Monday, May 16, 2011

assembly line

sometimes i feel like a factory. each week i don't think i could possibly produce anymore than i did the previous week, yet somehow i do. even after a great weekend at the market, my freezers are still at critical levels! 
luckily, the fresh option (the goat cheese stuffed chicken) didn't stick around long enough to make it to the freezers. the monumental batch of fishcakes i made is all gone and the shepherd's pies have disappeared as well. this week i ordered a bunch of fresh ground spring lamb from shani's farm so i think i'll make some traditional lamb shepherd's pies, and potentially some lamb moussaka...
ok, back to production schedules. 
organization is key. having all of my ingredients prepped separately and gathering my mise en place means that i can actually function as an assembly line.

this is my quiche factory. i like to roll out the crusts, freeze, blind bake and then fill them with yumminess. last week i found the first of the season's local asparagus at noggins, was gifted slab bacon from roselane (yay, thanks!) and i had a ton of foxhill cheese on hand, so i figured it was time to make quiche. having things organized like this makes things run smoothly & efficiently.
it works the same for lobster mac & cheese. i cook & clean the lobsters, roast the tomatoes, make the bechamel, cook the pasta and then combine & assemble. 

turned into this:

it wound up making 24 large & 16 small lobster macs... zoiks!
my biggest worry is about having things get overcooked, particularly since i know it will be cooked again when you take it home. so i make sure that everything is cold when it all comes together, that way there isn't any residual heat from the sauce or pasta (which i leave super al dente) that could turn tender lobster meat to rubber - i think that is my biggest challenge... with everything i make actually.
this week was also bean-tastic.

i have been making epic batches of baked beans (to accompany the monumental batches of fishcakes). i've got the recipe down, learned how to work a pressure cooker and can now rock them out at a much faster rate than i ever thought possible.
this week, vegetarian chili with black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans & corn was also on the menu.

i like to let it mellow in the fridge overnight - since things like chili are always better the next day - and then do a proper taste test before packaging it all up. 
same goes for all of the soups. flavours can change when they are given time to come together overnight, so i like to revisit them the following day. and to tell you the truth, sometimes by the end of a heavy production day, my palette is completely confused, bombarded & exhausted and needs some time to rest before it's back at it.
i also made a rich & unctuous white bean ragout this week. i cooked the beans risotto-style with white wine, roasted garlic, caramelized onions & parm, let is cool and then stirred in roasted tomatoes, asparagus & arugula.
and even though i try to be super organized & efficient while in full production mode, sometimes there are little hiccups along the way...

this is what happens when you try to cram waaaayyyy too much stuff in your fridge at once. luckily, the flying bbq sauce missed the chili and the white bean ragout chilling out on the bottom shelf.
fridays have become my full-on baking day. i fill an entire rack-n-roll with cupcakes, cookies, brownies, tarts, biscuits, rolls... i always figured the lemon meringue tarts & snickers brownies would be my best sellers. i was wrong. everyone is crazy for cupcakes.

i made this many on friday & then i had to bake more on saturday night after the market... and i have to make a cupcake delivery this evening.
i also go through a lot of frosting.

i like frosting! this week it was raspberry, blueberry (note to self: don't wear a butter yellow skirt when this is around...), vanilla & chocolate. i think 3 kgs worth, and it's all gone. perhaps i was a bit too heavy-handed.

and so it begins for another week: clean, plan, shop, cook, package, clean, plan, shop, cook, package, clean...

1 comment:

  1. i'm with you ... i heart lemon tarts. i'm gonna bake some tomorrow night. sigh. love. and i'm gonna make some mini cheesecakes. and some mini cupcakes. i can't wait for baking days with you. :0)