Monday, December 21, 2009

The hunt continues....

I really like hunting for jobs. It's not the fact that I don't have one - that would just be silly. I just find it fun showing up, meeting new people, answering food questions, sometimes having to cook things - I find it exciting. Obviously I would be a lot happier if I HAD a job, because of course than means money coming in, but the experience of it is fun. Luckily I don't have to do it that often :)

Right now possibly in the 'finals' for a job that would be to open up a place. Basically the partners opening up this place have a general idea, but have no experience opening up a restaurant - this is where I would come in for this position. The job has you doing everything from the ground up... meaning menu design/concept, hiring, buying equipment, etc. Basically their face, your restaurant. So i'm trying real hard not to get my hopes up, but i've made it pretty far, and one more meeting before a possible 'cookoff' between the two finalists. It would be a really fun project as well, I keep trying to take my mind off it, not get my hopes up, but I think I can do it :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

4 AM? Is it that time already?

On a string of *very* late nights for no reason, I decided to be a little productive. Realizing I had plenty of whole milk, and butter, along with a good amount of yeast from my cinnamon bun kick, I realized I needed a decent bread for the next day.

Like i've said before, i'm not really a baker, or at least i've never really done much until recently. So of course I would need a bit of help, and there is one book which I have really taken a shine to, the formulas are great, bread recipes are fantastic - you name it, if you want some good artisan bread then this is the book for you. I really highly recommend The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Really a great book, for anyone just wanting to start getting into baking, since it has a ton of great info, and everything is well written, to the more serious bakers.

So I made some brioche, which I think is one of my all time favorite breads. The book in particular actually has three different versions of the brioche, from the rich mans brioche with a LOT of butter, producing a really great, cakey bread, down to poor mans, which has less butter (yet still more than 20% butterfat, which is still quite the bread), which is more suited to sandwich bread and the like. I needed some bread for rolls so I could have some sandwiches, so I figured i'd go with the poor mans, which is also MUCH easier to handle than the rich.

And silly me, forgetting any loaf pans I own aren't at home, decided to make a bunch of pull away rolls, which was actually fine with me, these were big enough for a sandwich, which is all I really wanted it for anyway.

If you like to bake and haven't this book in your possession, do yourself a favor and just go out and get it. It's a great book, a must have, and you would be silly not to own it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Vacuum sealed chicken, mirin + sesame oil + ginger marinade, 64C for about an hour.......

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rant of the morning

Just thought I would share. This man makes me angrier than almost anything else. Gives food a bad name. Even more annoying than even me, which is hard to do. This is why Food network will never be taken seriously again.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fresh pasta....

Yes. I was bored and hungry. What does that mean? Well I guess tonight meant fresh pasta...(and no, it's not evil to do pasta dough in the processor)

Wanted to liven it up, but honestly didn't have much laying around the house, so I tossed in some randomly items for a little pizazz. So really just a basic pasta dough with a few substitutions/additions:

2 1/2 c flour
4 eggs
1 tbls olive oil
1 tbls sesame oil
1 tsp ginger (powder, not fresh... obviously. Would be an odd pasta with random ginger chunks)
Some fresh parsley finely chopped. I used what I had left, probably 1/2 a bunch?

Processor with metal blade, add 2c of the flour, the ginger, and the parsley. Pulse a few times, get it mixed, add the eggs, and process until it forms a ball. Hopefully, it's not TOO sticky, but you don't want it dry either. Use the remaining 1/2 flour (might need a little more, I would honestly just eye it depending), and spread it on the counter so you can knead the dough. Knead for about 5 minutes, then form a ball and let it sit covered for about 30 min. After that you are ready to rock. You can use a rolling pin to roll out the dough, and then cut it yourself, but really, I would get a pasta machine. They aren't too expensive, and make this much much easier. Plus I guess you could use it as a pickup line:

"Hey baby, want to go back to my place and check out the pasta machine?"

Or maybe not.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Comfort zone

We all have a comfort zone. Everyone has things they are comfortable with... and things they...well, just would rather avoid if possible. And i'm easily guilty of that. I definitely have things i'm not comfortable with, and most of the time I try and get out of doing them if possible.

Recently though, I felt like I needed to try something different. For some reason I really wanted to try something I hadn't really gotten into. I've cooked a lot of different things, but one realm i've never really decided to venture into was one of yeast and flour. Yes, that's right. The weak spot of many a chef - baking. I for some reason couldn't get it out of my head, and really felt like after so long it was time for a rematch.

What? Expecting something else? Trust me. In the past, dough and myself have never gotten along. Like oil and water. Like steak and marshmallows. Like Jon and Kate. I had always left dealings with my yeasty nemesis to bakers and the pastry chefs, sticking to simpler things people love to label as 'chef desserts'.

So I decide to pull an all-nighter. Staying at the restaurant after hours, free of distraction, I had a few things I wanted to try, and now had the space to try it in (my kitchen at home is decent enough, but my plan was for a few different things, and my oven just wasn't big enough at HQ).

So I started with my sponges and starters. Not too hard, and for the most part pretty easy. The worst part was waiting for dough to rise and the yeast to do it's business after the dough had been brought together. So in oiled metal bowls, covered in wrap, I waited for everything to proof.

Now, old memories of things just not rising of course were running through my head. But not to worry, everything seemed to be working out just fine.

What was I working on? Well first, I wanted to do a nice Cinnamon raisin and walnut bread with a nice cinn/sugar swirl going through it. Thought it would be great for toast in the morning, and just a great all around snack bread. So after kneading in all of the walnuts and raisins, and adding the cin/sugar mixture as I rolled the loaves, I ended up with 4 nice loaves, proofing once again, ready to be tossed into the oven.

With some bread underway, I remembered I had promised the waitstaff cinnamon buns for when they came in to open in the morning. Well, cinnamon buns were one of the few sweet things I eat in the morning, so I was more than happy to give it a shot.

While I was waiting for my buns to rise, some of the other things I had been working on finished, one of which were my 4 nice loaves of bread. Pretty nice, and trust me, were pretty tasty in the morning toasted with butter.

Here come the cinnamon rolls....finished with some rum icing.

These two things weren't everything that I was working on that night. I baked some nice Anadama bread, which smells in-freaking-credible due to the molasses it's made with. Also some white bread, rye bread, and a few other little odds and ends. But me being me, forgot to take pictures of most of that. Oopsie. Guess I was having too much fun?

I did have a lot of fun staying up all night and baking. I did everything by hand, and tried a lot of things that I hadn't tried before (brioche can be a pain, but man do I love that stuff!).

Now, if you haven't realized by now, the whole point of this isn't how to bake things, or how awesome my stuff came out (although it all came out really well if I do say so myself), the point of my long winded paragraphs and horrible angles on pictures was to step out of that comfort zome once in a while we all tend to stay in. You can't be afraid trying things, trying different things, especially when it comes to food. And who knows, maybe you'll learn a thing or two along the way.