Friday, November 30, 2007

Terribly sorry I'm not here more

I promise with the New Year this blog will get more attention.
For now... Desserts:

Apple Bread Pudding with bourbon sauce
Pumpkin Trifle with candied chestnuts & maple custard
sour cherry strudel with almonds & whipped cream

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thank you for being my audience

It means a lot to me to have you listen to what I have to say.

Thank you.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I don't really know where to start

the last four weeks have been a huge huge blur.
The first market was pretty cool. Very local small town feel. Lots of regulars from the little place came by in support. Majorly cool.

The second was totally different. Lots of people a bit more upscale suburban feel.
However, both were quite cold. Lovely October.

The reception of my product line is better than tepid -- not redhot. Somewhere in between. A couple of products have hit a hot button. Others I'm going to have to tweak. I get the feeling that organic pastry is an education...

Some people think it's going to take like whole wheat flaxseed seven grain no sugar added bread. It's not whole grain (usually). It's not "good for you". It's just better for you that fully refined bleached sugar and finely processed cake flour.

I think I can do this. I just have to relax and breathe...

The relationship stuff that goes along with it is a different story. With all the stress it feels like I just can't say or do anything that isn't in the wrong tone or with the wrong words. Especially to handsome.
It's a royal B (or does that mean I am) that we treat those we love the most the worst at times.

I can only hope it continues to get better.

Recipes used:
Brown Sugar Zucchini Bread
Thumbprint cookies: coconut with ginger jam, pecans with blueberry jam, walnuts with fig jam.
Roasted Peanut Fudge Cookies
Brown Sugar Walnut Cookies
Double Chocolate Hazelnut with Cranberries
Cranberry Orange Bread
Maple Drop Cookies
Persimmon Cookies
Pumpkin Cookies
Applesauce Bread
Persimmon Pecan Bread
Citron Bread
Cinnamon Tangerine Bread
Almond Plum Oat Bread
Molasses Bars
Currant Scones

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Just a tad too true

Please read these. If you read here, and don't read there, now is the time to start:

Owning Up 1
Owning Up 2

Monday, October 15, 2007


they called.
Words were something akin to
"thank you so much for bringing such delicious samples.
We really appreciate you going to all that work.
Of course, we have room for you at the market and look forward to seeing you in two weeks."
Of course! It was a shoe-in!!! I knew that!!!
Um. Okay. So I overstressed. And we start in 17 days. Not 10. :)

Wow. How'd that happen...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

We went, we saw, we...

The meeting was interesting. We got there on time after every single calamity you can think of. I'm not kidding. The oven temp wouldn't regulate, a full sheet of fresh cookies fell off the prep table, one tray got put down too hard on top of another, the thrid recipe of tea cookies worked fine for me but not my asst. so we had pan of cooked dough. It was a mess. I don't even have the energy to contemplate how much it cost in dollars, let alone that energy.
But we did it.
And in the middle, handsome sez we can be ready for showtime in two weeks.
{in my head... Two weeks! Okay. Two weeks. it's 12 days to the next market. Do I get that or the 19 to the one after that. How do I take back what he just said. Is he CRAZY!!! I'm the baker and 12 days is not enough. 19 barely. okay, I'll agree to two weeks and mean two and a half. Two and a half!?!?! shta!!!!!}
But at the end, they said they'd let us know in a couple days. And look. We did it.
We got through it. Maybe they'll still like us in 6 months. Phew.
And now...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Eek! Two days!

I just got TWO DAYS NOTICE to have my stuff ready for the board.
One of those things that you know is supposed to happen, but you don't know why...
Here I am and the market chef comes in for dinner with a friend. Sits there and has a great time and after a bottle of wine says - Oh! Board meeting in two days! Can you be ready to bring samples for all?
Wow. Of course! (Shta.)
So the list:

Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Frosting
Petite whole Wheat Fig Nut Bread
Petite Maple Pumpkin Bread
Double Chocolate Orange Macadamia Nut Cookies
Shortbread: green tea, lemon ginger, coconut

Think it'll work?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Oh Shta

Double Shta.
Shta on a stick.
Turns out that the leave of absence of former baker is now permanent.
Breakfast pastries full time.
Um. Still waiting.
Can You hear it??

I don't think I can afford that many more glasses of wine.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


It's done.
I procrastinated. Ignored the blog. Ignored the paper.
And then I got a call that said "Where is it?"
So off it went in the mail. Today.
Now I wait

I'm not a good wait-er-er....

Time for some wine.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Too much to do

So I haven't gotten the paperwork done yet.
It feels a bit overwhelming. Kinda like looking at this...

So instead:
Peach tiramisu:
Layers of ladyfingers soaked in peach lambic
Topped with a mascarpone mousse with a hint of peach liqueur
In between layers of macerated local white and yellow peaches
topped with a lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh peaches

Sound like something you might try?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's here! It's here!

The application showed up today.
The FM people like my intentions and want me to apply!
Now what!?!?! Breathe. Breathe. Gather paperwork. Copy. Send.
Not that hard.

This feels quite a bit better than those last few interviews...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Okay I did it -- the letter is sent

We've decided that the best way to debut the baked goods is to participate with the local farmers markets.
So after talking to the local market manager, we've decided to go for it.
I sent the letter in today.

Here are the highlights:
baked goods made with ONLY organic local and fair trade ingredients
Miniature fruit bread loaves in flavors such as banana, fig, date/walnut, lemon ginger, carrot raisin, pumpkin, etc.
Ready to eat cookies baked at market in flavors such as chocolate chip, double chocolate “craisin”, oatmeal raisin, snicker doodles, etc. (one flavor per week initially) with a tub of cookie dough available to take and bake or freeze.

products that have made a positive showing at the restaurant:
fruit sauce, a customer favorite
Organic freshly made mascarpone and creme fraiche
Take and bake desserts
Local organic chutney or marmalade – one flavor each week, such as stone fruit, apricot, tomato, Seville orange, etc. -- using fruits from market purveyors only.
Olives marinated and spiced in-house.

Whaddaya all think?

It's semi official

I now have a website for the bakery.
But if I told ya...

Phew. Nerves blinking like butterflies.

This is the right thing, yes?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Next step

I'm going to do it.
I've talked it over with Handsome and decided to take my wares into the retail market. Why not?
There isn't really a baker that does organic in this part of the county. Why not?
I could start local. Why not?
It could be independent income. Why not?
It could be fun. Why not?
The plan is starting. Let's see how it goes...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Okay, so it's taken me a bit to get back here

And yes, it had to do with the stage.
The chef was wonderful, the kitchen a great place to be and...

it lasted less than an hour.
I got a sitdown convo in the dining room about why the hell was I doing a stage as a pastry cook assistant.
She asked me to come back when I knew what I was doing but that I "should be in my own kitchen, not working for someone else"
We talked about maybe a hotel job... and then I left.

I treated myself to breakfast at Boulette's with Blue Bottle coffee, sweets and misery. Went to the farmers market. And then sulked for a few days.
Then, I applied to a hotel chain. Got an interview. And realized that that wasn't it either. Some complications about travel, commute, relationship and it just wasn't even worth hearing their offer. I dreamed about what that future might be and then let it go.

I'm going to spend some time thinking, and then talk it over with Handsome, and we'll see where it goes.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Another Stage tomorrow

And another resume responded to this week.
PC in a corporate gig and same thing but different.
I think it requires some experience, and they're paying entry level wages.

The stage tomorrow is promising and I hope it pans.
We'll see after noon tomorrow.
From stage to market in the city.
Have to pick up some savory stuff for that little place as well as look for some wonderful berries. We hope.
The rain made it impossible for my favorite farm to sell of their farm, but there is a promising new farmer showing up from a nearby county. The idea of some more blueberry lead me to a buttermilk tart that I've been wanting to try.


Friday, July 27, 2007

And again...

A call back!
On a PC job, not a PAsst. Thank the gods.
And then...
"are you sure this is the job you're looking for?"
"you seem a bit overqualified for this"
"this is an entry level job for 24 hours a week at $10 per hour..."
Hold on.
Ad reads "self-motivated, organized, 1 to 3 years experience, PASTRY COOK"
"this is really a job for a young person, looking to enter the market"
-- TRANSLATION: If you are old enough have a mortgage, this ain't the job for you

Excuse me for the utterly whitebread question, but do people actually take $10 an hour jobs and live somewhere other than their parents house or a car? How does one person survive on less than $1500 a month in an urban area?

Maybe she's right, maybe I'm too old

Thursday, July 26, 2007

An amazingly complicated day

It started with me in the midst of a "heavy" two-day prep and production schedule -- 5 desserts for tonight's theme dinner.
Good choices. One very authentically on the theme, one a clean almost authentic citrus dessert, some nice little cookies, a chocolate and the gelato/sorbets.
Got halfway through that when the restaurant owner told me they are going to put the restaurant on the market next week.
Sitting, breathing, trying not to feel like a hole just got punched through my lower intestine, I get through production.
Get ready for service and check email.
Inside my inbox was a a very nice innocuous looking email that contained a rejection letter from interview #1. I am overqualified and they have decided not to hire anyone right now. Sigh.
Add that to earlier and Tuesday and well, this whole week, and I'm just not sure which end is up anymore.
I have invested blood, sweat and tears (all literally and figuratively over the past eighteen months (almost to the day) to make this little place work. I have realized all the way through that the owner isn't satisfied or happy with how things work. I, however, also realize that the owner is a wonderful, creative person that doesn't manage well (that's why I do it), enjoys doing everything and therefore cannot delegate (that's why I do it), has a picture of perfect in their head and cannot articulate it well (that's what we all wish we had, that picture).
I thought the part-time-ness of this job would make is so that I could hang with this little place and still make an impact -- still be a part of something bigger than myself that was not part of a machine.
And honestly, I don't think I could work for anyone else in this little place without the owner. So... the not so little one says we'll come up with a solution. I believe I said that to nslo on a regular occasion over that past couple of decades.
And tomorrow is more cleaning, calling, switching, trying not to go insane with this overly full week. I am SO looking forward to being done with this set of have-tos.
Time to go read someone else's blog.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A nice interview, a nice chef

Today was a good and bad day.
I had a great interview with a bright, young, talented, shy pastry chef who was willing to actually have an *interview*
She told me about her, she told me about the restaurant, she asked me intelligent questions.
She told me I was overqualified. Which I am.
I told her about me, about my desserts, about my life and about what I want.

The consensus is a stage, but I am sad.
I am overqualified, but my resume is underfull.
I have no formal training and not enough experience in the past ten years to put on paper.
So I work now as a chef as the entire pastry dept. is my responsibility. Shopping, ordering, costing, planning menus, etc.
But I don't qualify to work as a chef or a cook for anyone else -- at least based on the lack of resume response.
I qualify to work as an assistant for piss poor money and would take these jobs if I could afford to.
That's the bad. What I want to do, what I aim to do, I can't make enough money at.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Job Hunt Stats so far

Four resumes sent out to date.
First (for pa) -- got the call, had a 14 minute interview with the cdc, scheduled a tryout, did it, waiting

Resume #2 (for pch) no response

Resume #3 (for pa) -- got the call, scheduled the interview, interested

Resume #4 (for pc) no response

Ah the waiting game.

The tryout was fun -- different environment that what I'm used to and majorly professional. (What I wouldn't give on any given day for there NOT to be staff talking all around me when I try to bake.)
Definitely people I could wear my jeans and all my earrings around (yeay!)
Not sure how I fit, not sure I want a pa job -- depends on what it pays these days and what the schedule is.
Cdc didn't tell me until the interview it was p/t, but that could work out so I can keep creative influence at the current place.
And on it goes...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's now official...

The job hunt has begun.

I am now seeking a pastry assistant/cook position at a restaurant in the area.
It's time to see if what I do can actually work in someone's else kitchen and if, perhaps, it can support me.
This is a difficult decision to make, but a necessary one.

I had the first call, the first interview over this past week for the position which turned out to be parttime and it went well enough to end in the plan of a stage.

Now it's just time to wait and see if it's a fit. On the outside it looks like a truly good outfit to be involved with. On the inside is definitely *always* different.

Filling in the details -- I got the gig at this little place cuz I'm good and I know the owner and it has been fabulous and has paid me very little. My savings are running dry and now it's time to get some work. I'd love to stay here. I want to stay here, but it just can't afford me right now :(

Mostly now, I'm sad at the change that is happening. I'm losing my security blanket and I'm just not sure what comes next. This used to be the kind of fear I could deal with regularly, but now it's just a bit too much to deal with on my own.
To the point that I'm physically feeling the sadness.
Handsome says it's because I wear my feelings a bit on my sleeve (I think the "bit" was a nice prevarication of truth...)
I'm seeing what I'm losing right now much more than what I'm gaining.
Fear -- such a wonderful motivator and driver for some can be paralyzing for me.

Ah well.
Positives -- three resumes, one interview, one stage. Not bad.
Amazing time for me to start the blog.
As a good friend used to say: "It's all good." and even if it's not, you just keep acting like it is until the reality matches your outlook.
Let's see what's next.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Italian Lemon Delice

Wow. Just wow.
This started simply as an ethnic dessert turned into an amazing find.
I was searching for things to do with Sorrento Lemons and came across a recipe in Italian and English. The poorly translated English recipe is even missing ingredients! So back to the original in Italian, translating myself with the wonderful help of babelfish then then making my changes -- fewer eggs in the pastry, different mixing order, a touch of lemon in the dough.

The end result is a nice open architecture shortcake filled with an extra tart creamy lemon custard and topped with a Limoncello whipped cream that is nothing short of delicioso.

It's a good day to be a cook.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Excuse me...

could anyone tell me where June went?
One minute it's Mother's day and now it's the Fourth of July?
Time to get back on track...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I made it through Mother's Day

and perfected the use of agar for a chocolate panna cotta.

One of the major challenges I face it to make desserts that are animal product free that taste good. Okay, not just good. Good. Capital GEE is a must here. It's not as complex as gluten free, or wheat free and should be easy. Until you start to really read recipes are realize how many use gelatin.

Does anyone not know what gelatin is? How do you make molded desserts without it? Like, oh say, the above panna cotta.

The ingredient to use is Agar. A seaweed derivative that gels things up just fine.
But but but it's a pain to work with if you don't know what you're doing. And I haven't. I've been experimenting.
I borrowed some inspiration from Clotilde, spent some time studying Rilettes in Art Culinaire and bought some agar from a local Korean market.
Once I got the agar in powder form from a local health food store, heated it before adding and let it sit for about 90 minutes after infusing the chocolate base with fresh lavender -- well, let's just say it all went amazingly well.
Though the brioche bread pudding with housemade marmalade sauce was definitely the winner of the day.
And, phew. It's over.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Finally Better

With Mom's Day looming down my neck (please don't groan TOO loudly at the mixed metaphors) I am up and making desserts and pastries for brunch.

Today was pecan tartlets, tomorrow beignets. More when I can muster energy to both work and play.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I am so sick

Fever over 100. The restaurants is making desserts daily and I just can't get out of bed long enough to stand, let alone do brulees. Life hurts today...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Good desserts!

We went to Bix for the notsoyoungone's birthday. nsyo used to want whole cracked crab every year, but has grown out of that a tad and now wants other things (Yay!)
So I pick each year and off we go to a new adventure. Bix was chosen as fancy enough for her to dress up for with a menu that we could all eat from (one mod adventurous omni, one ovolactoveg, one nottoospicyplease) and I can say the drinks are what you gotta go for.
The appetizers are yummy, the first courses fun -- the tartare a must do if you haven't before, and the main courses and sides are just not worth it. Stick with more apps and move on to dessert....

You see, I now developing a bit of a rep for going to restaurants and ordering all the desserts (or at least MOST of the desserts) on the menu. Not to eat every drop, but to be able to see, experience and TASTE all of them.
And Bix had an impressively fun selection with just the names! (and I get the impression the menu doesn't change often): Warm Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding, Organic Strawberry Napoleon with Bellwether Farms Ricotta and Toasted Filo Layers, Bananas Foster with Dark Rum and Vanilla Ice Cream, Little Ice Cream Sandwiches, and House Spun Lemon Ice Cream with Wild Huckleberries. Okay, so we skipped to Sorbet of the day... and they were all at least okay. The Pudding was the least fav, Handsome went for the Napoleon and Ice Cream Sandwiches, the NYSA went for the bananas so shucks, I was left with the lemon ice cream. Tangy, bright, fresh, and creamy. Everything lemon ice cream should be. I think there are some extras in the walkin I could play with...

Gotta love the inspiration wherever it comes from!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Taking oneself seriously...

does not require one to be overly serious.

Food is my primary profession now -- it is how I express my joy to the rest of the world. Cooking my food is my art, if I let myself be that bold. And it's how I get food on the table as well. So it's all about the food.

So to go along with this committment, I need an outlet to play and this be it for now. Perhaps public sometime, now it's just ruminations for the audience of one. A place to talk about what I do, where I do it, who I encounter and how it affects me.

The first subject matter is presentation.
Very recently, a certain small glass case was purchased to show off my daily wares at the front of the house. It's basically a petite cake plate on a stem that will definitely show off a housemade sweet.No pressure there.

First off, it is supposed to house a dessert that changes everyday. Houserules -- no daily dessert for more than three days in a row, at least 14 different desserts each month.
Secondly, it's GOTTA look fresh or no one will buy it.
Thirdly, it's all in the details. And honestly, I get that this is going to keep me in a place of making sure I'm happy with the dessert. Cuz if I'm not it ain't gonna be comfy having it on display.
What do I do if I wanna do a trifle in a stemmed glass? Are people gonna get used to seeing the dessert and miss it if it disappears? Or not order it ahead of time..

Because, you see, underneath all of this is insecurity. I don't always (usually) think my stuff is good enough. I get raves from suburban customers and most people at least enjoy them... but, you know they never look... perfect.

For me, less than classically trained, working in a small, small kitchen with less than ideal temperature conditions, less than commercial equipment, and a lot of trial and error, picture perfect is almost impossible.

Honestly, whimsically, it would be interesting to see what Torres or Faulkner could get out of my kitchen and equipment. Might prove to me whether or not I need to get an internship as my next gig... But somewhere in here, I think it has to do with my
faith in me.

So, we'll see what comes out of this experiement I'm calling Life.
I hope y'all enjoy the adventure as much as me.

Monday, April 2, 2007

I ran away from home today...

and wrote a nice long post about it that got deleted and has been recreated without the panache of the first post.
I don't suppose it was truly running away as I took nsyo with me.
We went to see the river otters at the aquarium. There's something about they way they fluidly move through the water, the way they cuddle and play, the way they rip flesh off of fish with those pointy, little teeth. It's all just damned amazing.
So we had to go check it out.
And then I *had* to drag the nyso off with me to Carmel for food.
First thing I noticed was that there is now a chain restaurant on Ocean Ave. Oh my. And a chain beauty store. This is a bit different than letting Saks in... Right?
And then, to drive by and realize that the restaurant I loved was gone. Sad but true and turns out its been gone awhile. New place called La Bicyclette that is owned by the same people that have Corkscrew in the Valley and Casanova. Interestingly enough, they owned that cafe in the 70s -- but that's another story.
This one is about where we went instead. Cantinetta Luca is a bit closer to Ocean Ave and seemed new.
Turns out it was quite a bit newer than we thought and sister restaurant to L'auberge Carmel.
We sat at the chef's counter and had a fun night. A bit of prosecco, a bit of dolcetto, a bit of food and cheese. A very well put together tiramisu (in a cup, all equal layers each 1/2 inch thick. Hmmmm....) and then a lazy tired drive bay to the Bay.
All in all, I'd go there again. But since it took me three years this time....

So, we chose