Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 42

So after yesterday's temper tantrum I decided to return to school better planned and organized. I did a test run of what I knew had to be coming. Pork tenderloin medallions.

Above was my first plate at home in the morning before class. I wanted to do pork with potatoes and apples but I knew we only had 2 apples left in the walk in at school and I was in the second group of students to come in. Meaning that if pork was assigned I was out of luck if others used apples. So I chose mangos. We had a few mangos and I didn't think that was going to be on anyones agenda. Except mine. So I picked up a few potatoes, mangos and defrosted some pork from my freezer and set my timer for 1 hour 45 minutes. ( I assumed that is how long we would get after our 2 hours yesterday). I wanted to try the potatoes 2 ways. One plate with pureed and one with dijon roasted.

I enjoyed eating the roasted potatoes more but in the context of the dish the puree was better. I also made a mango chutney (but I guess not the way Chef would have made it). The medallions just got seared. I finished my dish in under an hour which left me more than enough time for my second dish which I assumed would be a seafood protein. So I chose the first picture for my official plan.
So I arrive at school and see the other students still running around the kitchen and it did not look good. They were obviously feeling pressed for time and trying to drop their plates in time. If we did not drop anything we would not be scored at all. So once they finished and cleaned up I went in to hear my sentence. Pork and Shrimp. Two main courses. Two sauces. Plates do not have to be dropped at the same time. That made it easier. I went ahead with my final draft of my morning dish.
I made a few mistakes, however. While boiling my potatoes next to my chutney, I seared the shit out of the side of my chutney from the flame from the high heat burner on the potatoes. So caramelized mango chutney it became. Golden in color with flecks of brown for extra flavor. I also slightly over cooked my pork. I should have known better. It looked fine from the outside but was medium well in the center. Chef was not pleased with that.

So his other complaint on my dish was that it looked too dry. He suggested a simple ladle of seasoned demi glace around the chutney to moisten things up. He said nothing about the potatoes which were the best mashed potatoes I have ever made in my life. I assume that means he liked them too. Its funny how when you throw calorie consciousness to the wind in order to achieve maximum flavor you find the best taste. They had cream, milk, butter, and more salt than I want to actually know about. I just kept adding things (after ricing the potatoes) until they were great. Then I took them home and ate them for dinner. No guilt. Just good.
On to my little shrimps. I had this orzo recipe that I had made many times for myself and entertaining from one of Ina Garten's books. Its orzo with roasted vegetables and a lemon vinaigrette. Its great on its own and I thought it would be a lovely lunch like entree with sauteed shrimp. Now my only problem was that I needed an official sauce and I knew that a vinaigrette would not count. The salad originally called for toasted pine nuts, cheese, and chopped basil so I opted to make a pesto and call it a day. So I cut my bell peppers into lovely little diamonds (lozange cut) and roasted them with garlic and onions (I tried to make them diamonds but I felt short on time so they were not as nice as my peppers). I only had 1 hour 45 minutes. It goes fast, okay? Especially as Chef stares at you working. Probably thinking that his toddler niece can cook faster. You try it. But only if you get someone to stare at you THE WHOLE TIME. You just keep that relaxed look on your face as you scoop charred chutney out of your black pan. Call it caramelized.
So next I cooked the orzo pasta and dressed it with the lemon vinaigrette and stirred in the roasted vegetables. I covered it to keep it warm. Somewhere in the process I made a pesto in the food processor and let it sit at room temp. Lastly I seasoned my shrimp heavily and pan seared them.
I garnished with a lemon twist and basil leaves. The pesto was in little blobs around the five shrimp as you can see. I had I think 10 or so minutes leftover. I used a ring mold to help shape the pasta salad into that circle. Orzo is so slippery you cannot really expect it to hold anything up. I just nestled my shrimp in there. I loved how this turned out. I would like to serve it at a luncheon or have it outdoors on a warm summer night.
Chef liked the shrimp dish. He was pleasantly surprised at the strong flavors in the pasta (which was the lemon dressing). He expected my only sauce to be the pesto, I guess. So my total for today (due to the overcooking of the pork) was 19. Not bad, huh? The pork dress rehearsal really helped. Tomorrow we get a break from the stress to go on a class field trip to the place that supplies us with our meats for school. I'm sure you can't take pictures in there.

No comments: