Thursday, November 02, 2006

Day 21 of PCA II – Fryday

Well tonight was…let me preface this by saying there’s gonna be a new kid in town. More details in a bit.

Tonight mark the beginning of us frying things and utilizing the deep fryer. I love all things deep fried. Whoever invented this device should get a prize. It makes everything good. Even Butterfinger candy bars make for a tasty treat.

So we did tempura – Shrimp and assorted vegetables and we also did Miso Soup. These two dishes were individual dishes. Our spring rolls and lumpia rolls were a team effort.

I had no idea how fast and easy miso soup is. You first have to make Dashi, which is the base for it. It is also the base for the Tentsuyu sauce we serve with the tempura. Ok get ready – You take a piece of kombu ( which is seaweed) and place it into a stock pot with cold water. You bring the water up to temperature, but DO NOT let it boil as it will ruin the flavor. Remove from the heat and add the katsuo bushi (dried bonito flakes) and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain and the dashi is done. To turn this into Miso blend in the white or red miso (soy bean paste – white is available in the spring and red fall/winter) through a chinois to taste. Add soy sauce, mirin (Japanese equivalent of sherry), some firm tofu and reconstituted makame (seaweed that is more edible than that of the kombu). Bring up to temperature, but again do not boil or even let get to a simmer. Just hot. Garnish it with sliced green onions. When I was adding the bushi I wondered how fishy this dish would taste because they were very odorous. There is a mild fish flavor, which I think you could control by lowering the steeping time or the amount added. But a very nice soup.

Tempura is fun. Of course there were like 3 of us up at the fryers at a time. We were to dredge our items in cornstarch, then the batter, then fry till light in color. Sounds simple right? I cannot understand how each of us forgot to batter some of the items. Do you have any idea how nasty corn starched dredged, fried veggies are? So there I am at the fryer, Chef is standing on the other side watching us. I take my piece of squash (with no batter) and slowly lower into the hot oil. Holding it to let the ‘batter’ set up so it won’t fall to the bottom and stick. Chef casually asks “Aren’t we battering these things guys?” We’re all like “yes chef” while we continue to stand there watching the items cook. I look to my left and right and then down and all of us just put stuff in the fryer with no batter. We all mutter, pull them out, plot them off, put them in the batter and start over. Then the next piece goes in, which we did remember to batter and the next. Get to the 5th piece and the batter step flies from our minds. Needless to say we got them all done – correctly.

I love spring rolls and egg rolls. I didn’t understand why we did the spring and lumpia as they’re basically the same just one is long and thinner. The chili sauce that was served with it was a sinus cleaner which means it was GREAT!

And now for the soap – As the Kitchen Burns. We begin this episode with the class forming the teams…

Well we got 2 extra added to our team because one of ours was out. Not everyone has the energy level Carrie or I do, and I totally accept that. She and I both have learned to work around it assigning tasks that we know each of the others can handle. I’m beginning to look at this as not only school but a job. You’re going to have good students/employees and bad ones. I just have a big problem with liars. We had one student who knew she wasn’t the caliber we were and offered to do whatever we needed done, just let her know. Ok great. So we had her chopping and dicing etc. It got to a lull where we’re looking at the production schedule and deciding what to fire first, how will it time with the other dishes. She offers to take my dishes to the sink and get them done for me. I said “Wow thank you so much that would be a huge help!” and it would be…or would have been had she done them. She was gone for 15-20 minutes and silly me, I assumed she was over there doing dishes. I have no idea what she was doing. About 5 minutes after that I go to the sink to wash my knife. I look over and in horror see all my dishes sitting there. Carrie came over to do her knife and saw the look on my face and asked what was up so I explained. She yells for her to get over to the sink. She comes over and we ask “Did you do the dishes like you said you were going to?” “Yeah I got all of them done.” I looked at her and said “No you didn’t! Those are mine!” She replies with “No those are everyone’s.” What the hell? “NO those are mine, you laid them down and didn’t do anything with them! That’s my trash bowl because my production waste is still in it. She just mumbles “I’ll do them later…” and walks away. Livid doesn’t begin to describe the emotion I was feeling. Turns out quite a few others feel the same way about her. 8 people came up to me and commented about how she spends more time doing nothing and trying to look busy and they’re fed up with it and her lies about how hard she works and what all she’s done. She’s been seen doing drop offs all this time. Why no one called her on it till now is beyond me, but I will if I see it. She will never make it in the real world. She’ll be fired within a week. Here she might get away with it because she’s paying tuition like the rest of us, but out no one will pay her to screw off. Liars never win in the end. They get stuck in their own web of deceit.

Chef said he’s preparing us for the ‘world out there’ and he wants us to communicate more and if it means fight a little then so be it. (now I don’t think he meant literally fight, but communicate firmly if necessary our points to other team members) So, I shall. I have kept my mouth shut till this point and retained a professional attitude in that I will not cause waves, I’ll concentrate on my tasks. But now if my tasks are being jeopardized by the actions of another (or lack of action) then I shall do or say what needs to be done.

So lesson – Don’t ever lie to me I’ll call you on it and make an example of you.

Well tomorrow we’re making Gumbo and we get to cook up some Crawdads!

Until Then…Oh and stay tune for more drama…this stuff could get good!


At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Dani said...

ARGH, I had a real bad night in the kitchen tonight and I just had to think 'bout you. One of my Tablepartners called me Bossy and because of me she never gets to do stuff. Oh well, if you just stand there and look at the uncooked Steaks they will never get served. Some people will never make it in the real world


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