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Culinary School

I’ve been contemplating culinary school for ages now. It used to feel like a pipe dream, something that wouldn’t amount to anything even if I did attend. Now I know that I can hang in the restaurant world. I love it, in fact. I know my dream is to continue working in restaurants for as long as I’m able. Maybe my goals will change after having kids or something distant like that, maybe they won’t.
My question is, is culinary school worth it, now that I’m already in the business? According to most people (like Anthony Bourdain) and schools (CIA), you shouldn’t go unless you’ve worked in a restaurant before. Just so both you and the school know if you’re willing to put in the hard work. I know I’m willing to put in the work, but I don’t know which school to attend or how to fund it.
UGH.

Dinner had Strawberry Vinaigrette

I just made dinner for the first time in ages. And yes, you’re probably wondering….”um, Alex, you work in a restaurant, don’t you make dinner for people every night?” And yes, that’s a valid question. Very valid. Tonight though, I cooked myself dinner. Albeit, not a great one. But I felt more creative than I have in ages because I didn’t have to create someone else’s dish for the thousandth time. Which, don’t mistake me, I love cooking in the restaurant scene, but this felt nice in very different way. I can see by looking at my recently published blogs that I haven’t cooked anything I found worth blogging about at home since last July….
That’s very sad to me. I like writing this blog almost as much as I like to imagine that I’m Julie Powell of the Julie/Julia franchise. And the fact that I haven’t felt inspired to cook for myself at home, even on my days off, since July, is downright sad. But I have a new lease on life right now. I dropped a lot of baggage a while back and now I’m in a great new relationship with myself and with my new boyfriend. So I’m going to be cooking for him at home more often. And I’m in the middle of a job search, about which I hope to write some notes, too. So I should have some more fodder for my blog from here on out.

Back to the title. I made strawberry vinaigrette tonight. Fresh strawberries, garlic and balsamic vinegar and a bit too much olive oil…But it’s still tasty! The salad itself was just spinach and fennel and chia seeds, but also tasty. I also cooked up some corn and reheated a bratwurst I braised in apple juice a few days back.

Scallops in the Middle

So, I’ve been on hiatus from writing this blog pretty much since I started working at my current restaurant. I’m still working there, very happily. I’m sure my mom is the only person who reads this, but that’s fine. Hi Mom!
Anyway, yesterday, I got brave and decided to jump on the hot line and demand to be taught. Of course, my beloved coworker D. taught me everything that got ordered. Scallops and Mussels and Bouillabaisse are all now in my repertoire. Although, I’m sure I’d need a refresher course was I to have the opportunity to jump on the line again. I hope I will very soon.
Our scallops are bathed in butter and our mussels get happy in garlic, harissa, and beer. The bouillabaisse is just delicious. I’ll update when I really remember how to describe our duck breast. Yum!

Brie and Egg do NOT make a good pairing

This afternoon I decided I wanted to experiment after watching a video of Laura Calder, who is the Julia Child to my Julie Powell. Although I am not exactly going through a master cookbook like Julie was, her blog is the inspiration for mine, and Laura is my muse. I digress. After watching an episode of her show French Food at Home entitled “Truckstop French,” I was inspired to make a brie sandwich.
However, I had English muffins, not baguette, and I toasted them in butter instead of slathering on softened butter. Laura Calder loves butter just as much as Julia Child or I ever could. I love that about cooks who make French food. They are neither afraid of butter, nor afraid to use a lot of it and I really think that nobody ever should be! Butter is a saint, as is bread. I think they are frequently martyrs, but I’m resurrecting them for my own cooking escapades.
Back to my sandwich. I added to my sandwich an egg fried over easy in the butter from my English muffins. All I have to say is, “PLEASE do NOT make this sandwich!” it did not taste very nice, brie and juicy egg together…and I didn’t make clarified butter, which I probably also should have done. However, I don’t really know how and I don’t intend to learn it tonight, as I’m too tired from this week. A week, which is, to my dismay, not over yet…
I need another nap.
And maybe another glass of wine.

p.s. I found a recipe for “Quick and Easy Yorkshire Pudding” which I intend to try soon. Does anyone have any tips on what to pair with it? (Other than wine, of course!)

brie and egg sandwich
brie and egg sandwich with whole fried cherry tomatoes

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Food Blogging

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As none of you probably know this, since I am sure I have only told a few people… I love food: cooking, testing new recipes, attempting to show the world what I’m eating (my iPhone doesn’t take wonderful photos), and of course, eating. Baking and cooking are my favorite things in the world to do, and I feel that perhaps if I worked in a kitchen or wrote about food for a living I could be happy. Very very happy.
Other times, I realize that I’m rarely happy when I’m doing something because I’ve been told to do it…It makes the task drag on and on and on…And I’m on a mission: to change my way of thinking. Or, at least to find something that is so wonderful that I want to do it even if I’m assigned the job and have to do it for the rest of my life.
So, is this a difficult, daunting task? Hell yes it is. I’m scared that I’ll fail. I’m certain I success will take me on a long, possibly treacherous journey. “Nevertheless, I am willing.”
Long story short, I am going to start blogging about food much more than anyone could probably ever want to read about it… I take that back: that statement is doubly false: I can’t possibly blog about food more than anyone would want to read about it because 1) I’m incredibly lazy and 2) Everyone I know loves thinking, reading and talking about food enough that I would be hard-pressed to bore them with such a blog.
So get excited for my first blog about food coming up later this week.
It will be inspired by one of these two blog posts:
http://ittakesakitchen.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-books-that-brought-me-here.html
http://ittakesakitchen.blogspot.com/2013/02/foodie-movies.html

When You Have a Bad Day

$62 Parking ticket
$62 Parking ticket

When you have a bad day, everything seems to be multiplicative…My day started out ok, just some unpleasant correspondence from the woman I’m renting a room from. Nothing too serious, she was just annoyed at me because SHE chose not to put HER phone on silent last night. Not my fault, but I was doomed to hear about it… even after I apologized, she still went on…
Then the weather was crap today (pouring down rain), so I drove to school. No big deal, usually. I even rather love the rain when I am inside, but my umbrella is kiiiiind of malfunctioning… When I got to class, everyone was worried because we were getting our German tests back today. After lecturing us for 10-15 minutes, she gave us our results. I got a C+ (which to be honest is better than I expected).
Obviously I didn’t feel like staying on campus for four and a half hours with nothing to do but read fifty pages of Gertrude Stein‘s Picasso. Then there was Walgreens
Normally when I go to Walgreens I’m happy to be there because they have something I desperately need (usually feminine products). I put thirty cents in the parking meter (that is nine minutes for you non-San Franciscans) and went inside to exchange some foundation and buy tampons. I made the mistake of trying to find a better shade of foundation than the orangey one I had previously picked. I found one I thought would work better and then went to pay.
Apparently, all of this took longer than nine minutes, as when I went back out, the parking cop was putting a ticket on my windshield! He said to me, “I’m sorry, I’ve already written the citation. You need to put money in even if you’re going to be quick.” As though I had tried to avoid paying a measly few cents! I was enraged. Flabbergasted. Incensed. Above all, though, I felt dejected. I have never gotten a real parking ticket before, and at my undergrad University, I had always fought them if I missed. Sometimes I even got the ticket forgiven. Nevertheless, I had never had a $62 ticket before.
So, I sat in my car and cried like a child. Tears streaming down my face as they hadn’t done in at least a few months, I felt petty, but also vindicated in my upset-state. I am allowed to be upset when I get a parking ticket whether I deserve it or not, am I right?

not much time for blogging these days

So I haven’t had much time for blogging these days, at least, not on my own page. It’s been all about Keyreads.com for me lately. I really enjoy it, but I’ve been really bad about writing my articles on time. I know my procrastination needs to stop and I need to study smarter for grad school and all that so I can focus on work. Because I’d ideally like to do more research to make my articles more relevant so that they’ll get more hits when I post them.

I’ve been procrastinating most by being on Pinterest, if you care to know. That and of course, Gmail and Facebook.

Another thing: I have two job interviews coming up. One with some San Francisco Start-up where I’d be a paid intern and one with Macy’s for a beauty advisor position. And I need to remember to apply at Crossroads on Irving St this week!

Working Girl (part 2)

Hey there friends, here’s a quick update for you:
So I’ve recently started working as an unpaid intern for Keyreads LLC. I’m supposed to write five 300+ word articles per week, which doesn’t seem too difficult. At least it shouldn’t be for a young woman who just wants to write and read and be allowed to look at fashion blogs and magazines, right?
Soooo wrong. I am a grad student; I’m supposed to read for like 20 hours per week, which leaves me brain-dead. I don’t know what else to write about other than what I’m reading. Not to even mention the pain I find myself in after too long reading or on the computer. Stupid weak eyes…
But really, the main problem is I truly don’t know how to choose what to write for them. My supervisor is not giving me much direction. I sometimes wish I were doing an internship where I needed to be in the office instead of doing it all online. But I’m giving it my best and trying to get my butt in gear because this is a great opportunity.
For now, I get to write about books, but hopefully they’ll let me start writing about fashion too. My supervisor said the company may by a website where I can write about fashion, which would be awesome because then I’d be able to write about fashion and books every week.
Anyway, here’s a link to my first article:

Working Girl (the positive denotation)

I’m getting jobs all of a sudden. Nothing big, but nothing small either.
Let me explain: I just graduated with my BA in LIt from UC Merced. I thought I’d be serving coffee by now, or at least everyone else thought I would be. I’ve always known I would make it, failure isn’t an option if I say it isn’t. And if you’ve read my other posts here on wordpress.com, you know I’ve gotten an experience only gig reviewing a couple of cool fantasy books. And that’s awesome! I’m really stoked about that.
Then, my beloved roommate recommended me as stand-in pet-sitter for a guy she usually pet-sits for. She’s going out of town at the same time he is, so of course, she couldn’t be there for him, and Raffy. So I’m going to go feed the sweet old pup and play a little fetch with him and basically hang out. Pretty cool, no?
Out of the blue I got my first job in publishing today; my friend from high school has an older brother. He just happens to need a proofreader for his book on guitar tab. She being the amazing friend that she is, suggested me. As a proofreader. For an e-book. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it because I was focusing all my efforts on summer school, but it’s a step in the right direction!

Handle Me

Well, I don’t like to be cold, ever. But at least when it’s cold I can bundle up, I can’t take my skin off when I’m hot. Haha…I’m good at telling bad jokes eh? I’m a bookworm who loves Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire. I’m definitely a literature major… I may fantasize about being Mrs. Darcy and a world-class chef, but I’m ok at baking at least. I think I whip up a pretty good apple pie. I like to have friends over, but I rarely party at home… I don’t find it respectful to be loud and obnoxious when everyone else isn’t in a fun, exuberant mood.

I am pretty quiet in general. I can be shy, but I try to fake not being shy; my parents always quoted, “Fake it ’til you make it” to me when I was little. I don’t really know what quirks I have…though I’m sure I have them…I am not a perfectionist by any means, though I am a bit of a writing tutor. However, some might say grammar Nazi… I’m not really sure who I am at this point, I will be 22 next week, I love all kinds of music–especially classic rock–but I’m a country girl at heart, deep down I know I should be driving a Chevy truck, not a Honda accord, but the mpg is just sooooo much better for a broke college girl. I’m probably the quintessential confused American girl….I love all things European, and I wish I were already fluent in German and French….I like to turn the heater on when it gets below 60 inside; I’m always freezing for some reason….and I will get songs stuck in your head….

Anything else you’d like to know? I feel like I bared my soul to a complete stranger, but I’m sometimes a writer…I guess that’s what we do….

Also, I like to dance and eat all kinds of different food; my faves are Mexican, Indian, and Thai (pad Thai to be specific). I’ve been in Merced for four years, but I’m originally from Sacramento….I prefer things that have value…price doesn’t matter unless the product or experience doesn’t merit the expense….I would also prefer to shop locally, but sometimes there are things you can’t get locally…and I’m ok with that too.

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