Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer Semester in a Nutshell

Over the summer, I took two classes at CIC: Hospitality 102, which was pretty much like proteins class, and Garde Manger, which is the pantry/cold side of the kitchen.  Each class was twice a week, from 7:30 a.m. to either 12 or 2:30.  It was exhausting, but I really enjoyed both classes and felt like I learned a lot.  I was happy to be cooking so intensely every day.


In 102, we focused on cooking a different kind of protein every week.  Here are a few of the dishes I cooked over the course of the semester:

Pan Seared Veal Sweetbreads with Green Apple Gastrique

Bison and Red Bean Chili

Slider Trio: Salsa and Avocado, Mushroom and Fontina, Bacon and Egg

Lamb Stew with Rosemary Polenta

For our final exam in 102, we had to randomly draw the name of a protein out of a bowl and cook it with a starch and a veg.  Somehow, we had to incorporate a classical knife cut into the dish.  I randomly drew a sirloin steak.  I served it with fennel roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, and caramelized onion gravy.

It turned out really well and I was happy with the results.  The potatoes are one of my mom's recipes, which have been a family favorite since I was a kid.


In Garde Manger, we covered everything from preserving techniques to sushi to charcuterie.  The first day of class, we brined and cured beef tongue.

Here is Chef Mitchell, trying not to laugh because we were cracking jokes about the beef tongue.  Love him.

And myself, with previously mentioned tongue.

This class was a production class, so everything we cooked was served buffet-style on Wednesdays.  We cooked with the same group of 3 to 4 people all semester long and set up our buffet tables by group. 

My group: Erik, Venus, and me.  Love them too.

Like I said, we served a lot of really diverse food over the course of the semester.  Our group later ended up shaving that beef tongue and serving it warm, tossed with spicy BBQ sauce on slider buns.   It was a hit!

One group did this Cobb salad, which I thought they did a really nice job with.

One week, we had an Asian-influenced theme.  Here were my sushi rolls.  This was the first time I ever rolled sushi, and I had a lot of fun with it.

Not-so-great photo of me with my rolls.

For our final project in this class, our group had to design our own buffet, making sure to incorporate specific techniques that we learned over the course of the semester.  Erik made some badass sliders with homemade breakfast sausage, tomato sauce, peppers and onions.  Venus made a chilled cantaloupe rum soup.  I made 2 different types of hors d'oeurves:

Pita with Chicken Liver Mousse, Spicy Orange Marmalade, and Candied Orange Peel


Deviled Eggs 2 Ways: Curry with Caper Creme Fraiche, and Pimento Cheese with Smoky Bacon

Our group's dishes got a ton of compliments on the comment cards, and I think we were all proud of each other.


Hopefully this post helps to justify my break from the blog.  School and work has kept me intensely busy this summer;  I love the blog, but staying sane without any sacrifice has proven impossible, and I've regretfully had to let Dani Dishes go by somewhat by the wayside.  Even though I'm at the start of a new semester, I hope now I'll be able to make more time for this little project in my life.