Day 19: Lone Ranger.
I apologize for not informing you all that I skipped out on pork day yesterday. But, being that it was Rosh Hashanah I just couldn’t bring myself to spending my new year in such a manner. For those of you that are whispering to yourself “oh, come on- how could you”, I’ve already heard it from my father, since apparently the rest of the world loves some good ol fashion hog. Don’t worry dad I’m SURE it will come up again and I’ll learn to cook it for you.
So, after my lovely and much needed day off, I came in early today to take my make-up exam (in a month we have 4 exams just about). Two students were absent today, so we were left with an odd number, forcing one person to work alone. I knew it wasn’t going to be me because I already had a partner, Sagot. Well, the thing is Pandora was supposed to be the sous chef, but since she didn’t show up and sous chef positions are assigned alphabetically, that would put Sagot NEXT on the list (I hope you see where I am going with this and trust me if you’re sweating through the shirt you’re wearing- just ship it to me… it’s not like I don’t go to the dry cleaners everyday or anything). Sagot was taken for me and I was left to wallow in my own solitude. My Culinary Clan, to say that I had a minor heart attack is putting it lightly. I practically pulled a Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Along Came Polly and “sharted” right in my pants (According to urban dictionary, a shart is a mixture between a “fart” and “sh**” (pardon my French). How did I EVER get so lucky enough to WORK BY MYSELF! Lamb Day! Was G-d trying to tell me something, by pushing my culinary skills on ONLY the 2nd DAY of the NEW YEAR! I was good yesterday- I didn’t even partake in pork day! GOLLY!)
Right off the bat, I was in full panic mode. Rodger we have a problem! I couldn’t find my notecards with my RECIPES on them! I looked high and low- under cabinets- in sinks- made several announcements. The stinking red notecard case must have fallen into a black hole. Chef had to come over and calm me down by giving me the textbook to look at for the recipes. Was I over losing my red notebook case- HAHA yeah right think again- still brooding over my loss while using my chef’s knife to chop of veggies. Oh would you look at that, there goes a chunk of skin off my index finger. Now blood is gushing- I run to go get a band aide. Am I calm? Yeah duhh, all I could think of is WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE MY NOTECARDS WITH EVERY RECIEPE I’VE EVER DONE! Back to my station I went again, getting everything ready for my lamb chops and lamb stew. I just couldn’t get enough of either the chops or the stew.
Thank the lord, Sagot comes in extra early to set up for the day, so he already had some of the veggies chopped and was nice enough to leave them for me to use. Therefore, I was able to make the ratatouille. I was reinventing the definition of multitasking and almost burnt my onions, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Thank the lord Chef Jeff was practically my partner today and scurried over to check on how I was doing. Great! Thanks for asking- going to need a heart transplant after today. Will you be there to hold my hand while I go under anesthesia? HOW DO YOU THINK I’M DOING?
Once, I’m done with my ratatouille and it’s simmering away. I begin chopping up the lamb. We had to pretty much leave the stems of the chops naked (French cuisine is all about presentation and super simple) and for the stew we had to chop our lamb into big cubes. I browned my cubes with onions and carrots. Then we added the veal stock and let it simmer in with all the garnishes. I really love when meat sits in stew because then it gets all soft, tender, and juicy. By the time my stew was done, I had already thought about ways of keeping it forever. It tasted SO fantastic that I wouldn’t mind pouring the sauce into a shampoo container and using it as shampoo to wash my hair later! (0bviously, not going to do that, but still). Along with our stew, we had to cocotte NOT JUST potatoes, but also carrots and turnips… you can see them on the plate (still not perfect wah-wah).
My lamb chops turned out spicy. So, Sagot poured the amount of dry rub that we needed to marinate (My cousin Allan is the BOMB at this- all Hail Mr. Marinating KING himself). The amount that Sagot poured into the mise-cup was for 2 servings and I only need 1. Was I thinking about that? Pshhh NO and dumped all the spices onto my pour innocent chops. They were hurting for a nice water bath to soak in and rid themselves of the dry spicy rub. I gave my leftovers to the dishwasher man, Felix, probably should have also given him tums because his belly is going to be rumbling tonight, I tell yah! We put a garlic/olive compound butter on top with side of ratatouille. It turned out delish, but I browned my veggies a little too much. Chef said I did a nice job cooking the meat though! My Aunt Deedee sent me a great way to peel garlic- thank you for that it saved me a lot of time and effort, especially since I was manning the fort-A.L.O.N.E.
After my experience today, I now know what it must be like on the show survivor- holding on for dear life, but fadding fast. Today was the last day of level one, making Monday our final evaluation, final technical skills exam, and final theory exam. I also need to study for a serve safe exam on sanitation and the whole nine years. Monday will be a busy one!
Gaining pounds by the pounds of beef. But, hey- you can’t trust a skinny chef, now can you. (No, grandma I’m still the same size… don’t worry… maybe a little more fluff around the love handles… but leaving for the gym as soon as I send this. Don’t stress G, I got this under control… for now. Level 2 brings on pastry elements. Oh dear!).
** MY RED NOTECARD CASE WITH MY RECIPES WAS IN MY LOCKER THE ENTIRE TIME** (I would have gone to check, but they lock those doors during certain hours/Chef Jeff would NOT have allowed me to leave and go). I was very sad saying bye to him today.
Level 1- it’s been real!