Skills II – a return to cooking

Skills II so far has been more balls to the wall than any of the other classes taken, but much more so when compared to Baking.  We really couldn’t have had a worse lead-in to what we’re going through now.

Our first day was Friday which in itself was kind of weird as we normally we have a day off between classes. 

On Day I we had lecture about stocks (now a matter of daily production, something I’ve been wanting since I began school) and had to prepare two dishes:  Volaille Fermiere au Vinaigre (essentially chicken braised in a vinegary braising liquid) and Poulet Saute Chasseur (pan seared chicken with a rustic sauce of mushrooms, shallots, cognac, white wine, stock & tomato among a few other items).  Both dishes were served over buttered noodles.

Both of these turned out pretty well for me, though I didn’t reduce the sauce enough for the Volaille.  I made sure not to repeat that mistake for the chasseur dish.

Today was slightly more intense: roasted chicken served with mashed potatoes, sauteed duck breast with sauce Bigarade and vegetable soup.  I thought my vegetable soup was nearly perfect – I took time on all my knife cuts to make sure everything was nice and even, the seasoning was really good, there was no grease or fat in the finished product, the vegetables were all cooked perfectly al dente (all of which Chef P mentioned).  The only problem was that I had cut up the tomatoes a little too small (they were canned & already roughly chopped but we had to chop them more finely).  Apparently for this I lost quite a bit on the grade, which I thought was a little unfair considering the guy standing next to me forgot to season his soup altogether and received a slightly higher grade.  The guy that stands across from me scored the same as I did – neither of us are all that sure as to what happened.

We had to scramble to get the duck breast done today and the three of us ended up working together to make sure it got done.  If everyone had to do their own mise en place there’s no way it would have happened, which is what happened to most of the class.

Seeing as we have to make beef tenderloin with Marchand de Vin sauce, french onion soup, Jardiniere de Legumes and prep beef bourgignon for the next day tomorrow, I’m busting my ass from the beginning.

I promise photographs of these dishes as well.

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