Saturday, November 8, 2008

More Tales from the Kitchen

Friday night, last time in Garde Manger, we had a substitute Chef for the evening as well. Remembering how to prepare the recipes we are learning in this last level is vitally important since they will be our final practical exam. In the final we will be given an appetizer and meat course to complete or a fish and dessert.

The days at FCI are winding down and I’m sad to think this part of my food adventure will be over. It has been such an amazing experience but I’ll hold off on all the nostalgia until the very end.

Spencer and I worked our tails off that night, Ashley was out for the evening so it was just the two of us. We went down our knock-out list to ensure we were set up for the evening’s service and were working on the prep for the incoming students on Monday.

I wanted to tackle making the cavatelli again using the right flour this time. I kneaded my pasta dough until it had a leathery feel and then allowed it to rest for at least 30 minutes. I was still nervous that somehow I was going to be doomed again. I set up the hand-cranked cavatelli machine and hoped for the best.

While I cranked out the cavatelli, the first few didn’t come out perfect, but I finally figured out the necessity of over-flouring the pasta dough so it wouldn’t stick in the machine. Over the next few hours I found myself cranking out cavatelli that actually looked the way it was supposed to – I battled the dough and won this time.

We were all prepped for service, we had a porcini flavored consomm√© on the stove, crustacean broth simmering, and butternut squash roasted. My favorite remark from Spencer that night was, “a blind person could plate these dishes,” referring to the amazing organization and access to our necessary ingredients. I agreed, we were rocking it out and ready to send out orders.

At the end of the night, I found myself immersed in lobster and crab bodies that needed to be cleaned for the Monday’s crustacean broth. The lobsters were without tails and had their legs and green tamale in tact. The crabs needed to have the legs removed and the bodies discarded. It was dirty work and the shellfish smell invaded my hands and clothes. When the night finished up I was pretty crabby too.

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