Day 80: I Scare the Men

Every day I get to class early so I can get a lot accomplished, but some days are a bust–like today. Class starts at 9, but I showed up at 8:15 so I could bang out a lot of prep work. Instead, I spent over two hours making a vinaigrette. A VINAIGRETTE! And the most embarrassing part? I started the prep work yesterday to get a jumpstart on today’s task list.

Pork Belly Appetizer

Pork Belly Appetizer

The vinaigrette is a component to the pork belly appetizer: a slow-cooked belly that’s seared, and propped up on a bed of bulgar. The vinaigrette is drizzled around this centerpiece of pork, and has diced chorizo, avocado, tomatillos, and shallots. The the ingredients are sweated out on the stovetop and submerged in olive oil.

I had to triple this recipe to have enough for today and tomorrow’s service, but tripling the tomatillo portion was a mistake. This Mexican tomato has a piquant character–one that makes you pucker up because of its sourness. And when I put in three times the amount, the vinaigrette had an awful (almost inedible) aftertaste. So I had to cut up some more chorizo and shallots to temper this off-taste, and I threw in a little bit of brown sugar to balance the tartness. It worked. And it only took me about 2.5 hours to make it. Awesome. By this point in the afternoon, I hadn’t eaten lunch, I got in early to do a lot, and I only did one thing…twice. And it must have showed on my face since George said I looked “down in the dumps” and Chef asked if I was angry while I was washing my tools. Yikes. I needed to crack a smile today.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you’re cutting an avocado or tomatillo, cut them like an onion. Cut it in half, and lie on its flat side. Then, make three horizontal cuts (parallel to your cutting board) and then make vertical cuts along the ridge of the produce. Then complete the dice by cutting parallel to the stem or where you would hold the fruit.

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