Friday, July 22, 2011

"Little Meats" Tacos of Inspiration

Last night Chef Dan had us cracking up at his antics and quirky moves. I mean I was in tears laughing! We had a great discussion on plating and timeliness. Chef told us that we really need to work on our timing, and that normally with the younger students he can more easily put them in a corner and they will react. But since we are an older group, that doesn't really work. We each have our own ways of doing things, and usually have something to say about anything. And he went on to do a pretty hilarious imitation of us. Chef Dan is an inspiration. He makes me want to work harder and do better, while having a really fun time doing it.

Tonight was a cooking night and we made a lot of little fun things. On the menu was, drum roll please....Carnitas!!! Carnitas literally means "Little Meats". And there was nothing "little" about the flavor of these babies. Chef Dan pretty much made them for us, since they take about 4 hours to fully cook, he put the seasonings and braising liquid together last night, and we simply finished them tonight. And since we had somewhat of a simple night, chef showed us how to do some neat little garnishes to add to our plates. He showed us how to make fried basil leaves, an onion brulee ( a blackened onion that you fan out on the plate), and he showed us how to make those fancy little football shapes that you see on shows like Top Chef, called Quenelles. 

And tonight I finally got a perfect score on a dish, on my grilled rib eye. Yay!!! I would have gotten a perfect score on my Carnitas dish too if I had only added more salt to the salsa. Bummer. But that's what cooking is, it's about the details. 

Plate 1 - Grilled Rib Eye Club Steak with Maitre d Hotel Butter and Marchand Du Vin Sauce,  Roasted Potato Slices and Seasonal Vegetables. Plate 2 - Pork Carnitas with Black Beans, Salsa Cruda and Avocado Quenelle. Enjoy!

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