Saturday, September 13, 2008

Curing and Smoking cont'd - Canapes

Friday we worked in teams of 4 making canapes. Just in case you don't know, canapes are 1-2 bite, open-faced sandwiches. The base can be made of pretty much anything (wontons, tortillas, crackers, unsweetened pastry shells, etc.) but we used toasted Pullman loaves cut into tiny shapes.

I made the canape spread (16 oz butter creamed with 16 oz cream cheese) - no these are not healthy at all, but then again, you're only supposed to be sampling.

Then I did the Grilled Chicken and Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin. Except, ha, I didn't do any of the meat portions. Apparently, I cannot cook anymore. I have always hated cooking chicken - I'm kind of terrified of it not cooking all the way and tonight I was so busy, I didn't pay enough attention, and totally burned it. Luckily, there actually was extra chicken breasts, so T redid it for me. I also burned the red onions when I went to soften them, but I redid it, without following the recipe, and they turned out much better. And then the beef, well, there was none left by the time I was ready to make it. So Chef said I would just have to have someone share slices with me. But the recipe must have been way off because we as a class ended up with way too much. People did a really good job cooking it though - it was fantastic.

We didn't start plating until after 11, and then it was a rush for us to finish - we ended up not being able to make the tuna carpaccio, but we did everything else.

Here's our platter:

From left to right is: grilled chicken, asparagus and sun-dried tomato, smoked salmon, smoked whiskey shrimp, peppercorn beef tenderloin, and around is smoked trout mousse.
Looks good, don't you think? He didn't critique any of mine, but he said even though the shrimp should have been stood up to add height, he liked it best.

We ate some, but after tasting all the bases all night, I really couldn't eat much. I think the most amazing thing about these canapes is that you don't even taste the individual parts of the dish - it becomes this amazing new flavor combination in your mouth. There was then a rush to clean up - I took home the tenderloin and chicken mixes, because it just seemed such a shame to throw it away. I should have taken some of the others, but it all tends to just sit in my fridge because it's only me to eat it. So it gets thrown away anyway.
We got out 5 minutes late, but considering we didn't start plating until 11:10, that's not bad.

Lessons Learned:
Apparently, when protein is involved, one needs to pick up their portion early. Now, this shouldn't be necessary if we actually got our proper amount of supplies, but I'm being naive to pretend that we ever do, so I should have realized this.
People are really starting to divide in the class - and it's more that almost everyone is furious about certain people, rather than exclusive cliques. I think the one that has the most people frustrated with her is Russia. She really pissed off her group tonight. Apparently, she told them they were making the canapes wrong, so she made all her own (once everything had been put together - she just did her own platter), and her group ended up complaining to Chef because they were really furious about it. I heard about that after class - I was irritated because while we were being critiqued (and he took about 10 minutes to critique), she was just standing there. I'm assuming it was to look like she was busy so she wouldn't have to help clean, but that's rude - critiques are considered private and everyone else is supposed to stay away. Obviously.
I just don't know what she's going to do - everyone in her group is going to make sure on Monday there is no room for her at the table, and she's not welcome at our's, and the last table is full, so where's she going to go? Who is going to get stuck being her partner? There are other people in the class who are annoying, but they have redeeming qualities when it comes to cooking, like Sutra being a really quick producer and willing to help when asked.
I don't know if she understands why even the nicest people in the class want nothing to do with her after working with her. Even when people tell her off, she doesn't change her behavior... Monday should be interesting.
On that note, time to work out - I ate too much at class this week!

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