Pretty Platters.

After three slow days of prep work, day four of Garde Manger was wild and crazy!  We had a million things to do.  I started by immediately throwing my crackers into the oven so that they would crisp up and be ready when I needed them.

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For our platter presentation our group was responsible for making a salad item using an assigned ingredient (ours was black bean) and the chicken galantine.  Individually, we each had to make two canapés, and then we would choose the best two out of our six to go on the final platter.  There were certain requirements for the canapés too – my group had to use smoked chicken and smoked turkey and a few other ingredients – like cream cheese!

I was a little overwhelmed with all that we had to do, so I broke the day down into small pieces and just started by doing one project at a time.  First up – turkey canapés!  I decided to go with a goat cheese cracker base, and make a cranberry walnut cream cheese to go with the turkey.  I chopped up the walnuts and dried cranberries…

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And added them to my cream cheese mixture.

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I thought they turned out really cute!  I ate one (minus the turkey) and thought they were delicious.

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At the end of class when we sampled, these were the only canapés that were completely gone – all ten! 

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For canapé #2, I had to use smoked chicken, and one of my options for the spread was black bean.  I decided to make the black bean dip that I had made the other day at home, and use it as the spread underneath my chicken!  I found a mini food processor, and whirred away…

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And then spooned it into these adorable tortilla cups that I made in the deep fryer.

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I diced up the smoked chicken and some bell peppers (tossed in olive oil and black pepper), and voila – canapé #2!

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Moving on to our group work, it was time to slice up the galantine.

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See how the meat popsicle is visible on the inside?  So weird!  The cranberries look good though…

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We sliced of all of the layers and laid them out in order.

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And then dipped them in a gelatin-like mixture called aspic, to give them a shiny coating.  We did two layers in the aspic before the platter presentation, and also lined our platters in aspic so that it would have the shiny gelatin on the bottom.

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The last thing my group put together was our cucumber cup black bean salads…

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Vegetarian and delicious!

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Here are some of the canapés that my teammates made.  When it came time to choose our best two out of six, we somehow ended up using both of my canapés for the platter presentation. 

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Also on our platter – the pickled zucchinis that we made on day two!  These were SO delicious!  I am totally going to start making my own pickles at home now.

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Time to plate our platters!  I was SO nervous to mess up because with the aspic base, once you put something down you can’t move it – it’s like sticky glue!

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Thanks to Paul for being my photographer while I plated the platter!

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Halfway there…

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Finishing touches…

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And DONE!  Doesn’t it look awesome?  Totally weird food, but a really cool setup. 

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Jellied meats – eeeeeeeeeeekkk!

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We set our classroom up with linens and critiqued each others platters.

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On day 8 we will have a huge, Grande Buffet out in the lobby for lots of guests.  Exciting stuff!  Even more exciting, today I am ICE CARVING!  As you read this, I am wielding a chain saw – so scary!  Back with details this afternoon!