Sunday, September 03, 2006

Day 10 More Pasta

Well today wasn’t as busy as yesterday. Thank heavens!

Today we started off by baking our lasagna. First note – Our oven are convection ovens. Of course they never told us this. It would have been nice to be told because then my lasagna would have only taken the 45 minutes or so to cook instead of the hour and a half. I’ve never used a convection oven but luckily my partner has, but he didn’t realize I hadn’t turned the fan on till it had already been in the oven for 40 minutes.

So while that is baking our chef instructors demo basil pesto sauce (they made enough for us all to use), and the polenta. For those that have never had polenta…think of grits of malt-o-meal only a bit thicker. It’s made with cornmeal. And no matter how much you cook it, it tastes like cornmeal. By itself it’s not spectacular, but add Bolognese sauce or cheese and it’s not bad. We made soft polenta and fried. (For those from Cuisine @ Home boards I now understand why my tamale cakes didn’t come out. :) )

After our polenta we made our ravioli. Remember from the other pasta dishes we reserved one small wedge for this. These were stuffed with the mushroom, ricotta cheese, red pepper flakes and they were delicious.

It was a short night and everyone was pretty much done by 10:00 including clean up.

Chef Knight handed us back our test results from the previous week. I missed 1 question our of 20...not bad…however it was a 4 part question. ARG! I even knew I was going to miss it because I misread it and found out after listening to the others talk about their answers. So this weekend I’m really reviewing and will read the questions carefully.

Next Tuesday we get our grades from this weeks performance. I don’t feel strong about this week, but I know I gave it my best. That night of pasta was just a bear to get through. We will also get our new partners. This causes a lot of trepidation among the students. It would be very difficult to get through a “pasta night” like I had with a partner that offered no support or participation.

Just to give everyone a heads up, let me fast forward just a tad. (You all have Emma to thank for this and this will probably be the reason I lose my mind…) The last week of phase 1 (PCA-1) is final week. Let me share with you. It will consist of 5 days of hell.

Day 1 – Demonstrate all knife cuts, make consommé, Pommes Anna, Mashed Potatoes, roesti, Dauphinoise, glazed carrots. Know culinary terms, stocks and sauces. Identify kitchen equipment, herb identification, spic identification. Put up chicken stock, put up veal stock.

Day 2 – Make béchamel, cream of tomato soup, French onion soup, 3-2-1 dough and pasta dough.

Day 3 – Make risotto, rice pilaf, ravioli with sun dried tomato cream sauce (sure glad we made the pasta dough on day 2 of exam…no stress here… *insert sarcasm here*)

Day 4 – French omelet, western omelet, hard and soft boiled eggs, miniature quiches, eggs Florentine, scrambled eggs, crepes suzette and asparagus with hollandaise. (Ok this last dish just confused the heck out of me….we had this beautiful breakfast theme going and they throw in asparagus?? I am sure this is just to mess with our heads!)

Day 5 – (If I live through day 1-4) New England clam chowder, gnocchi with brown butter and sage, lab cleaning, exit interviews and grades. I’m going to add a stiff drink to this because we’re all going to need it.

Now I know that in the next 3 weeks they are preparing us for this. But (and again I’d like to thank Emma for this) looking at the first and fourth day of testing is enough to make me cringe.

Well that’s about it…I’m going to go huddle under the kitchen table in the fetal position and rock myself to sleep.


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