Monday, July 29, 2013

A restless body hides a peaceful soul....

Sometimes I don't know what to say. I am not sure if it is my mind working overtime or really just an empty void of the moment. 
Despite my outgoing personality, I am actually quite shy. Not in the I never speak to anyone when I am out, I just get quite around new situations and people. I like to watch people and see how they interact and what the mood is before I join in. I have a strong personality that can come off badly, so I do try to be a situational personality sort of girl.

Basically, I am not myself. And you know, it rather sucks.  I don't even think I am actually me with anyone except my best girlfriend and we sort of had to let all the freakness hang out when we spent a week in Mexico . I don't know if it is a fear or self esteem thing. It could be , who knows. Maybe it's a learned thing because of my job. There is no place for swearing or kitchen talk when dealing with clients , so you have to change yourself. 
Then there is meeting men ( since I am of the lady folk kind). Unless they are cooks or chefs, most are turned off by a strong willed, smart, HOT, bitchy, sarcastic ,geek of a women. So, there is a personality change there. Or maybe I just smell...

But it is tiring to have to keep changing or toning myself down. I was miserable for a long time because I felt I couldn't just be me....I have quirks. I am a strong ,capable person who happens to have a vagina.( a very nice one, I might add and yes, I know  TMF....blah blah.) I am surprisingly very girly too. I like it when a strong man "rescues " me from my stupidity. It feels great to be taken care of in that way. 
....  Or maybe because I turned 42 recently and figured out  that ,while this year I have changed a lot both mentally and physically,the real me has not been fully utilized.

So , instead of whining any further about it, I am just going to be exactly who I am.....


I think it was the wedding I just catered that has helped push me over the edge a bit. Lots of things went wrong and way to many people chattering. I was just trying to keep everything calm and collective. I was lucky to have a few people on hand that all I had to do is give a look( not a mean or upset one just " you're the smartest person besides me ,please help me" look and they knew what I needed done. ) It went well for us despite no lights, cold and down pour rain, working outside and running food in the mud. But they were a great group and in my 28 years of doing this was my favorite wedding. The wedding planner even said he do my wedding .

(Side was a really awesome wedding that I will do a post about ...waiting for photos from the wedding party..somehow we didn't get any of the food tables. )
I actually feel in love with my passions again. I feel alive and energized because I know I am  pretty damn awesome at my job..... I just needed to cook more.

Creating something out of bits of pieces .....without thinking, just doing, this is what separates people who cook and people who cook with passion.

I leave you with this .... I was actually sent this last literally made me LOL

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Be careful what you do, because life becomes the truth.....

Maybe it's the heat, lack of carbs ,or the running every day , but people are on my last nerves these days. Not everyone of course, but enough of the small amount of the human race right now has me plotting several burials in my garlic bed.

The heat has been bad here. With no AC at work or home, fans are lowing a lot of hot air back out the window..then there is the heat...bahahahahahahahaha.

I'll get my hat.

I swear I am not drunk. Not even a drop.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Everlasting Gobstopper

I am in the middle of my extraordinary life. 

I think I need a cheeseburger.....0hhhhh donar kebab !!!!!

Maybe lay off the meditation music a bit. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Crispy... like a piece of over baked gyro meat because someone can't pull stuff out of the oven when the timer goes off

One of my favorite jobs has been working at a place in my hometown called Premiere Gourmet. I literally grew up with this store. It used to be located at the end of my parents street then moved to bigger quarters once they became popular.
After my first child was born, I had no job because my super cool sous chef job was no more( the place closed..which was too bad because it was a cool place to work). So, I acquire a job at Premiere. It fit mine and my then hubs lifestyle and work schedules. I worked with amazing people who I was (and it was one of the few times this has happen), genuinely friends with. We hung out together ,we went to each others houses and actually liked each other and there  were 6 of us ,so we were tight. 

But that was only part of it. I was liked by the owner and by fellow employes and never once felt as if people were catty or bitter bitches. Everyone wanted to be there and were mostly very happy everyday. My owner ,while a bit out there, was still a very like able and nice person. Her kids were privileged but nice kids. It was a family. Something that in food service is hard to find now a days.

 I don't feel that way at my current job.  I actually feel very much alone and on my own. But it's not a 
" oh pity me "statement. It is how it is and  no one can understand . 

EEEK ..sorry for that tangent. 

Where was I...oh yeah. So this job. It was good pay, I was liked, good hours, and then there was Peter.

Peter is/was an awesome guy. He was the master coffee roaster and beer guy.  The majority of what I know on either is because he took the time to explain things to me when I asked a billon questions that probably were fairly obvious things to him.
I learned about how to roast certain beans because of their oil content, what bean characteristics  are factors to certain growing areas and how to tell the difference, cupping,and all sorts of things. And the smell of green beans roasting...oh dear god..HEAVAN!!!! 

Then there was beer. Ok, up until then I thought Labats was killer. Yeah, little did I know the future of beer was going to be laid before me. I tried so much beer that I think my son was tipsy thru the breast milk.( yeah I said it...I breastfeed my kid..what of it bitches?) .
It was like, so much beer, so little time to drink it. I did make it through their selection by the time I left three years later. My ex hubs was not a fan of trying the new beers , which was too bad.  I do every once in a while ,when in a large beer store or coming upon a new beer , think fondly of Peter and hope that if he still is around,he is enjoying one tonight after a long bike ride.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Blessed are the cheese makers......

I am hot.

It's still 75 here and it's 11 pm. And my house is a sauna. Hobbit houses do not make very good housing if not built into the earth. They are rather slimy ,sticky and small. Seriously, the ceilings are lower than any house I have occupied( let's face it, we occupy space , not live in it and yes, I got all deep and profound there. I even got a little physics too. ...least I think I did. It's late and I am hot and there are like 3633346464644646474733737 things in my head right now.)

Sorry, I got a little distracted.......

Where was I? Oh yeah.....I am hot. And while I enjoy the heat rather than the cold, this is just stupid warm..... But I rather be sweaty than shivering. Get your minds out of the gutter ......unless you want to share your images. 

Wait ......please don't share your images , "shivers".

I don't have or maybe I did have a thought to this post but now I don't feel like talking about it. Did you ever get that way? You're thinking about something maybe for an hour or two, maybe for a day ,a week etc. . Then, when you get a chance to express it, you just don't feel like it. Maybe you have thought it over 20 times and at 21 you're done. I get that way ; it's a bad habit/ quirk of mine. 

I usually get worked up about something and don't really say anything. Then , I let it fester in my head, having little dumb conversations in there or worse, I over think things. Mind you this happens cause there are many things going on in my head. I feel like I am juggling chainsaws most of the time. 

But , I have gotten better. I think mostly because instead of talking over people or trying to put my sense into a conversation, I am just listening. Waiting to be asked a question, then giving basic info to see if the person wants to actually have a conversation or just wants to pump me for info. The latter will just cause me to shut down. I have learned the hard way that giving away all the info gets me no where, wins me no friends or loyalty  from people.

By the way...I love the term " pump you for information" it's really a dirty term no matter how you pitch it. It brings up images of being pumped like a mustard dispenser . Or sexually pumped with vaginal quivers as your end result.

Yeah, I said...vaginal quivers. Try to get that image out of your head.( please don't think of mine....but you are probably now....STOP..... Unless you make me dinner;) )

And that brings me to something....remember that Proclaimers song that was played all the fringing timeeeeeeeee.  What the hell is havering to someone ? Sounds pretty much like a made up word.....oh Scottish friendsssssssss or word people.    

I actually do know what it means..

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Win a date with me

So here is the long anticipate essay I had to do for my boss.

I am not sure how well written it is but it is rather funny I think.

Though my boss thinks I need a date......

The Pama Roma: A Love Story

12 months ago, if you told me that I would be hugging a cold , strong, silent object every time I walked past it, I would think you were talking about an old boyfriend. But it still remains the strong, silent type and I do love it: My Pama Roma Pasta machine.

Up until then I had never heard of Pama Roma or knew machines like mine existed for the less industrial ventures like restaurants or even dining halls. I have grown up, both personally and professionally, in kitchens where you either made pasta by hand or used the hamster wheel crank of a pasta machine. Both are labor intensive and honestly, I got tired after 30 minutes.

The Pama Parsi Macchine or Pasta Station is in a nut shell, heaven in a 4 foot workstation. This amazing machine can make 20 lbs. of fresh pasta in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. This includes drying time in the racks below the station. The machine comes directly from Italy all nice and pretty in a giant crate. I have to say, that actually got me really excited when I saw it on my dock.

Once open though, the real fun begins. Though most of the instructions are in Italian, I was able to find a few manuals from the Pama Roma company themselves. Now, this is a side note…whoever got the pleasure of reading my emails, in probably bad Italian, BLESS them. They answered all my questions within hour’s sometimes even minutes of me sending the emails. The manuals were pretty basic, though, and only took a few reads and remembering the metric system, before I understood what I was actually dealing with.

This machine is easier than raising a teenage boy. In its basics, the tumbler mixes the semolina flour, eggs and other liquid. By other liquid I mostly mean water. But this is where fun part of the machine comes into play. The majority of the manuals do not give instruction on different flavors and proportions. I was basically told by my lovely Pama Roma friend to “play” with it. And that is just what we did and are continuingly doing.

We have experimented with flavors as basic as lemon pepper then moved on to wasabi (we do a pasta stir fry with our spiral pasta) and even tried orange pasta just to see if dessert pasta dish could be something that was feasible (it is with a mascarpone cream. It was sort of like sweet Alfredo texture. We are looking to expand the dessert pasta by experimenting with cocoa powders, coffee powders and things like that. Flavors that were hits included spinach, tomato, basil and stout which we used with a beef stroganoff and it was delicious!

The work station comes with the basic pasta shapes: tagliolini, tagliatelle, fettuccine and pappardelle along with a basic spiral that can be made into long thin spiral or short tight ones depending on the speed of your cutting blade. The flat pasta can be made into any thickness. The Sheeter-Cutter with stainless steel roller rough will allow you, through a simple leaflet, to refine the sheet width. 200 mm to the desired thickness and to prepare tagliolini, tagliatelle, fettuccine and pappardelle in widths: 2-4-6-12 mm. This can also be used to make lasagna sheets. We have experimented with making a type of layered pasta by thinning out sheets of two pastas (Tomato and Spinach) then sticking them together and sending them through the sheeter. It worked, we think. The pasta looked like a Crayola factory exploded on the pasta. But was pretty to look at and rather tasty.

The other aspect of pasta making with the Pasta Station is the ability to use different flours such as whole wheat, buckwheat, and semolina and rice flour. Each flour requires special attention as they each mix differently, have different stages of gluten binding and kneading. But with a lot of experimenting, we were able to make whole wheat, regular semolina and buckwheat. We played a little with the rice but never got the final product to our liking. This is important for us to find non-wheat gluten “friendly” pasta. Like many college and universities, we have Celiac and wheat sensitive students that grow in numbers every year. We value their health and feel it is important that have as much of the same food their friends are eating rather than be singled out as they have had to be because of their dietary needs.

One the last pasta making components is the ravioli maker. This part of the machine, I am very fond of. We have a lot of high end events that require us to make vegan dishes. I like vegan pasta dishes because we can replace any egg products with soy, egg replacements or other types of binders that adhere to vegan lifestyle. But the cool thing is the fillings. We can do any type of fillings. We have done a taco, pumpkin, smoked salmon and herbed cream cheese, sweet potato, four cheese, bbq smoked pork just to name a few. We have also experimented with dessert ravioli adding chocolate ganache in the middle or pieces of cake. The ganache worked the best, I have to say.

The pasta station comes with a few other bells and whistles: a cooling rack (7), four drawer storage unit and flour bin. All of them fit right under the work station and the machine is very easy to take care of and maintain. One has to be careful with the parts and hand washe everything. The dies themselves are made of soft brass and can be easily damaged as we found out this spring (luckily not to badly and we were able to fix it with a bit of buffing and “please don’t be broken, please don’t be broken’s”)

Oh, the dies are another really cool part of this machine. At only $250 a piece, you could procure a small collection that could meet all your pasta making needs. There are so many choices including assorted shell sizes for basic pasta to stuffed shells, all the favorite shapes like bowtie, rotini and radiator pasta.

What I really , really like about this machine and why I hug my machine(a lot) is that I get to give my students and the staff of the university a beautiful, fresh , made in house product that they can actually see us make every day. We have given students and staff samples of the pasta as it is made right off the machine. The delight and surprise on their faces is worth it all. Majority of people that walk in to the dining hall have never had fresh pasta, let alone in a “cafeteria”. Our students acknowledge they really appreciate and enjoy the fresh pasta versus the dry type. They feel it adds a value to their meal plan especially to the parent who sees that we are serving fresh pasta every day. T We learned, from trial and error that the pasta lasts longer than expected in its dry state, when properly stored. We are able to cook the pasta off just like restaurants do, giving the client the best possible and freshest meal. And just like our gelato machine, we ask for flavor suggestions from our students. We have had some interesting ideas like roasted corn, grape juice and vodka; though I think I just might have to do the PB and J ravioli just because I can. We are hoping to in the future to package the pasta for take home use. We have been experimenting with this in the way of making “cup of soup”mixs and selling them in one of our retails. It is basically cooked diced chicken, vegetables, house made bouillon and blanched noodles. All the customer has to do is add hot water and let stand for 5 minutes. The response has been better than expected and we hope to expand it in the future.

I love my Pasta Station. I am protective and guard it like it is my child. Only one other person really knows how to use it and I would like to keep it that way. I didn’t even let my regional chef get much time on it because I want to keep it all to myself. But once everyone tasted the pasta we were making, I knew my machine would be a popular guy.

But no matter what, I am going to keep hugging my machine.

Monday, July 1, 2013

In your eyes, your pale blue eyes

This is me.... Just fresh scrubbed face me. Thought you like to see who was babbling on and on about nonsense.

I am been trying to write a paper about my high end pasta machine for my boss that he wants to send off for trade magazines, for the past three days....No pressure ,right?