Random musings

Yesterday the restaurant was closed for the staff holiday party – yes, it’s nearly March.  I didn’t go so I could just take it easy at home, however I ended up prepping for a dinner that I’m making tonight for our friends.

This morning I ended up skipping school for the far better option of sleeping in.  I got around 8 or 9 hours of consecutive sleep and feel like a million bucks for it.  And I still have two full days off of work.

Yesterday I was a server in the cafe at school and pretty much sucked at it, granted I got no help from the kitchen when they totally fucked up an order. 

What’s been amazing (I can’t recall if I mentioned this in my last post) is how quickly tensions have arisen amongst a group of people who’ve been together for nearly a year once were were divided into front of the house and back of the house.  To be fair we didn’t really like each other to begin with, just now we have a reason to dislike each other.

At work we had the two prep cooks start last week which has helped some.  My hours have vastly improved, though somehow Saturday when I arrived at 5 (we open at 5:30) I had to make a batch of empanadas which is a pretty lengthy process.  I never really caught up after that and felt off during service all night as a result of the empanadas and extreme exhaustion.  It wasn’t that I was turning out shitty looking plates, I just wasn’t able to keep up all that well and the other guy who works my station had to do more work than he should have.

Two things I’ve learned at work recently:

  1. A beurre blanc doesn’t have to be made fresh daily, it can be saved, chilled and used for tomorrow’s service.  Everyone’s natural inclination is that it would break, but low and behold it can be restored by cheating just a little bit with some cream that’s been heated up and then by whisking in the chilled beurre blanc.
  2. The sous chef and I learned by accident on Sunday night was that a caramel sauce won’t seize up on you if you add more sugar to it.  We were cooking apple slices in the caramel which was running low, so we added more sugar with the attitude of “what’s the worst that could happen?”  To our surprise nothing happened other than that we had more caramel sauce.

And one observation from Sunday’s service – why do people order the seafood special on a Sunday night?  Have they not read Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential?  I happen to work at a place that treats the seafood well, but on Friday and Saturday nights how many times do you think the door to the reach-in opens?  Do you really think it’s kept consistently below 41 or 40 degrees?  Is that what you really want to be eating on a Sunday night, especially in the case of a seafood special? 

In our case on Sunday we had product that needed to be moved – the scallops which we had too many of along with the knowledge that the restaurant was to be closed the next day.  People gobbled the special up though, which is good for us, and I’m sure nobody got sick, but still.  The sous and I even commented on how we wouldn’t do this ourselves.  So take it from me, don’t eat the seafood special on a Sunday night, and I might even forgo the Monday night special as well.

Moving on, all I have to do today is finish prepping and making dinner for tonight, which will consist of:

  1. Goat cheese, chive and black truffle oil ravioli served in a vegetable consomme.
  2. Stuffed chicken leg “poule au pot” – I’m finally getting around to making Suzanne Goin’s recipe from Mark Bittman’s PBS series Bittman Takes on America’s ChefsThe recipe is here, but you really need the book as you’ll find out since there are many references to “see recipe in companion book”.  I also opted to leave out the chicken livers since I’m pretty much the only one of the four of us who will be dining that likes liver.
  3. Cranberry bread pudding, vanilla bean ice cream (really a gelato, the ratio’s I got from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano cookbook).  I’m undecided as to what type of sauce to make for this, though I’m leaning for a caramel sauce.

And that’s it.  I’ll post pictures tomorrow of the dinner.


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