Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bread .....need I say more??

Even if you don't understand French....the bread speaks for itself.....

Bring it On...

Apparently I am being tested as this week was very challenging. First, found out my transcription job just lost a major contract that takes away about 75% of our business. Apparently, come February 1 (or possibly sooner), I will be laid off. UGH!!! That's only half way through school and so this will be a real challenge as I a must work --- it's not an option. To top things off....I had a flat tire on the way home from school yesterday. Good times! School,  however, has been going just great. I have been passing tests with flying colors and had to give a 10 minute presentation in front of the class. It went well considering I was chosen to go first and had not done something like this in many years! I applied for an entry level position at a local bakery that is an Austin institution so fingers crossed something comes of that! Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we will be sharing it with family. Starting next week, we will be in the kitchen full time at school and so I am really looking forward to digging in and learning all I can. Happy Thanksgiving all.....bake something special and enjoy the day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Keyboard in the Dishwasher, etc..

So I ended the week by spilling coffee on my expensive wireless keyboard and fried it. A friend told me to put it in the dishwasher and then wait 7 days and it should be fine. We shall see. In the meantime...I am typing on a $7 bargain from a resell shop and I think I will soon be crippled if I continue to do so. We got our ServSafe exam results back finally...everyone passed! Took another exam and a quiz and now have a research report due Monday. head is spinning and that doesn't even include the fact that I have my transcription to tackle, externship hours, and just daily life like grocery shopping, THE DOGS, etc. Super challenging but I am doing it....and doing it well in my humble opinion. Today, it's off to Paige's to work at the bakeshop for a while. I can already hear the 80s tunes blasting. Fun! In class this week, we made our pizzas which turned out fantastic. We also made cupcakes dipped in ganache and then infused pound cake with Chai tea for a tea seminar that was being held at the school. Everything turned out great. We also learned knife skills and practiced cutting onions (reminded me of Julie and Julia) as we all cried onion tears. I am proud to say I still have all 10 digits without even a nick! Better down some coffee and get my running shoes on...another busy one ahead...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When Life Gives You Pizza dough....

Make PIZZA!!! And so we did....yummy. Homemade pizza from scratch based on a dough recipe by Wolfgang Puck. Toppings via me-- tomato sauce, cheese (of course!), basil and pepperoni. We also made cupcakes infused with vanilla Ceylon tea and will dip them in ganache tomorrow. Anything dipped in ganache gets my full attention! We started the batter for a pound cake which we will be infusing with green tea (that smelled like spinach....not so nice) but will cut it with honey and other goodies to see if we can doctor it up. There will be a tea seminar at the school tonight and so they asked that we provide them with a few goodies to go along with the teas they will be demo'ing. Dell was at the school yesterday having some sort of cooking class and I had to laugh as I cut through the hot kitchen to see them all chopping/cooking away looking so important and yet so un-chef-like. HA! Today...a test over the last few chapters we covered and then back into the kitchen. Things are really starting to move at a fast pace so I am drinking extra coffee and praying to the energy gods .....tee hee. Bake on!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Externship takes shape...

One of my fellow students is doing her externship hours at a bakery just a few miles from my house. She invited me to come in a look around to see if I might be interested in pursuing some of my externship hours there as well. Friday afternoon, I headed over to where  I met Paige (owner/chef) and Tracey (fellow student). Paige is a graduate of the prestigious Johnson & Wales University and has quite a resume already in her young years! She is wacky and fun ....full of  life. The bake shop is a relaxed atmosphere but Paige has all of the skills and knowledge one could only hope to learn from. Thank you Tracey for setting me up with such a great opportunity! We will be hammering away with the busy holiday season upon us and so I can't wait to jump in and become part of the team. (photos courtesy of Paige's Bakehouse).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Week two....complete!!

First of all....I must send a shout out to my wonderful husband. He really stepped up for me this week and helped make things go as smoothly as possible-- even though I feel my life is getting more chaotic by the minute. He packed my lunches, made dinner, gassed up my car among many other things. THANK YOU!!! This week in class, we were still mostly in the classroom tackling textbooks to learn measurement conversions (that pesky metric system is returning from childhood days!), ingredient rules, and nutrition basics. We did get into the lab though and made shortbread cookies, fondant for the wedding cake competition this week, pecan brittle, and a few other basic recipes. I need to start thinking about where I will be doing my required 120 hours of externship. Today I will be going by a local bake shop to see if I can do some of my hours there. Otherwise, we were given a 6 page list of places to consider. I really want to work in a high end type of bakery with breads and fine French pastries so I will have to put my thinking cap on and dig around for some options. An exciting, exhausting and fantastic week all rolled in one. Tomorrow, there is a wedding cake competition at one of the other culinary schools in town so I am going to try to stop by and check it out. Hopefully will have pictures to post!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Test day!

Today we FINALLY take the ServSafe exam and then it will be bake bake bake from here forward! We made almond biscotti yesterday and will finish them up today to have with our a.m. coffee. I sure don't remember school being this delicious before!! We received all of the remaining parts of our uniforms yesterday (very flattering...NOT!) and another textbook. Some of the girls are already lining up their externships and so I need to think more seriously about where I want to do my 120 hours for that fulfillment. Feeling a little warped this a.m.....still not into a groove. Guess I shall down some coffee, study a bit more and then hem up a pair of the lovely checkered chef's pants they gave me which are about 12 inches too long!! Onward through the fog...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Made it through the first week...

Ahhhh....I am sipping hot tea this a.m. and pondering the week that just flashed by. I made it through and am relatively unscathed from the week's events. School was rather monotonous this week with prepping for the ServSafe exam next week. But we did get into the kitchen a bit and made caramel, poached pears and sauce Anglaise. I can't wait to dig into the classic French recipes and dear husband (DH) is even more ready for me to start bringing the goodies home. It's been a real challenge with my medical transcription-- by day 4 of class I was warped and could barely sit in this chair to type several hours worth of reports. But, I did it! I am hoping I will find a groove that will enable me to accomplish all that I need in a day without feeling overwhelmed. Up next....ServSave exam and then knife skills. Beware the fingers....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Driving in on my first day yesterday, I kept thinking “I am actually doing it!!!” It’s day two and though I am tired from trying to manage my new schedule of school, transcription work, homework and not really sleeping, I am full of energy and excitement from the new challenges ahead. Class will be pretty dry these first few days with mostly books/classroom to prepare for a food safety certification test. But, the chefs are full of stories and that breaks up the monotony. They said we might get into the kitchen a bit today as well…and get our kits which are full of the tools we need to create pastry masterpieces. It’s like Christmas in November!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

First post!!

Time to dust off the lunchbox, get the notebooks and pen primed….I am heading back to the classroom to reinvent the current me….thus becoming Myself 2.0! It’s not just any classroom though…’s culinary school. More specifically, I am entering the pastry/baking program at the Culinary Academy of Austin. I am finally pursuing a career path that involves something I am passionate about — food!! I will still be working full time doing my medical transcription while attending class 24 hours a week and have to complete 120 hours of an externship (makes me tired just reading that last line!). Looks like there are 11 of us in the class and …I may be the oldest?! It’s a good mix though with some just out of school, several career changers like myself and even a gal all the way from Ireland. I am super excited, a bit overwhelmed, and totally ready to get started! I want to send a huge thank you to all of you who supported this endeavor of mine and I couldn’t have taken this big jump without your encouragement. Stay tuned for what will surely include a lot of laughs, some tears and lots of yummy creations along the way… bon appetit!