I have so much to share today! First of all, I finished my Garde Manger class. Yesterday we produced our second buffet, but this platter was for our practical exam. We made the exact same dishes, but just flip-flopped which groups would prepare which platters. My group was responsible for the beef platter this time around. I enjoyed it more than the salmon platter, mainly because cold fish dishes don't really do much for me (unless it's sushi). The elements we were responsible to create were: Smoked Tenderloin of Beef with a Whole-Grain Mustard Crust, Andouille Sausage Pâté, Roasted Red Pepper Sausage, Roasted Red Bliss Potato Salad, Poppy Seed Bouchée with Red Onions and Cauliflower Marmalade, and Green Herb Mayonnaise. Again, our group really seemed to work as a well-oiled machine, as did most of the other groups. I was really proud of all of us and the beautiful aspic (yuck) covered platters we served. My favorite elements on our platter were the PERFECTLY rare beef tenderloin (I literally stood there watching the thermometer during the last moments of cooking as it hit 135 degrees F, and then stopped at 136 exactly. I couldn't have planned it better) and the poppy seed bouchées, which were literally small puff pastry molds filled with a sweet and crunchy cauliflower, red onion, and pine nut mixture bound with marmalade. I could have eaten plenty of those! Here are photos of our platters...
Me Posing with our Gorgeous Beef Platter
Beef Platter (Smoked Tenderloin of Beef with a Whole-Grain Mustard Crust, Andouille Sausage Pâté, Roasted Red Pepper Sausage, Roasted Red Bliss Potato Salad, Poppy Seed Bouchée with Red Onions and Cauliflower Marmalade, and Green Herb Mayonnaise--not pictured)
Lobster platter (Trout Pâté, Lobster Centerpieces with Lobster Medallions, Trout Bow Tie Pasta Salad with Lump Crabmeat, Crusted Lemon Crackers with Pistachio Boursin Cheese Rolls, and Mango Salsa--not pictured)
Pork platter (Smoked Boneless Center Cut Pork Loin Roast with El Paso Rub, Cured Pork Tenderloin in a Cinnamon Honey Crust, Pork Pâté with Broccoli Inlay, Jicama Slaw, Blue Corn Tortillas with Black Bean and Jalapeno Jack Cheese Salsa, and Dark Sweet Cherry and Ginger Sauce--not pictured)
Salmon platter (Salmon Pâté, Baked Fillet of Salmon, Garbanzo Bean Salad, Green Scallop Mousse, and Dijonnaise Sauce--not pictured)
Turkey platter (Stuffed Breast of Turkey, Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Pâté, Smoked Breast of Turkey, Strawberry Waldorf Salad, Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes, and Pear and Cranberry Chutney--not pictured)
Veal platter (Roasted Veal Loin with Amaretto Glaze, Veal Tenderloin, Veal Bratwurst Wrapped in Caul Fat, Israeli Couscous Salad, Roasted Green Asparagus with Parsley Chili Oil, Broccoli Mousse Barquettes, and Raspberry Cream--not pictured)
Today in class we made ice carvings! Although I was thoroughly looking forward to taking out any and all aggressions I have in life wielding a chainsaw toward a giant block of ice, God and I both know that perhaps the chainsaw should not be my weapon of choice. I had trouble getting it going properly, and while freezing my bum off, I thought perhaps this power tool would be better off in someone else's hands. My group selected the pattern for a fish and seaweed as our template. We barely had an hour to work on our carvings, and needless to say, we didn't come close to finishing. Here are some photos from today...
Chipping Away at our Template
Trying to Get Rid of the Bulk of Ice
What in This Photo Does Not Belong? Oh Yeah, the Chainsaw in My Hands!
Check Out the Spray of Snow on the Wall! Hahaha!
Slowly Starting to Resemble a Fish
And This is About as Far as We Got...
Finally, my next bit of news is certainly the most exciting! I've saved the best for last! Thanks to the generosity of Black Star Gourmet and the lovely Natasha of 5 Star Foodie, I am the proud winner of a Beluga Caviar Giveaway!!!!! The crazy part is that I generally have the worst luck in the world and never win anything, but the truth is I love caviar, have loved it since I was a child growing up in an Armenian household and enjoying great quality Russian caviar slathered over bread and butter like it was going out of style. Apparently it was going out of style because now it's practically impossible to afford. My most recent experience enjoying caviar was actually last week when we had a caviar tasting in my Garde Manger class. We tried three different domestic caviars including an Osetra, Hackleback, and one more which I can't remember off hand. These were tiny tastes, however, hardly enough to satisfy my caviar lust. Previous to that, I visited Petrossian in New York City last summer (probably the world's most famous purveyor of caviar) and enjoyed a 12g tasting of Transmontanus USA Farmed Caviar (that's about 1/2 an oz!). I will have a lot more to share after I receive my caviar gift set, so please check back to see how it all turns out! Thanks again, Natasha and Black Star Gourmet! You've definitely made my day!