Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You're an onion, you have layers....

My god ,people are EXHAUSTING!

It's food, right? It is not brain surgery and I am not here to cure cancer or reinvent the wheel.

So why do people have to be sooooo exhausting about it. Why does ordering food, storing,preparing ,cooling it down and storing it again have to be so dam complicated? Why is it a chore to see that if you want food a certain way and another place is doing it with a buggier budget,same amount of customers and more staff,.....shouldn't a big gosh darn RED flag go up...in SOMEONE'S head!!!

Ad this is just with people I sort have control over( control is a loose word, more I get in trouble when they don't listen to my suggestions which 97% are actually right)
I have a huge problem I have to fix that I know I can but at what cost......and is it worth aggravation ,headaches and not eating( wait , is beer a food group) then just to be told I suck by someone whose opinion of me does not hold much value?

This actually brings up a small point...I don't value certain people's professional opinion of me mostly cause they are on ,most days ,disrespectful about what I do and the job I need to do.

There is no good answer to my problem...my work one at least...lol

" sigh"  I feel like a salmon trying to spawn in jello.

I am fascinating....aren't I?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

" snoopy dance"

Brought home work to do this weekend( had basically Sunday off and 3 hours off Saturday off...lol)

And I did NOTHING!!!!!!

Not one little thing and I could care less!!!!
It's not like I was on the brink of curing cancer.

The work will get done this week.... I fear not.
Need to leave the paperwork at work and just actually enjoy the downtime.
Ok I did some work.
I researched other gelato flavors......that was more fun than work and I read up on pickling and preserving.

Oh I am such a bad ass.

You have to open your eyes.

Still love this "song"

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '99
Wear sunscreen

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it
The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
Than my own meandering experience, I will dispense this advice now

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth, oh, never mind
You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth
Until they've faded but trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back
At photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now
How much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked
You are not as fat as you imagine

Don't worry about the future or worry that know that worrying
Is as affective as trying to solve an algebra equation
By chewing bubble gum
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things
That never crossed your worried mind
The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday
Do one thing every day that scares you


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts
Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours


Don't waste your time on jealousy
Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind
The race is long and in the end, it's only with yourself
Remember compliments you receive
Forget the insults, if you succeed in doing this, tell me how
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements


The most interesting people
I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives
Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't
Get plenty of calcium, be kind to your knees
You'll miss them when they're gone

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't
Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't
Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the 'Funky Chicken'
On your 75th wedding anniversary
Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much
Or berate yourself either
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can
Don't be afraid of it or what other people think of it
It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own, dance
Even if you have nowhere to do it but your own living room
Read the directions even if you don't follow them
Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly

Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good Be nice to your siblings, they're your best link to your past
And the people most likely to stick with you in the future

Understand that friends come and go
But a precious few, who should hold on

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
For as the older you get, the more you need the people
You knew when you were young
Live in New York City once but leave before it makes you hard
Live in northern California once but leave before it makes you soft


Accept certain inalienable truths
Prices will rise, politicians will philander, you, too, will get old
And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young
Prices were reasonable, politicians were noble
And children respected their elders

Respect your elders

Don't expect anyone else to support you
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse
But you never know when either one might run out

Don't mess too much with your hair
Or by the time you're 40 it will look 85

Be careful whose advice you buy but be patient with those who supply it
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past
From the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts
And recycling it for more than it's worth

But trust me on the sunscreen


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Snickerdoodle is a silly word ..because they don't snicker.

I am on a gelato flavor kick right now.
My next flavor to try is Guinness . Trying to figure out how much to add so I don't lose the creamy gelato texture or such. But want to keep the flavor.

Fun fact: Arthur Guinness  acquired the brewery at  St James Gate for a lease of 9,000 years at £45 a year.

So this is my research for today as I like to make it Wednesday since apparently    that is when Mr. Guinness died( look I missed his birthday shut up).

Going for banana split gelato , raspberry white chocolate,mango ginger, blueberry.....maybe even snazzeberry!!!!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wait ,wait.....

Seems I am on a poetry kick this week.
It's  the whole artist thing,I guess . Once a creative soul always one. Whether they are good are not is not even the point to most artistic things because all art is subjective because it's. ...duh art. But that's for a time when I can speak more indepth about such things .

Summers morning breath guides the dew from my hand
Fluttering to the ground like butterflies released from their prison
The air blistering my skin as I rise from my scented bed
I am silent in my mid days brunch
Content to closed eyes
A soul still unhealed,wrapped in tattered bandages
Waiting patiently  for careful hands to hold it near
A mind as yet ,in deepest  slumber 
Awaking with the cool breath and tip toe of fingertips
Eyes opening ,the haze burning clear
Pale lips blush as the breath of newness escapes its guilded cage
Seeking only the days new kiss

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Keats and Yeats are on your side . While Wilde is on mine.

I used to write such silly awful poetry .
But in the middle of a lot of it were some rather decent ones.

I have some from a a site a guy I knew ran. I managed to print off the site before it disappeared.

Below isn't one of them . I wrote it yesterday after an unusual  yet very happy fulfilling day. And a 6 hour drive with little sleep.

The deepest howl  dances across the streams of the night
A fluttering of lashes wash out the damage
Begging onlookers to discard their thoughts and look away
Dusk begins yet a again
As the drowning of the yesterday's vulgar dictation commences without circumstance  
The full bloom of crimson warms the light, letting the  day sucks its dying breath
Putting to bed the shadows of a life
Tucked in ,to sleep in the tomorrows  dream

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Strange little girl where are you going.......

First let me say that I made this wonder stock tonight. I felt all old school culinary student,roasting bones ...deglazing my pan ( ok tip here...electric burners suck donkey bum and should be outlawed. They are worthless pieces of poo. Anyone who says they work better than gas owns a lovely piece of land in Florida with a slight water and gator problem... Ie they are fools).
Anyway, I deglazed my pan to get my lovely yummy bites off and into the pot. Old school meh sort of. I didn't have tomato paste and they are straight beef with no veal . I wish I had a bigger pot too . But lucky for me I didn't because my second fridge bit the dust last week so I have to make small manageable stocks and not "stock" pile...teeeheeee I made a funny.
Cold water and mire poix into pot ....6 hours later.

So there it is...it's cooling then into mason jars. Tuesday ,we push the marrow out and save it....yummmmmmy!

So back to my original train of thought which has actually reappeared.

I know I will never be a wealthy person from my job...that's not why I am in it. But what I like to do is some how use my knowledge and my own passion for what I do and give back into the world.
Ideally I like to follow in the footsteps of Jamie Oliver in a way. His 15 restaurant gives young people a place to train and be productive members. My idea is not that...lol
But it would involve a working farm that had a beautiful restaurant attached to it. Young people lets say 16-24 could train there,to learn not only the cooking aspects but also where the food actually comes from and to gain respect for food but for those who work hard to grow it and produce the final outcome. They'd learn seasonality, slaughtering,butchering ,proper food handling from start to finish.
I love to have a bakery and cheese maker there too just to round things out.

And there will be music!!!!!

I am actually quite serious too. I think there is a need to show kids where food really comes from and not a pre packaged piece of crap fast food. Far to long we have blinded ourselves and kids to sloppish cooking and throwing away food because of an inability to just cook what we have.

I need to write my plan.... Probably need someone to actually help me with it. I am sure I will just get lost trying say what I need to and end up sounding like a fangirl. Then try to get someone's attention about this. Maybe Jamie Oliver...hummm maybe Thomas Keller....he would be another person that's inspiring to me. They will be the ones to shove me to who I need to see about money. Because child,this well is dry like a menopausal women.

Anyone have their numbers?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Oh Montreal.....how I miss you so.,

Oh Montreal I miss thee so.

No , I am not going to get all weird and write some sort of ode to Montreal. Lord ,it's after midnight ...that would be just silly .
What I would like to talk about is the food of Montreal.Nothing to deep but maybe just a little nudge so you'll get up off you're butts and check it out.

There are two places, well ok three but two are owned by the same guys, that you must go to.
Au Pied du Couchon ,Joe Beef and Liverpool. 

Au Pied is just a lovely neighborhood resturant that I anticipate to be good that turned out to be the second best meal of my life( first was on a road trip in California at a hole in the wall Mexican place where grandma was cooking and daughter didn't understand us but the food was beyond amazing....but that's another story) it was this that you see above... Stuffed pigs trotter. I plan on attempting it next weekend. I have to wait till Tuesday till the local butcher slaughters their pigs...ohhh yah!
There is no way to describe how good this was. I ate the leftovers two days later and still melt in your mouth. The care they go into their food shows through. And it's only because of this love of food and care of it that's great food is made.

Joe Beef and Liverpool are owned by the same men and again they take such pride in their food. But there is also a sense of history and humor in it too. I love their Foie Gras Eclairs and in their Joe Beef cookbook the section on train food. Clearly, they not only love their food history but are proud Montreal people.

I have never been to a bad Boulanger in Montreal. Lots of shitty bakeries in Buffalo...not so many in Montreal. There is a place in old Montreal called Glacé that had the most heavenly cupcakes. As seen above...this beautifully made cake was rich and dense but not overly sweet.....so good.

Other places to check out are the little neighborhood tucked away small places. I had an amazing kibbie and kebab at a basement restaurant where the gay cashier and I were catty about the slutty girls flirting with the guys I was with. Oh to share those moments ,precious I say. Just precious .

And yes, Schwartzs is soooooooooooooooooo worth the trip..omomomonnnnnnnn

And befriend a chef or cooks, find out where they go to after closing time. That's when 
Shit can really get interesting . Just remember , Montreal as lots of hills. Makes running in heels difficult.

Just saying. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I look like an acorn

I should have my own show on the cooking channel .

Nothing to fancy, no big sets. Just a nice sort of 50's styled modern appliances.
Now your probably thinking..." We'll what makes you so special to have a show and what the hell would you even do?"
First .....it's my show so I would do exactly what I want ...because . Well ok , so it would be more a sustainable,local,nose to tail sort of whatever I wanted to do.
Plus,there would be music. Plus musicians would help me cook.
So in its basics ,it's me with a band,cooking what I want to cook,with local and sustainable products.

I  should probably spicy it up a little because that is so not a good pitch. I wonder if male pole dancers( I actually wrote poll dancers at first and made myself laugh out loud, though it sounded more like a quack) would woo the execs.

Then there is the problem of musicians. Only one I know is my brother but he is a chef too. I do know most of the members of the local high school marching band...huh,nah. I can't imagine calling up the manager of Depeche Mode and saying " huh, can Dave come over to cook with me? Huhhh huhh". First, I don't even have their number plus that's just silly.

And then again the location. Ok so where I am , it's all nice and sweet, if I like dull and beige. Yes, fun is what you do not location but ingredient availability is location, location and oh yeah....location.
So I would have to ( oh shucks darn) move to another state....say oh maybe Oregon. You may say a bit drastic but I say nah my friends,I do it as a service to you.

It also opens up the whole musicians part.

Now........just need that demo tape,a good partner and a hat.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"This is a pie shop, not a herbal crack den."

I am procrastinating.

I am doing work from home and its boring work. Looking over menus and tearing them apart then trying to understand why I did it in the first place. And it's dull only because we want to do all these cool things but its like we have to taser ourselves.

So now I have to make meatloaf look sexy and make it for like nothing. These aren't third world problems ,in fact they aren't even problems. More negotiations between me and my students . Bless the sous chefs but they didn't look at the menus hard enough when they redid them so I have to as you can see revamp the redo. It's not annoying just inconvenient....lol but what else am I going to do for three weeks. Well, that's a lie since it has to be done by Thursday of this week,ie tomorrow. No pressure .....

Ideally , it would be awesome to try all the recipes before but with school in shut down mode, and no budget money for it,that so not happening. But I can make pasta...lots of pasta. Time to perfect the ravioli that we haven't dare try since the first badly done batch. Do I dare immerse myself back into it..gasp. ... Shock .... The horror of it all. Meh probably be tasty.
One pasta I want to make is udon noodle which besides ramen ,are the only non filled pastas I like. Don't ask , I don't know why. Maybe it was all the crappy spaghetti my ex husband made or the over cooked pasta I have had in restaurants . But I am trying to " get over" it.....heehehe.
And thats a tip, DON'T OVER COOK the PASTA!!!!!!!!!!! When you think it's not quiet done, pull it!!!!
PULL IT now!!!!! And shock it with cold water....do IT!

So I guess I should return to my work...and stop watching the Chelsea / QPR game....

Or make dinner....I do have noodles and beef round that's been in the cock pot for over 24hours and smells sooooo gooooo. Smell it? Can ya?

FYI the pix is my little collection of cook books. I have another 30 at work and my sous have like another 6 books of mine. What is sad or what have you is that I am short like 40 books. I mean I threw out like 40 books a week ago along with all sorts of crappy kitchen stuff including my bread machine. I actually lied to my parents that it was broken because neither got it that my 14 year old machine was not used by me anymore and that I preferred to bake bread the old fashion way. God forbid they understand ( i love my knucklehead parents but there are times they still haven't a clue about me) my desire to simplify my kitchen, my house and etc.

Crap... I really need raw food ideas. Very least need someone to bounce these ideas off of...lol because they all sound a little off but that might be my lack of food and ....mmmmm beer.

Someone send over beers,it's going to be a long night !!!!!!!

2013 Smells like beer and snazzeberries

I can't sleep...which is good for you I suppose. So I figured I actually do a New Year's Resolution list thingy.

Now don't get in a panic....it's not some self indulgent " I'm going to lose 50 lbs by march"(though its a safe bet I will by May) or whatever blah blah people do! It's me for fucks sake...a bit of tongue and cheek , lads and lass , if you please.

Ok so here it is:

The Slight Off and Mostly Nerdy Chef's NY Resolution List 2013:

1)Eat more butter. Yeah,eat more of it. Of course not at one time but my kitchen is saying fuck off the margarine. Bugger off cause only the butter is welcomed.

2) Teach my staff how to sharpen their knives so I don't have to deal with badly cut food. It's agonizing sometimes.

3) Teach. Simply put...with two sous chefs I can finally teach my staff a tiny bit of what I know.

4) SET THE WORLD ON FIRE.....move along. You'll know it when ya see it.

5) Learn to make cheese. Why not!

6) Pickle and Preserve more. It's a lost art but yields such wonderful yummiest stuff.

7) Play with my food. Experiment more with ideas,recipes and favors. Not limiting myself but to what I can actually procure. In this contact the local farmers. Work with them more! Blow food up!!!!

8) Drink more beer....but different ones not just the same old stuff. Though no fruity beer....blah . So sacrilegious ...

9)Cook a random recipe a week from ALL my cookbooks....that's a lot ,FYI. And share with you the experience. Maybe with smell-a-vision!

10)Travel.....get out of this popsicle stand . Try out new cities and foods. Road trip as much as possible ....share with others or on my own ...though sharing is more fun. Document everything...talk to people and chefs or farmers at different markets. Maybe steal recipes or such. Maybe a chef or two;)

And above all,gain more knowledge. Not just of my craft ,but of everything. We forget sometimes to keep learning. Knowledge is powerful and brings people together .

So that's it..... That's my all powerful list.

Yeah...it's ok, I know. I amaze me too.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I love to say that to some people sometimes.
Mostly staff that whin about the heat or working hard and not taking short cuts  or even money.

Now I hate hot kitchens but after 26 years I am not about to complain about it. Gone are the days of sucking it up and just getting on with it. Now , the older chefs have to endure these new pampered cooks who think they are the end all of the culinary world. Most wont survive their first real job because hopefully a crunchy,grumpy old chef will make them peel 1000 pounds of carrots and potatoes. Peeling shrimp....peeling and deveining them till their fingers are numb. If they do survive  and still want to go on, then these are the people you want in our kitchens.

Devotion and work ethics can't be taught at work or school. It's either in you or not. And that brings up something. To go to school or to work your way up.

I went to the C.I.A. back in the early 1990's. it was rough. Chefs yelling at us, breaking our sports and then not bothering to really rebuild any of us. That was up to us to figure it out. They gave us the tools,it was up to us how to use them. I think I was yelled at twice, had my finger almost chopped off once( thank you chef Chang for not cutting it off) ,had no less than three objects thrown at me, was called a pathetic dog in four languages  and was punched in the chest( by a fellow student after I reacted to him shoving my face into rancid beef). Yeah ,it was a hoot ..seriously it was. I learned sooo much. More than I really could use in my daily life but when I can its like I am high. It sounds funny to say that but I am not talking about my basic principles of cooking though there are a lot of times I want to rip stuff out of my staff hands when they don't get basic stuff like why we braise certain foods or the difference between baking and roasting. Or just simply knowing the whys of food.
But that's where I come in. Even my sous chefs lack some basic knowledge ,though they are steps
above my staff. And speaking of them , they are a good example of culinary education versus  hands
on field work. Even though there is a slight age difference , the knowledge is quiet different too. But they I will get to in later posts.  But I will say that N and even my ex admired about me ( I am sure others do too but would never say it because some how that would make me in a way an awesome chef and we certainly can't have that getting out can we?... Lol) is my strange ability to just grab ingredients and just know it will turn out and my endless brain that can recall things and argue out why something will or will not work before a pan is heated. It's just about the only plus side to my thinking brain.

Did you know that turmeric is part of the ginger family?

As I have said I think...I think a lot ,sometimes way to much about stuff and sometimes not enough. Usually the not enough leads to chaotic emotion driven actions . These in principle aren't always bad things but not always fun because then well, that's a story too.

But hey, back to going to school or not. Honestly, if I was 18 with the same family I bet I would forgo  school and go around Europe for a year doing stages or working very cheap then come back to the states and doing the same.  I might go to school after all that but that's a big maybe. Don't get me wrong ,having C.I.A. On my résumé has opened doors at least those who know . When I first started looking for work after school , it was like hitting the duh wall. People thought its was either THAT C.I.A or Chicago  institute of art or something like that. Or worse one guy didn't believe me that I went to it and asked for my grades. Yeah true story....and it was for a shitty job too. Point being the schooling was a door opener at the time. Now I dare say ,that if you don't have something to back it
up like solid work experience in a real non corporate (ie Applebee's) restaurant then your education
means squat.

Just work...work the shitty shifts, the shitty hours and do whatever the chef,sous chefs and higher up cooks tell you. There will be no please or thank yous. If you want a squeaky clean banker hours job,be a fucking banker. Leave the sweaty hard work to those who can. This job can and will devour you and I doubt the kids coming out of schools these days have the stomach or the ethics to suck it up and start from the bottom no matter how much education you have....espically if your work experience sucks.
When all is said and done ,you will be better off.

When I got out of school, I thought I could be a sous chef. What I got was a line cooks job in a hack place. But I did it because it taught me shit like timing and working in tight spaces. And when I got my first sous chef job I failed and was fired in three months. Second sous chef job at 23 , luckily was in a small 80 seat places run by another C.I.A grad and his partner and one of the best times of my life. He taught me a lot ,not just cooking but also how not to run a business .

My point of all of this is an education worth $50k of debt? If you get a free ride,go for it. Otherwise whore your stupid self to other older chefs. ...and don't!!!!! Keep moving around so fucking much! Yes , a varied resume is great. But a bouncer just sends up red flags.

Trust me.....

Old Swiss tradition

Eating French onion soup just after midnight on New Years is suppose to bring good luck for the new year!!!

Stoke me a clipper, I'll be back for Christmas.

Ahhh a new year is breaking in a few minutes and one usually goes through all the " oh I am going to lose weight" or " I am going to be a better person" all the bullshit and crap we try to imagine we will do and inevitably within weeks drop because its to hard or whatever excuse.

Why not have no resolution except just do it. Don't pin point what it is. Just start each day a new.
We could all eat better, do better at our jobs,be better human beings. Time to stand up and walk the path less traveled and come out of the shadows into the light. The worst failure is not trying.

I guess I am actually speaking about myself. But am I not you. Only difference between humans is circumstances. And what you do with it. So why do we treat each other badly? Why do we hurt each other? Don't the differences make us a better world?

So now it is 2013 and there is a wonderful sense of calm that has taken over me...it literally has been this past week. If you have been following along I am a bit insane and a bit well off. I don't think any of that will change.
You can't function in my line of work as a normal human being. You just can't without becoming a ruined human. Well actually we as chefs are already ruined. So it's ok. It's those few of us that understand this ,accept it and just learn to work with it. It just is how it is . The more creative you are the more insane you are.
Now let me get out what this insanity is.... No, we aren't dangerous unless we forget the gas is one and light the kitchen up . That could be a problem . Mostly our insanity is just how anal we are and how self absorbed we become when we are in our creative mode. It's is pretty much most of the time. And it varies between chefs. I have found that age doesn't matter. I don't actually know what it is . But it's funny to see how people are.

You think as a chef we are all sort of similar in some aspects but really we couldn't be different . Even those of us that are on some levels the difference are very evident. Maybe again it's circumstances.
I grew up with slight off parents. Nice people ,hard working lovely generous people. But a little off. I might have to differ to my brother about this but while we were a tight family ,it wasn't all warm and fuzzy. We were loved and still are but I think my folks don't understand either of us. But thankfully, despite the distance ,we understand each other. And we are very different people to some degree yet probably very much alike. But that is for another time since tangent went a bit longer than planned and the beer and pâté are settling in.

But back to the calmness.

Chefs aren't calm people by nature. And I think I speak for those with the love and passion like mine when I say it's not that we like being this way. It's just is. There are varying degrees too. There are the Gordon Ramsey types that scream at people. Sorry but that doesn't teach nor motivate people. There are e Thomas Keller types...the serene calm which makes a harmonious kitchen. And there are the inbetweeners ones that float between both screaming and calm. That's probably the worse type and where I have in the past fallen into. But all that does is make people not want to work for you...at least not how they should want to. So I guess in a way I do have a New Years resolution though its not because of changes that have happen to me the calmness has happen. The only problem now is rebuilding. But that is the easiest part. I think people are willing to embrace leaders provided they're calm ,fair and above all consistent.

Of course getting other people on board is the hard part. But for me,not really because its time for its my way unless you have a better than me idea. But that's why I am in my position and they are not. My team will make me better as I make them exceptional.

So that brings it all back to resolutions...I have none. I have no intention of making promises because that's not what I am all about...at least not right now.

One thing I plan on doing and it's an on going thing till the day the last breath of my body departs is :

I am going to set the world on fire.

And it's not about fame or even a lot of money cause I don't need or want either.
It's about nothing more than a single idea.....a single word actually