Yesterday was still a long day for me, since I was doomed to the Wednesday night Late Night shift. I had my day planned out nicely and I got a ton of work done despite coming in at noon: happy hour chicken liver mousse jars, sweet potato jam, poached pears, pickled cipollinis, deviled eggs, slicing salumis and bread… it was quite a productive day. So much so that I had a bit of trouble making my prep list for today (although there is ALWAYS something to do on Charcuterie).
I sneaked onto the Hot Line during a slow part of service to melt some butter for capping my happy hour jars and shared space with Hot-Apps-Turned-Fish Guy. (Side note: I really need to think of a naming convention that will account for when people get promoted / change stations…) Anyway, he lowered his voice a bit and told me, “You know, they were talking about your terrine on Monday.” I don’t know who “they” were, but he continued, “They said your buttered chicken liver mousse terrine looks really good.” I was surprised but happy to hear the compliment. Pizza Guy K confirmed that conversation, adding that Sous Chef S tried to brush it off as “no big deal” but then Singing Hot-Apps Guy (who is notorious for having loved, and excelled during, his time on Charcuterie) took a look at it and seemed surprised to admit that mine looked better than his did when he was on my station. Yay!
I was glad to hear that they were admiring my work, especially the buttered chicken liver mousse because those are such a pain in the butt. Once I pop the mousse out of the loaf mold, I smooth it out with a plastic card, pour melted butter over it, and sweep the butter around until it evenly coats the mousse in a thin layer, preventing oxidation. All of this, however, has to be done in the walk-in so that the mousse will stay solid and the butter will start to set. There’s a delicate balance in the process too — skim off too much and you’ll need to re-butter parts of the terrine, too little and you end up with a product that’s encased in thick solid butter that will crack when you cut into it. It’s a race against time as your butter starts to solidify the moment it hits the terrine. The best advice I’ve gotten from everyone who passes by me in the walk-in is “Don’t f*ck with it too much.” haha I have two more to do today, so I’m hoping these recent compliments will give me more confidence.
It was a really hot day so we had chicken salad sandwiches for Family Meal. I decided to forgo the sandwich part and make a simple salad instead. It was pretty darn tasty though awkwardly warm as they were in a hurry to toss everything together as soon as the chicken was cooked (given the option, we would have chilled the chicken first). Still, it was a valiant effort and definitely one of the best uses of chicken so far.
Sous Chef J brought in an old book that he had purchased over the weekend at a used book store that features “modern” (it was published in 1966) French dishes with tons of recipes and even glossy color photos! It was awesome. He and I flipped through it during service when we had breaks between tickets. It was fascinating to see what qualified as “modern” back then… and just how much FAT is in those French dishes! The book included some terrine recipes so we may try to make one in the near future. A 60’s revival of sorts.
Anywho, Chef said we could come in at noon again today, so off I go to get ready. Thursdays usually suck just because I’m still exhausted from the long day before. I anticipate a lot of coffee in my immediate future…