Day 50: Just Me, Myself, and I.
Done with my second mock midterm and ready to never get off the couch. Just like the first mock midterm, we had to pick a number out of a hat that assigns you a number in the order of when you are to present your dishes to chef. Last time I picked out A6 and today I got A2 which means I was one of the first groups to present aka NO time, but GO time. My first dishes were due at 12:22 and the second course was due at 1:18. I had to make the Barramundi fish dish and the lemon tart.
Since I had to make both of the dishes (4 plates per dish to present) alone, Chef advised us all to make task cards for ourselves, so that we are able to keep a running list of the procedures in order to finish our dishes on time. Guess what!? This boo finished ALL of her dishes on time and presented them to chef. I will be task card making away from now here on in. I was multitasking like crazy today between the two dishes. I first had to make the dough for my tart and let is cool in the fridge. Then I began making my sauce Americane by chopping up lobster bodies, shrimp bodies, flambé-ing the mirepoix with brandy creating a fire in the pan. Then added water to cover with tomato paste and canned tomatoes, tarragon, garlic etc. I let that simmer and while it was simmering, I rolled my dough out and then let is sit back in the fridge again, so the gluten could relax. Then I cooked my mussels and carved my potato cocottes (12!). After, I rolled the dough onto the baking pin/sheet and into the oven it went to blind bake. I tell you I must have had some bad experience in my past life with ovens because I am SO afraid of getting burned. My finger today got burned and I almost cried. I was sucking on it the rest of the day and trying to expose it to anything cold.
After my sauce Americane had simmered for an hour, I strained it and began reducing it. I poached my fish in the sauce and then cooked both the shrimp and mussels in it as well. On my flattop stove, I was reducing heavy cream to add into my lobster stock. While doing all this I continuously checked on my tart in the oven. Once it was golden brown, I removed the blind baking beans and then the tart went in again to continue crisping up. I then began zesting 6 lemons and squeezing the juice into a bowl. I added 5 eggs with heavy cream and fine sugar and whisked it up before adding the lemon zest and juice. I used a stupid strainer, but somehow the seeds got into my juice! Picking out seeds is NO fun and a waste of time. Damn you, you stupid lemon squeezer. You are supposed to prevent the seeds from escaping and entering my juice!
I took my tart out of the oven and let it cool before adding in the custard. While it was cooling, my lobster sauce was almost reduced enough and my potatoes were boiling away, so I decided to begin plating (yes, my plates were hot from the oven. Hot food=hot plates). Due to the fact that this fish dish has many elements, plating can take a little time. Each plate needs 3 mussels, 3 potatoes, a fish, a butterflied shrimp, and sauce on top of the fish. After I plated, I then realized I forgot to add the herbs into the sauce, so I just had to sprinkle them on top of the fish- oyyy! I also need to learn how to properly reheat my food after pre-cooking them because chef said my mussels were cold. Again, my bad! But, hey at least I was on time right!? Oh and my potatoes needed more salt! But, hey at least they weren’t raw. Haha always looking at the glass half full =)
Before presenting my fish dish to chef, I filled my tart with the lemon custard and popped it into the oven. After cooking it for 25-30 minutes, it needs time to cool and rest before serving. I was a little premature in wanting to take out my tart, so when I shook it the custard came spilling over the top. I almost had a heart attack, but luckily I had some extra custard left over and just poured some more inside the tart baking in the oven. No big deal! My tart was able to rest and came out beautifully. Next time I could roll my dough a little thinner. But hey, some people’s dough broke and cracked or their lemon custard was too acidic. I’ll take it!
Sorry for not having any pictures, but you’ve seen all these dishes too! Tomorrow instead of working in groups of 4, we will only be working with a partner to create two dishes. My partner is Jack and we are at the poissonier station! Here fishy, fishy, fishy!