Market Basket Challenge Day 2

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today was much the same as yesterday. We had a bit more of a general idea of what ingredients we would have because everything that was left over from yesterday was fair game to use today. We also got some other different ingredients, including some seafood.

In my mind, I was planning on making a cut of beef with a really nice cherry tomato sauce (I remembered seeing a ton of cherry tomatoes yesterday). However, when I saw the mackerel, I decided to change my menu a bit.

I thought that if I seasoned my fish with lots of spices then it would pair well with a fresh salsa. I made a salsa out of roasted yellow bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, olive oil, and balsamic.

I also had a beet side-dish stuck in my head. I wasn't sure if it would go with my fish and salsa theme, but I decided to give it a try. I made a goat cheese polenta with beets and swiss chard. I loved this polenta!! When I went to plate my dish, I realized that the color of the polenta (which turned pink from the beets!) totally clashed with my fish and salsa. Oh well, whaddaya gonna do? I presented my plate with confidence to Chef Chris. He also commented on weird.. color scheme, but he loved all of the components of the dish. My fish was cooked perfectly with a crispy skin, my salsa was super fresh and nicely seasoned, and my polenta was obviously awesome. Overall, I was happy with the end result:

(Spicy mackerel with a roasted pepper & tomato salsa; Goat cheese polenta with beets, swiss chard, and fresh thyme)

Tomorrow is my FINAL practical! I seriously cannot believe that this is my very last practical in culinary school. I'm a little bit nervous, but I'm confident that if I stay calm I will do absolutely fine. Here is my practical that Chef Chris made up himself to only give to his students:
-Knife skills-- small-dice mirepoix, fine mince garlic, fine mince shallot, prepare 1 sachet and present complete mise en place for braising
-Fabricate 1 whole chicken into 2 breasts (both frenched), 2 legs (thighs separated from drums), and 2 wings
-Braise the chicken legs, thighs and wings. Present in a hot bowl with 2-3 oz sauce.
-Make a paillard out of 1 breast and Grill
-Pan sear the other breast and present it with a pan sauce
-Cook green vegetables properly: asparagus, brocolli, and haricot vert
-Prepare a root vegetable puree and present in an 8 ox souffle cup

All stuff I have done before, but this is a lot to get done in the time we are given. I'm looking forward to the challenge!

My mom will also be coming to school with me tomorrow! She'll be attending the Chef Guarnaschelli demo while I'm taking my practical (I wish I could go with her!!)..Afterwards, we're having dinner at Blossom, a vegan restaurant in Chelsea. Tomorrow will definitely be an exciting day!!


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