Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Internship: Day 16, 11/30/05

I missed my usual Monday due to travel delays in Ohio, but returned this Wednesday much refreshed from the holidays. Lunch was still pretty slow, so I spent some time at the grill station grilling bread on over the huge wood fire grill, and then on the sauté station learning to make and plate the bouillabaisse. T and I also experimented with the sweetbreads to perfect the cooking technique—apparently they’ve been somewhat undercooked. The sweetbreads are sautéed with jerusalem artichokes, pickled pearl onions, and herbed remoulade. It was only the second time I’ve ever tried sweetbreads—the first time was at Lola Bistro in Cleveland, OH, and I thought they tasted like liver, which I hate. I liked this dish much better.

After service, I prepped the butternut squash soup: butternut squash, carrots, onion, celery, apple cider, brown sugar, and butter. I put it on a burner up in the pastry kitchen, and got to taste fresh batches of eggnog and buttermilk ice cream while I was at it. Delicious!

Before leaving for the day, I drained the new batch of sweetbreads and set them up to be pressed under a weight to release the liquid.

Internship: Day 14, 11/16/05

Lunch was relatively slow so we did a lot of prep work for the evening service. I helped M, who works sauté, make buckwheat crepes for a private party happening that night. They use regular sauté pans instead of nonstick, so it was a little more difficult, but it worked. I love the buckwheat crepes. When I came in for dinner, long before staging, I had the buckwheat crepe dish. It’d different now (served as a gratin), but then it was filled with vegetables and a cream sauce. The vegetables were cooked but still perfectly crisp—it was fabulous.

After service, I filled the crepes with an in-house smoked salmon (so good!), red onions, a dill crème fraiche, and rolled them burrito-style. I also made up a batch of the Star Anise Marinade before I took off for the day.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Internship: Day 13, 11/14/05

Today seemed like a small turning point. I feel like some things clicked into place—a very subtle click, but something. Lunch service was really the usual, although T suggested that on Wednesday he take me through his specific set-up process. I’m getting setup down, but it always feels very random. He said that he’ll take me through it step by step so that I can write down the information for my own reference. I think it’s a great idea.

After lunch, I prepped a vegetable that D explained as a cross between brussel sprouts and broccoli. It must be new a new hybrid, though, because I can’t find any information on it. Broccolini (a cross between brocooli and Chinese kale) is the closest thing I came across, but that’s not it. I believe D called it brusselini, and it looked like a stalk with thick green leaves and little tiny brussel sprout buds. I removed the leaves, pinched off the thick stem, cut them in half, and then cut them chiffonade. I then sautéed them with thin slivers of garlic and shallot until it was tender, and seasoned the whole thing with salt and pepper.

The next project was trimming veal cheeks. K showed me how to slip my boning knife under the silver skin, anchor the flap with my other hand, and use the tension to remove the skin in a thin strip. Once they were all trimmed, I made up what D called the “all-purpose Quake marinade”—extra-virgin olive oil, sriracha, Herbes d’Provence and black pepper—and mixed that up with the cheeks.

I also made up some of the star anise steak marinade before I left—they use it to marinate the hanger steak, which I got to taste the other day. It’s really good—I’m not a big fan of star anise because I don’t like the licorice flavor (although I think the spice itself is so pretty), but it really works with the steak. I plan on making some of it at home for my boyfriend.