Saturday, March 03, 2007

Girl Chef

Before the basement incident I decided to treat myself to a new chef coat to wear next weekend. It came in the mail today:


It's hard to tell, but it's pink! I'm a big fan of pink and decided to stray a bit from the traditional white coat that is so generic. I wanted to get it embroidered with my name, but didn't have the time to wait for it. (An additional 3 weeks!)

So instead, I bought an iron on applique and adorned my left shoulder on my own:

Overall, I'm happy with it. The only thing that stinks about this jacket is that it doesn't have a pocket on the arm for my thermometer and a pen. Oh, the horrors of being a girly chef!

Now if only they had cute pants...

Look-alikes

On a happier note, I have nice cheeks and a pretty smile...



And funky glasses...



I was watching 20/20 tonight and one segment was about a photographer who seeks out look alikes and photographs them to accentuate their likenesses. Most of the time, these people don't know each other-in fact, they come from different countries. But the resemblance of some of the was amazing.

It got me thinking about what I'd do if I actually met someone who looked almost identical to me on the street. Probably, I'd just walk past them and think,

"Hey, she's hot."

LOL. Just kidding. I most likely would do a double take and just keep walking. How about you?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Drowning

*Update* $4800 to waterproof the basement. Looks like I'm calling the regular old plumber.

**2nd Update: I now have heat. He had to almost rebuild the whole thing, but not entirely. I have no idea how much it will cost. I have a plumber coming on Monday, but in the mean time, I'm dealing with ALOT of ground water that is still draining. It requires me to basically be in my basement every hour.

I'm ashamed of my weakness and anger, but they are true feelings. I'm in a better place now, after getting some dinner and walking around a bit.

Tomorrow will be better.

*******


It's funny how things change.

There was a time right after the whole Jamie thing blew up where I was just grateful to be alive and to be free.

What? My house was torn apart and trashed? NO PROBLEM!

All of my nice jewelry (including my grandmother's charm bracelet) was stolen? NO PROBLEM!

I am alone and have no one to love? NO PROBLEM!

There were days when the joy inside of me was so great that I would be moved to tears. Literally. I'd see the way the sun danced on the trees and I'd cry. The snow seemed more magnificent than I ever remembered and everything tasted fantastic.

I'm not sure when I stopped feeling that way on a daily basis again, but I really miss it.

Sometimes, I wonder why I allow myself to get excited about getting ahead. I should know by now, it's not my lot in life to live easily. I have to fight for everything. My happiness depends on me focusing on what I want and fighting until I have nothing left.

And then maybe I get it.

I was feeling more upbeat than usual lately. I got my tax return back and was able to pay off the lien that was placed on my house. I paid a few medical bills that were in collections and also paid off my sister who was kind enough to lend my money.

I was even looking forward to possibly being able to buy contacts.

And then, on top of that freedom, I am being paid a lot of money for the catering job I am doing next week. This money was going to be used to partially fix my basement and patch a leak in my roof.

All of these things make my heart a little lighter, and my smile a little brighter.

Today, however, I was slapped with the realization that it's not going to be that easy. My basement flooded again.

Badly.

So bad, that it went up over my furnace (again) and knocked it out. The last flood is what started my whole financial trouble in the first place. The bill was $1000.

Luckily, I had a scheduled appointment with basement people, and hopefully he pump the water out faster and install a new sump pump for me. But then I have to worry about heat.

I don't have any.

And won't until they come fix my furnace. If they have to rebuild the entire thing again, I'm in trouble.

I'm telling myself this isn't the end of the world. I know this. I do. But these are the things that overwhelm me and make me feel the despair that often communicate to those who are closest.

I can tell you that if I was floundering before about selling my home, it is now a done deal. It will be on the market this spring, no matter if I move to Boston or if I stay in CT. This house and I are breaking up.

Send me warm thoughts. I'm going to need them tonight.

Over Tired

Chef C: (In response to my class getting out late again this week) "We don't care about sleep right?! We can sleep when we're dead!"


Chef V: "Who said I'm going to be sleeping when I die? When I die, I'm going to be partying."


Chef C: "Yeah, right...actually-when I die, there's going to be a golden oven in heaven and I'm gonna be cooking for God."


BagPipe Willy: (Who's a plumber by trade) "When I die, there's going to be no toilets in heaven!"


Me: "Then Chef C's not going to be cooking!"





Yes, I crack myself up...and, just so you know-everyone else laughed too. ;)

Randomivity

*Did you know that Spanish Tapas refer to the ham, cheese or bread that was placed on the top of sherry glasses of weary travelers in order to keep dust and flies out? The bar owners noticed that the salty ham in particular fueled drink sales, making it an instant hit.

*I got nervous yesterday about my upcoming job. Things I worried about: whether or not I would have enough food and if I'll be able to keep the food moving enough.

*Who knew just talking about dreams could make your skin hot?

*Does anyone know how to get closure if you can't talk to the person you need to have closure with? Claire? Anyone? I've already written a letter not intended to be mailed as well as written and talked about it when I felt I needed to.

*I think it's time to go see my psychic again.

*I get to stay in a hotel next Friday. Though it's not a vacation, it's still kind of exciting to stay somewhere that is not your own house. I think I might find one with a hot tub. Hmmm.

*Tonight I will make 2 batches of puff pastry to be frozen for next week. If I have enough freezer space, I will also make chocolate cake and freeze that too.

*I'm really struggling to come up with things to write about. Check back later in the day...maybe I'll have a story to tell.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tis Good


Tis good to spend someone else's money.
*
Real good.
*
I've started shopping for the catering job (next Friday/Saturday) so that I won't be inundated with everything at once. It's a good thing, too, because the carriage at Sam's Club was almost too heavy to push.
*
I have to admit, I felt pretty cool, buying things that people who throw large parties (caterers) buy. Like the bazillion cup coffee jug. And little clear plates. 300 of them. And a jug of peeled garlic.
*
I got the deposit check in the mail and the memo said, "Seminar Catering". I felt like such a professional.
*
I know I'm a geek, but this is extremely exciting for me. Putting everything I've learn into practice is amazing. Mostly because I'm good at it. I felt such pride being able to buy a "Business Membership" at Sam's Club. And I stood a little taller when I told them I was a chef.
*
I can't believe I'm here. I still have a long, long way to go, and I'm sure I'll never stop learning, but being able to "play" is just such a fantastic feeling. It's really amazing.
*
I'd like to also say that I really love Sam's Club. I've never been a member and never had reason to join-being just one person, I don't need 7 gallons of Mayonnaise or 100 rolls of toilet paper at a time. Being a caterer though, I can honestly say that they rock.
*
I shopped around and even with sales, they blow the others out of the water. They're cheap!
*
Another cool thing is that they have a service that allows you to shop online and have your items pulled before you enter the store! All I have to do is plug in what I want and how much, and they'll have it ready for me waiting at the front of the store! This will come in handy, as it saves time, and energy.
*
I'm going to try it out for Friday. I still have 200 cans of soda/seltzer to buy! I'm totally going to let them pull that for me!
*
Forgive me for gushing...I'm just getting really excited.

Unfulfilled

I'm not at work today. Again.

I didn't get to sleep until about 3am or so. I think I should finally ask a doctor about why I have such trouble falling asleep.

The thing is, no one will care-or probably even notice-that I'm not there. If anyone talks to me during the day, it's a miracle. My boss is on vacation and so any hope of having anything to do is gone until he is back.

They don't give me anything to do. I've asked, several times. It's been eluded to that we will work on projects "soon". But I never get any. It's utterly frustrating and makes me feel worthless.

Feeling worthless at work leads to a very unsettled, unfulfilled feeling in other areas of your life. It's not a good feeling. Even when there are good things going on, it's hard to overcome the feeling of dread you have when you think about getting up in the morning.

I need this job. I can't lose it, and I'm afraid that one day, my boss is going to say, "You know-we really don't need you anymore."

Oh well...There is not much I can do about it right now, so I'm going to stop worrying about it...

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

School Daze

So...I just logged into Blogger to post, and everything is in French. Weird.

I had another late night at school yesterday. On top of our normal class and production, we worked on our pieces for the competition. This included baking off 8 sheet pans of devil's food cake for our petit fours. We'll have to make 600 of them.

Then we split into our groups (2 of us are doing the sugar sculpture and the other 2 are using pastillage) Being that it was my first time working with pulled sugar, I was a little nervous. I've heard horror stories about being burnt and was a little leary about touching it. After a few minutes, however, I was fine. We actually didn't touch alot of it until it was set anyway.

As I mentioned, we are making an underwater scene. There will be 3 supporing spirals that we will attach "seaweed" leaves to. Then, to hold it all together, we'll attach 3 blown angelfish. So far, the leaves look incredible. Hopfully the fish will too, and we can get this thing together in one piece.

For the pastillage they are making a big clam shell. Instead of a pearl inside, they'll make a pearl necklace and have it be kind of like a treasure chest. That was my idea, even though I'm not making it. ;)

Pretty exciting stuff, though it's going to be a long few weeks. I don't see myself being home before midnight at all on Tuesdays and perhaps on Thursdays if we work on our pieces then...we'd better win.

Another crazy school thing: The chef instructor in charge of our internships lost the evaluation that my chef at the restaurant did of me-which was sparkling.

When I got my grades, I had a B+ in my internship. WHAT?! No. That's the only B I have and it didn't fit. So I asked about it. He told me that it was a points structure based on what my chef checked off....

I then asked him to see the form.

Now-let me preface this by saying that he'd asked me if I turned this in about 5 times, admitted he must have misplaced it, and then said he found it after I told him I didn't want to have to ask for another evaluation.

When I asked for an explanation (so I could improve myself for next time) we went into his office only to find that he still did not have the evaluation.

That fucker totally made up my grade!

Now, being that I'm a straight A student-wouldn't you fudge an A so I wouldn't be suspicious?

Dumbass.

So he gave me a new form, and I now have to ask the Executive Chef at the restaurant for another review. And we'll change my grade if it comes back as an A.

Which it should.

And also-I found out that I'm .02 points away from being the first in the class. Studying is moving to another level now, though with the classes we have left, I'm not sure I'll make it....

Oh well. At least I did my best, right?

I'm going to find a corner so I can take a nap...

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Toosdae ?'s

Toosdae's come and Toosdae's go...and then they come again. You know what to do...

1. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? How do you prefer to eat it? In a cone, in a dish...with a yummy hot fudge swish?

2. Did you ever get sent to the principal's office when you were little? If so, what was it for? Did you get into trouble when your parents found out?

3. What "big word" do you like to use to impress people?


1. My most favorite ice cream flavor is black raspberry and I like it best on a sugar cone as it is. HOWEVER-I also love a good soft serve vanilla dipped in chocolate, or with chocolate sprinkles.

2. I was sent to the principal's office once, in 6th grade because Mrs. Grizbowski confiscated the Madlib that I was filling out with Billy B (remember, I loved him). It was about Mrs. G and it had the work "shit" in it. Because I was a first time offender (and I lied and said it wasn't mine) the principal let me go. There was another incident in 9th grade involving me wearing shorts...but that wasn't a technical visit to the principal's...

3. Mise en Place...Pate Choix...basically any culinary term that people won't know. I like trying to incorporate them into my vernacular so I remember them, but, I have to admit, I like knowing the technical words for things that other people don't.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Poser

I'm momentarily snowed in! So far it looks like I have about 3 new inches and it's still going. This is nice, because I didn't fall asleep until about 4:30am and I don't function well with 2 hours of sleep anymore.

It stinks to get old.

I don't have much energy today to tell stories or spin words into poetry. Instead, I'll tell you about my fun and exciting journey to catering land.

Yesterday's plan was initially to stay home to clean out my closet. Oh, the exciting life I lead! Because I've become quite the procrastinator when it comes to housework these days, I decided instead to go on an adventure.

I went to a Chef's Emporium and IKEA.

Remember that catering job I eluded to earlier in the year? Well, it's coming up in 2 weeks and I needed platters for all of the food. Luckily I had a gift card to the Chef's Emporium and I was able to find a huge square white platter for $40, which, in turn, I only paid $20.

Though I didn't find much at IKEA, I did score 2 round silver dishes for only $12 each. They usually sell for at least $20 each, so I was happy. I also got some candles for the tables and cool straw colored circle place mats. I think I'll put them around the silver platters in a pattern...

I initially thought I could persuade Greg into going to dinner (because he lives near the 2 stores and I'm not usually down that way) but he didn't get my message. So, with my extra "free time" I ventured back home to The Christmas Tree Shop.

Which I hate.

But-I got a 2 tiered plate stand for $5 and 2 plain white plates for $1 each to go inside! I'll be able to stack 2 different canapes on them, and the presentation will be nice...

The last stop was Target. This was the initial place I looked for platters and decided I would look for a better price somewhere else first. I ended up finding 2 more white platters (oval) for $10 each. They aren't as big as I would have liked, but they will do.

I spent the remainder of the night putting together the menu, pricing out the food and creating an invoice to send so I can collect the deposit. It actually feels like I'm professional.

It's pretty exciting.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

What's Cookin? Pappardelle w/ Chicken & Mushrooms!

This is a rich and creamy pasta dish that is best served with good friends...

Pappardelle with Chicken and Mushrooms


Dried Porcini Mushrooms 1/2 oz
Warm Water 3/4 C.
Butter 2 T.
Scallions, Chopped 4
Garlic Clove, Crushed 1
Parsley, Coarsely Chopped 1 small handful
Dry White Wine, 1/2 C.
Chicken Stock 1 C.
Pappardelle, Dried or Fresh 14 Oz
Chicken Breasts, Cut into thin strips, 2
Mascarpone Cheese, 7 T.
Salt and Pepper TT
Basil leaves, Chiffonade, Garnish

1. Soak the dried mushrooms in the warm water for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze them to release as much water as possible. Finely chop them and set aside.

2. Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add chopped mushrooms, garlic, parsley and scallions. Season to taste. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.

3. Pour in wine and stock; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid had reduced and is thickened.

4. While sauce is reducing, begin cooking pasta in salted water. *Add reserved mushroom liquid for added flavor.

5. Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes or until just tender. Add the mascarpone a spoonful at a time, stirring well after each addition. Then add 1-2 spoonfuls of the pasta water. Check seasonings and adjust as needed.

6. Drain pasta and turn it into a large bowl. Add sauce and chicken and toss well. Serve immediately with shredded basil leaves.

*Notes:
~I did not use dried mushrooms, but instead used 1 cup of regular white mushrooms from my grocery store. I sauteed them in butter until they were slightly soft before proceeding with the recipe.

~Also, I added more mascarpone to this dish than called for, making it creamier and more rich than intended. The results were fantastic and indeed invoked many compliments and most importantly, a request for seconds from my guests. How much did I add? I dunno! ;) Use your intuition-that's what cooking's all about, anyway...

~What to drink? Chardonnay (Italian), Pinot Grigio or Riesling.

Recipe: The pasta bible; Jeni Wright