Friday, August 17, 2007

Mwah!

I'm off! I will return slightly redder than before & hopefully relaxed...

Mags returns Thursday for a SPECIAL Top Chef

Graduation Pictures

Graduation went well-it was wonderful to see everyone again and a good time was had by all. I graduated with High Honors, 2nd in my class, though it was not announced who was first.

Getting my Medal & Diploma
Me & the Fam (minus 1 sister)

The Rents

My Rye Bread

Chef Valle (my favorite) & Chef Goldberger (another favorite)
(He said, "A little peanut butter between 2 slices of white bread")
Chef Costa-the Chef who hired me for that big party, and our competition chef

Chef Brummett-the chef I gave a thank you card to because he taught me so much

After the ceremony there was, of course, food. We all sat around talking for a while and took pictures. Afterward, Know-It-All and I went out for drinks with 2 of our chefs. It was very, very fun.

My post is late because I have a little bit of a headache today. Many beers were bought for Mags.

The director of the school talked to my parents and told them that he expects to hear great things from me as I was an excellent student and a passionate chef. I would say that is a fantastic way to go out...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Graduation Hair


For Mo
Graduation Hair
My chef coat is ironed, checks are packed and I'm ready to go. I have to run errands after work tonight before going to the school, so I went home for lunch to prepare. I re-did my hair (because it was looking a little flat) and put some makeup on and packed some things to spruce myself up later too-I'm ready, and a little over anxious, I'd say...
I'm really excited to see my chefs. It's been less than a month since I've seen them last, and I miss them so much. I really hate that this will be the last official time I'll see them, but hopefully we'll work together on side jobs in the future. Surprisingly, I'm not excited to see my classmates-not even Know-It-All who I became good friends with. I don't miss them as much as I miss my instructors, which is so completely opposite of any schooling I've ever had before.
On another note, the shirt I have on is one that I got on my shopping spree the other day-I ended up getting it for free!

A Tall Hat

Today's the day I've been waiting for my entire life. Today, I will hold in my hand a diploma and certificate of completion from culinary school. And I will wear on my head, a tall hat.

I know you all must be incredibly sick of hearing about how wonderful it feels to finally be on the road to realizing my dream, but it really is one of the most fantastic feelings in the world. I am so proud of myself for not following everyone else's dreams for me-teaching, business manager-I was good at both, but I never loved them. And now, I have successfully completed training to be a professional chef.

It wasn't an easy road, getting to this place. 1994 was the first time I vocalized my desire to attend culinary school, and I was promptly shot down. Perhaps my father thought he was protecting me, or even himself, but "You have to go to real college first" will always stay with me.

Years past and I got married. Our friends and family always mentioned how talented I was and that I should cater. After hearing his family say this, Matt finally gave in and told me to go find out how much it would cost to go to school. I made an appointment and got the information, only to realize that there was no possible way we could afford school and the house we were building.

I chose the house. He chose the girl in Mexico City.

Then there was Jamie. He actually told me that I couldn't cook and almost refused to let me do it at all. There were certain dishes he'd let me make, and even then, he would criticize them. I couldn't spend money on myself at all, let alone think about culinary school. At this point, the dream in me was beginning to die.

I often smile to myself when I remember these 2 men and I kind of giggle and wonder what their faces would look like if they found out that I am a chef. It would give me great satisfaction to show them both that I have moved on, and that I got to this place without them.

Of course, my parents have a great deal to do with the fact that I got here too-without that late night dinner at Bongo's Cuban Cafe at Disney, I would never have been able to afford the entire tuition alone.

Yes, it's been a long, winding road with twists and turns, heartaches and losses. But ultimately, it is a journey that has made me the passionate, optimistic and driven chef that I am today, and I wouldn't change that for the world...

Thanks again to you all for your support over the last year and a half-you're the best. Now, I'm off to plan a menu for a Christmas Party that I am trying to win.

What's In Your Pantry? Results

34 of you forwarded me your pantry lists-thank you! Here is what I came up with...

*Updated*
For Frigga:
My initial thought was: Screw the food and stick with Jack! But, being that I advertised that I'll tell you what to cook...I knew you wouldn't go for that. Using just what you have:

Cheese, Glorious Cheese
1 Box Macaroni & Cheese-powdered cheese discarded, macaroni cooked
3. T Butter
3 T. Flour
1 T. Mustard
3 C. Milk
1/2 C. Onion diced
1 egg
6 oz Colby Cheese, shredded
6 oz Velveta, cubed
Salt
Pepper
Topping:
3 T Butter
1 C. French Bread, crumbed

Preheat oven 350
Melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook about 5 minutes whisking the entire time. Add mustard, milk, onion. Simmer for 10 minutes and temper in the egg. Stir in all of the cheese with the exception for a little colby for topping (or add it all and grate more for the top!) Season with salt & pepper and pour over drained macaroni.

Crumb the french bread by pulsing it in a blender or food processor. Saute them in a pan with butter just until they are coated. Top macaroni with bread and bake for 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes prior to serving.

For Danielle: Beer Marinated Raspberry Chicken
4 Chicken Breasts
12 oz Beer (Raspberry Beer!)
Rub:
1T Garlic Powder
2 t. Salt
1 t. Dried Basil
1/8 t. Black Pepper

Marinate chicken in beer for 2 hours. Remove it & pat dry. Sprinkle with dry rub and grill until done.

For a healthy side, I would choose match stick yellow squash sautéed with a little salt and pepper.

Also, I've always wanted to try this:

2 Cloves Garlic
1 t. grapefruit zest
½ c. grapefruit juice
1 T oil
2 T. honey
½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
4 chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients except for chicken. Grill chicken and baste with glaze frequently. Bring remaining glaze to a boil for 1 minute and pour over grilled chicken.

For Marilyn: Salad with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette,
2-3 Ripe Tomatoes (depending on size)
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
2 T. Spicy Brown Mustard
Red Onion
Mixed Greens

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a little olive oil over tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. Roast tomatoes in oven until they just start to burst, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

In a bowl, crush cooled tomatoes, (if you don’t like the skins on, peel them off prior to doing this). Add mustard, salt & pepper and drizzle enough oil into the mixture (while whisking) to make a dressing.

Toss greens, red onions and dressing together just prior to serving. Crumbled blue cheese would be yummy on this too!

Grilled Garlic Lime Chicken:
4 Chicken Breasts
1 Garlic Clove, crushed
1 C. Lime Juice
Salt & Pepper

Marinate Chicken in lime juice with garlic for 1 hour. Remove from marinade and season with salt & pepper. Grill until done.

Corn with Cilantro Butter:
½ Stick Butter, softened
1 Bunch of fresh Cilantro, chopped
Salt
Pepper
Corn

Boil or Grill (preferred method) corn on the cob. Combine cilantro, salt & pepper into butter. Spread onto your corn and enjoy!

C-Unit: Yummy Pork Chops
Pork Chops-however many you have!
2 T. Olive Oil
4 t. Brown Mustard
4 t. Dijon Mustard
1 t. dried fennel
Salt
Pepper
3 T. Flour
1 C. white wine
3 C. Chicken Stock

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Whisk in olive oil, 2 t. of each mustard, fennel seed, 2 t. salt and ½ t. pepper. Rub mixture on top of chops and roast for about 20 minutes or until done. (Depends on how thick they are) Allow to rest outside of oven for 10 minutes prior to serving.

Sauce:
Take ¼ C. of fat from roasting pan and place it in a sauté pan. Over medium heat, wisk in flour for 1 minute. Add wine and scrape bottom of pan. Add stock, remaining mustard, 2 t. salt, ½ t. black pepper. Bring to boil and lower heat for 5-10 minutes until sauce is reduced and slightly thickened.

So...how'd I do?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Randomivity

Coming across the face of someone who hurt you is extremely jarring-even if it is in pictures.

I wonder if I will ever be over it.

Getting a random phone call from a friend is nice, but also funny when they say, "I'm not really in the mood to talk, I'm not sure why I called."

I still maintain my love for my hairdresser. She gives the BEST head massages I've ever, ever had.

Rigamortus sets into mice too, just not into their tails. I'm sad that I know this.

Why is it that weird boys like the Mags? You know my funny "There's no one else in the theater but us but I'm going to sit right next to you anyway" joke? Well...it happened to me, only in the mall's food court and he sat RIGHT next to me in the BOOTH!

And then tried to talk to me-with his mouth full.

#1-no, he was not hot.
#2-he could barely speak English
#3-this might be a false statement considering the amount of food he had in his mouth at the time-he could have just been held back by the ungodly amount of pizza he had stuck in his pie hole.

I shall have to re-think the shopping after I'm rocking a new haircut thing from now on. I will probably be single forever.

Graduation is tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I only got 1 chef a gift. I don't know how to sneak it to him without hurting the other chefs feelings. I may just keep the gift until I can give everyone something.

**Scroll down for Top Chef information**

Top Chef-Modified

Are you confused? It's not Thursday...yet here I am, waving my Top Chef banner. Why?
Because I'm going to the BEACH this weekend for 5 DAYS!!!!!!!!!

How does this affect you? Well, besides missing me to pieces (you know you will) and me coming back the color of a freshly boiled lobster (yum) I will not be able to cook for you this weekend...

SO....instead of playing TC this week, we are going to do something different. Email me (or leave me a comment) with a few ingredients that you currently have in your house and I will tell you what you should make with them! Ever wonder what you should do with those capers you've never opened? At a loss for a recipe idea for those chicken thighs? Let me help you!

Please be specific if anyone in your house has food allergies or if there is something they definitely would NEVER eat. I will try my best to not make you shop for more things, but sometimes a recipe just needs cheese. (Can I get an AMEN?!)

What's In Your Pantry?!
Please submit your ingredients no later than Thursday at 4pm.
Recipes will be posted on Friday.

Wordless Wednesday





Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Mo Show

I'm a FoMo
Listen LIVE or Listen to the archives...
either way, DON'T MISS IT!!

Toosdae ?'s

So...you know I've got mice, right? Let's show 'em how big my "army" is so we can scare him away...


Alternately, Thursday is my actual graduation ceremony, so answer these questions as a gift to me. ;) Either way, I want to see your names in my comments!


1. If you could freeze the time for one hour, (you'd be the only living thing that's "alive" in that moment) what would you do?

2. If you were a noise, what would you be? Why?

3. What is at the end of your rainbow? (Assume that the pot of gold is already gone & it can't be money)

1. I think being the only person in the world "alive" at that moment would be very freeing (only b/c it is for an hour-otherwise it would be lonely). I think I would take it a step further by skinny dipping. Hopefully it would be in a crystal clear, warm blue ocean, but a nice pool with waterfalls would be lovely too.


2. It's silly, but I think I would be this: Chink Chonk, Chink Chonk, Chink Chonk...because it's kind of funny. The chink part is kind of like chimes in my head and the chonk is a duck-like noise-together, it's pretty and silly, kinda like me! And really, I bet you if I said this to your faces, you'd laugh.


3. At the end of my rainbow there would be cheese balls. Do I even need to explain? They're something that are really yummy but you never eat them because they are so 7th grade and bad for you. But damn, they're good.

Monday, August 13, 2007

You Won't Believe This

But I just caught another mouse.

WTF?! I finally got the courage to scoop the one mouse away and now this? Ugh. This one died right away though, thank goodness.

What should I do? I don't have anymore traps here but I can get more, I guess...should I get an exterminator? Is that what people with more than one mouse do?

WTF?!

I so need to live in an apartment.

Pressure

As you know I am trying to prepare my house to be sold. This includes painting, staging and cleaning my entire home, both on the inside and out. The other day I was looking out of my kitchen window and noticed that my siding has turned from gray to green! That side of the house is shadier and therefore it is sprouting a light dusting of moss.

I need a pressure washer. An electric power washer is the way to go-it ensures I can get the job done from start to finish without worrying about running out of gas.

As a homeowner, owning a pressure washer is a smart purchase. Not only can I wash my siding, but also my walkways, my deck and my car!

Manic Monday: Drop

Monday's are MoMoLicious


Today is a gloomy, rainy day. It's too bright inside my office and also, too cold. I have a meeting at 9am and I will be completely zoned out. I also have nothing to blog about.


Last week I made my semi-famous lemon meringue tart at work. They didn't serve it on Friday but decided to keep it until Sunday. When I went to cut the darn thing, it was rubbery and the filling was watery. Commercial walk-ins are quite different than my home refrigerator. I had to throw them both out.


I think they dropped the ball. I told them to serve them on Saturday, but they didn't listen.


I've been working the grill on the line regularly now. Last night I did not even have to work the party, which was nice-except the dining room is air conditioned, so that would have been nice. Overall, the club is good-I'm working about 25-35 hours a week, and the extra money will be nice.


I had another mouse in the house and went to get traps this weekend. Saturday night I set them and went into my room to read. About a half an hour later I heard the tell tale snap and thought, "That was fast", but when I went to look, there was nothing there. I reset the trap and in the morning it was closed again, sans mouse.


When I set it this time, I noticed some white fur on the hook. Noting that mice are actually pretty smart I moved the trap away from the wall a little bit and put it farther down. Around 9PM last night I was watching TV and heard a snap. This time, it was followed by a flopping noise-and I knew I'd caught a mouse.


The poor thing flopped around for hours trying to get loose. These traps enclose their heads so you can't see them, and all I saw were it's little legs trying to push the trap off. I promptly called my friend Kurt so that he could offer some sympathy but instead, he told me to let the mouse go free.


Whatever dude. It's still on my kitchen floor. I did not want to take the chance that it would still be alive when I picked up the trap and I didn't have time this morning. I hate mice-why can't they just stay outside and find their own houses? They can live in my shed-I'm ok with that. But my house-I'd like then to stay away, thankyouverymuch.



Happy Manic Monday everyone-I hope you have a fantastic week!


PS>Mr Linky wasn't working for me...so please leave a comment if you're a Manic Monday Minion!