Saturday, December 23, 2006

Restaurant Quote of the Weekend

"I'd rather be fat than stupid any day of the week."

Said by me in response to the stupidest person at work when he commented on someone being too fat to eat cookies.

Lucky for him, he wasn't talking about me-otherwise I'd pummle his ass.

I don't know why people are so rude and shallow. It really stinks. Perhaps they wouldn't act like that if they spent some time on the fatter side of life, the uglier side of life, or the not so popular side of life.

On a happier note, PRMan01 gave me a Christmas present! He said, "When you think look at this, think of me."

Which made me a little nervous before I opened it.

I also SWEAR I heard him say "I got it at the Yankee store" which would be funny b/c I hate the Yankee's and he loves them.

But, he got me a figurine of an angel.

I inspected it for a few minutes to make sure I wasn't missing something. Because it was a sweet and normal gift.

I said, "Is there a camera in here or something?"

He laughed and then said, "Yeah. Put it in your bedroom."

Which made me nervous.

It'll stay in the box for a while.

Apparently though, he didn't get anyone else gifts. Which made it awkward, because the girl who works as the pastry chef was standing right there and said, "He must really like YOU. He didn't give me shit."

Yikes.

I'm off to NY for a couple of days for Christmas, so I'll be away from blogging. I hope that everyone has a safe and joyful Christmas and that every hope you harbor in your heart is set free and answered.

Love to you all...

Friday, December 22, 2006

VACATION!

What the significance of this ordinary picture of my book shelf?

1. The resting backpack in the bottom left corner.
2. 5 of my 7 textbooks nestled neatly in their places.

I have 2 weeks off from school. It's going to be really hard to go back...

*I know someone will point it out, so I'll say this: Yes, I know I don't have any pictures in my frames. Thank you.

Milk

Oh my hell.

There's a lady who looks exactly like the breast feeding lady (Ursula Burton) on The Office that works at my company.

I knew she looked familiar.

(Sorry-it's seemingly impossible to find pictures of this woman-if you watched the show when she was on it, you know who I'm talking about.)

Cookies!


These cookies have a few steps, but they are very easy to make if you follow the directions. The bonus is that they are so good they disappeared in an hour!

Apricot Walnut Crescents

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
2-1/2 tbsp. sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
coarse sugar (for garnish)
1. In an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter, on medium speed, until smooth.
2. Add the sugar and flour and mix until a dough forms.
3. Scoop the dough onto a floured surface and work briefly with your hands until it forms a ball of dough.
4. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Refrigerate for an hour.

For the filling:

1 cup walnuts, finely ground
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup apricot jam (or any other jam of your choice)
1 to 2 tbsp. hot water
1. In a bowl, combine the walnuts, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, combine the jam and the hot water and stir to loosen the jam.

To assemble the crescents:
1. Remove a ball of dough from the refrigerator.
2. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a 10 to 12-inch circle. Don't roll it too thin.
3. Spread 1/4 of the jam over the circle of dough. Sprinkle 1/4 of the walnut/sugar mixture over the jam.
4. With a sharp knife, divide the circle into 12 wedges. *I USE A PIZZA CUTTER
5. Starting from the outside edge, roll each wedge up towards the centre, forming a crescent.
6. Place each crescent on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Repeat with the other 3 balls of dough. In total you should have 48 crescents.
8. Refrigerate the crescents for 20 minutes. This will minimize the amount of filling that oozes out when baking.
While they're in the fridge, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
9. After 20 minutes, brush the crescents with the egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crescents are golden. Don't worry if some of the filling oozes out.
11. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Menu For Hope


This year money is especially tight, so donating is a little harder for me-but with donations in $10 blocks, it makes it easier for everyone to give. The prizes are fantastic-read more to see how you can donate too.

Feeding people is my passion-whether it's gourmet cuisine, or a loaf of bread...do your part to help keep bellies full.

And, you happen to know a "foodie" so if you win, you could always bring me along! ;)

"Every year, Food Bloggers from all over the world get together for a fundraising campaign. We call it 'Menu for Hope'. Last year, we raised $17,000 to help UNICEF.This year, Menu for Hope III raises funds to support the UN World Food Programme, which provides hunger relief for needy people worldwide. To us Food Bloggers, food is a joy. On our blogs, we celebrate food as a delight or even an indulgence. Unfortunately, for many others who share our world do not share that privilege. For them, food is a matter of survival. This "Menu for Hope" is our small way to help.

On our Menu this year is a great list of amazing food related prizes. We hope that they will entice you to give whatever you can, and with some luck you can win unique and wonderful food gifts offered up by food bloggers from around the world.The rule is pretty easy. For every US$10 you donate, you may claim one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. The more you give, the better your chance to win. The campaign is scheduled to run from now until Friday 22nd, 6PM PST. So get a move on!"

Go Here to read more, and to see the fabulous prizes!

A Trio & Sad Songs-Randomivity

I love it when people close their eyes when they sing, like it's really coming from their soul, and they have to look within themselves to make it come out.

I also have a love/hate relationship with music that is so beautiful and sad that it brings tears to your eyes.

I'm wishy washy about something I made a decision about regarding my life next year. I haven't shared it with anyone yet because if I decide not to follow through, I will look like a quitter or a loser. Instead, I ponder, dream and scheme; and now possibly modify. The thing is, to know for sure, I need money, and money is something I do not have.

Only 3 of us showed up for class on Tuesday, which made for a short class. The perk, however, was not being let out early, but being able to have dinner with chef by myself. Bagpipe Willie took a nap and Frankie never eats, so it was just me and him dining, chatting and dishing. At first it was awkward for me because I am no good at starting conversations, but after that hump, we were fine. He told me about his side business and his dreams for expansion. I'm the only one of his students who knows. Yeah, yeah, I'm teachers pet, I know. But it's because I'm human and people like me. I don't see how that's a bad thing.

He also suggested a book for me to read, which I am very excited about. Hopefully they carry it at the library. Hopefully, I can remember how to use the library! (But ick-as much as I love, love, love new books, I really hate the idea of reading such a used, old book. Plus, they smell funny)

Someone rang my doorbell yesterday, which is extremely rare. There was no car in the driveway, so I didn't answer it. Later, I heard on the news that the police were looking for someone throughout my area, and I wonder...what if I answered the door and it was that guy?

It could happen. In 6th grade someone escaped from the police and he ran into our yard because it was wooded. Police dogs and cruisers were everywhere-extremely rare in our little affluent town.

Oh yeah, and did I mention I have HORRIBLE luck. He'd probably barge in and end up being my next boyfriend.

That was a joke. I'm done with the convicts.

I checked out selling a bunch of old books online, and, I have to say, it's just seems wrong. Forget my almost creepy love of the book itself, let's talk about only being given $14 for books that cost well over $100. I know, it's extra cash for things I need...but it's just wrong.

Onto bigger and hopefully better...1 more day til vaca! Happy first day of winter, by the way.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Baking

I took the day off from work today to bake, relax and clean. I baked and relaxed but didn't clean. The best part is that I had all of the ingredients except for blue cheese and pears in my house, so it was a very cheap day.

Above: Apricot cresent cookies-cream cheese cookie with apricot jam, ground walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Yummy!

Pear &Blue Cheese Tart-for a work party on Friday.

The alien inside of a pear.

My Interview

I don't really know why I was one of the people picked, but go here and see my "interview" at Joe's...

Does this mean I'm famous??

Oyster Road

Like following your intuition (or sense of adventure) instead of a map, or moving to a new city without knowing anyone, it's the little side stories that are not in any text book that enriches our education.

Yes, my classmates sigh and slump when he starts drifting, but to me, these are the best lectures in the world.

This weeks deviation can't be told with nearly as much enthusiasm and wonder as Chef B narrated, mainly because when he told the story, his eyes danced with excitement just as they must have when he was the boy in the story.

His parents were "foodies" he said-and this was before people called themselves that. It was the mid 70's-years before most of you were born.

He paused, thought about that concept, and chuckled as only he can. A healthy, hearty, and slightly institutional laugh, almost to himself.

"They piled us into the car for like, 4 weeks, and we drove all over hell on a highway. My dad's from the deep South in Texas and when we got to Louisiana, he wanted catfish and hushpuppies-"

He turns serious and focuses on each and every one of us.

"If you go to Louisiana you have to be careful-they mass produce this stuff for tourists like you wouldn't believe. Don't fall for it-dig deep, find the real stuff."

Again, a laugh and then he continues...

"So dad asked around to find out where the locals went for catfish and hushpuppies. One night, we left the hot-MOTEL-and drove for what seemed like hours into the deep woods of Louisiana. The highway became a dirt road and then-and I'm not making this up, it became a road made of Oyster Shells! It was very narrow-only 1 car could pass at a time, and it was surrounded by the swamps you associate with the Bayou."

Now, the students who had sunk low in their chairs with their sighs and their eyes averted, sat up with smiles, chuckling to themselves at the thought.

"They have these 'islands' out there-but they are nothing more than just really thick moss in a swamp and they just float around, sometimes attached, sometimes not. So we reach the end of this oyster road and come to a shack-someone's house-on one of these islands! And there were like, 5 little old black ladies just frying up catfish and hushpuppies in cast iron skillets and walking around doling it out."

"You walked in, and paid like, $5 for all you could eat. And it was someone's house-actually their house! You found a table wherever you could-in the kitchen, their dining room-we were in the living room! But man, that was the best catfish I've ever had."

He went on to explain that farm raised catfish-which is a huge industry these days-is completely different than swamp dwelling, bayou feeding catfish, who can grow up to 6 feet long in the wild!

This is ultimately why he told the story-to paint a picture in our minds, of what a "real" catfish fry should be like.

Personally, it makes me happy to know that places like this exist, and it makes me hungry to explore the country finding little unknown spots with tasty morsels and unforgettable adventures.

"It was a big deal going home" he said laughing. "Dad had to turn that huge car around on that little strip of Oysters...it was a good trip.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Toosdae ?'s

Everyone: my readership has severely declined over the last month. I don't know how to explain it, and am not looking for an explination, but it does sort of hurt the writer's ego...show your support by answering my questions...

1. What is the one Christmas present you asked for this year that you will be disappointed if you do not receive?

2. If you could have any one talent (that you do not already posess) what would it be and why?

3. With the impending New Year, resolutions are right around the corner...what is one personal trait or personal goal you would like to work on improving in 2007?


1. I have to cheat and give 2 answers because I want them equally as bad: New chef clogs and a new knife bag. I gave specific links directly to these items and ranked their importance on my list. Hopefully, Santa got the hint...

2. I would definatly like to be a math wiz. I have trouble even adding and subtracting sometimes and always take longer than other people when figuring things out. It's a mental block that I can't get past, and being able to calculate percentages and fractions easily would be stellar.

3. I would like to work on being more proactive with regard to my finances and home ownership. I've gotten in over my head and it's made for a very emotional and stressful last half of the year for me. I'd like 2007 to be as stress/drama free as possible.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Wish


Forget everything I wrote on my Christmas list...instead, find me some Whale Barf.

I could use the $18K.

Black & Blue

In the culinary world, there's a term called "Black and Blue" which means seared on the outside but basically raw on the inside. It's most often used on Filet Mignon.

In my world, "Black and Blue" means just that-scuffs and bruises from places unknown-most of the time without even knowing it until someone gasps and begs me to confide in them "Where did you get that bruise?!"


I'm not sure if you can see it-I can, but I know where it is. Just above my eyebrow, and just under my eyebrow, there's a reddish purple mark. I didn't know it was there until this morning, when I went to wash my face and reered backwards in pain after rubbing it.

I do, however, know where I got it from...

Saturday night I bent down to adjust the radio that is under my bench at the restaurant, just as PRMan01 was doing the same. As I stood up, my right hand, which was still on my cutting board, pivoted and somehow launched said board into my forehead.

It was one of the stupidest and funniest things I've done in a kitchen to date. Thankfully, it only hurts when I push on it.

This is a picture of me before I had a run in with the cutting board. It was taken after a Christmas party for my father's company. As you can see, the cutest little girl in the world was with me...holding her little hand makes it look like I have man hands. I don't.

After my father's party, I was invited into the kitchen to meet the executive chef. It was a nice privilege and honor, however the food was not very good.

(Exception: my Red Snapper w/ Tomatoes and Capers-Yummy)

The Caesar dressing was so watery and tasteless that I didn't even bother eating more than a bite. The Lobster Raviolli were so-so, but their appearance was appalling. They were black and white striped, which, when covered in tomato sauce, made them resemble dead tropical fish covered in blood. Very un-appetizing.

The dessert was a Ricotta Cheesecake, which I was very excited for-I've only had one other cheesecake besides mine that has Ricotta in it, and this one sucked. It was gritty and dry.

So when the chef asked me how the food was...

I lied to him.

What was I to do? He is, after all, an executive chef (who touted himself as having worked at Elaine's in NYC) who invited me into his kitchen. He even cleaned up before having me come in.

He also offered me a job. I guess that's why his food isn't great-they give jobs to anyone who shows interest. ;)

Here's to a fast and festive week!