I wasted too much time today. We are working on a butternut squash dish which is paired with whipped bananas and Szechaun peppercorn meringue. The butternut is prepared in several forms, a sheet flavored with muscovado sugar, a confit of squash cooked in banana stock, lets stop here. My notes, listed what I was supposed to do. Banana stock, banana consomme, confit of squash cooked in banana consomme, whipped banana consomme. I started with the banana stock. Not too difficult. Next, I was supposed to add gelatin, and freeze the stock to begin the gelatin clarification. Except, I figured since we were whipping the stock and also using it to cook and the puree into the squash for the confit, I did not need to go through the steps of clarification. Today's folly demonstrated why we make the effort to refine steps and use the most polished form of an ingredient that we can.
How did I fall flat on my face? I pressure cooked the squash with the unclarified stock, pureed the mixture and ended up with a coffee colored sludge. The banana stock itself was brown and when it blended with the orange squash it produced the rather tasty pond scum I produced. The flavor was a small saving grace as the mixture went down the drain. It let me know that I was on the right track. Now I need to start over and I am a day behind in the process.
When your notes and gut tell you what to do, listen. Sure, it may seem like extra steps are just getting in the way of creativity. Yet, when you end up with a blender of flavorful mud, it becomes painfully obvious that small steps and refinement make the difference between creating something subpar and executing an eloquent dish.