Culinary School Here I Come (65) Garde Manger Competition Win, Chocolates and Prepping for my Christmas Party


Omg, omg, omg first because our Garde Manger final competition is over and second because our group scored the highest points. Now there will be no more feeling like I have to vomit or sleepless nights. Stress & I are not friends. Usually when I’m stressed I will have sleepless nights for no reason other than I stress myself out. I was thinking about potential mystery basked ingredients or I kept myself up because I though that my Pate en Croute was filled with air pockets. Just crazy I say. I don’t think I am cut our for competitions or to be a contestant on Chopped. Now Sweet Genius, on the other hand, I may be up for in a few years…kidding! Competition aside, Garde Manger class is one that I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot from and I have been able to use in my every day entertaining life. I was never a fan of pate or any cold forcemeat product, but a good seafood Pate en Croute, I’m down with, so much that I’ve been pricing molds on ebay and amazon. They are kinda pricey.

Our hors d’oeuvre plate consisted of Smoky Seared Duck Breast Tostada (bottom), Brie Mousse with Prosciutto in a Sesame Seed Barquette (middle) and finally our Cherry Tomato with Olive Tepanade and Grilled Shrimp. Our judge commented that the tomato was an “intense burst of flavor.”

Our composed salad was a Pepper Seared Ahi served on Spring Greens & Plum Tomatoes with an Orange Gastrique Vinaigrette.

Our hot appetizer was a Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Tart with a Shaved Fennel & Orange Salad. I wish we had made an extra one to taste.

Finally, our signature charcuterie dish was our Indian Inspired Chicken and Seafood Pate en Croute with Lemon Aoli. If you read my blogs, you have seen this being produced a few times. The goal was to make it as often as possible to perfect it and we did. It was our best attempt yet. Our judge said, “You hit this one out of the park!”. I love eating and making these so you’ll see later that I made another one for my holiday party.

The week in Baking Class consisted of making our Chocolate for our truffle sale next week. Our assignment was to make the Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Truffle.

Mise en place

Getting our raspberry gelee going

Raspberry gelee resting

Our dark chocolate was poured into molds where it sat for a minute or two, poured out and let to sit. A little bit of the raspberry gelee was piped in, then some dark chocolate ganace was added. Now it’s time to close this puppy up. Here are some other chocolates that we worked on.

I wanna say that these are Salted Caramel in Dark Chocolate and Dipped in Milk Chocolate.

I have to mention that these are some great Pistachio and Dark Chocolate dreams.

I’m not a big fan of these Chocolate Ganache & Marshmallow morsels.

Our chocolates will be boxed on Monday so more pics to follow. As if my week wasn’t busy enough, some friends from LA was in town so I had them over for dinner. I made a Crusted Salmon with an Avocado Mousseline and Wasabi Hollandaise sauce. I gotta say that the combination of sauces were awesome.

So my week could have ended on Thursday and I could have spent the weekend relaxing and glowing in our GM win, however, I had planned my Christmas party for Saturday so I knew I’d be spending some of Thursday evening, most of Friday and all of Saturday prepping and getting ready. I was planning to serve 3 hors d’oeuvers, a couple of entrees, a starch, a veggie and a buffet of desserts, culminating with my Biscotti Christmas tree that I had wanted to make for years and now I’ve finally committed. I had this recipe and pictures of it from a very old Sunset Magazine…at least 15 years ago if not more.

I decided at the last minute to use my world famous “Beam me up Biscotti” walnut and dried cranberry recipe. You need to make 3 2″X9″X12″ triangle like shapes.

Each of the segments get cut into 5/8″ strips and crisped again in the oven. The construction would take place just before showtime on Saturday.

Each of the layers get “glued” with strawberry icing.

A little bit of greenery and voile, Biscotti Tree. I was actually impressed that I made this. Next year, the Croquembouche!

Prociutto, Shrimp and Roasted Red & Green Pepper Mousse in a Poppy Seed Barquette.

Salmon, Shrimp and Citrus Ceviche Cucumber Cups.

Yes, the Indian Inspired Chicken & Seafood Pate en Croute made another appearance. I borrowed the pate mold from the college. I priced them on Amazon and was a whopping $70. Yikes

No pics of the main course but this was the dessert buffet. Cardamom Butter Cookies, Pumpkin cheesecake bites, Banana & Walnut Bread and Mini Lime & Ginger Jelly Tars with Pastry Cream & Star Anise Spiced Apples. Those were wonderful.

This week will be a short one. Classes end on Wednesday and finals are the week after.

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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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