July 31 1998
Veggin' Out
Yet Another Consommé

The task of the day:

Vegetable Cookery

Today is graduation day for a block of students. The campus is filled with parents and well-wishers. The graduating students wear chef's jackets emblazoned with the CIA logo. Us non-graduates wear plain white jackets. Life (and classes) go on for the bulk of the students here. In fact, for us, the added crowds and cars in the parking lot are just a pain. The percentage of folks in "civilian" clothes tripled in 24 hours.

There actually are a fair number of people who come to the CIA to get tours and/or to eat here. There are four restaurants here, each of them stressing a different cooking style. I'll be cooking menus from them next week. Tour groups are always a bit funny, walking around, you hear the same patter time and time again. But they tend to stick to themselves normally. On graduation day, students lead around their [parents, wives, boyfriends, cousins] all over the campus.

Missed a presentation by Chris Schlesinger (hi Ron!) on flavor. I was slow getting to the library this morning, and didn't know he was talking in the first place. Who can talk about barbecue at 9:30 AM anyway? Isn't it enough to get the grill stoked and the meat on at that early hour? Do you have to discuss the flavor profile also?

* * *

We cooked:

  • Cajun Lentil Stew
  • Black Eyed Pea Fritters
  • Curried Four Grain Salad
  • Leek, Spinach, and Cheese Pie in a Cornmeal Crust

* * *

We traded our consommé today to another group, for a Lentil Stew, a promising young pitcher, and a first round draft pick. Chef didn't want the same group producing the same product two days in a row. I probably could stand with the practice, but wasn't too disappointed to get rid of that chore.

I did the crust for the pie, as Stephanie claimed that every pastry she touches goes bad. The original recipe called for a dry cornflour crust. Since there was no prayer that it would have held together, I did a basic pie dough, but put some cornmeal in it. Worked out just fine that way.

The rest of our products left us with gobs of extra time. So, Geoff put together a roast chicken. The Chef told us that anything we found in the fridge was fair game (so to speak). Geoff also made an incredibly clear vegetable stock. It had excellent flavor. I used it for a velouté, which I cooked out, and then used as part of the sauce, along with a deglaze of the pan drippings with white wine.

* * *

Went out to the brewpub tonight by myself. Just wanted to sit and think. Ran into Shawn who was at the end of a very tiring week helping out Chef Smyth again. Had a nice little chat. Called it an early night, as I was pretty tired.

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Copyright 1998 Tom Dowdy