Today's culinary school challenge is to produce two fully plated meals, meaning five elements on each plate. We will have two hours.
Timing, as always, will be the key. In this instance, it will be of even greater import, because no one element of either plate will take more than 20 minutes to cook. Bringing it all together at once will be a scramble.
First plate: roast pork with sage, served sliced; sauce made from the pork drippings and a chicken stock deglaze; asparagus blanched in salt water and served in warm butter; bulgar wheat pilaf; garnish will be apple slices cooked with the pork and in the pan sauce.
Second plate: poached rockfish (also known as striped bass) rolled and stuffed with salmon mousseline; sauce vin blanc made from leftover poaching liquid, a liaison (cream and egg yolk) and finished with butter and lemon zest; broccoli florets blanched and finished in a butter sauté; quinoa pilaf; garnish will be chopped green ends of scallions and red and green bell peppers in the quinoa.
What's left after Chef tastes, appraises and scores can be brought home. Success means we will eat well tonight; less than could mean peanut butter sandwiches.