Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 6

Just another day at the office. Except not really. One thing I have discovered is that each of my days in the kitchen is different. The National is constantly changing the menu, which keeps things interesting!

My first task today was a something I have wanted since I first began going to the grocery store with my mom. I got to play butcher! After hacking all of the meat off of a ham bone, I got to utilize the meat slicer. The gleaming silver apparatus seemed so fun at first, until I realized hacking the meat into small randomly sized pieces was the worst thing I could have done. After placing the meat under the holder, I turned it on and began pushing the meat back and forth over the spinning blade. The results- less than an ounce of meat each time. I was not slicing I was crumbling the meat. In order to actually slice the meat I had to increase the blade size and repack the ham so that it was actually cut as it passed the blade. Basically, I botched my first go with the meat slicer due to an extreme lack of knowledge. Now that I know better I will have to give it another try because the ham was tastier than any Honey Baked Ham I have ever tasted!

Next on the list was to help prep for lunch. I made some chicken base for the chicken salad. The way they make their chicken salad is very interesting. They grill chicken breasts and finish them off in the oven. After slicing the chicken, they will make each order individually, coating the chicken pieces with the base. The base has capers, onions, thyme, yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and cumin. It’s quite tasty. I also had to make more hummus, it is one of the most popular starters at the restaurant. I think this is the 3rd time I’ve made it. I’m starting to feel so much more comfortable doing things, I know longer have to ask if it needs more olive oil or lemon juice, I can taste it and figure it out for myself now.

Once the lunch rush was over, the dinner staff came on and we began prepping. I helped make croutons by baking cut up dinner bread that had been tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley. Once they were completely crunchy, they were delicious! Now I know what to do with leftover bread! I also made marinated eggplant again, except this time we roasted the eggplant instead of grilling them. I enjoyed the char taste from the grill, but the roasted eggplant were much easier to cook. The marinade is tahini based with herbs. It’s a great combination.

I made a pequillo pepper salad dressing today as well. The piquillo pepper is a long, red, tapering, triangular Spanish pepper. After being fire roasted they are jarred giving them a spicy-sweet flavor. I added lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic, and sour cream to the blender and mixed until it was a bright orange. It had a lot of kick, but the sour cream balanced the spiciness well.

To finish off the day, I cubed butternut squash. It was quite a task considering how thick the squash are. You also have to peel and seed each of them. I think this internship is helping me improve my upper body strength. I'm going to start thinking of more creative post titles. So far the days have worked, but eventually that will get old. I'll work on it.

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