Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wedding Buffet!

Today we had our wedding-themed buffet. We had so much food I couldn't even believe it. No wonder it took us all week to prep and make it!

The pork was my favorite thing in our buffet; it was a roast that Ethan made, marinated in ginger and some other spices. It was roasted this morning over leeks and carrots, and it was so tender I couldn't believe it. We had a roast beef carving station as well, but other than yummy horseradish sauce, I'm not the biggest roast beef fan (I prefer pastrami).

We also served Swedish meatballs, which were fantastic, fried catfish fillets, fried cauliflower, creamed spinach, the gratin that I made with Pedro yesterday, and a bunch of desserts. I was a dessert person since I said I liked baking, so I don't know every dish we had, but there were more that I haven't mentioned.

My chocolate mousse went over really well. We ran out; good thing I snuck one out of the line to take home! Shh.

My fruit carving:

The hot line, with Jose, Gustavo, Matt, and Pedro:

The carving station with Ethan and Steven:

And finally, my own station, desserts, with Corrine, Jamie, Victor, and Genevieve.

Those are my chocolate mousses in front of Gen, taking the picture with the phone. Those other desserts are flan, blondies, lemon shortbread cookies, biscotti, and rice pudding. I have no idea why all five girls in our class were working on desserts, but that's how it went down. It was the five girls, plus Victor.

I know the pictures aren't great again, but at least they're from my actual camera this time instead of my phone!

Today was fun, and we had lots of leftovers to eat after the other classes came through, which doesn't always happen.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Buffet Prep Day

I made my big garnish today, all by myself since my partner didn't show up. Chef helped me by making the base for me, but I did the rest of it. I got a 4/5 on it, which means nothing since Chef didn't write down our grades. I'm not sure that anybody got a 5 on theirs. Mine looked pretty good, but man, making one of those is a pain. I can see why they charge so much for them!

After my flowerpot was made, I helped make gratin Dauphinoise, one of my favorite dishes. My hands now smell like Gruyere cheese, and I am not hating it.

Our wedding themed buffet is tomorrow. I promise I'll get some decent pictures this time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fruit Carving

Today we started fruit carving. We are working in teams of two to make centerpieces for our buffet on Thursday. I got paired with Jose, which is great, but fruit carving is surprisingly difficult. Even the basic stuff, like carrot flowers, is tough.

Chef Tina made us fettuccine alfredo today for lunch.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I got 100% on my psych midterm. Yay!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chocolate Mousse

Today we started prep for our wedding themed buffet. I made the chocolate mousse, and it's damn good. I had no idea how much cream and milk goes into mousse!

Chef made us alphabet soup for lunch.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pad Thai Friday

Today was a lecture day, but while Chef Tina was lecturing on on-site catering, Chef Boupha made us Pad Thai!

I also found out that I am at a solid A in Banquets and Catering, which is awesome. My psych midterm went well, too.

Time for the weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Breakfast Buffet

Today was our big breakfast buffet! We had bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, monte cristo sandwiches, pinwheel pastries, coffee cake, pickled vegetables, pickled fruits, a gravlax tray, pork rillettes (shredded pork), sweet onion marmalade, crepes, and bagels with sides of cream cheese and apple butter. We also had an omelet station and an egg station, eggs any way you want them.

It was fun but pretty challenging for the people on the action stations. Today, I filled the crepes and plated my apple butter. The silly boys making the pickled vegetables needed help plating, so I helped them out as well.

We got 100% from the Chefs for our efforts.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pickling Spice and Crepes

We are having our breakfast buffet tomorrow! As I posted yesterday, my apple butter was done so I was a helper today.

I helped Ethan make pickling spice for some beets, cauliflower, and carrots, and then I got on the crepe station and made about 25 crepes with Genevieve and Norma. Crepes are pretty fun to make, and I got good at flipping them. Our hands were so hot by the time we were done though; crepes are cooked on a pretty high flame.

We got out early today, and since our buffet is tomorrow, Friday is scheduled as a "fun day." I hope we get to make pizza!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Apple Butter

We are having a breakfast buffet this week, and my task was to make apple butter. I'm guessing it's for toast or a canape of some sort.

I'm really wondering what I'm going to work on tomorrow, since I finished it today. It was so easy; boil apples with vinegar and water, season, cook to reduce, and that's it. It's delicious, too.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Feature! Best Thing I Ever Ate: Steak

I'm starting a new feature in this blog, so I don't have to post every one of grandma's recipes. That feature will be back, but I'd like to get a couple different ones going.

I've been watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network, and it got me thinking about the best things I've eaten. I just posted the other day about the chicken noodle soup that Chef Tina made for us, and how it was the best chicken soup I've ever had.

Today I would like to tell you about Strip Steak. I had the best filet mignon of my entire life there. I've had it twice, and both times, best steak ever.

First, they give you a trio of fries that were fried in duck fat, and seasoned three different ways, with three different dipping sauces. They also give you a cheesy fresh-baked bread. This is an excellent appetizer, and there is no need to order anything from the menu as a starter. Psst: If you do, the mac and cheese is really good.

Get the filet. Seriously, get it. I don't care if you're a ribeye guy, or you're on a diet, this is worth every penny and every second.

The filet is poached in butter. That's right, poached in butter. Normally, steaks are not poached. It's finished on the grill, which you can see from your table, and brought out with not much else. I had roasted shallots on my plate last time, which were also really good, but the steak, oh the steak. I'm practically drooling while I type this.

Lucky for me, Devin and I have plans to go there within the next month. He, after getting ribeye last time (he is aforementioned "ribeye guy"), will be getting the filet this time. I normally don't condone ordering two of the same dish at a restaurant, but this is one place that I definitely make an exception for.

It's in Mandalay Bay, if you want to stop by.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Second Buffet: Soup, Salad, Sandwiches

Our second buffet went off without a hitch today, with the added bonus of few people showing up. That meant more food for us!

We had five salads, including Caesar, curry chicken, and the Nicoise that Tim, Ethan and I made. We had three soups, gazpacho, vichysoisse (cold potato leek soup), and the borscht that my team made. There were three kinds of sandwiches: our club sandwiches, some grilled vegetable paninis, and fried oyster po'boys. Then we had a huge fruit platter and a huge cheese tray.

Chef Boupha made a huge ice sculpture of some sort of bird, as well as his awesome fruit carvings.

I have so much leftover mozzarella. I've got mozzarella with prosciutto, mozzarella with sundried tomatoes, and mozzarella with pesto. I also have the Boursin-style cheese that my team made, as well as some tuna from the Nicoise salad. We will be eating well this weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sandwiches and Salad

Today my group worked on a salad Nicoise and a club sandwich. Not so hard, huh? Well, apparently I am incapable of making hard boiled eggs. They just would not get hard. I had medium boiled eggs. Luckily, Chef already had some eggs from the morning class so she gave those to me. Otherwise, my potatoes, asparagus, and vinaigrette for the Nicoise were all perfect.

We assemble everything tomorrow for the buffet!

Chef made chicken noodle soup for us today, and it was the best I've ever had. I love chicken soup.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Base for Canapes

Today the first class made the fillings for canapes that will be served at our buffet on Friday, so our class made the bases. Tim, Ethan, and I made wonton skins into little cups, which will be filled with a small salad, I'm guessing. It was an easy day.

Of course we fried the leftover wonton skins for us to eat.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Today we made Mozzarella cheese and cheddar crackers for our buffet on Friday. We would have gotten out super early, but Tim and I decided not to waste the whey from another cheese we made, so we made some ricotta to take home.

We also ate the bacon that the class cured last week. It was smoked and very intense bacon. I've never had bacon like that before, not even at school. Since we got out early, some of us stayed to make eggs and tortillas while Tim and I finished up the ricotta.

I've never made cheese before! I didn't know it was so easy; the only problem is that it takes a ton of milk to make just a bit of cheese. I think 90% of the milk ends up being whey, just 10% curd to make cheese. It's fun, though!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Our First Buffet

Today we set up our first buffet. It was really fun, but making canelles turned out to be tougher than I thought.

All our old teachers and some other classes came to eat, so by the time we got to it, we only had a few things left! I had some cheese from the cheese platter, some stuffed mushrooms, and a whole lot of ceviche, because I really love ceviche. Some other things we had were deviled quail eggs, trout pate stuffed cucumbers, baba ghannouj profiteroles (yes really), and, of course, my foie gras on lingonberry crostini.

The only thing left is the picture. Sorry it's not the best quality; I took it on my phone. You can see the pretty fruit carvings that Chef did. We will start doing those in our third week.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Foie Gras Mousse

Justin and I were tasked to make foie gras mousse today, which just involves boiling the foie, draining the fat, blending the foie, and adding the fat back in. Tomorrow we will shape it into canelles (you do it with two spoons, if that makes any sense), and placing the canelles on crackers that are already made for us.

I'm pretty sure we got the easiest job of the day, so we went to help peel some hard boiled quail eggs for our deviled quail egg dish. Our buffet isn't until Thursday, and I'm really wondering if this class is going to continue to be so easy.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm Ba-aaack!

Today I started Banquets & Catering. Well, and psychology, but I probably won't post much about that class.

We didn't do much today; cured some bacon, brined some fish, ate some hot wings, talked a lot. I can't wait to do fruit sculptures and ice carving, but I am not looking forward to working with foie gras.

This class will probably be easier than baking, but also more interesting to read about.