Friday, June 08, 2007

What's Cookin'? Cinnamon Banana Muffins!

As you can see from the post below (Also today's daily posts below too) I couldn't sleep last night...so I baked me up some muffins! By popular demand, here is the recipe:

Cinnamon Banana Walnut Muffins
Preheat Oven to 350 or 325 for Convection Ovens


Flour 1 1/4 C.
Baking Soda 1 t.
Salt 1/2 t.
Eggs 2, at room temperature
Vanilla 1/2 t.
Butter, unsalted 1/2 C. at room temperature
Sugar 1 C.
Very Ripe Bananas 4
Walnuts, Chopped 1/2 C.
Cinnamon 1 t.

Method:
*Line muffin tin with paper muffin cups and lightly grease the top of the pan.
1. In a bowl, whisk flour & baking soda together. This takes the place of sifting.
2. Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time until incorporated.
4. Add salt & cinnamon, then bananas. Batter will look curdled and lumpy.
*It is important on this next step to NOT OVER MIX the batter. Also, work quickly so that you get the most rise-ability from the baking soda.
5. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
6. Stir in most of the nuts, reserving some for the topping.
7. Fill cups 3/4 of the way, sprinkle with nuts and bake for 15-18 minutes.

DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN FOR THE FIRST 15 MINUTES. You will make your muffins flat. ;)
8. Enjoy-I suggest while they are warm.

Notes:
*Over mixing will cause toughness in your final product.
*Always bake with room temperature items unless otherwise noted-crusts usually require cold butter, but for muffins, we like room temp.

Chicken Fried Rice

I just stepped out to my car to get something I'd forgotten...and I saw 6 Asian men climb out of a TINY Mazda. I couldn't help it, but I thought about the circus.

I wonder how many they could actually fit in there...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Winds of Change

He heard the wind chimes blowing in the late summer breeze. That's how Matt decided he wanted to move with me back to Connecticut.

For some reason (which I can't remember now) I stayed longer than he did on a recent visit. As I sat outside on my parent's screened in porch, the wind wrapped itself around me, begging me never to leave.

It begged him to let me stay.

"Are you on the porch?" He asked, his voice tired and alone, his new wife hundreds of miles away-her heart content to be at home.

"Yeah" I answered. "There's a nice breeze coming through, and it's nice just sitting out here in the dark."

And then he said it. "Let's move to CT."

My heart jumped a thousand beats. My face lit up and I jumped from the rocker I was sitting in, ready to take action-whatever that may have been.

"Really!?!" I laughed. "You're really going to move to CT?"

"Yeah. Why not. I really like it there. It's time to do it. I can go back and start looking for a job next month."

And so it was done.

One month later, Matt and I packed up our 2 bedroom apartment, 2 friends, a mother and a brother, and drove across the east coast, planning a life we'd never get to live.

I found us a small apartment in the basement of a house a few towns away from my parents. It was dark, and small, and damp.

In the summer, we had mold. Our clothes were musty, and Matt was sick all of the time. We had no air conditioner because the windows were too tall. Our neighbor upstairs was loud and often screamed well past midnight into the phone at her boyfriend.

Matt spent a lot of time at work.

I spent a lot of time walking with my eyes closed, feeling the New England breeze blow through my hair.

The winds don't blow the same in every state.

Because I Wasn't Sleepy...


Who bakes muffins from scratch at 11:00 PM? An insomniac chef.
*
That's who...
*
Cinnamon Banana Walnut Muffins...at least I have breakfast for tomorrow.

Snack

I'm eating Berry Berry Kix right now.

They're super yummy.

But also, loud.

People keep glancing into my cube as they walk by...

20 Days

Unless someone saves me (gives me a day off) beginning on Sunday I will be working 20 days straight. Most of these will be doubles.

The country club is going really well. The other day I posted about my love of the customer service aspect and the way I get to actually talk to members. I like that they give me things to do and say, "Just do whatever you want with it." I'm allowed to be creative and allowed to test my knowledge.

And after last week's grill competition (you know the one-where I proved I have a fire retardant arm) I am being recognized as someone who can "take the heat" so to speak. Last night I arrived and was told that I would not be prepping for the next day's party, but would be trained on the line.

Now, as you all know, I worked on the line in the restaurant for a little bit-but only in Pantry, which is typically where they put newbies. As you gain more experience and speed, you are typically moved up to Pasta, Grill or Oven, and then Saute.

Last night, I worked the grill. I was paired with Melissa, a girl who really is very good, and I respect her very much. It was fun, but slow-which I'm told is not usually the norm. We made steaks, burgers, fries, Tuna and Salmon and lots of other cool things.

She's going on vacation soon, and I'm told that I'll probably be working some of her days. That's wicked cool.

The happiest thing though was that because it was slow, they told me I could go home at 7:30.

7:30!

So I went home, mowed my backyard, did some laundry, and showered.

Then I painted my toes. To you, dear reader, this may not seem like a big deal. But to me, it's become a luxury that is often passed up for studying, cleaning or sleeping. It made me extremely happy.

I also got to watch a little Food Network and got to bed fairly early. (Sleeping-that's another issue)

Yes, when you live a busy life, it's the extremely little things that bring a smile to your face.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Randomivity

A neat way for someone to propose would be to put "Will You Marry Me?" on the inside of a Magic 8 Ball. Of course, it would have to be on all or most of the sides, otherwise she could be there for a while...
*
It appears that my phone number has been taken off of the "Don't Call List". Lucky me. I've apparently "won" a $99 (5 day) trip to Jamaica. Anyone want to join me? LOL.
*
"At least I work". That is what I ALMOST said tonight to stupid BagPipeWilly when he made fun of me for talking to Clay, a sophomore who I work with at the Country Club...
*
Being recognized by your instructor is great. Especially when he wants you to work with him on an outside event. And especially when it pays.
*
This is so great that when asked if I'd like to do it, I instantly said yes. Without thinking about the fact that next week I have not one day off. Not one. That's 5 days of doubles, 1 day of 8 hours and 1 day of good wholesome physical 10 hours or more.
*
I may die next week.
*
But I believe what they say: No pain, no gain. There will be a lot of pain (in my heals, legs, head). The gain will come later, when I use this stockpiled knowledge for my own business.
*
Cow bung is one of the only reasons I understand vegetarians. Heart attacks are the other.
*
Sausage making is a lot like health class. You know the one where they bring in the banana and teach you how to put on a condom? Yeah. That one.
*
Hearing "Back when you were in high school, that was probably right" makes me feel Ooooold. But it also makes me laugh when the person saying it is older.
*
No, I don't watch "Hell's Kitchen. I know you think I should. Thank you for the suggestion. I'm in school that night. No. I don't tape it. I know you think I should. Thank you for the suggestion."
*
Sleep is NOT over-rated. I need MUCH more of it.
*
I do not know why I keep getting LOTS of spaces between lines. I can't seem to fix it. Ugh.

**UPDATE**I just looked at the calendar and in fact: Beginning this Sunday I will not have a day off for 20 DAYS! Yes. That's right. 20.

Peace: It's What's 4 Dinner

Thank you my Mo Mo for making me a Peace Globe!
PEACE IS
Peace is a cool breeze and the soft grass
with roses and tulips,
a rainbow above and the sound of the birds,
and the roses blooming and the ocean swaying
and people getting together.
Lexi Hom, Grade 2
Sutterville Elementary School
Sacramento, California
I thought about writing my own peace poem, but I love reading and listening to the words of tiny people...

Wordless Wednesday:TIRED




Tuesday, June 05, 2007

It Wiggles

So, I'm really hungry today...Last night in class my stomach started hurting really bad. I had sharp pains through my abdomen and on my lower back. I excused myself and went into the bathroom, but did not have to go.

The pain continued through kitchen time. We were cooking Indian foods of all kinds and somehow, I just couldn't eat curries and yogurt sauces when it felt like something was trying to rip out of ma bellah.

So, I'm really hungry today. And I didn't bring a whole heck of a lot to eat for some reason...just a Lean Pocket and a drink really...

...So I opened the fridge at work and saw at the bottom a little cup of chocolate pudding that had been there for a few days...and I decided that though I hate when people steal my stuff, I was in need of that chocolate pudding.

I waited until no one was around and I printed something. (The printer is near the fridge) I took my papers and quickly hid the Jello cup inside of them and high stepped it to my cube.

Only to find that I had stolen my own cherry Jello cup that I'd brought in a few days ago. The shadows from the fridge made it appear dark in color, and I thought it was puddin'.

I truly am a dork. But at least I'm less hungry now.

Toosdae ?'s

I recognize that I may be playing with fire with today's questions, but I figure, why not mix it up a bit? With the recent release of Jack Kevorkian, I've decided to ask your opinions on controversial issues. While I will understand if you choose not to answer, I hope that you will use your given (and often fought for) RIGHT to not only possess your own beliefs, but also, to verbalize them.


A. Do you believe in Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide? Under what circumstances do you feel that it is acceptable?


B. Do you think that masturbation is a sin?


C. Do you believe in/support stem cell research? What if the embryos are to be discarded regardless of whether you use them for research or not? Example: A fertility clinic that specializes in artificial insemination...



*Disrespect will not be tolerated.

A. What I know is that if I or someone I love was suffering from a terminal illness I would not want them to suffer any longer than they had to. If they made the decision to end their life based on that, I would have no choice but to support them. I DO NOT support suicide assisted suicides for something like depression, as there are many solutions and fixes for that. The trouble is: How many people would fall through the cracks if it were legal?


B. No. I do not think masturbation is a sin. I know I am Catholic and that I should think it is, but the truth is, I think masturbation is natural and that it is a heck of a lot better than sleeping around or having sex with strangers to get your freak on.


C. I don't believe in creating a life simply to use their cells for research or cures for people who are already alive. I do, however, support using the embryos that would be discarded anyway from fertility clinics. If they are considered "garbage" anyway, what is the harm in using them to cure others?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Now Serving: Smiles

Working in a country club is MUCH different than working in a restaurant.


First of all, the "regulars" are members and think they own the place. And really, they do. And that means that when we serve mushroom ravioli in a mushroom cream sauce on a buffet line, they can request ravioli without sauce and we have to go get it.


And that when we have a salad bar, we have to have someone there to "chop" their salads for them because they like them in little itty bitty pieces and can't do it themselves.


It means having 5 times more food than we need on the buffet line and always making sure the pans are full-even though it's obvious that they've been eating from them. It means keeping the buffet line open even though everyone is clearly done just in case ONE member wants another roll or a piece of carved meat.


Even during dessert.


The cool thing is, I agree with all of this. I, unlike most of the staff, don't think I have to do this simply to keep the peace. Thanks to Disney, this was ALREADY my way of thinking. This is how I stock my buffet tables when I cater and I always want to make sure that everyone is happy.


Yesterday we catered a graduation party for a guy who just graduated from NYU. His parents invited 90 of their closest friends and relatives to celebrate his achievement.


I got to make the desserts. Which made me very happy. I also got to work a salad station, preparing Caesar salads to order. That was way fun. And last, I cut the cake and served it as well.


When I went back to the kitchen, I was asked how it went and I genuinely said, "I love that kind of thing!" The reply I got was one of disbelief at first and then a "You're one of a kind then..." chuckle.


I guess being a park greeter was really a great job for me to have. I love smiling at people, I love interacting with them and almost entertaining them while I do the job I'm assigned. The other staff don't even talk to the guests. I laugh with them, joke and make a note to remember things like who didn't want croutons and who wanted extra dressing. So when they come back for seconds, they don't even have to tell me.


Yes...catering (face to face interaction with my customers) versus restaurant work (cooking on a line, never seeing who eats my food and if they like it) is definitely my calling.


And I'm SO SO SO excited that school is almost done, so that I can get on my way...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

What's Cookin'? Raspberry Chicken

I haven't posted a recipe in a while mainly because I now work on Sunday's. Here's a great summer dish that is easy to prepare and even easier to eat!

Raspberry Chicken

Serves 4


Chicken Breasts 4
Flour, for dusting As needed
Unsalted Butter 2 T.
Onion, diced 1/2 C.
Raspberry Vinegar 1/4 C.
Chicken Stock 1/4 C.
Heavy Cream 1/4 C.
Tomato, diced 1/3 C.
Raspberries 1 Pint

Method:
1. Flatten chicken so they are even. (Put chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with the flat end of a mallet)
2. Heat butter in saute pan over medium heat.
3. Dry, season and dust chicken in flour. SHAKE OFF EXCESS.
4. Saute chicken until golden brown. Remove from pan.
5. Lower heat and add onion. Cook about 5 minutes until onion is caramelized.
6. Add vinegar. Raise heat and cook stirring occasionally until the vinegar is reduced to a syrupy consistency.
7. Whisk in stock, cream and tomato. Simmer for 2 minutes.
8. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer until they are just done.
9. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and add fresh raspberries to the sauce. Cook over low heat for 1 minute. Do not stir the berries with a spoon-merely swirl them in the sauce by shaking the pan.
10. Serve chicken with the sauce and a few whole berries.

Notes:
*Do not cake your chicken with the flour-it is used only to give your chicken color, not for giving it a crust.
*This dish would pair very well with rice.