Curve Ball    

July 29 1998
Short and Sweet
Poor planning on someone's part

The task of the day:

Steaming and Poaching

Today our group was thrown a major curve ball. We were given a set of dishes that didn't really belong together. As a result, plating was very difficult. But, we executed them well, and the results were positive.

* * *

Today we prepared:

  • Steamed Mussels
  • Braised Endive
  • Grilled Bell Peppers
  • Pasta

* * *

So the problem with this dish is that you would never serve anything with the steamed mussels. They are great by themselves, or with perhaps some bread to soak up the lovely buttery juices. In America, you could get away with plating them over the pasta. But Braised Endive? Bell Peppers (with Cilantro, no less!)? What's going on here? Confusion Cuisine.

We ran the pasta off in three batches. Green (spinach), red (tomato), and yellow (plain). I cooked the bell peppers (green, red, and yellow) separately, and then plated little twists of the pasta in a triangle arrangement. The peppers went across the plate from the same colored pasta. Endive on the bottom, mussels on top, sauce all around. Chef said, "It's different. I like it." Not only that, but we finished with gobs of time to spare, and all of us were rather pleased by the outcome.

Chef did a very fun pasta demo today, in which he rolled the pasta back onto itself in the machine to form a continuous ribbon, which he then proceeded to roll down thinner and thinner. He even had constructed a little roller (on a stand) to hold the other end. It was like a pasta conveyer belt. I'm sure he's given this demo a billion times before, but like an old comedy routine, sometimes practice makes things funnier.

* * *

Lecture today "featured" more stupid digressions. These took the form of a student rallying about sanitation issues. It was a huge waste of time, and really had very little to do with cooking. Look, if I want to learn about sanitation, I'll watch a video, read a book, ask about it out of class. I'm paying too much for this place to have some yahoo complain about people's hands in the ice at the dining hall.

The three miscreants (who are here on a dare) and my team went out drinking last night. These guys party like they are still in college (although they are around 40). I was drinking Boddington's (on tap, no less), but they were feeding Stephanie shots of vodka. Yeash. Geoff and I ended up talking about Fantasy/SF for a while. Would have never guessed he was into that. Interesting.

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Copyright 1998 Tom Dowdy