Monday, June 30, 2008

It's Hot

If you look at the time stamp you'll see that it's about 4:00 am. It's hot in this apartment! I can't sleep, so I decided to develop a new blog. A food blog. Yes - those are all over the place these days, but it's more for me, and if you're interested you can read it. I'm working out some kinks and making it pretty, but when it's ready I'll post a link to it.

Did I mention it's HOT in here? Holy geez. How do people live like this? I should be asleep, since I have a full day of errands and cleaning before we fly back tomorrow evening (or tonight, really).

Monday, June 23, 2008

Coney Island!

For those of you who don't know yet, we're moving back to Texas. We'll be there in a week, where we will spend time with family in Houston for the month of July, and then back to Austin for good.

We are now trying to do as much as possible in the next week, so that we get the full experience before we go back home. Our first adventure was to Coney Island...which is way at the other end of Brooklyn. The Mermaid Parade was being held on this particular Saturday, and I felt like I was back in Austin, except with a beach in the background. We had a ton of fun, ate an original Nathan's hot dog, watched crazies in their mermaid get-up, and rode the Cyclone. Yes, I rode a roller coaster. I still hate them, but it was fun.

Waiting in line at Nathan's for legendary hotdogs, trying to decide between the regular, the chilidog, the chili-cheese dog, or the corn dog.
Before getting onto the Cyclone, when I still thought it was a good idea. Click here to see how the ride went.

Friday, June 20, 2008


I managed to make it through my torturous (at times) 4 day final, finishing on time and with pleasing results. It was stressful, many a student had a nervous breakdown, but we all made it through. We had guest judges come in...these are various pastry chefs in the industry who volunteered their time to critique our final products. My experience was not nearly as nerve-racking as I thought it would be, because, after the disaster with my genoise (it deflated too much before I got it in the oven, and that was the second time to make it as well), the judge said it was "Perfect", and "light and fluffy...great flavor"...etc. I was floored. In utter shock. I positively hate this cake more than anything else in the program, and I managed to impress the judge. Yay! My chocolate bon-bons were well-tempered and delicious, my bourbon pecan cookies were "crispy, buttery, not greasy" and worthy of being put into his shop. I was so pleased with myself! Apparently he gave me the highest mark out of my group of 4 or 5 students that he was responsible for.

So, at the end of it all, I managed to graduate with honors. It was so fun to learn that, and to stand up there with Katie and Teresa as well. My friend Corn also graduated with honors and she got a perfect attendance award as well. We all did so well and I'm proud of everyone.

Mom and Dave flew up for graduation, and I'm so thankful that they could be here for it. It's been hard not being able to share my triumphs with the family, so to have them here for a few days was a treat.

Chef Jurgen passing out toques for us to try on and resize.

I've just received my toque from Chef Dianne, and I am receiving my diploma.

Some of the honors graduates, with the Chef-Instructors behind us.

With Chef Kir

The gang with our pal Steven

So, now I have to find a job. And decide what city we want to be in. I'll still post pictures of food once in awhile, especially when I come up with new creations. If anyone ever wants to order food, just let me know! I'd be happy to cater for you.

Thanks for keeping up with me the past 6 months and praying for me and encouraging me along the way!

Out to the West of Chester

Katie and I spent some of last weekend out in Westchester County with Teresa, visiting her cutie little hometown. It was so nice to get out of the city for the day, and we ended up staying the night due to the huge storm that blew through. We had a blast exploring the neighboring area. Here are some highlight from our trip:

Stone Barns - a huge, fully functional farm out on the Rockefeller property (or what was part of it). Beautiful greenhouses, animals everywhere, and a phenomenal restaurant that uses what the farm produces for its meals.

Inside the greenhouses

Katie in front of the pigpen
The poppa pig - he was almost twice the size of the other pigs.

We drove all around the area, looking at the homes, which are massive and gorgeous. We also saw the Clinton's house, Vanessa Williams' house, and a whole street with homes built by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sweating and Stressing in NYC

So...3 more days of class. Holy. Smokes. I can't believe it. Let me catch you up with the last of the plated desserts unit, and then I'll move into the wedding cake nightmare.

Warm Chocolate FondantHazelnut Cake
Ligurian Lemon Cake
Beaumes-de-Venise cakeTropical Tasting Plate

The wedding cake...the nightmare of the past 3 days. I hate it. It was a dumb theme - Japanese garden theme between an American journalist and a geisha. My diagram was phenomenal, and I had these grand plans to make this huge pagoda. But - architect I am not, and my scaling was off, not to mention my timing. Notice the roofs on the bottom - Chef Laurie helped me rig that up at the last second. They were supposed to go on the cake. I was on the verge of tears, or maybe more than on the verge, and all of a sudden Chef Laurie came over...I thought I was doing such a great job hiding it! It's over, and that's all I have to say about it.

How I looked post-wedding cake. My hair had fallen out of the hat, I was sweating up a storm, and I was mad. :) The three days were the longest of my was 97 degrees outside, and the AC wasn't working in the school. We had a terrible storm the other night, and Molly clawed her way into this tiny corner in the closet. This pic was taken after I had removed shoes and an ironing board so that she could stay and hide in there.

Look at these cuties! I saw them as I was entering the subway after class today, and I snapped their picture. Precious.