Saturday, March 10, 2007

Phoenix

The catering event went very well. There were no major snafu's (Although, despite the fact that I couldn't stop saying "Bang, Bang, Chicken in a funny Chinese accent, I forgot the sauce and therefore couldn't serve it.)

One person asked me for a quote for a small wedding reception and another business man asked for my card because his business also does small seminars and they need a caterer.

Overall, it was a smashing success. Here are some pictures.
Breakfast Seminar: Bagels, Muffins and Fruit...

The infamous flower made out of a melon...

Fruit Platter...Drink Table...(Looks better in person-the candles made the water glow!)
Full Frontal...Side Saddle...Tuna Wasabi Wontons (A HUGE hit) and Spicy Shrimp Canapes (Also a favorite)
Bacon Wrapped Filets with fresh Blue Cheese Dressing...

Sundried Tomato Spirals...These are actually delicious (everyone who tasted them said so) but they didn't really get eaten by alot of people. I think it's because of the way they look. Next time, I'm going to put the filling in a cup type dough and put a bit more cheese to make them more appealing to the eye.

Dessert...Me in "action"...Chocolate Truffle Cakes...At first I didn't top these with whipped cream and they looked like...um...dog poop cakes. See above. Good choice in topping them with a little bit of heaven, don't ya think?!Scones with Sweet Cream and Strawberries... The Spread...
Spicy Corn Cakes with Mango Salsa...OUT OF THIS WORLD!
Artichoke Dip...
Mushroom Bouchees...
The kitchen-notice the 2 TOASTER OVENS I had to work with!


I learned:
*I need a bigger car
*If I am going to make puff pastry, I should do it at least 2 days in advance
*Home made puff pastry doesn't taste much different than store bought when using it for little bouchees-but for Beef Wellies, it's essential.
*Pastry bags are your friend
*Do not pipe chocolate ganache in a round spiral.
*I need a business card holder to place on the beverage table to fuel more referrals.
*I really am good
8)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Chop, Cut, Slice

I've been reviewed! Go over and say hi to Billy Mac's site to read what he had to say about my blog. And if you have a blog, why not ask him to review you too?

I Cater 2 U

Tomorrow is the first day of the catering job and therefore today is going to be spent prepping and cooking all of the food. I'm pretty excited because I've taken today and tomorrow off from work, and am spending the night in a hotel on Friday. So, even though it's not, it seems like a little vacation for me.

I need a vacation.

I went shopping for (most) of the rest of the food I needed, as well as for the linens and cleaning supplies, which I neglected to think about until today for some reason. As you can see, my entire house is a complete mess with catering supplies. This is in my living room, near my front door.

No, I am not going to be changing shoes a lot-those are to put under the tablecloth to raise a few platters off the table. "Real" caterers have bricks or special risers, but I suspect some of them cheat too.

I had another pleasant experience at Sam's Club too. Nothing so far made me feel like I'm really a caterer than when I loaded 15 DOZEN eggs into my cart, and then into my fridge...

Also, while picking out the perfect pineapples, a little Chinese lady wandered over to me, took one out of my hand and pointed to another one out of her reach. (She was really little!) She said, "That one better. Sweet." When I handed it to her, she pushed it up to my face and insisted, "Smell!"
It was indeed fragrant, and so I picked it, even though it didn't have the nicest top. That'll be one for eating, not for display.

So, please forgive me if I am not out and about in the blog world as much today. I'm sure I'll need a break and naturally I'll gravitate to the computer to see who's visited and to visit...but just in case, wish me luck and I'll post pictures on Sunday.
Chow!

Ramble On

Do you ever worry that what you write today will somehow be found later by someone you didn't want to see it?

I do. I worry about whether or not my parents may stumble onto my blog one day and read my true feelings about my childhood and about the way they live today. Because it is my blog, and overall this has become a very therapeutic thing for me, I figure that it's worth the risk.

My rants are typically about things strangers do, and when they aren't they're about what I'm feeling. No one can take away me feelings, even if they are silly at times.

I have a list of blogs that I don't link to, mainly because they are not updated enough. Some I keep hidden because I like having a place to go where people won't read all of my comments, and others still, I simply don't like enough, but do have a certain quality that keeps us coming back every now and then.

I hope I'm not one of those blogs for you...

In any case, I deleted a blog and will never return unless it's by the unfortunate "next blog" type button. The author is immature and selfish and their last post infuriated me. I feel it was written without thinking about the consequences, and without thinking that even though their blog may end soon, their words will forever float about until they one day fall into the hands of the person it was written about.

Careless. Selfish. Undesirable.

It reminds me a little of something I heard that Angelina Jolie said of her adopted children versus her birth child. She said something along the lines that she favored her adopted children more because they had a harder time in life.

When her birth child grows up, I imagine that will hurt her (? It's a girl, right). No regard for what her children will feel if they read those words.

There's really no point to this post. I am just saddened that people don't stop to think about how they affect other people more often.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Competition Prep

Last night we worked on our show pieces for the competition. I remembered to bring my camera and took pictures along the way...myself and one other classmate-BagPipe Willy-are working on the sugar piece and Know-It-All and (I never named her...hmmm) Pakiluver are working on the pastillage.

Ladies and gents, I give you, "Culinary School"

Pakiluver making the dough...

Know-It-All cutting waves...
Chef showing me how to pull the sugar in order to blow it...



Me pulling sugar...

Blown...
Fish forms...finally!My ice experiment...
The result-yeah, I'm a genius!
More cool underwater (haa haa-it's a sea theme) forms...

BagPipe Willy pouring a tube...

My mucky seaweed...


We worked hard last night and got a lot done. Chef thinks we're going to blow them out of the water (haa haa haa-I kill me) with our sugar sculpture. In the light, these pieces gleam and have bubbles and streaks and just really seem to be alive. These pictures really don't do them justice.
We've got lots of greens and browns, reds and oranges, and the fish will be red and orange, maybe yellow too. Competition regulations state you can't have any blue food (because it does not exist in real life) and therefore, we will not be making "water" or blue fish.
S'ok. It'll still rock.
So, what do you think of your first peak into my culinary school world? It's the first time you're seeing these people. Are they as you imagined?


Wordless Wednesday

Can you find the hidden man?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Toosdae ?'s

Hi There! Welcome to another edition of Toosdae ?'s. It's 2 degrees here with a windshield of -115. Not really. But it feels that way. Keep me warm by answering the questions below. (Duh-the cockles of my heart.)

1. Would you accept twenty years of extraordinary happiness and fulfillment if it meant you had to die at the end of that period?

2. Which of these restrictions could you best tolerate: leaving the country permanently or never leaving the state in which you now live?

3. You're drunk (and therefore have no inhibitions) and find yourself at the front of a karaoke club about to sing your heart out. What song are you going to sing us?

1. Absolutely. At this point in my life it would bring me to 50. Knowing that I could have 20 full years of bliss and a feeling of fulfillment (something I have yet to really experience) is worth the sacrifice. I would not want to know when I was going to die though, so that's a downfall.

2. I would leave the country. Not being able to leave my small little state would be horrid. Though I would miss places in my country like Walt Disney World in Florida, having the entire world as my playground wouldn't be half bad.

3. Lisa Loeb's "Stay". It's a pretty easy song to sing and people really seem to like it when you hit those higher notes. Though being drunk would make for an interesting show!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Best Dates

I have in my memory bank four dates that I consider to be the "best" dates ever. Three of them were with boyfriends: (In the order of appearance)

1. Dancing in the snow under a full moon and then having a snowball fight.
2. Watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks on the Polynesian Beach under a palm tree on a hammock.
4. Driving for hours to share my past, walking a dog and falling asleep on the couch in strong arms.

These are all lovely memories that I have of three men who, at one time or another, stole my heart. Each of these dates gave me the feeling of floating on air, being on Cloud 9 or walking on water. And each of these men has taught me different things about love.

If you notice, though, there's a gap between my Magic Kingdom date and my driving date. That's because date number 3 was with a complete stranger.

After a failed marriage and an abusive boyfriend, I was finding it hard to be excited about dating again. I knew, however, that I had to in order to restore my faith in love and to try to get past the hurt that I was feeling. Someone suggested Match.com and Eharmony (which would later be exciting-see date #4)

I decided to first try Match because it was free. After searching the locals, I decided to check to see if I could find anyone I knew in Orlando. I wasn't looking for a date. I was simply looking for old friends.

Though I didn't find anyone I knew, my search ended when I found Ken. His eyes seemed to sparkle right through the picture and his smile was infectious. He was tall and broad, exactly the way I like men. His profile was fantastic.

I don't know why, but I wrote to him.

I told him why I was looking in Orlando and I told him everything about me. I said that I often travel to Orlando to see friends and perhaps we could become friends. I wasn't looking for a boyfriend, but he seemed very interesting and who couldn't use another friend?

He wrote back almost immediately. He said my email was refreshing and that I seemed like I was a lot of fun, and that he indeed, would love to talk.

He called my cell phone the next day and we talked for about an hour.

We talked about lots of things: our pasts, our families, jobs, relationships, Disney. It was just nice to have someone to talk to. As is happened, I was traveling to Florida for a short trip in a month, and we agreed to have dinner.

Being that I was visiting, he told me to plan what I wanted to do and he would pay. It wasn't a hard decision. I chose Epcot.

We dined at San Angel at the Mexican pavilion. Notoriously romantic, it was a lovely setting.

We laughed and joked and our conversation never lagged. After, we walked around the worlds and watched Illuminations, one of my favorite things to see in WDW.

At it's conclusion, Ken asked if I'd like to go for a drink. Being someone who doesn't often get asked to go for drinks but always wants to be "that girl" I said yes.

We chose the Animal Kingdom Lodge. What was wonderful about this location is that they actually have animals there. In the center of it all, guests can see animals from their rooms. They have long winding trails that guests can explore with pit stops along the way.

Strategically placed fire pits and over sized rocking chairs are the reason I especially love this part the date.

After looking through night goggles at the giraffes, we found a private pit stop and slowly rocked by the fire, nursing our drinks and laughing. As a slight buzz hit me, I was suddenly amazed at how I was sitting here with a complete stranger, in WDW, by a fire, with a nice glass of wine-with no care in the world.

I felt free.

Our drinks were done and it was well past 1am. The date ended with Ken dropping me off at my hotel, giving me a great big bear hug and telling me he had a wonderful time. I agreed and went off to bed.

We played phone tag after I got back to CT, but for some reason we just didn't try to keep talking. I suppose part of me wants to keep my best date #3 as perfect as it is-but whatever the reason, I am content knowing that dates like that exist and that I was lucky enough to have one.

And before you all ask why I don't try to look him up now (T!) I'm 99% sure he is gay. ;)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Oh-By the Way...

My whole life, my father has been the type of person who builds things up to be bigger and often better than they are.

Grand vacations turn out to be less than ideal, great deals turn out to be money pits and gifts turn into loans.

Luckily, I've grown to realize that his intentions are good, and I am able to take what he says with a grain of salt.

If I haven't mentioned to you before that my father's company happens to be my client for next weeks catering job, I am now.

He's a partner with a high end audio video design company. It's rather impressive and he's very good at what he does. And luckily, they need a caterer.

Today we took a trip down to the office so that I could see the kitchen and the space I'll have to work with. I also wanted to drop off the beverages so that I could spend less time setting up on Friday morning. I live 2 hours away from the site and so it's going to be early enough as it is.

After about a half an hour of driving, my father turned to me and said,

"Oh-I hope this doesn't screw you up, but we don't have an oven."

His "We have a fully equipped kitchen" turned into a cook top and a microwave.

Luckily, I planned on having all of the food cooked prior to Friday, and all of the dishes can be served room temp.

I can't wait to share this story with my chef's tomorrow at school...

Good ol' Dad.