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Pans and Perspective

You provide the food and I will provide the perspective." – Anton Ego, 2007

Back on meat section

I started early, this time alone, and commenced my day by puttting potatoes in the steamer for mash.  While they were cooking I began searing the daubs so I could get them in the oven.  The whole cooking time is four and a half hours.  Once they were braising I began the section setup.  Once complete I started my daily prep.  It started with dicing shallots and collecting other items for mise en place.  I pulled a few bags of frozen coco beans from the freezer and made back up containers of mascarpone.  Shortly after my station partner arrived. 

Lunch service started and I was asked to continue prep.  I continued on with cleaning and cooking salsify.  Afterwards I chopped some chives and picked parsley.  I ended my shift by peeling 20 kilos of potatoes. 

I have been working raw bar for the past few days so I will be posting some recipes to catch up.

Gnocchi alla Spezzatino di Anitra

Potato Gnocchi with Duck Ragu
Tuscan Recipe

Yield: 10 portions

Gnocchi

2#  Russet potatoes
4ea  Egg yolks
10-12oz  Bread flour
Pinxh Salt, white pepper and nutmeg

Method
1. Bake potatoes at 400°F, until soft. Peel, and purée through large holes of food mill while still hot. Spread out on clean plastic wrap lined sheet pan, and cool.
2. Add egg yolks, melted butter, flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, to the potatoes. Knead quickly, adding more flour if necessary to make a pliable dough.
3. Roll and shape gnocchi by making long ropes of 3/4 inch diameter.  Then cut 3/4 inch chunks.

Spezzatino di Anitra
Stewed Duck Sauce

Yield: 10 portions

Olive oil
Butter
6ea  Duck, legs
1 C  Red onion, minced
2oz  Celery, minced
2oz  Carrots, minced
2oz  Pancetta, minced
3 ea Rosemary sprigs
3ea  Thyme sprigs
3ea  Bay leaf
3tb  Parsley leaves, (Italian) chopped
2tb  Garlic minced
12ea  Juniper berries, crushed
4ea  Black peppercorns, crushed
2tb  Tomato paste
Salt
1/4c  Brandy ¼ Cup
1/4c  White wine ¼ Cup
Chicken stock
Butter
Grated Parmesan

Method
1. Heat olive oil and butter, when butter is melted add duck pieces, and brown slowly, rendering out excess fat. Add vegetables sauté about 15-20 minutes. Add brandy and cook out.
2. Add broth, to cover by 1-inch, tomato paste, herbs and spices. Taste for seasoning. Braise on stovetop, slowly, for 2 hours or more time as needed. Cool and skim fat.
3. Scrape meat off bone and add to sauce. Sauce should be at a very thin nape’.
4. Monte in small ½ oz. cube of butter per portion. Serve with grated Parmigiano.

I started my day early on fish.  As soon as I arrived I compressed apples and cucumbers for service.  I also setup my soup which was a creamed sweet potato.  While the soup was simmering I cooked off cockles and mussels and then chilled them down.  I had forgotten to make the compressed fennel so I quickly sliced and bagged that as well.  Shortly after, I made juillenne apples for salad.  The section was low on celeriac remoulade so that was the next task.  During lunch service the prep work continued.  I juiced some beets and carrorts for pickle brines and then I sliced smoked salmon for appetizers.  Lunch service was busy and ended quick.  While the section was getting reset for dinner I prepped out some Jeruselem artichokes for a puree.  They take a while to cook out so I picked some crab and made crab mix as well.  I concluded my day by helping organize the walk in and then bagging extra items to be frozen.

I started back on fish station.  When I arrived I checked our prep list and then made soup.  I decided on a cream of celeriac soup with truffle oil.  While the soup was cooking down I started on making the daily compressed pickles.  Afterwards I made tomato petals for tomato concasse.  The next thing on the list was to wash spinach for service.  Just after getting this done one of the commis walked in.  He began the station setup while i cleaned samphire.  Service began but I was kept on prep so I prepped and blanched a couple of kilos of green beans.  Afterwards I picked shellfish.  Service had just started winding down and I was asked to make some more pickles.  I quickly diced a few apples and compressed them for service.  Dinner began and I continued prep.  I peeled and compressed some red baby beets and then moved on to prep livers for the parfait.  I cleaned the livers and then marinated them in sugar, curing salt and white port.  I ended my night by cutting some smoked salmon and cod for chowder.  The wrapped up by bavging a handful of various items.

Ragu Bolognese

Bolognese Meat Sauce

Yield: 10 portions

2/3c. Pancetta, minced
2c. Onion, minced
1c. Carrot, minced
2/3c. Celery, minced
2T. Butter
2T. Olive oil
1#  Beef, lean, ground
1#  Pork, lean, ground
1/2c. Chicken livers, cleaned, minced
2c. White wine
6T. Tomato paste
Salt
Fine ground black pepper
Nutmeg, fresh grated, added gradually
1qt+  Chicken stock
2c. Cream

Method
1. Render out pancetta GENTLY in oil and butter until golden brown, use low to moderate heat.
2. Add onions, carrots and celery. Cook until lightly browned.
3. Add meat and cook until red color is just gone.
4. Add chicken livers, and cook until just barely done.
5. Add wine and cook out.
6. Add tomato paste, and mix in well, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add stock.
7. Bring to simmer. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Add more broth if necessary.
8. After 2 hours, remove cover. Simmer uncovered if necessary to reduce liquid if too runny.
9. Add cream to finish.

Note: A traditional Ragu Bolognese requires long slow cooking. Each step in the process is important. While every chef in Bologna has his or hers own version, the slow cooking and care given, determines the quality.
Add salt and pepper gradually as necessary. it is important to season gradually, and to build up flavors. Add nutmeg gradually, it should be used carefully.

This recipe can be used over any pasta or even in lasagna.

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As I mentioned meat section has been quite behind.  I wanted to help my team members get caught up so I came in a few hours early.  I started off by setting up beef stock to simmer for the day.  Afterwards I did my usual section setup as well as steaming potatoes for mash.  I helped by chopping herb garnishes as well as stocking up on other items as to create a surplus for the week.  As the day progressed my partners came in.  I did a large amount of vacuum sealing for various items.  Then we had a quick briefing before service.

Service started fast with tickets coming in as soon as we opened.  Rather then the usual menu items I was responsible for seared duck as well as a seven ounce sirloin.  Both items out sold the chicken dish that is usually very popular.  The interesting fact I learned about the duck was that it should actually be seared in a dry pan.  All items are always cooked in a medium of some sort of fat.  Duck is unique because as it cooks thr fat renders out causing the skin to crisp and generate its own fat. 

I was working the station solo once again and had no problems for the entire service.  It really is rewarding to work a station and have fun at the same time.  It makes me enjoy my job even more. 

Check back later.

Updated posts with pictures incoming.  See you there.

The cover count was looking pretty small for the day.  I came in and gathered my mise en place for service.  I followed it by setting up my starches and then jumped on prep.  I threw on a large batch of chicken stock for the kitchen and then began slicing onions.  I was also tasked with making an onion broth, which is essentially strained French onion soup made with chicken stock.  There is an addition of onion brule which helps enrich the color and flavor of the broth.  Afterwards I jumped on searing off a few chicken breasts to make service easier.  I then finished my section setup by reheating sauces and purees as well as finishing my mashed potatoes and panning up the remaining starch.  Half an hour before service, Chef held our daily briefing and went over a few training items.

Service started slow with tickets casually rolling in.  I had both braised beef cheek as well as chicken coming off my section.  Both dishes are equally popular so I was kept busy.  Brendan was working the pass again today and service breezed by.

Meat section is a simple station that requires good mental organization and speed.  After many days working it, I have determined it is leaps and bounds easier than fish section.  Rather than worrying about timing items, meat is really just a matter of properly cooking or picking up items.  I find it fun and during a busy night I’m certain it would be excellent.  I am reverting back go fish for a few days after my days off.  For the remainder of my stay I will be splitting my time between both sections.

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