Sunday, August 16, 2009

Breaking Fast

On Monday our theme for the day was to make breakfast. I was excited at first because I have been struggling trying to master the omelet at home. Mine taste great but I'm never happy with the appearance. Unfortunately that skill was not to be learned in this class. In an effort to be sure I did something new I teamed up with Mayfield and RK to make focaccia bread. other groups made pancakes and home fries, biscuits and fried chicken. All of us were supposed to each made Hollandaise sauce and fry two eggs either sunny side up or over easy.

Since we had to wait on the bread to proof, Chef told us to start our bread first while everyone else started on their sauce. Working with Mayfield and RK is a trip. These guys are both older than me. Mayfield is overly sensitive to please Chef, classic kiss ass. RK just makes me shake my head. Both these guys make everything harder than it needs to be. Even a simple instruction like "dissolve the sugar and yeast in the water" has to be read several times aloud and then parsed down to it's "true" meaning. Both have recognized that I am more experienced so they constantly ask me questions. I'm flattered.

Chef commandeered me to weigh up ingredients for Tuesday's pizza dough since I had the balance out to weigh up the flour for the focaccia bread. I let RK and Mayfield know that I was right behind them, holler if they needed me. Come on guys, you can do this.

We were half way through RK dribbling the flour into the water with a whisk when Chef came over and explained that in Intro to Baking we would learn that any time we saw the words "straight dough" we could just throw all the ingredients into the mixer and let it run, regardless of what the recipe directions called for. So then we had a five minute discussion on how to do that. Come on guys, just dump it all in. Makes me want to stab myself in the forehead with my knife. But they mean well. They want to do it right.

We ended up having to add some additional flour to our dough. I knew it was supposed to be on the wet side but Chef said ours was too wet. But hey, flour is like that, depends on the humidity and other factors. I took it in stride but I think Mayfield was a little concerned that Chef was questioning whether or not we followed the directions correctly.

Next it was on to the Hollandaise sauce. I distanced myself a little here. We were supposed to clarify our own butter which I began but since so many people had been doing it before us, there was plenty already made so I got what I needed out of a communal container.

Mayfield wanted of know if he could make a double boiler out of an aluminum sauce pan on top of a stainless steel sauce pan. No. Use a mixing bowl. We don't have any, they're all dirty. Dude, I just ran five trays through the dishwasher. There's a whole stack of them over there. Come on man look first. Of course then I had to explain to RK what a mixing bowl was. I quietly relocated myself to another table.

Most of the class struggled with this. I saw some really badly burned butter. Some burned Hollandaise, a lot of broken Hollandaise, curdled Hollandaise and some that was just plain the wrong color. Fortunately I had the advantage of having made this my first quarter so I knew exactly what I needed to do without even reading the recipe. And this time was easier since I was making only a quarter of what I made the first time. RK asked me if his yolks were ready. No dude, you just beat them. Like this, I showed him mine, bright yellow and left ribbons when I lifted the whisk out. For whatever reason he and Mayfield decided not to try to get theirs to match mine and continue on. Their sauce ended up a strange burnt orange color and kinda chunky.

I got all of the butter whisked into mine. Nice sauce consistency. I saw many that were as thick as sour cream. Ugh! I got the nod of approval from Chef and poured mine in the communal pot. That was a sight to behold. Rather revolting I might add. Eventually the pot came to a boil and the sauce broke. Someone in their infinite wisdom had the burner turned up. I had turned it off a couple times. I guess they didn't read the book.

Finally time to do eggs. Chef was quite vocal about using CLARIFIED butter and NOT whole butter. There weren't enough non-stick pans to go around so we had to wait turns. I'm not sure how many people I had to explain that too. Meanwhile Chef has some people putting together a small service station for the staff's lunch, stuff like butter pats, coffee, not sure what else, not sure what they are eating. I went around the other side and there is RK squeezing four of the plastic cube containers of butter out into his pan. Dude, what are you doing! Buttering my pan. I just walked away. Somehow RK realized that he isn't doing it right so he comes over and spoons his half melted butter pats into the clarified butter. So now the clarified butter is all screwed up. Thanks man.

We had to flip our eggs in the pan. Sweet. I do this all the time at home. I've even mastered flipping hash browns with the pan. I watched Igor terrified to flip his eggs. Took him at least ten tries. When he finally did it we all clapped. Hottie #3 missed half her eggs on the side of the pan. Whoops. I wonder how many are underneath the burners. Ridges and I got up together. We each had perfect flips. I lucked out though. His eggs stuck for some reason to his pan mine didn't. He ended up scrambling his. I got the thumbs up from Chef, making sure that I told him the other two eggs on my plate were not my broken yolks but Hottie #2's eggs. She doesn't eat eggs let alone over easy eggs.

Breakfast was good.

Afterwards Chef told us that we were doing pasta on Tuesday and pizza for a Hero's meeting. We would be making fresh pasta. I told Sushi #2 I needed to work with someone new so I joined him and Sushi #1. They were both thrilled to have me as a partner. We flipped through the book looking for a recipe. I asked what kind of pasta they like. Both said fettuccine. I found an acini di pepe recipe in the book and suggested that we substitute the acini di pepe pasta for fettuccine. They were excited. I went into the kitchen to see what ingredients we needed to order. I found left over fried chicken that had been made for today's breakfast and said we could substitute that for the shrimp in our recipe. They were both even more excited.

I was exhausted. Class feels a lot like work at the end of the day.

1 comment:

Brook said...

Exhausting but fun and educational! I want to sign up for a class or two of whatever kind at our local community college. You are encouraging me in this line of thinking! thanks!