Archive | July, 2010

Entremetier Specials

29 Jul

Yesterday was my first day of the Entremetier station. In level 6, Entremetier is responsible for coming up with a canape and a sandwich special of the day. There are no set rules, however canapes are typically made with ingredients found regularly in the kitchen (vs. being special ordered), so we used what was in the store room yesterday. A canape is a small appetizer typically eaten on bread or a cracker and can usually be eaten in one bite. We serve complimentary canapes (aka amuse bouches) to every table in the restaurant.

Nutty came up with the canape yesterday. It was a spicy cracker topped with crispy English cucumber, roasted cherry tomato and a scallop seared in thyme infused olive oil. The scallop was then topped with a miso sauce and lemon zest. There were so many flavors and textures going on – it was delicious.

I came up with the sandwich special for the day. It was based on one of my favorite sandwiches back in Boston, the Chacarero, also the name of the restaurant. If you live or work near Downtown Crossing, this is the place to go for lunch. Chef let us know on Monday that we had steak to use for our sandwich so I made a traditional Chilean Chacarero sandwich.

It started with homemade rolls that Brian and Mic made earlier in the day, then I layered on avocado puree made with lemon, salt and pepper, cooked haricot verts, sliced tomatoes, fontina* cheese, and finally, the steak. We rubbed the steak with several spices including cumin, mustard powder, sweet paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper, roasted it at a high temp just to get good color on the outside, then served it sliced thin medium-rare to order. *The traditional chacarero calls for Muenster cheese, but alas, the storeroom doesn’t stock Muenster so we had to use Fontina – it was still delicious. On the side, Hunter made rice and beans (a traditional Chilean side dish) and we also included a simple tomato salad.

Unfortunately, I was so busy putting the sandwich together that I didn’t take a picture of it! One of our chefs ordered it for lunch though, so I snuck a picture of his (in between bites!) to give you somewhat of an idea of what it looked like.

Unfortunately I came down with the flu this week and haven’t done much but sleep over the past day and a half to try and get rid of it. Jason and I are getting sushi for dinner tonight though – I’m so excited and will post our thoughts afterward.

Last 2 Days in Pastry

27 Jul

Yesterday and today were my last two days in the pastry station at school. I have to say, I’m a bit sad. I really do enjoy pastry and loved the chef that we worked with, Chef Mimi. Yesterday Warren and I focused on the Chocolate Tart with Coconut Sorbet while today we had a mock final and had to make all components of both desserts, from start to finish, on our own. Chef Mimi developed the chocolate tart dessert and it’s definitely a crowd favorite. Almost every table orders one. The dish consists of a chocolate tart (the dough is made with cocoa powder while the filling is made with Manjari chocolate), bruleed bananas, candied coconut, creme chantilly, coconut lime sorbet and a sprinkle of lime zest.

It is delicious – the tart is rich, but the sorbet lightens up the dish making it perfect for summer. Being the last day in pastry, I decided to take some candid shots of what I made, and of our group in the kitchen.

These are the chocolate tarts I made today during our mock final. I’m really pleased with how they came out. It’s easy to overcook the filling and undercook the dough, but these came out really nice.

The bruleed bananas are a fun garnish – they’re topped with turbinado sugar (also known as “sugar in the raw”) and bruleed with a handheld blow torch!

Nutty decided to make a special dessert today, a deconstructed ice cream sandwich. He made strawberry and vanilla cream sandwiched between chocolate wafers, and finished the plate with cherry sorbet, graham crumbs, cherry syrup and creme chantilly. Creme chantilly is simply, sweetened whipped cream. It was really great and I love the play on an ice cream sandwich.

We had a lot of fun in the pastry kitchen over the last two days. Here are some shots of my classmates at work.

Warren putting the sliced roulade into the fridge.

Hunter is deep in conversation with Chef Mimi

Something was really funny to Caesar - I think it was Hunter.

Nutty working on the chocholate wafers for his special.

We had a little fun today in the kitchen!

After school today, my classmate Kris and I went to JB Prince in midtown. JB Prince is a chef’s supply store – cookbooks, knives, spoons, gadgets, molds, pots, pans, etc etc etc. They have everything and at great prices. I needed a microplane for my tool kit and Kris grabbed a really nice Peugeot pepper mill and bon bon molds! Before heading home, we grabbed some tea and an espresso brownie at Birch Coffee, which I used to go to when I worked in midtown. I love their coffee and teas, and especially love their brownies – it hit the spot after school.

I have my first test in level 6 tomorrow and a long day of school and work. Time for bed blog friends!

Jersey Shore – minus the GTL!

25 Jul

Today Jason and I spent the day with our friends Jeff and Diane, and their son Joseph, in New Jersey. Jeff and Diane used to live in the Boston-area but recently moved to New Jersey. We spent a couple of hours at Manasquan Beach – the water was a little chilly but with the temps reaching 100, it was worth it to jump in a few times! After the beach, we made a quick pit (ice cream) stop for some cones. I had a scoop of chocolate marshmellow and a scoop of mint oreo (winner, best ice cream, 2009)! It hit the spot after a few hours at the beach. I can’t remember the name of the place, but will edit the post if I can find out.

After the beach, we had an early dinner at Jeff and Diane’s. Jason and I surprised them with Dom’s steaktips. If you live in the Boston area, GO TO DOM’S! It’s a deli/market/butcher/caterer in Malden and they have the best steak tips we’ve ever had.

In addition to the steaktips, we grilled BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, herb potatoes, a French baguette and roasted garlic. Lastly, we made a Jersey tomato and mozzarella salad and then had sliced peaches after dinner. It was delicious and so good to see our friends. I’m looking forward to another week of school and work (that sounds kind of crazy, but true). Off to finish laundry then call it a night.

Saturday Fun

25 Jul

What a busy weekend! Time to recap it all… Saturday, Jason and I ran some errands, did laundry, etc, but took a break to have lunch at Marlow & Sons in Brooklyn. I’ve been wanting to go here for a while, after hearing that they’re all about using locally grown ingredients. The restaurant has a casual vintage atmosphere (I love vintage), wooden tables, mismatched wooden stools and bench seating, chalkboard menus and a bakery in the front.

It looks really unassuming from the street, like its been in the neighborhood forever.

This is the front bakery/store.

This is the main part of the restaurant.

Jason and I started with glasses of wine. I had a glass of LINI Lambrusco, from Emilia Romagna. This was a chilled red wine, which I was intrigued by. It was light-medium bodied, a little dry and opened up a bit as it got to room temp – perfect for a summer afternoon. Jason and I split the market salad and then he had a bacon, egg and cheese on a homemade buttermilk biscuit, while I had the Cubano, a pressed ham and cheese sandwich with stone ground mustard – delicious. My sandwich came with a dijon-y potato salad that Jason and I loved!

Saturday night, we met our friends Anna and Lou at Pacifico, a fun Mexican restaurant in the Cobble Hill neighborhood in Brooklyn. Pacifico has a backyard/beachy atmosphere, music playing and an outdoor patio. It was too hot for the patio, so we stayed inside.

The bar at Pacifico.

The main part of the inside restaurant. I love how everything is mismatched.

We ordered a pitcher of margaritas and had a light dinner of quesadillas and shrimp and avocado enchiladas. Everything was delicious and they served up really generous portions. I hope we get to go back here before we move!

Elderflower Roulade & a Busy Friday at LV

24 Jul

Before class starts, we meet with our chefs to talk about the recipes and the final if necessary. There are sometimes little tweaks they want to make to our recipes that they want us to all be aware of. After our meeting the chef handed back our menu projects. I am happy to say that I gotĀ  100% on my menu project, and because of that (I’m assuming), I didn’t get my project back. The chefs will keep it, put it in the library and use it as an example for future classes. Me and two other people in my class got 100% on our projects and didn’t get them back yesterday. Pretty cool!

Yesterday was my last day making the Elderflower RouladeĀ  with Lemon Curd. It’s really important that I do every component of every dish as it’s a possibility I’ll have that dish on my final! For our final, we either get a garde manger and saucier dish to make, or a poissonier and pastry dish. You don’t know what you have until the morning of the final where you pick numbers that correspond with the dishes. It’s all very nerve wracking. I made the lemon curd and chocolate decorations today while Warren concentrated on the mousse and cake.

Last night was my first Friday night at Locanda Verde. I spent the night in the prep kitchen crossing items of my “list” and somehow, they all got done! My night consisted of prepping tomatoes, portioning chickens, slicing olives, grinding breadcrumbs, frenching haricots verts, picking thyme, portioning tripe, and peeling/cutting roasted potatoes. It’s amazing how much can get done when y0u enjoy what you’re doing – I felt really productive. I didn’t get home until after 1am, but at least it was Friday and I don’t have class today.

Needless to say, I slept in a little bit today and am now trying to formulate a plan for the rest of the weekend. Jason and I are visiting our friends Jeff and Diane in NJ tomorrow so we have the whole day today to ourselves! Maybe a trip to the farmer’s market followed by some wedding planning is in order. First though, time to start thinking about lunch!

Back in Pastry to Kick Off Level 6!

22 Jul

Today was the first day of Level 6 and I am starting my rotation in pastry. I love pastry. Many of my culinary peers don’t enjoy pastry – it’s a lot of measuring and you have to be exact and things can get overcooked very easily. I, on the other hand, really like knowing the science behind pastry and love desserts, so I enjoy making them.

Today, Warren and I made an Elderflower Roulade with Lemon Curd. It was delicious. A roulade looks like a jelly roll and is basically sponge cake put into a terrine mold and filled with elderflower mousse. Jason and I LOVE the elderflower liquor St. Germain, so I knew I was going to love this dessert. We used elderflower syrup in the mousse though, not liquor. The terrine is then put in the refrigerator to firm up before service. We make a lemon curd to be served on the side, and garnish the plate with blueberries, candied lemon rind and a piece of thin chocolate. It’s light and refreshing, perfect for summer. I love the combination of elderflower and lemon.

After school today I met my friend Jennie for dinner in midtown. We went to Penelope on Lexington and 30th. It’s a homey cafe, bakery and bar and has great food, drinks and a fun atmosphere. They use really fresh ingredients in their food, which I appreciate. Jennie and I split a basket of fries (they’re homemade, we couldn’t resist), some sangria, and I had a chicken and artichoke sandwich while Jennie had the beet salad. Everything was delicious!

I’m looking forward to the end of the week and my first Friday night at Locanda Verde tomorrow. Have a great Friday everyone!

The Last 2 Days of Level 5

22 Jul

Tuesday and Wednesday, Hunter, Warren and I made Roasted Hampshire Pork Loin with Pea-Mint Puree, Potato Terrine and Sherry Vinegar Pork Jus. The pork is marinated in olive oil, herbs and garlic, seared on all sides to develop a deep brown crust and then finished in the oven. We made a jus with a pork stock reinforced with pork trimmings and a gastrique. The pea-mint puree is made similar to all the other purees, but with milk, garlic, mint, s + p and peas. The potato terrine is actually made a day ahead of time, so all the layers of potato, butter and herbs have time to get pressed into shape.

The finished dish!

We also had the opportunity to do a saucier special on Tuesday, so we did roasted lamb with mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, sauteed onions and a lamb jus. I was calling this a deconstructed shepherd’s pie all day because that’s what’s basically in one. It came out wonderfully. The lamb is marinated in Herbs de Provence, olive oil and garlic, seared and then finished in the oven. The potatoes were put through a ricer (I love this gadget), mixed with garlic, cream and butter, and then layered with the sauteed onions, peas and carrots. Lastly, we garnished the plate with a little bit of mache to add some color, texture and a “fresh” element to the dish.

Since I had to work Wednesday night, I had to do my homework for Thursday on Tuesday, which involved writing down and studying the new recipes for the Level 6 pastry station, which I’ll be starting this Thursday! The recipes look amazing and I can’t wait to share pictures with everyone when I have them. I can’t believe I’m going into Level 6 this week already. The time flew by so quickly.

I just got home from work, where I was pretty busy all night. Laura (the other intern I work with) and I had a full list of things to do to help prep for service tonight, a party held at the restaurant tonight and for service tomorrow. I think there’s going to be a TON of garlic in my future – they go through it like crazy! I worked with roasted pureed garlic (RPG) and garlic confit tonight – both wonderful ways to prepare garlic. I got to sample more orecchiette with homemade duck sausage, broccoli rabe and piave while I was working – absolutely delicious. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Friday nights are like. Besides parties and the normal service prep, I believe I’ll help prep for the weekend brunch service. Can’t wait! I may have to have brunch there soon too!