where’s my hugger?!

SHEW. Yesterday was the last day of Baking and Pastry, which meant final exam time.

We had 4 hours to make whole wheat dinner rolls, pate a choux, buttermilk biscuits, cookies, and pastry cream. the pate a choux was piped into cream puffs, which we had to fill (with our pastry cream) and dip in chocolate ganache (which also had to be made). Oh and after scrubbing the kitchen from top to bottom, then we got to take the written exam. woof.

Despite the stress of the last day, the second week was a lot of fun!

There was pie

apple! it's hard to see, but there's a cute little apple cut out on the top that Poppa Bear made

There was cake

vanilla sponge with raspberry filling, american buttercream, and oreo crunchies

[sidenote: if you’ve got a thing for sisyphean tasks, you would be an EXCELLENT cake froster.]

There was quiche..ohhh was there quiche

carmelized onion, canadian bacon, sharp cheddar. and that's MY perfectly fluted pie crust thankyouverymuch

Eclairs and Cream Puff and Profiteroles, oh my!

profiteroles: filled w/ (hand-whipped) whipped cream. eclairs and puffs are filled with pastry cream and dipped in chocolate.

Sweet rolls (think parker house):

And on the 7th (ok 8th) day, God rested. And He created pizza. And it was good.

cheese and pepperoni

spinach and mushroom

Really good.

It was a little sad to say goodbye to our chef, who had an amazing balance of high expectations and understanding patience, but there was no time for dilly-dallying.  At 6:45am this morning, we were off to the races with Stocks, Sauces, and Soups!

Our professor is an ex-Marine with a thick Boston accent (and demeanor). It’s a lot to take before the sun comes up.  But he’s fiercely passionate about food and education–and it shows. He’s doing his PhD dissertation on the issue of the sub-par math skills of today’s youth and how it impacts their performance in professional kitchens. After my altercation with Baby Bear, all I can say is ROCK. ON.

So before class ended at 1pm today, i was known as “the hugger.” If you know me, you know I have the amazing capability to be completely devoid of all emotion. So, this was a change.

Chef asks the class, “who eats granola?” Silence. “I eat granola, chef.” “Perfect. There’s always one tree hugger in every class. You are now my Compost Queen.”

Christ.

“You are in charge of the compost buckets. Make sure there’s no trash in the compost or compost in the trash.”

Cue giggles and jeering.

“And if there is, you get to dump it on the freshly washed floor and let your classmates sort it out. And re-wash the floors.”

Silence. I giggle.

So then we made stock. I’ll spare you pictures of boiled chicken carcases and beef bones. But man it smelled good. We’re cleaning up and I’m untangling stacked chairs in the hallway (…teenagers) and all of a sudden Chef is in the window screaming–SCREAMING–“WHERE’S MY HUGGER??!?!” Time to take the compost out. Perfectly sorted, might I add.

Then I treated myself to an exciting sale item at the grocery store:

WHO NEEDS A HUG?

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5 responses

  1. A. I’m drooling…everything you make looks AMAZING.
    B. I miss you.
    C. I must admit, I am also a hugger (I eat granola).

    That is all.

    XOXO,
    Court

  2. KLeigh
    Be glad you don’t have to hang around that Drill Sergeant for 2 or 3 years like if you were in the Marines or the Army, Navy etc The food looks great, Mom says your doing Christmas dinner and dessert for 16 people this year. Study hard!
    love you mucho, dad

  3. Oh my! What good posts and pictures. I have been lurking a lot lately but really enjoying your blog. In the end hard stuff is good. You are SUCH A GOOD WRITER!! Exceptional. Miss you and love you. Many kisses. Yer Auntie K

  4. Your new entry has me skimming old ones. How’d you cook the pizza here (type of oven, temp, time)? I like that burned cheese but not burned crust, and have been experimenting to get it more precise

    • I’m pretty sure we did them in the convection oven at 375 (400 in a normal oven). Convection ovens have air constantly circulating, which helped the cheese brown and the crust not burn.

      Aside from installing a standing oven the size of a shower in your house, I’d try doing it on your pizza stone at like 350 to get the crust crisp and everything hot, then broil it for just a minute to get the browning.

      For timing: all of our recipes literally end with something like “cook until done.” I’d guess the 350 temp would take 15 min or so, but just keep an eye on it starting at 10. Let me know how it goes!

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