January 19, 2016
So much to do so little time was not the thought running through my head when I walked into class today and pulled my multi grain, honey wheat, and cinnamon roll dough from the refrigerator to continue fermenting. Our prep list was quite small at 7:30, but somehow the measly two or three tasks morphed into four, five, six, and seven tasks, which also included the set up of the Thursday buffet. Bread, cinnamon rolls, plating our buffet desserts: Mexican cookies, flan, pecan squares (the most difficult item to deal with on such a hectic day), and jalapeno cornbread that wanted to fall apart and crumble to the touch.
Easiest task first: Mexican cookies. We rolled them, baked them, rolled them in powdered sugar and then rolled them a second time, and plated them on a clear round platter. Done.
Second task: Flan, I honestly considered this to be the most daunting task that morning. Since the flan was still in bread pans, we had to melt the sugar on the bottom in simmering pan water before turning them upside down.
Thirdly: the Pecan Squares that weren’t really squares at all they were triangles instead; they looked more appealing on the plate instead of squares. We shockingly discovered that the crust had barely baked on the bottom due to the way we molded the dough into the half sheet pan. We didn’t make edges around it for the filling to fit, so the crust on the bottom was somewhat too thick and it did not bake the way we wanted. So to remedy this for the first batch to go out onto the buffet table, Chef Dani took the best looking ones, shaved some dough off the bottoms and removed the filling and set aside. She pressed the dough together into a quarter sheet pan and baked them off to help get the dough more to the desired consistency. Meanwhile, Kayla and I turned to unmolding our flan and cutting them into small rectangles and plating them individually for service.
Lastly: the Jalapeno Cornbread that was not quite right. The taste of the cornbread wasn’t up to par either, not enough salt and we used white cornmeal instead of yellow which I think messed with the batter. That and cream-style corn was called for and we used frozen corn with added heavy cream. The good thing about the taste was the jalapeno flavor that came through quite strongly. To alter the taste and improve it we melted margarine and honey together, made the mixture extremely hot and then poked holes into the baked cornbread to help it become moist and desirable to the palate. Unfortunately this cause the inside to become more crumbly when cutting for service but we made it work somehow.
Another task was given to us toward the end of the day and I did not expect it to take two hours to accomplish, but when you are juggling three to four different things at once — folding multi grain bread, rolling and filling cinnamon roll dough to bake, monitoring the buffet to see if anything needs replenishing — it is hard to find time for anything else. But we had been tasked with filling 70 parfait cups with cherry jello, cherry cream cheese Bavarian and whipped cream on top. The garnish changed to cream and maraschino cherry when Chef Gil spoke his mind and said he would garnish the next morning and we did not have to worry. Anyway, the jello was the fun part as we made it from scratch with cherry juice that was sweetened and powdered gelatin. At first you think this won’t take long because it is just jello that has to be set up in the refrigerator while we make the cherry Bavarian, but it turned into a mess fast when we had to switch gears to the buffet every ten minutes. Then the pecan squares had problems that needed fixing, then the flan needed to be individually plated, one thing after another just came making that day frustrating.
All in all, the parfaits were filled and set and wrapped in the refrigerator for Friday and our multi grain bread was baked off. We assume the bread would be used for soups on Friday.
Sorry this is not a very descriptive post this time, but I hope you enjoy the pictures and monologue none the less. It was a difficult day to get through with everything going wrong.