Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Prep continued....

With the insanity of the weekend over, I slept in on Sunday until 10 A.M. That may not seem late, but I don't think I've done that since after college. My body was exhausted. I even slept through my husband raking snow off our roof. My intention of Sunday was to have a lazy day of football watching, but two feet of snow fell and our driveway and puppy was calling. So my day of relaxation was put on hold.

Back to the catering. Shopping for my product took longer than anticipated and I my Thursday was spent in the car instead of in the kitchen. Once I was settled at home, I did some preliminary prep. I trimmed three tenderloins for one party, marinated the chicken (tequila-lime) and lamb (Mediterranean), roasted twenty pounds of beets, marinated the olives, and grilled all the vegetables. I didn't get a lot done on Thursday and therefore my Friday was long. Very long.

I started at 6:30 and didn't sit down until 8:30 that night. The true mark to the end of my work day is when I take my shoes off. Once the pressure is released and my feet can breath, there is no turning back. There is no use in listing all the prep that I did and it's hard to convey how many details are involved, but it's a lot. And especially for one person, it's a lot. Just even making the individual Parmesan cups took hours. I'm only able to bake seven at a time. They take seven minutes to bake and then have to be shaped in the molds. I repeat until I have 70 cups.

Let's take the citrus crab in cucumber cups. Each cucumber gives me about 12 pieces. I only use English cucumbers because the shape is easier to work with and they have less seeds.

Here are the steps involved:
1. Peel the cucumbers and cut then into 12 pieces, about a half an inch each.
2. Core the seeds to create small cups.
3. Lay the pieces on paper towels and refrigerate until some of the liquid is lost. Change the paper towels and flip the cucumbers and continue to drain.
4. Pick over the crab and pick out the small pieces of shell.
5. Prep the rest of the salad: Brunoise red and yellow pepper as well as red onion. Because there are going into small cups, it's important to keep the cut to a true brunoise (1/4 inch dice).
6. Zest orange, lime, lemon and grapefruit.
7. Combine all the ingredients and flavor with OJ, salt, pepper and fresh chives. Let the mixture marinate for a couple hours, taste, and adjust the seasonings.
8. Once the flavor is on and the cups are dry, fill them with about a half a teaspoon of the mixture.

At the parties, they are garnish with a delicate piece of chervil. I prepped 120 for the weekend.

To take break from cooking during the day, I gathered all the equipment and serviceware for the FOH and BOH for each party. It's just different body motions. It's walking, bending, twisting, and reaching, instead of standing and standing and standing some more. The key with this is to pack enough of everything (cocktail napkins, coffee prep, bar bins for wine and beer, business cards, leftover containers, gloves, sheet pans, etc) and pack it efficiently so I can fit all the parties in my car at one time.

Once the shoes came off and I slithered into a bubble bath, I quietly feel asleep and woke up to the taste of soapy bubbles. It was time to get some rest and focus on Saturday. I kept a piece of paper and pen at my night table for all of the random thoughts that I had.

I'll continue later as dinner calls.

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