TODAY TIDBITS

  • A quick blanch (boil) before you fry your potatoes will: a) improve the golden colour because it gelatinizes the outer starch, b) will “infuse” salt into the potato enhancing flavour, and c) kill the enzymes that cause “purpling” while you air dry. Blanching is the first step in potato rissole
  • The chef recommends “snapping” your beans “by hand” rather than using a knife, because if there is a tough “string” you can remove it using this method (my mother and her sister use this method)
  • Infuse your vinaigrette with an anchovy filet – I’ve always said anchovy is a magic ingredients – here’s another place to apply that magic.

Today was another mock final which means you pick a number out of a hat that tells you what time to plate. This was a tougher mock than previous, because none of us had cooked their two plates together, and we had all only practiced the dish once. This caused many of us to be late plating. To further add to the pressure the two dishes I had to do had 158 steps/verbs.

Joe, with a pound of butter on his chicken
Joe, with a pound of butter on his chicken
Dallas plating her Grand Mere plates
Dalal plating her Grand Mere plates
Alton spooning a reduction sauce over the chicken
Alton spooning a reduction sauce over the chicken

I was doing the combo of Nicoise salad (72 action verbs) and the Chicken Grand Mere (86 verbs). I did manage to get the plates to the chefs on time, but I felt the pressure of the clock the whole time, and at one point I thought I wasn’t going to make it because I hadn’t even started my pearl onions with 30mins to go, but Joe gave me a confidence boost (and a little help) and I managed to get them done. Panic set in early when the chef told me “you haven’t started your potatoes? Get them going, they take a long time!”.

Joanne plating her cream puffs
Joanne plating her cream puffs
Chef Dominique points to Dolma's A+ profiteroles
Chef Dominique points to Dolma’s A+ profiteroles
An A+, close up
An A+, close up

After the mock,  Chef Dominique and Chef Joe gathered us to tell us publicly what we did right and (more often) what we did wrong (another form of mock?). I have mixed feeling about this process. It is true you really learn the most hearing/seeing mistakes, but it’s always a bit depressing getting told what you did wrong in front of everyone. What makes it all worthwhile however is hearing the “plate of the day”. Dolma got an A+ for her profiteroles “perfect”. The chef told Joe he tried real hard to find something wrong with his chicken but couldn’t. Hehehe.

We have a written exam on “Poissonnier” tomorrow, so time to go learn those fish recipes.

The meatball contest is on
The meatball contest is on

Also, Ray and I are thinking of doing a Meatball pop-up this summer and have been experimenting with meatball recipes. Have you got an amazing meatball recipe or tip? Apparently Spencer’s mother makes “the best” meatballs. Consider sharing it below and tell me why you love it. The winning recipe will be posted here plus I’ll mail you a copy of the Meatball Shop.