Culinary School Here I Come (23) Week 14, Thanksgiving Week


I’ve never appreciated weekends more than now as a Culinary Student in College. This is a 4 day weekend..woohoo. It was a mildly busy week in school. We had 2 days of service, an exam on Flavors and Flavorings and a practical. I like practicals. We fabricated a chicken into 8 pieces. My cuts were “excellent” as was written on my evaluation. We then use a boneless breast to test our sautee skills and sauce making. We all used the same recipe. I don’t like following recipes so I felt a bit clunky. We used tomato concassee (I know you know what that is), garlic, onions, white wine, lemon juice, clarified butter, salt, pepper and basil chiffonade. I have trouble seasoning. I don’t use a lot of salt so my food tends to be a bit undersalted and my chef salts his food a lot. Long story short, my chicken was cooked perfectly but my sauce needed more acidity. That was good practice for the final practical.

I cooked a lot at home because I had house guests for a couple of days and some friends from out of town were here for a week so they came over for dinner one night and of course, getting ready for Thanksgiving. Here was the menu:

The first dinner was a Moroccan feast. The entree was Mahimahi with Chermoula and Preserved Lemons. I served a Couscous with Dried Fruit and Nuts and an exotic sweet and spicy Eggplant in Honey and Spices. It was really good for my first attempt at Moroccan. The Chermoula is a paste used as a marinade. It’smade with coriander, garlic, cumin, saffron, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. The sauce was made with onion, carrot, preserved lemon, tomato concassee, potatoes, olives and fish stock, then garnished with chopped coriander and mint.

Our second dinner was much simpler. Grilled Ahi on Romaine Lettuce with Wasabi Hollandaise.

Cilantro, Mint and Manchego Cheese Crusted Salmon on Couscous with Dried Fruit and Steamed Brocolli with Brown Butter. I recycled a few ideas from my Moroccan night. The cilantro and mint in the crust was a very interesting combination. Very simple dinner but memorable.

One of my guests was a vegetarian so instead of serving her salmon, she got tofu. I didn’t sample it but she said it was awesome. It looked really good. I may have to do this one again.

Nothing says Thanksgiving like homemade turkey stock. I have to invest in a stock pot but where do I store a monster like that?

Thanksgiving, this year, was a pot luck. I brought the turkey. There is so much waste in roasting a whole turkey so I decided to cut it up into 8 pieces and brined it. I roasted the legs, thighs and wings separately then butterflied the breasts, stuffed it with a chicken sausage stuffing, rolled it, tied it up and roasted it. It was very good. I’ll be doing this every year.  I also made a pumpkin cheese cake with a graham cracker and nut crust. That was amazing as well.

With all that cooking, I will be eating leftovers for the rest of the week. If I run out, I will go out to eat!

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About tinfoilduck

I had this wacky idea to go to culinary school, while maintaining another full time career. I will be blogging about the program and how it affects me as I try to manage my daily life and how I try to keep everything together.
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