Day 17: Beef Me Up.
After having left class feeling defeated yesterday and pretty much shedding tears in Chef Jeff’s face, I got back on my high horse and road straight onto success avenue today. Carlos had to work with Xandra and I worked with Sagot. You see Sagot is a character himself. He’s about 5’4, born Jewish now atheist, goes by Sagot (last name), answers all chef Jeff’s questions, has worked in a professional kitchen before, and is pretty much the biggest chef’s pet I have EVER seen. With that being said, kid knows his stuff and I LOVE working with him because he isn’t mean, isn’t lazy, and knows what he is doing. I can tell that he takes pride in being my tutor and the fact that Chef Jeff asked him to work with me must mean something. I was on my best behavior with Sagot or at least tried to be. Class clown with the teacher’s pet isn’t the ideal combo- but hey I could be a chameleon and a chameleon today, I was.
Chef Janet was Chef Jeff’s sous chef today. She had previously worked on a butcher farm and knows every cut of every animal and how to get down slicing and trimming away. It was neat hearing and seeing her pictures from the butchering house (sorry for all my PETA fans). We learned the different primal and sub-primal cuts and where each cut is taken from the animal. The more tender cuts are away from the hoofs and horns and closer to the belly and junk in the trunk. Before you go to chop up your meat, you want to figure out exactly what you are going to make with the meat beforehand (kind of like dating in the sense that before you go into something you should know what you want out of it first because if not it gets all murky and then you’re knee deep in brackish water—WAHH FOCUS!). One of the most important cuts is the rib-eye because that is what determines how much the meat of the animal will be worth. Can you imagine if that was reversed and a human’s worth was determined by their inner thigh fat or lower back fat? I know some people in my family who would be worth A LOT (not pointing an elbows (or fingers)!
We worked with two types of cuts today- the New York Strip (mother’s favorite) and the filet mignon (one of my besties). We first worked on our New York Strip in a béarnaise sauce with compound butter on top. Compound butter is probably the third best food ever invented behind 1. Spaghetti and meatballs (obviously my one and only) and 2. Dairy Queen’s Smores Galore parfait (still mad at whoever decided that slices pizza joint should replace DQ near our house- really? Wow.) Granted my list could go on forever and ever… ughhh chipotle steak bowl (hoooollld me backkk). Sidetracking again- back to compound butter. Basically, you mix a bunch of ingredients into butter at room temperature (lemon, horseradish, shallots, parsley, garlic, mustard- you name it) wrap it in a clear wrap and then leave it in the fridge till it hardens into a butter log. After we seasoned our New York Strips (Sagot was very generous with the seasonings), we learned how to grill them to make the pretty grill marks. Then we added our homemade béarnaise sauce and slices of our compound butter on top. Can you say- yes I did eat the entire thing in 5 minutes even though I was stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey half way through. After today I made a deal with Felix (dishwasher hero man) in Spanish that I am going to right off the bat cut my meal in half and give him the other half. We all always share our food with him and he brings it home to his family all mixed up- it’s so cute. We ate our steaks at 11 am mind you- talk about Breakfast of champions.
After eating that slab of beef, we moved onto our filet mignon lesson. Had I known that we were doing filet later in the day- I would have saved my appetite. Man oh man, this filet was just sheer perfection. We first seasoned it and wrapped a twine string around it to ensure that it keeps it’s shape while cooking. Then we put oil in the pan dropped our filets in, added a lovely amount of butter, and seared it on both sides. Then we put that baby in the oven with more butter to melt and when it was ready we mounted it with the MOST AMAZING FINGER LICKING SAUCE EVER(no joke I drank the sauce alone and scooped out all the extra amazingness because I didn’t want a drop to be wasted). The sauce was a bordelaise and we had the chance to tournage our potatoes into cocottes or make pommes darphin (hash brown pattie). I’m sure you all guessed which one I chose…. WRONG! I chose to tournage the potatoes for practice because our final exam practicum is MONDAY- ahhhhh! NOT READY…
If anyone knows of a stunt double that is willing to psych Chef Jeff out and fill in for me while I fly to Miami for the holiday, I would be forever grateful. And how ironic is it that on the Jewish New Year (I am allowed to take the day off and it won’t be counted- but I don’t know if I am) we are working ALL with PORK! I don’t know what I am going to do considering I do NOT eat that- I hope you partner is ready to do all the tasting- I’ll be the saucier (sauce boss) all day! Sign me up!
Apples dipped in honey! Sweet New Years! (to those it applies to and those who it doesn’t too- you should also be able to have a sweet new year)