Friday, August 20, 2010

Coming Soooooon!

Yeah. I'm still around. I took a pause to restart my life and... I'm doing just that! I left the corporate world, went to culinary school (graduated with honors!) and have been working at a lovely little French restaurant for almost 2 years now. 2 years!

So now it's time for the next round of adventures. This blog will be for the crafty, artistic, traveling, writing, dancing, etc... parts of my life. My other blog will focus my personal cooking endeavors (in depth method studies, recipe creations, and stuff like that there).

Should be back on track within this or next month (September 2010).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Holy Pointy Sticks Batman!!!

I have actually knit a gauge swatch to completion. It's now resting before blocking. Hell hath frozen overfolks!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Today I graduated from culinary school...


The medal around my neck is the honors award, the bottom certificate is my culinary diploma, and the top one is the President's Award for perfect attendance.

I did it! I did it! I did it! 

I'm so damn proud! Excuse me while I glow for a few more minutes. LOL! =)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'M DONE!!!!

I did it! I did it! I did it!

Monday was my last class and final cooking exam... and I did it! I went in terribly distressed and just disillusioned. Nothing seemed to feel right. But I cooked my little heart out and completed my portions of the 6 course menu each team had to present. 

The gazpacho was considered bland and needed something to make it POP. That and they wanted it more refined. I agree on all counts. The yellow tomato sorbet we did turned out pale in color and didn't have the flavor we were hoping for. I wish we'd have stayed with the original recipe rather than changed it to what was suggested. I know now that to make it "refined" I should have peeled the tomatoes and roasted the peppers (then peeled). This would have given the mouth feel some smoothness and added a bit of extra flavor.  Live and learn. Another team had also done a kind of gazpacho and added a ceviche to it. The judging chef's thought that the ceviche would have been better in our version of the gazpacho. Something to think about for the future. Idea alert!

As for my graded dish (the one that really counted), the Potato Wrapped Cod with Creole Remoulade. THEY LOVED IT! One of the chef's went so far as to say that it was her favorite of the competition and that she'd definitely order it at a restaurant! Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh, oh, oh yeah! They did give some suggestions on how to really take it to the next level which I much appreciated. I had to laugh because it was the original idea that I wanted to present but couldn't figure out how to make work. The answer was very simple and I'll definitely give it a shot at home. I also should have asked my chef at work because he had another suggestion (also super simple) that would have worked just as nicely. Ah well. I PASSED! I ROCKED! THEY LOVED IT! I kept it simple and went with what I knew and I DID IT!!!

Happy girl!

So Friday is graduation day and I am too pleased to see straight. Bryan hasn't stopped beaming at me and I'm just so proud. I did it! I was determined and I did it!

Thank you for all hanging in there and giving such wonderful support! YAY!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Invisible Woman Becomes Visible Again

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've said it more than once but I'm determined to try to be around here much more often dang it! =)

So much happening and so far all for the good. Fibery, beady, and cooking goodness to talk about. Hopeful start adding some travel (local and far away) too. I miss my neat online friends and want to stay in touch!

Let's try this again shall we?!?

Friday, May 15, 2009

To school that is!

I know, I know. Where the heck have I been? School, work. Work, school. It's been an amazing experience filled with the usual ups and downs but I wouldn't give it up for anything!

Graduation is June 12th and you will all be proud to know that at a minimum, I will graduate with a 93 average though I'm hoping for higher. Phase 3 (which is what I'm in now) counts for 50% of my grade and I've been kicking butt! I love working at Tersiguel's and the future is wide open.

My last class is June 8th. This is the big "cook off" I guess you could call it. We've been put into 5 teams where each team has to:

- Design a 6 course menu for 4 which includes a cheese course
- Stay within a budget of $50 per person ($200 total) wholesale
- Try to be local and seasonal
- AND prepare it for a panel of 4 judges. The judges are Chef Francois (owner of the school), Chef Sam (one of our pastry teachers), Chef R.J. Cooper of the restaurant Vidalia, and Chef Amy Brandewein of Fyve Restaurant and Lounge at the Ritz in Pentagon City (former student at L'Academie). I've been judged by sous chefs from the White House, famous chefs from France, and chefs from well known restaurants around the area. This is different because this is the big one. The last one.

So after MANY tweaks, we had a test run this past Monday at school.

Thankfully my dishes only need minor adjustments based on commentaries from Chef Francois and Sam. As usual, I need to up the salt content in my food. My chef said not to worry, that skill comes with time and experience.

The menu:

1st course: Smoked Gazpacho with a Yellow Tomato Sorbet
This is a joint project between myself and J.J., the pastry student assigned to my team. I made a rustic version of the gazpacho and Chef Francois recommended that I make it a bit smoother to go with the more upscale menu we're presenting. A touch more salt and sourness is needed. I'm going to add lime juice to my recipe rather than up the red wine vinegar content. J.J. has been asked to adjust his sorbet recipe as it was a bit too sweet for a savory dish, but who knew that tomatoes make a delicious sorbet!

2nd course: Creamy Corn Ravioli with Shitakes
Ula's dish. This is fresh ravioli filled with a puree of corn and marscapone cheese. The sauce is also made with corn and it is topped with sauteed shitakes. Very tasty though I would try to find a way to thicken the filling. She is going to add some basil to the sauce to give it more color per the suggestion she received.

3rd course: Fish In Chips
Me again! This is a play on "fish and chips". My original idea involved layering disks of potato over the cod fish but getting them to stick didn't work out as planned. Chef Francois said to go with what I know so I'm going to the back up which I've made several times before. I'm wrapping each portion of cod fish in thin slices of potato, then frying them. This is placed on a Cajun remoulade sauce (French remoulade makes me think too much of tartar sauce and has no color) and topped with an herb salad.

4th course: Australian Lamb Chop with a 3 Bean Ragout
This is Nick's dish but he was out sick Monday so we have no idea what to expect. He said he's made it several times so we have to trust him. We have no idea how long his dish takes and what help he may need. I'm concerned because I know his past track record and... well... *sigh*

5th course: J.J. has found 3 very nice cheeses that we are going to present simply with a matching nibble. One is a goat, one is a sheep and the last is a cow's milk. Each has a covering of some sort (ash, herb, etc...) which will be the tie between them.

6th course: Chocolate and Vanilla Bavarian with a Fruit sauce
He was going to do a roasted banana bavarian but Chef Francois and Sam voiced concerns back during the menu review that it might be considered a bit Wintry. This presentation is simple and soothing. Should be a nice end to a full meal.

And yes, I really need to sit down and start updating this poor blog more regularly. =)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

6 Months Down and It's Externship Time

Just a quick update that I've just successfully completed the first 6 months of culinary school with a 93 average. YAY!!!

I've now begun my externship for the final 6 months of training at: Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant ( SQUEEEEE!

Two days down and it's been exactly what I hoped it would be. I'm so glad I chose here.

Take care everyone!