Saturday, July 19, 2008

Weekend Report (My Low Appetite is Rufus' Gain)

A very very chill weekend. After Friday's sociable pizza blow our, B and I spent the day in Connecticut with some of her elderly relatives, eating elderly food, as it was too hot to leave the house to eat. Sunday found me in a weird mood, not depressed, not particularly tired, but totally lacking in the will to move from the couch -- just turned off my brain and stayed as still as possible.

SATURDAY: BREAKFAST #1: 8am, a few spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream
Made it with 3x the amount of vanilla extract by accident. The alcohol prevented the ice cream from setting, giving it a very soft texture but prevented it from taking on much air, giving it a thick and leaden feel.

BREAKFAST #2: 10am, spicy seafood calzone, 1 bowl, hunger 4/5
Made with leftovers late last night, or it would of been tossed. The dough ended up rising a second time, and the end result was amazingly airy. Calls for some experimentation.

LUNCH: 12:30pm, tomato chunks with olive oil and basil, small amount of cold cheese tortellini, brownie with vanilla ice cream, water, 1.5 bowl, hunger 4/5
Up in Westport with B's family. Too hot too go out to eat, so lunch was home -- amazingly yummy farmer's market tomatoes. They had two kinds of vanilla ice cream, one a normal industrial bucket, the other a no-sugar artificially sweetened kind with about 50 ingredients. The normal kind still had about 10 more ingredients than the vanilla ice cream I make. Taste-wise, it tasted a bit....thicker and runnier all at once.

DINNER: 6pm, 3 slices of pizza, water, excellent coffee cake, 1.5 bowls, hunger 4/5
Pizza ordered in. The cake was from a farmer's market, and was amazingly yummy - I counted 5 ingredients, though I detected cinnamon in the crumb, which was not listed. Hrumph!

BRUNCH: Noon, 3 pancakes, 1 bowl, hunger 4/5
Woke up, too hot, too lazy to get up and eat any sooner until hunger got me into the kitchen. Out of whole milk, used B's skim milk. Added some good yogurt to the mix, which gave the pancakes a nice heft while still being puffy.

PM SNACKS: 1:30-3pm, mint chip ice cream, 1 pretzel, half a dark chocolate bar, .5 bowl, hunger 4/5
Slovenly on the couch.

DINNER: 7pm, shumai, salad with carrot dressing, sushi, vegetable nori rolls, 1 bowl, hunger 4/5
Ordered in Japanese with the B. Not as hungry as I thought, so Rufus (de Cat) got some good treats.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Regional Cuisine: Provence (Nite of 1,000 Pizzas)

Today's mood was the lowest yet, again with a different third of the class absent. After a short lecture about the region we were cooking from (dry facts about the locally grown ingredients), we reviewed the menu: Bourride (fish stew), Filet de Sardines en Escaneche (marinaded & grilled sardines), Tourte de Blettes a la Niccoise (Swiss chard tart) and Petits Farcis a la Facon du Vieux Nice (Stuffed Provencale vegetables.) Dirty Dave took the tart, Chef Jr took on the four different vegetables, Dora went her own way with the sardines, and Speed and I took a crack at the fish stew.

First step was making Fish Fumet -- basic stock. White mirepoix (onion, white leek) was sweated in butter, then all sorts of fleshy fishbones were hacked down to size an put in with white wine and covered to steam for 5 minutes. A load more of wine, dry vermouth and water were added to cover the bones, along with some herbs. Simmered for about an hour, then strained.

The soup base was more mirepoix and fennel sweated, then tomato concasse, potatoes and orange & lemon rinds thrown in in a sachet. Covered with fish stock, simmered for a while to tenderize the tatos, seasoned with salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne.

clams. Mussels first, all were dumped in to simmer for 10 minutes. During prep time, I made While that was happening, the seafood was cleaned and portioned: squid, shrimp, red snapper, mussels and little neckaoili (garlic mayonnaise) which now was tempered into the soup (tempering: to prevent the eggs in the mayo from curdling, a bit of the soup is mixed into the mayo and stirred, a little by little to raise the temp slowly, then the mess is added to the big soup bowl.) Parsley and scallion is tossed in for some green, and Chef Jr's croutes are floated on top with pinkish smear of rouille, a puree of red peppers, chilies, garlic, basic and olive oil.

The class rolled to an end, with yesterday's cassoulet (which required holding overnight to get a good 3 hour cookign in) tasting better than just about everything today. Monday, our last day in France, Burgundy.

This evening was what I'd call a Night of 1000 (or so) Pizzas. Dirty Dave, Dirty Kim, and Stalker Kowalski came over with toppings and wine (and beer) pairings and we went crazy on the dough I set up to rise in the fridge on Wednesday. Long Island Lolita was supposed to come, but she got sidetracked by some last minute Billy Joel tickets -- Billy Joel to Long Islanders is like crack to a crackhead!

Rather than go on at length about how yummy it all was, check out the pictures:

The dough, right after making it on Wednesday.

The dough, after rising 48 hours in the fridge.

Wonderfully elastic, got to some nice thinness. Can't see it in this pic, but the light was shining through the raw stretched dough admirably.

Under the skirt shot, à la . I had three air conditioner s in the house running, so I could heat my 2 pizza stones at maximum heat for about 5 hours. The above browning was achieved in 2 minutes. On the bottom stone, 4 minutes slightly burned the crust!

The first pizza: simply caesar-dressing on romaine, cold, on top of a garlic & extra virgin olive oil-baked crust, hit with sea-salt. Made the dressing, too.

Bufala mozz, parm-reg, and homemade tomato sauce, a raw sauce made with market tomatoes. I wanted to use up the whole ball of mozz, and ended up overcheesing, unfortunately. A few glasses of wine down, forgot the basil chiffonade.

Dirty Kim's : goat cheese, sautéed multicolor peppers and clams on top of a layer of mornay sauce (bechamel and gruyère) -- slightly spicy and totally delicious.

Dirty Dave's: duck confit and cherry tomatoes over fontina and ricotta. The saltiness of the duck was a heavenly match with the sweetness of the cheeses.

SK's first dessert pie: roasted pears over honeyed marscapone. Never made a sweet pie on my dough, but it totally totally worked. B's favorite.

SK's second pie: white and dark chocolate over a bed of raspberry sauce. I actually made the crust a little too thin to hold the topping (I guess sweet pies can go a bit thicker than a cheese pie, to balance the sweetness), but it was still amazingly good. I kind of detest white chocolate, but in this case, I thought it really enhanced the raspberry flavor instead of competing with it like the dark.

And, of course, the menu:
BREAKFAST: 6:30am, smoothie, 1 bowl, hunger 4/5
Woke up hungry, first time in quite a while, nice motivation to make a smoothie. Good yogurt and milk, freshly ground flax, banana, grapes, cherries, blueberries, ice, kick ass.

AM TASTINGS: 10:30-11am, tarte tatin & vanilla icecream, a stuffed mushroom, a few spoonfuls of fish soup, a small plate of yesterday's long cooking cassoulet (white bean stew with pork), assortment of amazing desserts sent up from the pastry class, 1.5 bowl, hunger 4/5
Today's food didn't appeal, unfornately a lot of sweets materialized.

LUNCH: 4:15pm, school-made mushroom risotto, .5 bowl, hunger 4/5

PM SNACK: 5:30pm, small amount of homemade chocolate gelato, .25 bowl, hunger 4/5

DINNER: 8:30pm, slices of various homemade pizzas, including 2 dessert pizzas, about 3 units of alcohol, including 3 beers and 4 wines, 2 bowls, hunger 4/5

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Regional Cuisine: Midi (Fingers in the Fat)

A full four people were absent today: Natasha, Roundhead, Dora the Explorer, and the Long Island Lolita (who did show up --late). Energy again at near-empty level, and Chef K began with a lecture about....yesterday's region!
I tuned her out a bit until she mentioned the tarte flambée: named as such since they were cooked on the bottom of the baker's oven, thus caught the drippings from savory dishes above, like smoked pork. Sometimes it would be flaming.
As a class, for the past few days we've been making confit -- duck legs stewed in duck fat. According to Chef K, duck fat was popular with the Jews of France, as it could replace pork fat pretty well.

Today's recipes included Cassoulet (white bean stew with lamb n' sausage), Poulet á la Basquaise (stewed chicken), Salade
Cévenole (Duck Confit with ref cabbage, chestnuts and watercress), and Pommes á la Sarladaise (a decadent truffled potato pancake cooked in duck fat). Speedy and Chef Jr. took the Casoulet, Dirty Dave took on the chicken, I did the salad and we all did individual pancakes.

The salad was pretty straightforward, with thin sliced red cabbage soaked in a simple walnut oil vinaigrette. Walnuts and chestnuts were toasted in the oven with a little sugar, duck from the confit was taken off the bone and shredded a bit, watercress and shredded carrots added to it all. I served the duck in three little lumps, and the salad on top of a bed of carrot. I must admit, digging into a tray of congealed fat to pull out duck legs was kind of...unappetizing.

The potato dish was similar to the fried potato disc we did with Chef A a couple of weeks ago. Cut the potato into a tube, mandolin-slice, then lay in an overlapping circle in a non-stick pan coated in duck fat. Add some slices truffles, salt, a little more duck fat, then another concentric circle of taters, 4 layers of tato and 3 of truffle all together. Cover with a pan smaller cover to press the disc and help it steam inside as it fries. Turn out to flip, until brown and crispy. It was tricky to get the flip, mine fell apart a little, but I sliced it up for the presentation to hide the oopsy.

Chef K gave a few demos during class, again interrupting the flow. She called the class in to show us how to use the stand-mixer. I, as well as most of the other people in the class, just got quiet and ignored her -- it's a very easy device to use once you know how to use it. She stood there glaring and eventually everyone came over, but she was annoyed and berated us -- we were in school to learn because we don't know everything, blah blah blah. Not cool. Later she demo'd how to break down a whole chicken into 8 pieces -- now that's something that can be shown by every chef and each time it'll be different, it's worthy of repetition. Not how to snap a bowl into a stand.

Tomorrow, off to Provence.

Spent a good part of the day at home making stuff for tomorrow night's dinner party: vanilla ice cream (added 4tbsp instead of 4tsp of vanilla, wonder how it's gonna taste), Sicilian chocolate gelato (corn starch instead of eggs and cream as the thickener), and a raw tomato sauce for pizza, using locally grown tomatos instead of canned. And laundry. Who says I don't make an excellent househusband?

BREAKFAST: 6:30am, organic cheerios with good milk, .75 bowl, hunger 3/5

AM TASTINGS: 10am, Pommes a la Sarladaise, 1.5 bowl, hunger 4/5
A bit salty, very decadent with all the duck fat and truffles.

LUNCH:3pm, school-made pork & kraut with spatzle, chocolate cashew cream vegan ice cream, 1.5 bowls, hunger 4/5
Set out to eat double the amount of pork n' spatzle, but found myself close to full halfway through, so I stopped. Added the sweet about 20 minutes later because I don't want to be hungry or craving sweets when I try to get to bed early.

DINNER: 8:45pm, 2 good pretzels with good peanutbutter, .5 bowl, hunger 3/5
Just not very hungry. Too hot out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Regional Cuisine: Alsace (Very French Pizza)

Today's recipes were from the Alsace region of Northeast France -- all about the pork, in all its forms. Four recipes were up: Choucroute Garni (ham hock, pork chops, slab bacon, sausages cooked in kraut, stock, and duck fat), Tarte au Pommes de Terre (potatoes, hard eggs, bacon, and cream sauce in a savory tart shell), Pikeperch fillet with Reisling, and, finally, the recipe I spent the day on, Tarte Flambée: extremely French pizza.

Dirty Dave and Speedy got into the kraut and pig, Chef Jr. took on the potato tart, and we sacrificed the fish & sauce to Dora the Explorer. The Tarte Flambée started with making, well, pizza dough, or in French, Pâte á Pain Ordinaire. One third of an ounce of fresh baker's yeast and a teaspoon of sugar were dissolved in 10 ounces of lukewarm water, then slowly fingered into a pound of AP flour and a teaspoon of salt. Coated in canola, the dough ball rose in a towel-covered bowl on a shelf above the burners for an hour. Punched down, it rose again for about 30 minutes.

While the dough was proofing, I assembled the mise. This tarte was topped by a sauce made up of 4 oz of cottage cheese blended to smooth, a tablespoon of AP flour, a pinch of salt, and four ounces of créme fraîche. Eight ounces of bacon cut into 1/4 inch cross-cuts were fried up, and eight ounces of thinly sliced onions were all brought to slightly brown and slightly soft in the bacon's fat.

Parchment was lightly oiled, and the dough was cut into six pieces, each rolled into discs then left to sit for 5 minutes to relax before rolling a final time to get nice and thin -- I don't know if the French have a particular preference, but my taste for Italian pizza leads me to thinner. The rolled dough was topped by a thin layer of the white cream concoction, then laid out with a light layer of bacon and onions. As with any good pizza, you must be mindful of ratios and balance -- too many of NYC's pizzas are cheesy messes, and a huge mouthful of cottage cheese sauce or a huge mouthful of greasy onions would be disgusting.

No pizza stones on-hand, put the pizzas on a sheet pan and parchment into a questionably 500- degree oven (they never seem to get hot enough). A proper hot oven can cook a pizza in less than 3 minutes, my pies took about 10 (they take about 4 at home). The whiteness of the sauce turned glazed and translucent, and the fatty onions melded nicely to the dough, allowing the fragments of bacon to stud the surface nicely.

Flavorwise, it tasted very....French. The unusual creamy sauce looked invisible on the finished pie, but packed a big personality, slightly funky, slightly creamy, slightly assertive in saying, "Yes, I'm nice, and here are my good friends, onion and bacon!" I'm definitely going to experiment with this at home, and whip it out on occasion if I need to blow a pizza-head's mind.

Today's class was, once again, distinctly low-energy. If the class was a person, I'd say it was depressed. Chef K interrupted the flow many times with demos, some of which could of been ganged up into the beginning of class. Midway through, Chef K announces, "Oh, I forgot, every time do spatzle!" and brought up a recipe on the front board. OK, we had room for one more recipe, but it would have been helpful had everyone known about it beforhand, for scheduling. Fortunately (Dora excluded), our team is pretty independent and intelligent. Dirty Dave prepped the mise while he was waiting on his pork, I made the batter and added chives to it while I was in a slow spot, and Speedy dripped the dough into boiling water and dried it after. We helped in sautéeing it in butter, and it came out OK.

The pork dish was over the top, like a pig fiesta on a plate. The potato tarte was kind of gross, with the mushy potato kind of getting lost into the mushy tart crust. Everyone avoided Dora's fish -- even though the recipe could of been cracked out in 30 minutes, she took a full 3 hours. The fish needed to be cooked for 10 minutes, she left it in for an indeterminate amount of time. The sauce needed an egg yolk to be delicately tempered in, she blasted it on high heat and made scrambled eggs in the sauce. The final product, suffice to say, did not look or smell appetizing.

I did go around and sample the other two group's pizza. One group mounded their topping in the middle and left too much crust uncovered, but the dough had a nice snap that mine was missing (maybe a hotter oven or more gluten developed in their dough?). The other group's pizzas were a lot thicker than mine, which is cool if you like it that style, but their toppings were much better seasoned -- I was too conservative with the salt.

Tired when I got to school. For the first time, I did not write out my recipes on to cards. For a hot minute, stared at my locker and was tempted to just pack it in and go home. Dirty Dave rolled in to the locker room looking like death warmed over and made me feel fortunate for the 6 hours of sleep I did get. Glad I didn't split, the pizza was fun.

Today was Dirty Kim's birthday. Someone brought a cake from Zaro's, which tasted fneh, but Speedy made a KILLER lemoncurd cheese cake that pretty much made me forgive him for being so unspeedy in getting the spatzle in the boiling water.

Made a large batch of pizza dough at home this evening -- Friday night, Dirties Kim and Dave, Stalker Kowalski and the Long Island Lolita will be coming over with their special someones to do a participation round of various kinds of pizzas...

BREAKFAST: 6:30am, good yogurt with honey, cashews, vanilla, .5 bowl, hunger 3/5

AM TASTINGS: 10:30am-11:45am, 1 appetizer-sized 'pizza', one small bite of eggy tart, a few bites of sausage and kraut, 1 bite of store-bought cake, 2 small pieces of homemade lemon-curd cheesecake, quart of water, 1 bowls, hunger 4/5
PM WATERING: 1:30pm, quart of seltzer

LUNCH: 3pm, school-made mushroom risotto, small green salad, 1.5 bowls, hunger 4/5

PM SNACK: 4:45pm, 8oz Wholefood Sportsdrink, .25 bowl, hunger 4/5
Had this in the fridge for a while, been looking for a better alternative to Gatorade for a while. This simulation contains cane sugar instead of corn syrup, natural (unnamed) flavors instead of kiddie lollipop flavors, and about one eighth the sodium, though it still has a long list of 'minerals' and stuff to supposedly help with exertion. Tastes more like fruitpunch than a fruitpunch-like go-juice (which it probably is.) Looking forward to trying it on a ride.

DINNER: 8:30pm. 3 slices with roast peppers, onions, mushrooms and sausage, 2 bowls, hunger 4/5
Usually at Patsy's I wolf down 4 slices, so I guess this is a step away from gluttony.

EVENING DRINK: 10pm, 12oz of beer
Met some school friends for a birthday drink at a VERY loud club. People were drinking fishbowls full of fruity booze. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Regional Cuisine: Brittany and Normandy (Choked on Artichokes)

The morning began in the library, as workers were cleaning out a backed-up grease trap in our classroom. The traps on the sinks collect all sorts of wonderful matter, then sit there and ferment. When opened to be cleaned, the smell is something like what you'd expect out of a sumo wrestler after eating an entire pig. An excellent start to the day!

Chef K gave a sketchy lecture on the regions of France from which we'd be cooking today. Britanny is known for fish, lamb, cabbage, and buckwheat, while Normandy is all about the cows and dairy -- we can blame them for camembert and brie. Pork and apples are their thing, too.

Today's recipes included Cotriade (peasant fish stew), Cotes de Porc Normade (pork chops with grilled apple rings in a cream sauce), Artiochauts a la Brettone (stewed artichokes), and Soufflés d'Alencon en Timbales (egg souffle in a mushroom cream sauce. In addition, as a class we prepped Confit de Canard (duck confit).

Today's group was Speedy, Chef Jr., and the infamous Dora the Explorer (Dirty Dave was absent). Not wanting Dora's lack of comprehensionto shape our day, I spoke up and organized us simply. I asked what everyone wanted to do. Speedy jumped on the pork, Dora asked for the "bouielle", Chef Jr. didn't care. After the lecture, Chef K altered some recipes and threw out the original soufflé recipe because she claimed it didn't work. So she handed out a new recipe, which had lots of ingredients, steps, and techniques involved. This "bouielle" was what Chef K described as the base for this new soufflé dish, simply whisking flour into cold milk before cooking to thicken.

When Dora requested the "bouielle", I asked her what recipe she was talking about (I knew but I wanted to see if she knew). She started shuffling her papers indeterminately for about ten seconds before I said, "Right. Dora, you're doing the artichokes. If you finish that, do the mise confit. If you finish that, talk to me. Chef Jr., you got the stew, I'll take the soufflé. Let's go."

The artichokes were a pretty straightforward recipe once you trimmed and washed them. Dora did that, then proceeded to take most of the class time mincing 8 oz of parsley and 24 shallots for the confit marinade. She never actually cooked the artichokes. Closer to the end of class, Chef Jr. jumped in on the artichokes and actually did the cooking -- after class I told him we need to let Dora hang from her own rope, because if we try to lift her up, we're going hang by the neck, too.

Being that the class is three groups but we have four stations, I found myself with a station all to myself and didn't interact with the group much. The soufflé involved cooking flour and cold milk like a roux, adding egg yolks and folding in egg whites. At this stage, I was supposed to fold in grated parm, too, but somehow missed it. Into little metal cups it went, then into the convection oven to rise and brown beautifully.

While that baked for 15 minutes, I chopped mushrooms in the robocoup to large pebbles, and cooked them to dry in oil with shallots. Added heavy cream, parsley, and tarragon to the mushrooms, and when the soufflés were depanned into a gratin dish, they were covered by the mushroom sauce, then placed in the oven again for 10 minutes to absorb the silky, very French sauce.

The whole class was a bit low-energy and chaotic. When I got to the stage to sauce the soufflés in the pan, I askedChef K if I should hold off an hour until 11, by which time we were to present all the food. She said no; let's go forward now, and she presented it to the class when it came out. There was no formal time to present food, it was all a bit slipshod.

Chef Jr. and Speedy had their recipes on lockdown, and Dora just bumbled her way through putting marinade on duck legs. Chef K pulled out a recipe from a fancy French cook book for me to play with, some sort of apple tart. The crust was a simple pastry shell, and the apples required 1.5 hours soaking in calvados (apple brandy) -- since that was all the time we had, I did the mise for the apples and put them in the fridge to soak overnight.

Tomorrow, some other part o' France.

After class, rocketed home, fixed some South Beach-diet friendly vittles for a few friends, then we drove up to Nyack with B to skip stones on the Hudson, eat pub food, and see Robyn Hitchcock a tiny river-side bar. A rare day and night where it feels like you have all the time in the world to just chill...

BREAKFAST: 6:45am, organic cornflakes with good milk, .5 bowl, hunger 3/5
I had gotten everything needed for a smoothie in the blender bowl, but when I went to blend, the blender died -- I suspect from the over-exertion on my thick hummus a few days ago. It totally sucked to have to toss those beautiful, organic, not-cheap ingredients, but it would of been nasty without that last step.

AM TASTINGS: 10:30am, apple calfouti, one souffle with cream sauce, 1 cookie, water, hunger 4/5
My soufflé was pretty tasty, despite skipping the cheese. Pastry sent up a plate of various cookies at the end of class that were impossible to pass up.

PM SNACK: 12:30pm, half an Italian cherry spritzer, .5 bowl, hunger 4/5
Spontaneously got this at the checkout at wholefoods. Organic, cane sugar, natural flavorings, 110 calories for the whole bottle. Unfortunately, it was overly sweet and tasted like a liquid lollipop, could only drink half.

PM SNACK: 1:30, tiny green salad with 2 grilled shrimp, hazelnut vinaigrette, .25 bowl, hunger 2/5
I made grilled shrimp n' salad for C & T, plated it real nice, too. Ate a little to be polite.

DINNER: 5pm, vegetable quesadia, small green salad, shrimp and linguine, chocolate cake, 1 beer, water, 2 bowls, hunger 4/5
Pub food up the Hudson in Nyack with B and friends. All the portions were pretty huge.

EVENING INDULGENCE: 7pm, 1 beer, 1 bowl
Out at a wonderful music concert, very small, very intimate. A beer tasted right in these surroundings, with wife and life-long friends.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Plating (Coined here first: Manassholeger)

Today was the last day of plating. After a redundant review of the appropriate equipment to set up in a station (a water-filled bain marie for tools, a small pot of excess fat, a container of salt, etc), we got to it. Dirty Dave, Stalker Koslowski, Roundhead, and I were responsible for one dish: "wild" mushroom risotto. I put wild in quotes because the crimini, shiitake, and button mushrooms looked very uniform and cave-raised. At the last minute, Chef K threw braised napa cabbage at us, which DD cooked up off the cuff with shallots, garlic, and lardons (cross-sectioned hunks of slab bacon), which came out pretty kick-ass.

The risotto started with chicken stock, and we added all the mushroom peeling and trimmings to it and brought it to a boil, then let it steep for half an hour. It was then strained through cheese cloth and a chamois to remove all the dirt. Shallots were softened in butter and olive oil, then the raw arborio rice was sauteed for a few minutes. The pan was deglazed with maderia (Portugese fortified wine), then the mushroom/chicken stock was ladled in, adding another ladle as it absorbed. Once the right creamy consistency, the risotto was finished with sautéed mushrooms, marscapone, parmesan, and salt.

Presenting was easy: just plop the risotto in the middle of the plate, let it ooze to its shape, and hit it with some green chopped parsley. The rest of the plating exercises involved foods other groups made, a roasted top round of lamb with dijon-horseradish sauce with spaghetti squash pancakes and fondant potatoes and sautéed tournedos of beef (wrapped in bacon) with truffle coulis, potato-garlic pie and peas, and yellow snap beans. Dora the Explorer made the peas and beans; I only plated a few before throwing the rest out. (The director of student affairs was in today to speak to Dora about her tainted equipment, but it's still to be seen if anything results.)

The lamb today was larded -- strips of pork fat, cut from a slab fatback, then larded through the meat (a long metal needle with an aerodynamic roachclip at the end is stuck through the meat, which drags the fat right through). Damn cool, but I didn't get my hands on it. I'm glad, as each group will be making all the recipes, not just getting the majority of food handed off at the end of the class.

Again the class was very low energy, people aren't responding well to Chef K. Tomorrow, we leave plating behind and journey into the regional dishes of France.

Still weighing in at 222, which surprised me, I thought last week's two-pound loss was an anomaly. So that's 13 lbs I've lost since since starting culinary school.

I'm sitting in the school library before heading off to work-work. The person beside me is doing some excel spreadsheet, and whining to a classmate that there is too much 'entrepreneurial stuff' in the management class -- he just wants to learn to be a manager. He doesn't get that even if you're just a manager, you need a certain flexibility of mind to be really effective, the kind of flexibility that entrepreneurs thrive on. I guess he really wants to be a rote, by-the-numbers, follow-the-rules manassholeger.

BREAKFAST: 6:30am, organic raisin bran with good milk, .5 bowl, hunger 3/5

AM TASTINGS: 10:30am, mushroom risotto, small piece of roast lamb, .75 bowl, hunger 4/5

LUNCH: 3:45pm, lamb with horseradish sauce, braised cabbage, spaghetti-squash and pine nut pancakes, a few roast potatoes, 1 bowl, hunger 4/5
Kinda forgot I didn't eat much today, but was carrying around food -- weird, walking down the street, realize you're really hungry, sit down three seconds later and you're eating a really fancy meal.

DINNER: 6:40pm, various dumplings, weird boiled beef thing, tiny cinnamon-y egg custard, 2 beers, 1.5 bowl, hunger 4/5
Dim Sum Go Go on East Broadway with a couple of friends. Didn't eat a lot, but very filling. Made me miss my parents -- Chinese food was very exotic to their generation, and we spent many a weekend afternoon going out to Chinese food in Chinatown together, to the old hoary spots that served 1960's style Americanized fare. This place had the usual spring rolls and stuff, but I would of loved to been able to feed my mom a chive-shrimp dumpling and a parsley cake, riffs on stuff vaguely familiar but oddly foreign at the same time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weekend Report (The 'Mus is Loose!)

BREAKFAST: 7am, watermelon, 2 bowls, hunger 4/5

BREAKFAST 2: 9:30am, peanut butter & pretzel, lots of good bacon, 1 bowl, hunger 4/5

BREAKFAST 3: 11am, a few bites of vegan 'gyro', .25 bowl, hunger 2/5

PM SNACK: 3pm, small cherry ice, .25 bowl, hunger 4/5

DINNER: 5:30pm, 1 small burger, small amount of potato salad, 1.5 small kielbasas on buns, a few slices of mojo flank steak, a few pieces of grilled eggplant, a couple of cubes of chocolate cake, 3 beers, 1.5 bowls, hunger 4/5
Grilled over coals at B's cousin's brownstone in Brooklyn. Made a nice non-mayo style tater salad that was yummier than expected, marinated the steak in red wine, honey, OJ and lime juice, came out pretty decent. If I wasn't doing most of the grilling myself, I probably wouldn't of ate this combo of food, but felt obliged to sample everything (the burger had a nice garlic character) before serving it to friends.

EVENING SNACK: 10:30pm, homemade mint chip ice cream, .25 bowl, hunger 4/5
Nice smooth feeling in the throat and tummy after a warm bike ride on a squeaky machine.

BREAKFAST: 8am, smoothie, 1 bowl, hunger 4/5
Good milk and good yogurt, grapes, blueberries, half a kiwi, banana, freshly ground flax, pinch of sea salt, ice. I'm really starting to like the flavor of these smoothies -- blueberry is the dominant note, the other fruit seem to blend into the background.

BREAKFAST 2: 11:30am, fresh homemade hummus with 1 wholewheat pita, handful of baby carrots, .5 bowl, hunger 4/5

PM SNACK: 12:30pm, 1 slice local streetza, .75 bowl, hunger 4/5

PM SNACK: 3:30, 4oz Entemann's chocolate chip cookies, water, .5 bowl, hunger 4/5
20 miles into bike ride at Breezy Point, some easy energy to keep me going. Used to love these cookies from my childhood, now taste a bit fakey.

LINNER: 5:30pm, hotdog with kraut and onions, fried potatoes, 1/3 of a funnel cake, water, 1.5 bowl, hunger 4/5
Keepin' it real at Coney Island. It was either ride 10 miles home or eat some funnel cake and take the subway. Greezy! GreeEEEzy! Funnelcake tastes like summer.

DINNER: 9:30pm, baby carrots and hummus, .25 bowl, hunger 4/5
Attempted some short grain brown rice in the rice cooker, but the ratio on the bag of rice to water was totally wrong and I gave up after it came out totally crunchy twice.