Brand New Apartment, Brand New Life

New Apartment

This is a big step, for me, for him, for us. It’s extremely cliché; I know it. We signed a lease together and I’m going to write this post even though he’ll probably be embarrassed. However, since many of you out there don’t know who HE is, he can relax, knowing that the ones who do know won’t make fun of him for too long.
My man and I lived together for a few months out of necessity and, I’d have to wager, a bit of laziness on his part. Or, maybe it was his sneaky way of a test drive. Whatever it was, living together at my last place of abode led to us signing our first lease together about one month prior to this post. We’ve been officially moved-in together for about three weeks; I think it’s going well! We even had our first houseguests over, including one of our favorite couples ever over for a hilarious evening of food and wine. I made boeuf bourguignon a la Julia Child (because I can’t resist making a mention of her wonderful legacy) and he made the most wonderful salad. Of course, the walnuts were raw, yet still scrumptious because, as we discovered in media res, our oven wouldn’t heat up…

New Life

In other news, I’ve gotten what one can only call a promotion of sorts. It’s funny how getting a raise and promotion only means new (and more) work. At least that’s what I’ve observed in the movies! Ha! I’ve just gotten my first one of either sort. Although, I’m not sure if I can really say promotion, but my hours of work and play have dramatically changed and, as of this payday, so will the number of dollars in my direct deposit.

Looking Backward, Just for a moment

It’s amazing to think that it was three years ago to the day, I was fired from my first job in the city, for, essentially, not being trained properly. I still believe there were more motives than that at play, but who cares at this point? The only reason I even know that it happened is that I have a draft labeled March 22, 2014: “Being fired and moving on…Yes, I was just fired from my job yesterday.”

I’m not sure I even want to open the draft to read the rest…I can’t believe how different my life is now. I can’t believe that back then I could even begin to fathom that I was happy. I was not nearly as happy as I am now……

Took the time to read that draft. I’m amazed at how positive I was about being fired from a job I loved so much…Of course, that’s how my momma raised me!

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The Hundred Foot Journey

In The Hundred Foot Journey, a young chef gets the opportunity to help a restaurant get its second Michelin star. The end left me a) wanting to move to France, b) wanting to cook. Of course, I was feeling sick so I did not do either of those things, but I wanted to! I had my emotions torn between food and France as I do every time I see a movie about food. Food-themed movies are typically about French food because French food is THE classic, quintessential cuisine. It is dependent on the careful techniques developed to make food look AND taste amazing.

Although the father in The Hundred-Foot Journey argued that there is a classic aspect to all cuisines, French cuisine is definitely the one that chefs developed into a higher art form first. France is where the restaurant industry began although, the label of first restaurateur is apparently up for debate. Nevertheless, the technique of French cooking: knife skills, the feeling of when different meats are cooked properly, the balance, and sometimes, delicacy of the flavors is what makes the difference.

Good and Bad Complimenting Each Other Again

Chicken SaladAnyone Can Cook

Yes, anyone. But not everyone has the desire or the patience. Not everyone can keep up in a fast paced kitchen and multi-task properly to work in a professional kitchen or even make a holiday dinner. Not to brag, but I can multi-task. I think it’s really fun to work in a fast-paced kitchen. I get bored really easily when a task is too menial or I don’t have interesting coworkers.

The bad news

Laura Calder‘s show French Food at Home got taken off YouTube, which is where I had been furtively watching pirated episodes. I feel bad, but hey, I live in California, which is sadly the wrong “Ca” for FoodNetwork.Ca… Food Network really ought to just make Ms. Calder’s show available to US audiences…PLEASE???

The good news

I had an interview for a line cook/prep position today. I don’t want to mention names, but it’s a corporate restaurant which happens to be located in famous department store in a mall. A very, very large mall, in San Francisco. It would be a wonderful place to work and the head chef, who interviewed me, was very nice and seemed like exactly the kind of person for whom I could work. It seemed like the interview went well. Although, it didn’t feel very interview-y. As soon as the chef walked up I felt at ease, whereas I normally feel very nervous in interviews. I cannot wait to hear from them! I know there are a lot of other cooks with more experience than I’ve got, but he did say they like “green” cooks because they can train them the way they want to, rather than hiring people who may have bad kitchen habits because they’ve cooked in other professional kitchens. I only have two years of kitchen experience, and I also haven’t worked in a kitchen since May 2012, so I should be “green” enough. Cross your fingers my friends!!

As I watch Laura Calder…

My Day Goes By and the Leaves Grow…

I’m feeling relaxed and happy and satiated. Very full and content. None of the things happening in my life, none of the projects I have half-finished, none of the mean people, none if it worries me as I sit at my teeny tiny kitchen table and write this blog. My dreams of being a food writer/chef are simmering in the background as I make terrible food puns. I don’t even care right now about the fact that that probably wasn’t even a pun. I don’t know…
This relaxed, peaceful feeling is probably coming from my dinner because earlier today I was worrying about whether a decision to go shop for much-needed new jeans was a foolish one or not. I purhased some really cute items that I think I will actually wear, but it was a LOT of money that I should’ve saved for more important purchases. Like my plane ticket to my college roommate’s wedding in May, or my gas for my trip home for Easter (to be fair, I hadn’t planned on heading home at all over spring break), or even just for groceries for next month. Monetary concerns are fairly important when you’re living on loans…But I’m pretty confident that I’m going to get hired somewhere quite soon. So the clothes were necessary so I don’t feel gross wearing the same pair of jeans every day. Because, yeah, I was there. All my other jeans were flare-bottoms or ripped in the crotch and cut up into shorts. So I’m set for summer’s heat, but not so much for winter and spring’s cold.

As I sit here now, I think about the episode of French Food at Home that I just watched: “Slow Food“. I love themes like that because well, who wants to eat McDonald’s on a daily basis? Or even Mac ‘N’ Cheese or what have you. NOT ME! I like to cook, regardless of the time it takes. I know what’s going into my meals, and I can decide how healthy or unhealthy I make each part of my dinner. I still crave pizza or a McDouble once in a while, but it feels more like fast food used to be: a treat! I remember my mom used to tell me that when she was a kid, McDonald’s was a mini-roadtrip! Of course that’s probably because distances and times are radically different to a child than they are to an adult, but she just meant that it was a once-in-a-blue-moon type of treat. And why wouldn’t it be, when my grandmother is such a great cook…I wonder sometimes if my Omi (that’s grandma in German) always had a knack for meats and vegetables…

My delectable dinner was just fried chicken legs with milk gravy and some grilled vegetables. But it was goooooooooood! I think the chicken leg made all the difference: they’re much juicer at the end of cooking than chicken breasts tend to be. Also, I didn’t worry about them being fully cooked, (though they were, don’t worry) so they came out perfectly done instead of dry and overcooked. I’m having good luck with chicken legs. I just fried it in coconut oil then finished it by baking it for ~20 minutes in a 375-degree oven. The gravy was a flour fried in butter then add seasoned milk (cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, black pepper) til the right consistency is achieved type of deal. So pretty simple, but awesome-tasting.fried Drumstick, grilled vegetable medley IMG_0427
The vegetables were the real miracle of dinner. I had some leeks in the refrigerator that I was worried might go bad soon, so I sliced them up into long strips and then did the same to a bit of white onion. Starting with some of the coconut oil I’d fried the chicken in, I fried the onions, the the asparagus I’d cut into small pieces. Then to top off the ensemble, I put in some grape tomatoes at the end just to warm them up a bit, really. I salted, peppered, plated, photographed.
Oh boy, did I ever enjoy!

Just as an aside…Can I mention how foolish my chef’s uniform du jour was for frying chicken:

what was I thinkin?
what was I thinkin? Originally my outfit did NOT include my apron…

Parboil Pearl Onions, and Other Things I Need to Remember

Remembering Happy Times and Making things easier on Myself

I’ve been doing it wrong all  along: Don’t forget to parboil your pearl onions! Julia Child, Julie Powell and Laura Calder have all reiterated that for me. It makes them easier to peel!

Tonight’s dinner was an old standby of mine, a simple pasta with olive oil “sauce” that I love to make when I’m not feeling very happy. Carbs make me happy. But somehow I messed it up a little bit…I’m not sure what I did—perhaps too much olive oil and not enough of everything else—but it just kind of goes along with the week I’ve been having. But, I’m not going to dwell on my week anymore. I’ll tell you about a time when I felt comfortable and relaxed and satisfied with my life…

I really and truly wish that I had started my food blogging adventure months ago or at least in December. I was staying at my boyfriend’s apartment during my winter break and oh boy! did we ever put on a few pounds each! I had just started cooking some of Laura Calder’s recipes (by guessing mostly, as she isn’t very good about actually telling what she is showing you how to do) and it meant a lot of meats and butter and mmmmmmmmmmmm…yeah… I can’t even think about this one recipe without drooling, even on a full stomach.

Tonight I decided to watch my favorite episode of Laura’s show, French Food at Home. It’s “The Butter Show”! Have I mentioned it yet, my affinity for, nay, passionate connection to butter? I love the stuff. It really tastes good on everything. It’s super versatile too; you can prepare it a million different ways, and they pretty much all taste amazing. I think someday soon—before my eggs run out—I’m going to attempt a real hollandaise sauce, not the packet kind which some Americans use. Laura makes it seems so easy. Anyway, I was watching “The Butter Show” and it called to mind a night when I make steaks and herbed “composed butter.” It was VERY good. All you do is take softened butter and add chopped up whatever you’d like. I used a mix of parsley and cilantro and possibly something else. Not sure… but my boy and I loved it. Though I think that I spent more time on the butter than the steak, since I think that night he had to put his steak back on the range. Half of it was rather…raw for his taste. And we are both rare/medium rare steak eaters, so you can imagine how uncooked it was. But afterwards, we ate in silence and drank our pretty, pink wine (I delight in a good White Zin), and watched How I Met Your Mother, which I think we’re actually (surprisingly enough) behind on watching right now…

Olive Oil Pasta
My easy, comforting, Olive Oil Pasta

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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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