At school we took a field trip to an organic farm. It was pretty interesting. One thing I learned is that there is a new way of planting tomatoes. First dig a hole and plop the tomato plant down, let it grow about about a foot or so. Then uproot it and horizontally replant with only about 6 inches above ground. One needs to trim the branches of the part that is buried underneath. So the first 12 inches become a whole new root system so the plant is more stable and produces more fruit.
Also I learned you only need to buy one tomato plant for every four you need. Plant the "mother" plant and then strip with an angle cut and replant 3 branches. Each branch will become an entirely new plant.
I had a Barabietola de Chioggia which are basically sweet orange an white beets. They had a beet and sweet cantaloupe taste to them. They were so yummy.
Sunday, July 11, 2004
My new knife.
The Mac Knife MBK-95. The Professional Series 9.5 in knife. I figured I did not need to spend an excessive amount of money since I am just a beginner. I wanted to test drive the Shun 10" but none of the places I went to had it, only the 8".
I test drove the Henckels Four Star and Professional and the Wustof 10" knives. They were all too heavy for me. I like the Mac its heavier than a Global, but about half the weight of the Henckels or Wustofs.
WOW, it is SHARP. I thought my Shun was sharp! Best of all if you live in the Sacramento Area and go up to the warehouse, Harold will give you 20% off IF you are a culinary student. (Well he at least did for me, I did not even ask.)
THOMAS KELLER "SIGNATURE" KNIVESKnives are the most important tools in the professional and home kitchen. Thomas Keller has chosen MAC to produce his signature knives stamped from a custom blended, high carbon, Molybdenum alloy that is rust proof and stain resistant. The blades are tempered to an extremely hard 58°-60° Rockwell C to maintain their sharpness longer than any other knife.Manufactured in Seki, Japan, the knives feature razor sharp edges and thin blades for precise control and effortless cutting.These exceptional knives are specially made for Thomas Keller with beautiful white Corian handles and permanently etched with his signature.
July 13, 2004
One week to go...
This week we are pricing out our menus and doing conversions. Nothing exciting. The usual 1.5lb = ? grams, so on and so forth.
The Baking class starts in a couple of weeks and I cannot wait to get in the kitchen.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
I swear some of the students are idiots here. I was reading a report about a restaurant that someone interviewed the sous chef and kept writing "Sue Chef." I was like Chef Sue?
"What are you cooking?"
"Some potato stuff and meat stuff."
I was thinking he'll never be a Sue chef.
Monday, July 19, 2004
Gawd, we are STILL doing culinary calculations! I knew I should have skipped school today, but oh well. C'est la vie.
What is wrong with the baking class? I know this is not the CIA or Wales and Johnson, but you would think that after five weeks of making muffins they could get it right for once. The last four weeks the muffins were hard, but had a little flavor to them. So I went to the cafe figuring the last week the muffins should be good. I bought one, it even soft and warm still. "Finally" I thought "a good muffin." So I bite into it, BLEH! I am pretty sure they forgot to add sugar. Baking is next, and I have made a vow to perfect muffins by the first week even if I have to do them at home.
I am bringing in the big guns, "CIA: the Professional Chef," "Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg" and the "King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion." All will be memorized and conversions optimized. We shall not fail!
Monday, July 26, 2004
So today is the first day of baking. What did we do MORE CONVERSIONS. I was seriously about to walk out of class. I am soooooooooo glad my class is relatively intelligent. The chef told us the last class took 3 days to understand the formula:
weight of ingredient_______________ X 100 = % of ingredient
weight of flour.
THREE DAYS?!?!?!?!? They need to have their heads examined.
So it seems that we are the guinea pig class. They are trying a sort of new curriculum on us. So instead of making muffins, cookies, etc for the cafe every morning we are going to do have a lot more variety and less repetition. So hopefully this goes well. We got our knife kit today too. Yuck I really do not like the Messenmeister knives we got. I am glad I already have a chef's knife. So we shall see how the rest of the week goes.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
FIRST DAY OF BAKING
FINALLY. We are in the kitchen. So our first assignment was to make chocolate chip cookies. Hmm, for some reason they turned out a little too crumbly. I am not sure if it is that European butter blend (50% butter/50% margarine) crap or too much butter. I double checked out conversions and it was correct. They were nice and gooey though, the way I like them.
The other group did peanut butter cookies and theirs' turned out better, C'est la vie. A little competition is good for the soul. Both of our batches turned out better than the last bakery's class on the first day. I was stoked.
Then we started some French bread. My chef had to leave for an hour so they will finish baking after we leave. Tomorrow we shall see how things go. Overall a good day though.
It's kinda funny.Wherever there is school there always is some kind of drama. One of the guys in my class was hitting on one of the girls in the Baking and Patisserie class specialty. I guess the other rather unattractive girl likes him too. She call the first girl a slut. The baker's have 10 inch chef knives too, hopefully during the cat fight no blood will be shed.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Man I am sooooooo tired. How tired? This is what happened this morning. We had to make brownies so I started to make the chocolate. I weighed out 1 lb 11 oz of butter blend and 18 oz of chocolate chips. I cut up the butter and added the chips to a metal bowl and proceeded melt it over a double boiler.
The other group was melting theirs too, I looked over and it seemed like there was a lot more butter in theirs. We triple checked our calculations so I was sure that we had enough and measure out correctly.
So I finished melting ours and showed it to the chef. He said "Wow, that is beautiful." The other group's was watery. So he was all like THIS is how it should be. The other group gave me playful hits and teasing, because he made them do it over again. So they do it over AGAIN and get the same result.
Now they were really giving me the evil eye. I just shrugged my shoulders . So we all tried to figure it out.
So the chef said, "what's that" And on the table was my 1 lb of butter! Doh! I only added 11oz of butter.
But the chef liked it so much, he turned it into a real ganache.
So we still have not figured out why the chocolate is so runny. I posted on chef2chef.com. Hopefully, they can solve our problem.