This was my last week of the semester. It was exhausting and exciting and frustrating all at the same time. On Monday I had my final practical in my hot foods class. The instructor didn't tell any of us which proteins we would be assigned for the practical we just showed and were able to choose from a pile of meat. In the pile was lamb, pork, scallops, sole fish and tuna. We had 4 hours to create a menu, get all of our prep together, and then cook 4 appetizer plates, 4 salads, and 4 entree plates. I came up with a menu that was totally out of my comfort zone and went to work. I decided for my proteins I would use sole fish for my appetizer and use a rack of lamb for my entree. I wanted all my plates to be cohesive so I went with a middle eastern theme and used spices like turmeric and smoked paprika and coriander and cumin and garam masala and saffron and lots of other yummy thing to season my meats with. The pressure of this test was crazy! At first I felt like I had so much time but it went so quickly! I kept looking at the clock thinking is that right?? Has an hour and a half really gone by and my lamb is still in the plastic wrap!? But somehow I pushed through. I was so busy cooking away and getting plates up that I DIDN'T EVEN GET PICTURES. I don't want to talk about how mad I am. Ughh! My menu went something like this: spiced Sole fillets over caramelized peppers with a lemon beurre blanc, middle eastern salad with chickpeas, tomatoes fresh pita and a dijon vinaigrette, and a herb roasted rack of lamb with a cherry balsamic gastrique with sauteed zucchini and saffron rice pilaf. It really was all delicious beautiful food that could have used some tweaking but for the amount of time I had to prepare and lack of preparation I felt like I did pretty dang good. I made pita bread for crying out loud! Anyway I got a good grade and went home sweaty and exhausted but happy. The rest of the week I spent scrubbing the carbon stains off pots with harsh chemicals. I think I'm down a few brain cells, but those pots look good.
And with the end of the week here I can happily say that it wraps up my second semester of culinary school! I can't believe I'm here, I made it through two semesters of this grueling schedule - and I'm proud of myself. Sometimes I wonder why I'm doing it, sometimes I don't have a reason good enough (in my mind) to make up for how crazy tired or frustrated I am. But sometimes I come home from class so satisfied and full of accomplishment that it completely makes up for all the negative. I have found my niche, and it feels good. I get all summer off but will be back in the kitchens next fall for my restaurant class (come eat at my restaurant!), and my advanced baking class (hello wedding cake design!). See ya next fall UVU!