Lesson 42: Holy Mackerel!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I am actually writing this on the train ride home from NYC.  I figured I would have more thoughts about my day if I wrote immediately after class instead of later at night when I'm burnt out and exhausted (and because it will pass the time on the hour long train ride!)

Our class got a stern lecture on cleaning today, which we definitely deserved and needed.  It is surely a challenge to remind yourself to clean up as you go when you have so many things on your mind.  I always thought I was pretty good about it and I really hope I'm not considered one of the "slackers" in class.  I know I am trying hard, but I always seem to worry if I am doing good enough.  I'm trying to keep my head up and continue to work hard, not be afraid to be challenged, and not to take criticism the wrong way.

Speaking of challenges, I was pretty proud of myself for filleting the mackerel today in my group (shown above).  I know that I am not the greatest at filleting and haven't filleted a round fish since mod 1. I figured this was my chance to get practice in and challenge myself.  I ended up not doing too bad!

While I was working on the fish, burgers were being formed and grilled.  Buffalo chili was also being mixed together so it could simmer for the rest of class.  We served our burgers on huge buns (they kind of looked like challah bread-- a shiny glazed top and a pale-yellow fluffy center).  The burgers were a simple ground patty served with the traditional burger toppings--onions, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and mustard.

Before enjoying our massive burgers, we finished up the teriyaki marinade for the hanger steak and a toasted spice marinade for the mackerel.  Hanger steak is a very tender meat that is only sold commercially.  It is cheaper than most steaks, but requires a lot of trimming which results in a a lot of waste.  We grilled the steak and served it with a separate teriyaki sauce made with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and maple syrup.

Allison and I sauteed the mackerel.  We were very hesitant about how long to cook them.  I was not sure how they should feel when they are cooked through or what they should even look like.  I think we were both afraid to burn or overcook them so we just used our best judgement (which ended up not being such good judgement!)

I plated the fish with confidence, thinking the filet's were cooked perfectly.  The plate looked beautiful:

I was bummed when Chef cut into it and saw it was not cooked all the way through.  I'm really hard on myself and mentally beat myself up over it, wondering why I didn't cut through one of them to check its doneness.  I have to keep reminding myself that I'm still learning and I'm going to be making a lot of mistakes that I can only learn from.  

The hanger steak turned out great--along with the teriyaki sauce that accompanied it.

The buffalo chili was also fantastic!  Al did a great job adding the right spices that complemented the array of flavors in the dish.

Tomorrow we are making saddle of rabbit.. Any idea what that is because I sure don't?!!!  Guess I will find out :)     Tomorrow night I will be heading to the famous Blue Ribbon Restaurant with some of my classmates.  I'll be posting a restaurant review soon!  I'm excited to try their oxtail with marrow (never thought I'd say that!)


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