Day 57: Focus Game Strong.
Focusing was my game today and focusing is just what I did. I wasn’t singing, was barely all over the place, and didn’t look into the bread kitchen all distracted. I had three things on my mind: salmon, lemon tart, and dealing with My-Tree. If I had to rank out of the three which one worked the best I’d say Salmon, dealing with My-Tree, and then the lemon tart. My two dishes today were salmon with rice pilaf and sautéed spinach along with a lemon tart. The first thing I did was roll out the tart dough, which can be a pain if not done the right way because it’s so buttery/sticky. Then as a team we got the fish bones, chopped up the white mirepoix (leeks, celery, and onions), sautéed them, added chicken stock with water to cover, white wine, and a bouqet garni to add flavor. We let that simmer for a good 30 minutes in order to use the fish stock for our sauce for the salmon. In the meantime, I made my rice pilaf. We used Old Ben’s rice (I think that’s the name of the brand- sorry Ben if your name isn’t old) (nothing fancy). First, I melted butter with finely chopped onions. Then added the rice and once it was translucent, I poured in the chicken stock along with thyme, bay leaf, and pepper. I let it simmer then covered it and put it into the oven to cook for 17 minutes.
Once the fish stock was done cooking, we strained it and began reducing it for our sauce. I then rolled out my dough over the baking pin/sheet and into the oven it went to blind bake. I began making my lemon custard. I didn’t measure the lemons because I thought we were just supposed to zest/squeeze 6 lemons. It has always worked for me that way in the past; I don’t know why today was different. My rice was done, so out of the oven it came (sorry for being ALL over the place, but no joke at least you are getting a feel for how it is to cook in the kitchen.. can’t stop- won’t stop. Multiple dishes at the same darn time). Once my tart was golden, I removed the blind baking beans, and into the oven it went again to evenly get golden throughout. My fish sauce is still reducing; I added cream, shallots, and butter (forgot to tell you what I added into the sauce before, sorry again). I chopped up chives, chervil, and tarragon to throw in my sauce at the last minute. Out came my tart, I let it cool down for a little before adding the lemon custard. Then back into the oven the tart went until the custard solidified. Here is when I began picking off the steams from the spinach. Talk about an extremely tedious and annoying process. I would have paid anyone to help me pick those weeds. Doesn’t spinach come without stems! Golly!
When my tart was finally done, I put it in the window to rest. Now I put it on this rack where all the kitchen bowls are located. Noah’s tart was already resting on the rack, so I put mine on the rack right below his. I dropped my tart off at the cooling salon and like a good hairdresser I continuously checked on it every so often. I sautéed my spinach, got help from Chef Alain on how to grill my salmon, put my salon in the oven, heated my sauce and rice back up and then began plating. I presented to chef and she was really impressed. She said this is the type of dish people will specifically go back to a restaurant for. I must admit I pretty much devoured my plate in one bite and then licked the sauce off of it. My spinach and rice pilaf could have used a little more salt, but the flavors were spot on.
After presenting my salmon dish, I went to go check on my cooling tart. For some reason, I am NOT surprised at what occurred next and what I saw (I’m sure you won’t be either because this would happen to me!). Well, My-Tree decided that she was going to put her tart on the same rack as mine. Now the problem is that in between both of our tarts was a big pile of metal kitchen bowls. As My-Tree was haphazardly placing her stupid tart next to mine, the bowls ALL FELL ON TOP OF ONE SIDE OF MY TART! JESUS Mai ARE YOU FOR REAL!? RESPECT YOUR SURROUNDINGS! I surprisingly didn’t yell at her because we only needed to present two slices of the whole pie to chef, but STILL HALF MY PIE WAS SMUSHED LIKE A PIZZA PIE! I gave her a mini speech and I could tell she was ONLY partly sorry. My tart on top of being crushed by avalanching bowls, could have been rolled out thinner and could have been less acidic. However, it did taste yummy in my opinion. Also, My-Tree decides to bring home no joke so many leftovers that she could actually feed a whole Cambodian village. I got it out of her that she has a new boyfriend- who is 40 and Puerto Rican (rawr My-Tree rawr), so the food was for him and her personal trainer (double rawr My-Tree rawr). Tomorrow we are making Papillotte (fish in a bag) and pots de crème.
At the end of the day, chef was explaining to us what level 4 is going to be like (ahhhh half way down with my program next week! Going into my fourth month- this is bananas!). Well, for some reason chef broke out into a song, then the class joined her. Being the drama freak that I am, I took it upon myself to belt out my gospel singing pipes. I let out a HUGE wooooahhh-ooohh crescendo of notes during a small break between the next lines of the song- stopping everyone in their tracks. Chef almost passed out in shock because she didn’t know I could really sing. She asked me how I knew how to sing and then said she had the chills. Everyone was laughing because they couldn’t believe that chef didn’t know this side of me because all the other chefs did.
Happy ALMOST Halloween! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEBORAH!