Friday, November 25, 2011

How I am tested on my knowledge every 2-3 weeks.

My school teaches classes in blocks.  This week we finished up 2 weeks of potatoes, grains and pasta.  Once we reach the end of a block we have what's called our 'practical exam', a test where we demonstrate what we've learned about the cooking methods.  We also have a written exam that includes kitchen math, identification of product and other information out of our textbook.

My practical is coming up this Monday.  It looks like this:

Boil 1 waxy potato

8 oz. duchesse (4 rosettes)

Risotto (1/2 c. dry)

Pilaf (1/2 c. dry)

8 oz. gnocchi

8 oz. grilled polenta

1 bundle of fresh fettucine/spaghetti

5 raviolis with butternut squash filling, cooked in brown sage butter

5 tortellinis/tortellonis with spinach filling

I have 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete all the dishes.   I'll also need to turn in a time-line, my list of needed equipment and list of ingredients.  This practical is going to be all about time management.  A good part of my grade will be based on my game plan, what I choose to start first, second, etc.

The polenta needs to chill for a while before I grill it.  The potatoes duchesse need to be mixed warm.  Pilaf can be left alone to cook but the risotto requires babysitting.  Once the pasta dough is made the cranking out of the actual noodles is pretty easy.  The gnocchi can be made ahead and then poached later.

Whatever I bring to my chef instructor needs to be hot.  The bundle of fettuccine and the tortellini won't be cooked, but everything else will.

Today, I'll be spending some time getting my list together of when I'm going to start what.  Once that's done, I'll put together my ingredient/equipment list.

After I've gotten that done, I'll be practicing for the rest of the weekend.  My instructor really wants to see us prepare our pasta dough by hand instead of in a food processor.  Mixing it up by hand involves mounding the flour on a work surface, making a well in the middle and putting the liquids in the well.  Then, using a fork or your hands, you gradually pull the flour into the liquid to create the dough.  When I tried this in class my wall of flour failed spectacularly and I got egg all over my table.  I was able to smoosh it all together and save it, but I still need to get it right.  I'm going to be doing this in a pie pan at home because I don't want to have to scrape egg and flour out of the grout on my counter top.

Carbs at my house this weekend!  Text me if you want some.

I have an odd desire to yell "Abbondanza!"

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Honey can be used as a good, clarifying face mask.

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