I hope your holiday was filled with Pie and Family!
Thursday, November 28, 2013
It seems like these last few months have been a whirlwind. Like seriously, on my "to do" list I still have not crossed off buy books, let's talk about how the semester ends in 2 weeks. Actually let's not. Even though my free time is sparse these days it would be wrong of me not to publicly express my gratitude for some real important things. Gratitude lists in years past have included lots of silly things, like cookies and sweat pants, but more recently I've realized that at the end of the day cookies just make me fat and sweat pants...well they don't really help in that department either. Really the things to recognize are the things that don't go anywhere. The things that will rub your feet after a long day in the kitchen. The things that pick you up when you're certain your at your breaking point. The things that make you feel like you matter. Those are the things worthy of my gratitude list this year.
...for a husband that gets me on a level that no one else does, and loves me more than I ever thought possible.
...for this talent that has come out of what seems like no where. Culinary school has been one of the greatest things I could have ever done for myself.
...for my family. The amount of love and support that exists between these people makes me feel whole and I'm so glad I get to call them mine.
Friday, September 6, 2013
First off German food is good. Second this week I was stationed in Garde Manger, or cold foods. I made 3 salads and an amouse bouche (like hous d'oevres). I made a really great German potato salad, a warm coleslaw salad and an awesome apple and celery root salad with a yummy dill vinaigrette. I think what was hardest for me this week was figuring out how to plate thing so that it doesn't just look like a pile of potatoes. I'm realizing I'm not really into super gimmicky garnishes and really fancy, fancy plates. Simplicity is my style. But not everyone is into that, so I'll put up something simple and my critique will be put another garnish on the plate, etc...then I'm frustrated because I'm having to do something based on someone else taste, that I never would have done originally. Anyway I felt like this was a great station to ease my way into the restaurant. I was able to get my dishes up and out on time and never really felt pressure. Wednesday's we do as much prep as we can and then Thursday and Friday it's go time, the restaurant is open. My cute family made reservations to come and eat every. single. week. I'm so lucky to have such awesome support.
My first tickets
Friday, August 30, 2013
...And I'm back in the kitchen. Culinary School started off again this week with a bang. I feel like I went from elementary school to an MBA program. My semester is split into two blocks first half I get to spend Wednesday - Thursday nights in Restaurant Forte. Our student run fine dining restaurant and second block I'll be in Advanced baking.
My class changed this semester which is unusual, normally in the program you start and end with the same people. My original class was split and I joined a class of day students who on the first day referred to me as "night class" and made sure to welcome me to the "big leagues". I laughed and played along modestly itching to get into the kitchen so that I could make my presence (and abilities) known to the class.
I had the opportunity on the second day of class when our Chef announced that our two day practical exam would start then. I fell right back into the flow of the flow of the kitchen and prepared 4 really awesome dishes. Day one was an appetizer of duck breast with a cherry gastrique, and an entree of red trout with a tomato compote over orzo pasta. Then on day two I made scallops in a white wine and browned butter sauce as an appetizer and an entree of chicken breast with a mushroom sauce and rice pilaf, with pretty vegetables. I went from being "night class" to the girl people ask when they don't know if their wine is reduced enough, or the girl who is on the other end of questions like:"hey taste this sauce, does it need any more thyme? Or salt? Do you feel like I should finish it with a little cream?". I really love being good at this. I love getting better. I love going to school and learning more and more and absorbing everything I can from my experiences and from the people I work with. But probably more than anything I love the confidence it gives me. Being away from this program for the summer was nice in ways...like how cool it was to spend time with my husband...or how awesome it was to not be sleep deprived. But I live for this, I thrive in this environment and, boy, does it feel good to be back.
These first 7 weeks of the semester the restaurant will be cool. Each week my classmates and I will rotate positions. One week I'll be the garde manger chef, one week the baker, one week the sous chef, one week the pastry chef, all our positions change. Additionally the restaurant cuisine changes, one week Thai, one week French etc. It's going to be challenging but I'm really excited for it.
Next week is the first week the restaurant is open. German week here we come!
My new classroom
My day two entree
Monday, August 12, 2013
We'd been planning to visit Adam's brother and wife all summer. Scott and Christie live in Reno and we figured why not, plus we wanted to check out Lake Tahoe and a quick trip to San Francisco wouldn't be all that bad either. Of course I expected we'd make a road trip out of it so you can only imagine my surprise when I got a text from Adam the day before we left that said: We're taking the train to Reno I just bought our tickets. Awesome, I thought, I'll be riding in some box car with transients and hippies. Who rides Amtrak anyway..? But after doing a bit of research I became really excited, observation cars, cushy lounge chairs, a restaurant on board. We were in for a luxurious ride across the desert.
Our train left Salt Lake at 11:30pm on Thursday and arrived in Reno at 8:30am Friday. We slept all night and woke up in a new place ready to take on adventure.
When we got to Reno we threw on our swimsuits and loaded up the car and drove into the mountains to Lake Tahoe.
The lake was stunning, tall mountains surrounding clear blue water with huge pine trees.
It was heavenly.
We picnicked on the beach and wandered around the trails surrounding the water.
Later we rented a paddle board and decided that it's much harder to keep balanced with two people on board than just one. Ha! The experienced paddle boarding crowd on shore was probably getting a kick out of us amateurs!
After the lake we cleaned up and headed out to "Hot August Nights" in down town Reno. Where one of the largest car shows in the world was taking place. A seemingly never ending parade of cars drove down the main street and casino parking lots were filled with row after row of hot rods.
While in the city we decided to try the famous Awful, Awful burger at the diner in the Little Nugget.
It's awful big, and awful good, just like they say.
The next days destination was San Francisco!
We hit fisherman's wharf for some clam chowder and shrimp sandwiches on sourdough and then Ghirardelli for treats.
(Salted Caramel banana shake, we love you!!)
Later we road the trolley car and hit up China town.
Where we got some pretty killer Chinese food.
Adam's favorite part about the restaurant were the sea creatures waiting for their demise.
On Sunday when we got dropped off at the train station we took the elevator to an empty platform with no waiting train. Come to find out we missed our train because of a miscommunication. After a bit of panic the wonderful Amtrak workers switched our ticket and we had one more day of vacation. Ha! Whoops. Tonight we'll go hop our train home and be there tomorrow morning. After traveling by train I will definitely do it again, it's so comfortable, cost effective, and very convenient, it takes longer than flying BUT when you sleep on the train overnight it's no big deal. We're already trying to decide where we want to go next!
Overall a great trip with great company!