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Old 01-04-2008, 03:26 PM   #21
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Clearly some intelligence has to be brought to the process. If you're making a bread dough, for example, and it's too wet, you can knead in a little extra flour, if it's too dry, you add some liquid... At least you had a sound starting point.
Agreed, except that I attribute the ability to make those changes, or even determine if they are needed, to experience rather than just intelligence (although that is certainly required!).

And that is where I am severely lacking (experience, anyway!); I simply have no clue when kneading the dough whether it is too dry or too sticky. And that is also why I intend to keep trying, as that is the only way to get that experience.
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Old 01-04-2008, 03:30 PM   #22
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Agreed, except that I attribute the ability to make those changes, or even determine if they are needed, to experience rather than just intelligence (although that is certainly required!).

And that is where I am severely lacking (experience, anyway!); I simply have no clue when kneading the dough whether it is too dry or too sticky. And that is also why I intend to keep trying, as that is the only way to get that experience.

It takes both. Without intelligence, experience is just another name for mistakes. You recognize there is a problem and figure out how to fix it, either through experimentation or seeking help or reading recipes, etc.

Many baking recipes will tell you how the dough should feel and what to do to get there.
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Old 01-04-2008, 05:46 PM   #23
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I used to work at a small resort, and one day we were doing catering for 650 people. It was real old school french cuisine as well. Straight out of TDB (We refer to Escoffier's as "That Damed Book") Anyway it was just me and another guy in the kitchen, and of course he cuts his finger with a knife bad enough to have to go to the hospital. This happened about half way through, so I had to finish out catering for 650 people by my self.

That was the most challenging day of my culinary life.
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Old 01-04-2008, 07:11 PM   #24
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Except that with baking, atmospheric conditions can play a big role in how things turn out. Moisture in the air, temperature, even whether the flour has absorbed moisture from the air in days gone by. I think this is why more people have trouble with baking than with cooking. At least that's how it is for me.
I agree when I worked in a little bakery in Colorado we never added the amount of flour the recipe said whether it was bread,bagel,croissant or danish dough we mixed by feel of the dough some are softer or wetter or firm.We had to do it that way as the flour was usually dryer than it is in other climates.So if we added flour according to recipe the dough could well turn into cement.I do it to this day baking at home. Once you learn the feel of different doughs it really becomes secong nature. I can do all that and to this day I still cannot make a fluffy biscuit or great scones. Its a mental block thing. I think.
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Old 01-04-2008, 07:18 PM   #25
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The most recent challange I can think of was making two paella's one with grilled vegetables & the other with chicken, chorizo, mussels, clams, snapper & shrimp for 150 people. I only found out I was in charge of the paella's the day before, the party was on an Island, the grocery store had slim (vegetable) pickings because it was a holiday weekend not too mention it was a boat & car ride away. I prefer planning ahead when it's for a large group with lots of specific ingredients so at the last minute made it a bit of a challenge. They both turned out great in presentation & taste so all the party guests were happy as was I & my husband who helped tremendously with the grill.
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Old 01-07-2008, 08:40 AM   #26
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I plan on grilling Octopus tentacles soon. I actually do not see it as much of a challenge, its just going to be hard to find.

As for most challenging, I had to prep for 2 weddings in the same day, plus part of the resteraunt remained open and I had to cook that stuff too as I got the wedding food ready.
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:42 AM   #27
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For me it has been and still is a ten to fourteen layer tort "Spartacus" that came to me from Olga Bondar, formally of Ukraine. It's great but I have to talk myself into it everytime - takes me about a week of psyching up. It's a family recipe she brought with her from Ukraine. Wish I could remember her website - she does those beautiful Ukrainian eggs. Google her - Olga Bondar.
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:52 AM   #28
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Most challenging thing... grilled scallops, grilled salmon, filet mignon, hamburgers, chicken breast(boneless) all on the same grill at the same time.

Talk about keeping you hopping!!! Not burning or over cooking the salmon, while searing the scallops and getting the filet just right, getting the boneless chicken done but not dry(i hate grilling boneless chicken) basting the scallops with garlic butter, salmon with lemon butter, chicken with a light vinegar, spice sauce, spicing the beef(love that montreal steak seasoning!)... and timing everything so it was done at the same time!!!

oh--this was for 15 people... and the charcoal had been burning too long when I started... I pulled all the protein off at the same time..

Everything came out close to perfect. The salmon was a touch over cooked on one end, but not bad..

This was one of those times when I brought the plate in with everything on it, the site was magnificent. All that grilled food on one LARGE platter still steaming. It was the first time I grilled scallops.. awesome...
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Old 01-07-2008, 10:04 AM   #29
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YT, I remember the pic, I don't remember you saying you cooked that feast on a 13" grill.... I'm impressed. The plates look bigger than 13"
they`re actually about 13" each, you`r quite right :)

and although it Looks almost impossible, it really wasn`t, just took a little bit of logistical planning.

the carrots peas and pots were all canned, the carrots and peas go into a small sauce pan that`s left on the BBQ as do the potatoes but those are lest in the can 2 holes popped in the lid.
the bread stuffing is the simple just-add-hot-water type, that was then mixed and put into tin foil and kept on a rock that was just underneath the BBQ all along and quite hot at this time.

the meat (pork) was then cooked on the BBQ remaining area, and also put into foil and then kept on this rock.

plate up the tin of potatoes by pouring the liquid into the carrots and peas, then drain the carrots and peas into another already hot saucepan. plate the carrots and peas up add the bread stuffing and the meat, put the plates on this rock.

the excess meat juice from the foil gets poured into the pea,carrot, potato juice and a gravy is made.

put that gravy on the plates and eat up (after taking a picture).
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Old 01-07-2008, 10:22 AM   #30
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, and also put into foil and then kept on this rock.

Good idea.
I always cook everything at once no matter the amount of pots or room it takes up. I should really start keeping things warm while I finish or cook someting else. I imagine it's much less hectic that way. I'll admit I don't always do things the easy way.
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