Saturday, September 20, 2014

And here's how it all went

As I told all twelve of you who read this, I was anticipating cooking this week.  And cook I did.  I didn't cook anything particularly complicated, but it was Korean and it was the first time I'd be executing for the woman I'm assisting.

I'm a little unclear about what to call my position.  I've been calling myself a prep cook or a prep chef.  (Prep chef sounds slightly more impressive, so I tend to use that title. )  I clock in and then do what Miss P tells me to do. 

She's Korean, only a few years older than me and moved to Chicago from Korea when she was 22.  She's been cooking Korean for ages.  She's been with our company for 3 years, since her family moved to Austin.  She's told me she goes between work and home, so she hasn't seen much of the city.  But, her daughter is 22 and, being young, goes out on the town.  We have these conversations in broken English, but we communicate alright. 

Anyway, she and I get along fine because she tells me what to do and I do it.  She also has a tendency to mother me, telling me not to pick up heavy things. 

Generally, I stir things, cut things, set up service and whatever else she needs me to help out with.

Then came Thursday, and she needed me to cook.  One the menu were seafood patties.  These are a pancake, like a potato pancake, including a variety of minced seafoods.  Octopus, shrimp, mussels, clams and squid are mixed with Korean pancake mix and eggs.  Then they are fried on a big, flattop (the huge, flat, heated metal surface used to cook many eggs, pancakes, breaded fish or whatever at a time)  until they are crispy on the outside and cooked through.

She made the batter, showed me how to make the patties and then left me to it.  I've found myself very much wanting to show what I could do.  As I said before, I can cook.  I just needed the chance to show my stuff.  No, this wasn't a two day process sauce, but I could do this. 

Once we'd done the initial batch, I had to run to the bathroom. I think my bowel evacuated themselves out of fear of messing it all up.  Sorry, TMI.  Onwards!

So, I plop out thirty of these jobbies. By the time I'm done plopping down the last one, the first one is ready to flip.  I flip them, press them flat and then go back to the first one to give them a last flip to make sure the excess I squished out in pressing them flat is cooked.  They're all removed and placed on a big sheet pan lined with parchment to drain. 

Miss P came out to check on me, gave my cakes approval and I continued on.  As I'm working through my 4th batch of 30 my manager, the man who hired me comes out.

"Hey, Amanda."  he says.

"Heya."  says I.

"Just need to let you know.  You obviously bring a lot of talent to the table..."

(I'm going to interject here that I honestly thought he was giving me a positive before giving me a negative.)

"Miss P was hesitant about you taking the morning shift while Mr. J is on vacation because she had this stuff that needed to be cooked in the morning.  But, you are really proving yourself right now.  She's already come and talked to me about how well you're doing.  You're rocking this like the rock star ya are." 

I said, with great relief, "Thank you.  I really like working for her and I didn't want to let her down."

"Well, you haven't.  Good job."

And wasn't I just the happiest scallop?  As I cooked my patties I sang "Le Poisson" from The Little Mermaid.  I got them all done and went on to my next task.  

Whoo hoo!  Go me!

Yesterday, I made a rolled omelet, Korean style.  It's only eggs, salt and thinly sliced green onion spread very thin and then rolled.  We slice them and serve them as a side dish. 

When I went to culinary school, one of the my goals was to learn to make a proper French omelet.  These are cooked inside of 90 seconds, have NO color and NO texture.  The surface should be perfectly smooth, like baby skin.  I never did get the hang of it.  Mine always had a rougher texture then they should.

But, I got these omelets the right, light brown color and cooked through without being over done.

That afternoon, Miss P perked up about teaching me Korean food.  She leaned over while she and I were mixing beef with marinade and told me she was going to try and teach me Korean food. 

Next week, I go back to my normal schedule but we'll see if my duties change.

Meanwhile, I have to work on putting laundry away.  Again. Some more.

We'll see if anything interesting happens in the next few days.

Amanda's household tip of the day:  Use newspapers dipped in water to clean glass.  Use a dry newspaper sheet to dry.  Easy and cheap.

No comments: