“Youse bitches are messed up”

On my el ride home from class today I was on a car with a man arguing (loudly) with his cell phone provider.  The philosophical conclusion he drew prior to hanging up on the customer service rep was that “Youse bitches are messed up”.  This really has nothing to do with class today, but it was part of my day and I just wanted to share.

On to class – day 3 of Contemporary.  The mission was to make three preparations, one with salmon, one with chicken, and the third was our choice.  Additionally, we were told to create a menu as homework last night, so we would be fully prepared in our endeavors today.

Very early on in the process of determining what I was going to make I came up with the idea of presenting all three creations as part of the same plate.  As far as I’m concerned this is in the spirit of contemporary American cuisine, especially when you consider the prominence of the tasting menu these days.  Would my plate fill anyone up?  No, but I believe this to be beside the point.  One plate should never fill a customer up over the course of what could be 7-30 some odd courses.

Last night Erin and I even went to the store just to buy a plate and spoon for the occasion.

During lecture Chef emphasized the importance of small plates.  Finally, before cutting us free to make our food today, Chef said “Make what would make you happy if you were served it”.  I was anxious at this point to get at it and felt pretty confident.

So what had I planned to make (which is actually what I ended up with almost no changes)?

On the left of the plate is citrus marinated salmon garnished with a salad of radish, mango, red onion, jalapeno, orange zest and orange juice.

The spoon in the middle is containing a carrot/ginger soup.

On the right is a shredded chicken leg braised in soy sauce, Madeira wine, sugar, star anise and ginger and garnished with sauteed shiitake mushrooms.

As for how good each was, I’m not sure much could have been different about the salmon.  For the soup I should have made a vegetable stock to fill it out some more.  The braised chicken was just damn tasty.  That was it, that was the criticism.

Would I be happy if I were served this?  I’m pretty sure of it.

As much as he liked the dish, the chef informed me that this was not the assignment, which was to make three separate dishes that when combined would form a complete meal.  I did get full credit though.  I always knew it was a little risky but thought it was worth it.

Tomorrow is another 3 course meal.  We have the ingredient list but he doesn’t want us to look at it in advance so that we practice the art of the black box.  However, I do know that the main proteins are beef tenderloin and scallop.  There’s also bacon.

How many people will go for the obvious and wrap some bacon around a scallop and the tenderloin and call it a day?  Sadly I’m sure this answer will be more than one.  I won’t be among them though.

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