Friday, September 3, 2010

Mise en Place

Week 3, Day 14

I received a very good lesson in Mise en Place today. Mise en Place (meez on plahss) is French meaning "everything in place." This is a highly regarded term in the professional kitchen. Although many people don't know the terminology for it, a lot of us practice it. For example, on all the Food Network shows we all love and even on old episodes of "Cooking with Julia Child" all the ingredients for the dish the host is cooking are in little ramekins on the counter. I always thought this was for the viewers benefit. Partially, yes, but partially it is the cooks mise en place. Getting everything you need ready before you need it. Setting up your work area with all the tools you need. Thinking ahead and being prepared, this is practicing good mise en place.

In class we were basically given the entire time to practice our mayo, hollandaise, and knife cuts. I choose to practice my cuts first as there was a rush for the stove. I need to get those darn tournes down! Besides, with rock star performance on sauces yesterday, no rush to repeat.....

So, I waited. When I began the sauces, I started with mayo. It turned out well. On to hollandaise. I began whisking, added in a bit of acid (vinegar infused with black peppercorn), and then the clarified butter, and CRAP!!! A runny mess! Looked like a huge egg yolk. I was miffed, needless say, and didn't think to take a picture. I had 20 minutes left in class, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Here is where the lesson began. I was out of all my ingredients, wanting to be conscious of waste I began gathering up unused portions from other class mates. Ok, fine.... the clarified butter was all gone so I had to put more on the stove. Get eggs. Get peppercorns and vinegar and Put on stove. Cook until au sec (almost dry). Crap, separate eggs. Double crap, someone stole my butter. Put more butter on. Crap! Put water on for double boiler. Crap, crap, crap someone stole my peppercorns and vinegar and left me with burning peppercorns!!!!! OK- start over with peppercorns and vinegar.......

Can anyone guess how my hollandaise turned out? Yup, like crap. Lesson over.

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