Week 21: My Addition to the Menu

Chinese 5-Spice Pork Liver Mousse with Pickled Carrots and Daikon

Chinese 5-Spice Pork Liver Mousse with Pickled Carrots and Daikon

Greetings, Matcha Bunny readers! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend! I got to spend my Sunday eating delicious Danish pastries at a local bakery, playing board games with Honey Bunny, and binge-eating duck confit at this place in K-town that is known for their duck fat fries. Now I’m all ready to sit down and write up this recap post for Friday and Saturday. (Forgive me if I forget or gloss over some of the details… the days are all starting to blur together.)

Friday 6/6:

Prep was largely uneventful except for the fact that it was the third day in a row that we started late. I didn’t have many tasks to do, which turned out to be a good thing because I royally screwed up one of them and had time to fix it. As I mentioned in my last post, I had started dicing up dried apricots and orange peels for my orange marmalade — intensive and time-consuming work. Well, just as I finished segmenting my last orange on Friday, I threw everything together into a pot and gave it a good stir… when I realized that I had completely forgotten to blanch the peels first. This is a critical step and one we can’t skip, lest you desire super bitter marmalade. I asked for advice but there was no way around it — I had to pick out all of the bits of peel by hand, blanch them, and then cook down my marm. It took half an hour and painstaking work to separate the mixture, and I knew I’d never make the same mistake again! Sigh.

Service was crazy because we were hit with a surprise health inspection right at 5pm on the dot. Everyone was in a frenzy and Chef in particular was on edge. I ran straight to the walk-in to make sure everything was stored properly (raw food on lower shelves than cooked food) and that anything left exposed had a sheet of plastic wrap thrown over it. When I came back out, I saw the inspector over in the Hot-Apps corner. We lost a point because someone had left a wet towel under a cutting board (perfectly fine to prevent slips at home but not ServSafe for the restaurant) and Chef was FURIOUS. He grabbed Sous Chef S by the shirt and shouted in his face. It was intense. But in the end, we ended up getting a 96 – our best score yet!

It was hard to get focused again after the interruption, but we had no choice as a 40-top was scheduled to arrive at 8. Luckily there was no charcuterie on their prix fixe menu so I could lend a hand to Singing Hot-Apps Guy who was plating six orders of ravioli by himself (Pantry already had five people on deck). Crazy night!

Honey Bunny and I went out for late night ramen afterward and it was exactly what I needed after such an exhausting day.

Saturday 6/7:

Since Friday was so busy, there was no way we were getting a noon day on Saturday! We all arrived bright and early and got to work. I buttered my new Chinese 5-Spice Pork Liver Mousse and asked Chef if I could introduce it as the Happy Hour terrine starting that day. He agreed and I was ecstatic!

Just as service started, I plated up a portion of the terrine along with the julienne ribbons of daikon and carrot that I had pickled using my dad’s recipe. This (pictured above) was for the Front of House to try, and I made bite-sized tasting portions for Chef and the sous to sample as well. Chef said that my spice blend was tasty, though he advised that next time I should soak the pork livers in milk overnight to mellow out the livery taste. “There’s a reason we have the best charcuterie in the state, and that’s because we know how to handle our ingredients!” he said. He also had Sous Chef J mix together some fish sauce caramel with lime juice for a quick “dressing” that I tossed the vegetables in before serving. This added a deeper sweet & sour element that complemented the intense mousse. Still, I was proud of my first attempt and this was my first completely new addition to the menu (albeit just the Happy Hour menu). YAY!

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