Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Hip Housewife's gotta study!

This weekend is going to be all about studying because, you see, I have what's called 'practicals' next week.  These are tests where I demonstrate that I know the information and techniques we've been learning during the block we've just completed.

We are at the end of block 102.  This includes kitchen math, knife cut vocabulary, knife skills, kitchen vocabulary, wet and dry cooking methods including deep-frying, pan-frying, sauteing, steaming, poaching and boiling.

My exams will include a written exam where I will need to calculate new yields on recipes, costs per unit, costs per portion, how much a product costs per pound after it's been trimmed as compared to the original cost per pound.  Another written exam will test vocabulary and cooking techniques such as mise in place, mirepoix, deglaze, carmelization, Maillard reaction and refresh.

Then we move into the kitchen where I show I can cut product into the specific cuts in the correct dimensions.  From a large dice, a 3/4 inch cube, to a fine brunoise, a 1/16 inch cube along with the 2 inch strips that range from 1/4 inch square to 1/16 inch square.  I'll also need to dice an onion and chiffonade some type of leafy herb.

I'll need to use whatever I cut to demonstrate 4 cooking techniques, which I won't know until I'm given the recipe.  I'll need to quarter whatever recipe I'm given, set up my station with all my ingredients and equipment, use the proper ordering of preparation and successfully produce an acceptable finished product.

Part of my grade is going to be how clean I work.  Is my cutting board crowded?  Is my area a mess?  Do I have things out that I don't need?  Are my apron and tunic spotted?  (They shouldn't be.  I shouldn't be spattering stuff all over me. )

I know the cooking techniques.  I can set up my mise en place (you know how the chefs on telly have everything set up in little bowls with all the stuff they need?  That's mise en place.)  and work efficiently and cleanly.  I know the proper order of breading and batter dipping.

The challenge I'm facing?  Making my cuts even.  When I try to julienne I end up with a rectangle instead of a square at the end of the strip of whatever.  This weekend the family had better be looking forward to fries because I'm going to be cutting up a LOT of potatoes.  And onion soup as I'm going to dice a bunch of onions.  And carrots.  They better want some carrots.

Pass the knife steel, I'm on it!

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  When you're going to be working, keep your hair pulled back so it doesn't rest on your forehead.  It will make your hair greasy and if you have product in your hair it can cause breakouts on your forehead.

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