say so myself. I made three of these total. The prettiest one was already taken to a "customer" before I could take a picture.


Let me explain the "customer" comment. It's pretty cool. The food we cook is our lunch, is served to the pastry students 3 of the days I'm in school (their course overlaps ours by one day), the school staff, and anyone who's visiting the school that day. We have to learn to serve it on time, correctly seasoned, plated cleanly, and at the right temperature. The more dramatic plating skills come in phase 2. We're just concentrating on getting food that tastes right out now. We do get feedback from everyone on how the food came out. It becomes more Iron Chef like in phase 2 because we'll get days were we have to turn random ingredients into a meal and area chefs and such will be invited in to taste and critic. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

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