Saturday, March 31, 2007

Restaurant Quote of the Weekend

"Beautiful, honey...and so is that platter."

Said to me by the Sous Chef regarding well, me (LOL) and the fruit platters he asked me to make for him.

Today was fun. I gave my 2 weeks notice to the Executive Chef and thanked him for the opportunity to work with with. I explained that I realized that I want to be a caterer and the country club was more in line with that goal.

He shook my hand, and later came in the back kitchen to talk to me. He said that he thinks I'll really do well there and that he can completely see me being a caterer or banquet chef. Then he said,

"I've seen the platters you do for us here, and they are beautiful...you'll really like it there."

So, that made me feel wonderful. I always hate telling someone I no longer wish to work for them. I feel so bad.

Later, the Sous Chef came back and asked me to do 3 fruit platters because he "Likes my style". LOL! I ended up doing 2 other platters by the end of the night too. It was a pleasant night, overall and I got to do what I love-making food look pretty!

And, I'm sure it helped that while at work I received:

2 bear hugs from semi-cute men
2 kisses
1 back rub
and though this sounds gross, 1 finger stuck in my ear. I liked it because it was teasing and teasing means that someone likes you enough to play around.

Oh yeah, and firecrotch wasn't there tonight yelling at everyone and complaining-so that helped.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Damn, Bitch-You Is Fine!

I know this is going to sound conceited, but-I look damn fine today!

I've been having a string of good days since my walk on Wednesday and I think my spirit is just pouring out of my skin. I feel like I glow.

It also helps that I treated myself to a new shirt. It's eggplant in color, which is a good one for me as it brings out the green in my eyes. It's jeans day, so I'm wearing jeans, black healed boots and a black chunky necklace.

My hair looks extra fabulous. And I'm finally wearing contacts again.

Just a tiny bit of light pink gloss is on my lips and I feel the urge to smile at every cute boy I see.

Oh, and I smell fantastic too.

Like I said, I know it sounds conceited, but it's just one of those "Damn I'm cute" days. Everyone has to have those sometimes, right?

Night out on the town tonight with one of my favorite girls, Megan too...life is good.

*Title stolen from another one of my favorite girls...
**No Thomas, I do not have a picture. ;) You'll just have to take my word for it.

Curd

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Boccaccini's in my hand
and covered all in oil...
New beginnings on the verge
and soft, defrosting soil.
~
Ins and outs and ups and downs
and everything in between...
It's very close, I can feel it now,
I can wipe my own slate clean.
~
New beginnings clad in white
though not the white of dreams...
Instead the white I wear these days
is covered in butter creams.
~
117 days are left
in a school with pots and pans...
and when those days expire, friends,
I'll be free to travel the lands.
~
What will I do, where will I go
and who will wonder why?
It's up to me to find my path,
my only limit? The sky.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Smiles Ear 2 Ear

So, I don't want to get too excited or optimistic, as I have very bad luck. BUT when I got home from school tonight (early-and NO LOCK OUT!) I had a message on my machine from a country club I will be working at beginning in May.

Apparently, they've "created" a position that they feel I have "the head for" and after speaking to the general manager, the executive chef would like to speak with me about my interest!!!!!

Now, don't get too excited for me yet....it's a management position at their snack bar. It probably won't pay enough for me to quit my day job and the hours might interfere with school.

They DO however know I'm a student until July, so maybe they'll work with me on that one.

And also, they are a private club in a affluent part of CT and therefore the pay may not be as bad as I think. Either way, I'm flying high right now. Just the fact that the executive chef thought of ME and spoke to the GM!

I love the culinary arts!!!

And speaking of which, we made cheese from scratch today! I came home with perfect little boccaccini's marinated in olive oil and basil. They are so fresh and soft with just the right amount of salty goodness.

I love cheese. And I love that I made it from scratch. These are the simple things in my life that bring me great joy.

A Game of the Heart


This time of year always makes me miss being a part of a softball team.

From 3rd grade through 12th grade I played faithfully, mixing with girls both above me and below me in the small town caste system we created for ourselves.

Though all of my years were special, the ones spent in high school really stay with me. Yes, it was more serious and our stats meant more. But I think mostly I enjoyed it because by then, we were little adults who formed their own opinions, had our own quirks and appreciated life for different reasons.

I've talked often about my love of the earth defrosting, the birds peeking their little beaks back into our world, filling our ears with their joyful songs and chatter. These things all mean spring to me. But something is always missing.

I miss the smell of the dirt on the diamond-the dust that always coated my hands after practice. I miss the smell of the cold leather of my glove, the bruise that stayed on my left hand the entire season from my short stops forceful throw.

I miss the smell on my skin after hours of being in the cold spring air, slightly salty from my sweat, but clean from the breeze that drifted through the apple orchard that lined the field.

And of course, there are the sounds...

The crack of the bat, the thump of the ball as it hit my glove-the laughter. I even miss the sound the batting cage made from the rainy days spent inside, sliding on the smooth tile floors in sweatpants and socks.

Yes, those days were special and always, in the first months of spring, my heart still anticipates my time on the field, playing a game I will always love.

Thursday 13


Thirteen Things I Like About ME

1. I am dependable
2. I am creative
3. I can be still be silly, even at my old age. LOL
4. Though it's been rough, I still smile more than I cry
5. I am left handed. Yes, I like that b/c it's somewhat unique
6. I am (mostly) easy going and non-confrontational
7. I stand up for people who don't stand up for themselves
8. I hold doors for strangers
9. I say "Please" and "Thank You" even though most people don't anymore
10. My eyes & smile
11. My eye for beautiful things
12. My ability to cook and throw a nice party
13. That I think I am younger than I am.






Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bridges

I had the best day. After my lock out at school last night, I was wired but tired and that means no sleep for Mags. Instead, I started another book and read until about 3am. I decided that since my boss is in Germany I would take the day off.


I woke to the gleaming sun and birds chirping outside my window. It was lovely. I decided that after running a couple of errands, I would park my car in town and walk through the neighborhoods as I used to do years ago.


But then I decided to take something else back from Jamie. My favorite place to walk in town.

When we first moved here, we'd walk around in this little walking park that is set in the woods surrounding the river. There are train tracks on one side and a bridge on the other. In the spring and into the fall, we'd go at least 3 times a week walking silently through the woods. Once we got the puppy, we'd take him with us.


But after I was finally rid of him, I was afraid to go back. It's very secluded and being that it was a place we frequently went to, I thought that maybe he'd show up anticipating me being there. I was afraid he'd try to hurt me for getting him arrested or worse, he'd try to blackmail again into bringing him back into my life.


I didn't feel comfortable going there alone and therefore, I never went back.

Today, however, I was feeling bold. Something about the crisp spring air does that to me-makes me smile even if I didn't want to-makes me thankful for every little breath I take and I was no longer willing to stay away from my wooded sanctuary.


Armed with my IPod (yes, I found it) and my phone (ready to dial 911 just in case) I stepped into my new sneaks and headed towards the woods. It was a picture perfect day and as I walked the mile loop I became deeply grateful for my will to move on.


Yes, it's been a while since it happened, and yes, I've since been in a relationship and taken other strides in my life. But there's something so wrong about the situation that just has its grips on me.


Perhaps it's because it was so easy for him to use me-so easy to see my need for love and my broken heart that gets me. Or the fact that I always thought I was stronger, smarter than those "other" women who fall for such scams. Perhaps, it's because I never got to tell him what I really think of him, to his face.


Regardless, I don't want to keep these Jamie barriers anymore. I want them to fly away from my soul, and instead of chains, I want them to be wings. Instead of being afraid, I want to explore again.


And so, on this beautiful, perfect spring day, I did. This is the bridge I crossed before turning around and heading home. The bridge I always loved lingering on, watching the fish or listening to the earth with my eyes closed.


Today, I stood on the bridge for almost an hour, simply feeling the sun warm my skin, and the breeze replenishing my soul.


Today, I took back my park, and made another step in making Jamie powerless.

Cake Tipping

Last night I tipped a guy with a cake.

Fo real, yo.

I was having a terrible night at school. Know-it-all wasn't there because his grandmother passed away (poor KIA) and that left me with BagPipeWilly and Pakiluver. I think BPW has a crush on P because he flirts with her like mad. In any case, I knew I'd be the odd man out, but I typically work faster then them anyway, so I was OK with it.

By the end of the night, I was so frustrated with BPW because he refuses to do anything. Remember-he's the one who hovers in the corner until everything is cleaned up and then comes in and tries to look like he's done something.

Frustrating.

In any case, I was hot and sweaty and ready to come home (early) and crash, perhaps with a nice glass of wine and a shower. But...

No keys.

Where are my keys? Where are they?

I never lose my keys. My IPod's missing too.

Shit. Someone stole my stuff.

Facts:
1. I am hot and sweaty and tired and have a foot and a half long Cherries Jubilee Cake with me.
2. I am with people who really want to go home
3. I am embarrassed and wish they'd leave
4. I have just let my AAA membership expire because I never use it.
5. I have no one to call.

I am alone. My parents are in Florida and my sisters are in Massachusetts. They are the only ones who have a key to my house. They never answer their home phone anyway, even if they were home.

My cell phone, with their cell phone numbers, is locked in my car.

I am tired and sweaty. I start to cry.

Luckily, BPW has AAA and calls them. My only hope is that the keys are in the car somewhere-that they dropped while I was getting my knives out of the back seat or when I was extracting my backpack from the trunk.

20 minutes passes, and the AAA man can't open the door. I do not have automatic locks and he can't push them at his angle. Finally, he rolls down the window and my skinny chef instructor puts his tiny hand inside and unlocks the door.

"You should tip him something" BPW whispers in my ear.

Fact:
1. I do not carry cash and even when I do, it's not a lot.
2. It's usually in pennies.

So, remembering my splendid cake that is sitting in the back room, I say, "Do you like cake?"

His smile broadens. "Of course I like cake!"

So I ask if he'd like mine. I told him I didn't have a lot of money (Pakiluver slipped me a $5 bill to give him) but he was welcome to take the cake if he wanted.

He smiled again and said, "Go get that bad boy!"

So, the story ends happily, with me finding my keys securely inside my pocketbook, inside my car, in a dark parking lot at 11pm, and the AAA man driving away with my Cherries Jubilee Log.

That cake was pretty, too.

Dinner? A glass of wine and ramen noodles at 11:35pm....

And you thought the life of a chef was glamorous. ;)

Wordless Wednesday

To Bang....


Or NOT to Bang...





THAT is the question...

Should I cut them again?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Toosdae ?'s

Hi Peeps-today there are 4 questions. I know, I'm pushing the envelope here. Answer them all if you can, but you don't have to. Pick and choose and answer the ones you want. Either way, seeing your comments on Toosdae's always makes me smile. But you know that already, right?

1. What is your favorite shape of pasta?

2. Someone offers to give you $2 million, but says you can only have it if you will give half of it to charity. Which good cause would you donate the $1 million to?

3. Name a hobby that you've tried but eventually gave up for some reason. Why did you give up?

4. Name something clever or practical you have thought of that should be invented, but hasn't yet.


1. Fusilli (You're so silly!) I love how its spiral body holds sauce or how plain cooked pasta slithers in spirals on my tongue. Hey-I'm Italian, so I ate a lot of pasta growing up.




2. Last year I volunteered at a local farm which provides fresh produce to the CT food bank. There are acres and acres of land and only 6 people to run it! They survive off of shareholders and local volunteers. I love that this is a grassroots effort to end hunger in my state and also that it provides healthy food to the less fortunate instead of canned goods and boxed meals. I would spend the $1million on charities like this across New England (my home) helping to boost programs and farms that feed the poor. Also, I'd probably use my million to open that Non-Profit center I spoke of a couple of weeks ago.

*
3. Stamp Art. I used to do it avidly in college with a friend of mine, making cute little embossed cards and letters. It got to be very addicting and expensive and being that I lived in Florida at the time, it was difficult to keep the embossing powder dry in the humidity.

*
4. In elementary school I invented (OK, with the help of my Aunt Carol) something called the "Econo Cap". It actually had my last name in front of it which kind of rhymes with Econo. In any case, it was a plug at the bottom of shampoo bottles that you could pull out when you reached the end of the bottle so that you could get every last drop out. To construct it, we used a 1 liter soda bottle and a golf tee to show how it works. I never turned it in though because we filled it with sand instead of liquid and it clogged. Some days when I'm in the shower and I am running out of conditioner, I still wish I had invented it...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Discovery

I remember a time when most things were new; when information was fresh, and exciting and at every turn my life took, I'd learn.

I remember when I didn't know what it meant to be a virgin, or what the benefits of Vitamin C were, only that it tasted good when it was in the chewable form.

I remember when 30 seemed old, but every minute that I was young was agonizing.

I remember when people didn't look at me funny when I liked the feel of grass between my toes and skipped through a field, because I was only a kid.

I remember when people smiled at you even if they didn't know who you were and they didn't divert their eyes pretending that the most interesting thing was happening on the wall down the hall.

I remember when using a computer was a big deal, and hand written letters and love notes were still passed through a friend, or dropped in a locker.

I remember when I could have been anything I wanted to be, because I had a whole lotta life left.

I remember when boys thought I was older than I was so they liked me and asked me to roller skate with them.

I remember when.

And I remember now.

And sometimes it makes me happy, and sometimes it makes me sad.

*Note: I am not sad. Just in case you were wondering. ;)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What's Cookin? Coriander-Crusted Tuna w/ Braised White Beans

This is by far my favorite dish that we have prepared so far in culinary school. impressed with I've modified the original recipe to skip the bean soaking and instead use canned beans for an easy change, and also eliminated roasting your own chili peppers and used chili powder instead.

And, though it may look ambitious and possibly even a little intimidating, it's actually extremely easy and your guests will be the presentation.

Just make sure they like cilantro. ;)


Coriander-Crusted Tuna with Braised White Beans

Complete dish will have:
Seared Tuna (With Coriander Chili Crust)
Braised White Beans
Cilantro Puree
Balsamic Reduction
Lemon/Oil Dressed Greens


Coriander Chili Mix:
2 T. Toasted Coriander Seeds, ground to powder
1 T. Chili Powder
1/2 t. Kosher Salt

Method:
1. Toast coriander seeds over medium heat in a small, dry saute pan. They will become slightly brown and fragrant.
2. Transfer the seeds to a spice grinder and grind to a fine consistency.
3. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.

White Beans:
1 Can White Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Red Bell Pepper, Roasted
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Roasted
1 t. Olive Oil
1 T. Red Onion
Salt TT

Method:
1. Dice peppers and onion and saute until soft in olive oil. Add beans and stock. Season with salt.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer and cook until liquid evaporates, 15 minutes.

Cilantro Puree:
1/2 Bunch of Cilantro Leaves
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 t. Lemon Juice
2 oz. Olive Oil
Salt/Pepper TT

Method:
1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Balsamic Reduction:
4 oz Balsamic Vinegar

Method:
1. Bring vinegar to a boil and swirl in pan (Stainless steel or non-stick only) until it is reduced to a thick syrup. If reduced too far, add a splash more of balsamic vinegar and swirl to thin.

Tuna:
1 1/2 T. Olive Oil
8 Oz Yellowfin tuna, sashimi-quality loin
3 T. Coriander Chili Mix (Recipe follows)
4 oz Balsamic Vinegar
2 T. Cilantro Puree
1/4 t. Lemon Juice
1 1/2 C. Frisee Leaves
Salt TT

Method
1. Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Lightly dust all sides of the tuna with the coriander chili mix.
2. Place the tuna in the pan and cook for 8 seconds on each side. The tuna should be RARE.
3. Place the white beans in the center of each place. Drizzle 1 1/2 t. of cilantro puree and 1 1/2 t. of the balsamic syrup around the beans.
4. Whisk together the lemon juice and 1/2 t. olive oil. Toss the greens in a mixing bowl with salt and just enough dressing to coat. Top beans with greens.
5. Slice tuna and arrange on the top of the greens. Drizzle with a little more balsamic reduction.
6. Enjoy!

*Notes:
*To grind my coriander at home, I use my coffee grinder.
**If you wish to use dry beans for a better dish, braise them for 45 minutes with 24 oz chicken stock. Add a ham hock to the mixture for a better flavor.
***Frisee can sometimes be found in the better local supermarkets, however, if not, use Watercress for a yummy switch. Any fancy green, really, would work.