The Grand Buffet.

Tomorrow is my official last day of class, but today was our last day of actually cooking and producing food.  Tomorrow we will do nothing but CLEAN!  We went straight into production this morning – no lecture or demos.  Immediately we started assembling the components for our platters.  Cucumber cups hollowed out…

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Dusted with a touch of paprika to give it a color burst.

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And then filled with our delicious corn and black bean salad, mmmm. 

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While my teammates worked on the other components, I put together our mini BLT canapés –so cute! 

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With the other pieces in place, it was time to cut into our galantine and see how it turned out.  The colors came out great – so much variety, it almost looks appetizing.  :)

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I dipped each slice in aspic to prepare it for the final platter.

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Next we carved into our pate en croute…

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They look like little slices of meat-filled toast – so weird.

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With all of our pieces ready to go, I took the stressful job of actually placing our items on the platter.  The spacing has to be just right, because with the sticky aspic coating the platter, once you put something down you can’t move it – no pressure, right?

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Chef helped me make sure the galantine would have enough space, since we had to squeeze in 16 big slices.

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Paul added the finishing touches after I had all of the items places onto the platter.

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And then it was DONE!  Whew – huge sigh of relief…

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I think it turned out REALLY well – I was so excited.  Each one of our components was different enough in color and texture, and all of them fit within our southwestern flavor profile.  Black bean and corn salad in cucumber cups…

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Our canapés were a play on mini BLT sandwiches – toast rounds with spinach, a tomato slice, bacon-flavored mayonnaise, and a slice of pork belly on top.  These were a huge hit!

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As weird as jellied meats are, ours still turned out really nice.  The beans, chorizo spices, and spinach created a nice look together with lots of vibrant colors.

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For our pickled vegetable item, we chose to do a teardrop shaped cucumber with a sprig of dill, topped with a pickled pearl onion and small drop of blackberry jam.

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The turkey pate en croute held together really well, and the red peppers helped break up some of the more muted colors from the turkey. 

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We finished off the platter with a gooseneck of chunky salsa on the side.

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We also had a representative plate to go with our platter, so that all of the items were displayed (in case they were all eaten too quickly!).

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All of the items, and the platter as a whole…

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I was lucky to have Paul as such a great partner!  This may have been the class where I laughed the most – he is hilarious and also allowed me to be bossy – two of my favorite qualities.  :)

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With all of our platters and our ice carving set up, we were ready for customers to come eat all of our delicious food.

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Several Chefs and the Dean of Culinary Arts came through, and we talked about the pros and cons of our platter.  When one Chef pointed out something we could have done differently, and I started explaining how much the mistake bothered me too, Chef Rabb told the other two Chefs that I was the “most perfectionist student to ever come through her classroom.”  I took it as a compliment.  :)

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When it was all over, we headed back to our classroom to celebrate a job well done, and the culmination of 10 months of intense culinary classes.  You know what I had for lunch today to celebrate?  A big slice of this…

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Chocolate cake for lunch – why not?  In ten months I have rarely eaten any of the desserts that I am constantly surrounded by, and if I was ever going to do it, now was the time.  I savored every delicious bite, and every last minute and laugh with my classmates.  I am really going to miss this…

But I still have ONE more day, and one more project and final exam to get through.  Time to go study!