Sunday, March 11, 2012

Outside of School

First I want to give a quick clarification on the last post about finally making something. We don't get to actually make a lot of food this term because we are learning techniques. The chef instructor makes dishes every class in Culinary Foundations. Secretly I think they limit what we make because we have yet to pass the ServSafe exam, but the real reasons are probably not wanting to have P&B students making things they are unlikely to need again and making sure we understand some basic things before we get really dirty. So even though I don't bring food home every day, I'm learning and I love it.

Enough about school; I am managing to keep a life outside of it. For example today Alex and I took Smoke to the Daily City Food Truck Bazaar. We've gone a couple of times when they are in our neck of the woods. I don't know if other roundups work this way, but Daily City has a monthly schedule that goes to a different city/area every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Every second Sunday I get excited now and Smoke will too. He loved it, though he was over stimulated.

This is Alex feeding him a Lolli-pup from Sit and Stay Cafe. He had no problem licking until it was gone and also ate the heck out of the Ginger Beef Jerky. For us, we hit up the Feast Beast, Crooked Spoon, and Fork In The Road. The sausage in the Feast Beast sandwich was delicious, Alex can't get enough of the homemade chips from Crooked Spoon, and the Elvis-wich cookie ice cream sandwich from FITR was good. It didn't blow my socks off like Batter Bowl does, but the peanut butter cookies were solid.

Smoke made big steps in socializing and visiting places this weekend. Aside from going to the Food Truck Bazaar, my sister and I took him to Waterford Lakes Town Center. He has no problem with going up to people or letting them pet him. He needs to adjust to meeting new dogs and good behavior around them. Hopefully next weekend we can have dinner at my parents' house and he can meet their three dogs who will have no qualms showing him. He doesn't always want to come and doesn't like being around cars, but he's young and just needs to experience things I think.

I'm working on a diploma in Pastry & Baking, so what do I choose to do with my free time? Take the level 2 Wilton cake decorating course, Flowers & Cake Design. Cake decorating is included in the curriculum too. Why then spend the money and time? One, I enjoy it; two, I get to do it with my best friend Heather; three, I don't mind spending that money to start learning it now, so that I can get in extra practice and be even better later. Last night was the first class and we learned pansies and button flowers. My pansy needs some work.

It's been a lovely weekend. I'm feeling ready to take on the week . . . after I spend the next couple hours ironing my uniforms. <3

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Made Something

Whenever I talk to someone now, particularly my mom, they ask, "So what did you make in school today?" I give a little sigh and respond with either how not to make people sick or how to cut vegetables. Today though that answer would be different! Today I made mayonnaise. It's not super exciting but it's something.
I am not a big mayo person, but this had an interesting taste. It was rich and more flavorful than store bought. I brought some home to try on a sandwich. We'll see if home made mayonnaise makes me more of a fan.

I started carpooling to school with a lovely woman this week, Mo. She is trying to keep a blog of her culinary school adventures as well here. She's older than I am with loads of stories. Hopefully she will share some of them online with all of you because I can't do them justice (and they belong to her). She is studying culinary to round out her skills as she spent several years working in a bakery. This is a boon for me in that she generously offered to teach me some decorating things and we will get exchange food from classes after this one.

This week is so busy; homework, a quiz, a test, a practical, and a short report to work on. Next week is just homework, so what did I do? I signed up to volunteer as a prep cook for a conference Wednesday through Saturday 8 am - 12 pm. It wasn't until after that I remembered my puppy. I'm fairly certain I can make it work if I get up early, if my darling fiancee will do the morning walk ( I hope he reads this), and I run home for a lunch walk before class starts. Smoke won't be happy and Alex will be some what frustrated but I really need kitchen experience to help me get a good externship.

So blessings, positive vibes, and well wishes are all appreciated. To friends and family: I will always need more coffee.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Little Up, A Little Down

Week number two is down for the count. I feel good about it being completed successfully because it was more challenging from the personal front. My fiancee and I decided to adopt a puppy last Sunday.

His name is Smoke and he's two months old. Our favorite brew pub, Shipyard, had a special event last Saturday, so we went and Pet Rescue By Judy was also there. I tried to resist but he had a sister and he's so cute! We slept on it and decided it was time to take the next step and add a puppy to our home. Our two cats are less than thrilled, but adjusting. How did this effect school? Minimally. It means getting up at 4 am for a mid-night walk, making sure I get up early for another walk and breakfast, I don't get to school as early to minimize the time he has to spend in the crate, and I rush home for another walk. Young puppies have small bladders if you haven't guessed.

He and I were able to bond on Tuesday because the down part of my week was catching a cold. I thought about pushing through it to go to class, but needed the day of rest to get better. There were four assessments this week. I'm feeling good because I did well on all of them though a little upset with myself for a getting a low B on one. It was in Culinary Foundations. I don't like that pastry students don't get the text book for the class. I understand that we won't need it again after this but reading the material would help me. They could let us borrow it or at least have a copy in the library!

Aside from assessments we learned how to make a vinaigrette and different types of sauces. Now that we know all the things that can make people sick, Sanitation is getting to actual methods of being safe. Of course there were more knife skills practice. I realized that I square things better with my left hand, but I tourne better with right hand. Not before I cut myself for the first time yesterday. Cuts require a band aid and a finger 'condom' to keep it on. The color is to make it more easily noticed if it falls into the food.

That is my thumb, not a nub of a finger like some of my friends said it looks like.

A little bit of a longer post, but I want people to know what going through this program is like. Now I need to do some homework catch up.