Sunday, September 27, 2009

Only a Flesh Wound

In a desperate attempt to save my falling bread, I seared both of my hands, only to have the entire sheet tray go crashing to the floor. Luckily it's a pretty sturdy bread, so no harm, no foul. And dammit if I wasn't going to have PERFECTLY baked bread after baking my hands, because I was going to make it WORTH the pain.

So if you're a little squemish, I apologize for the following picture. Here's the damage:

This doesn't show the blisters on the fingertips of my pinky, ring, and middle fingers on my right hand, which is making it a little difficult to type. But if you're going to do something, do it right, right?

Blisters and gaping wounds aside, it has been a successful class so far. 97% on my recent test, only because a couple of my pan au lait rolls came a bit unbraided during the proofing process.

Well, shorter blog today, simply because my hands are screaming in protest of this much movement and contact. I'll blog again once all my skin has reattached itself to the appropriate parts of my body.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Going to the grocery store

A quick post tonight, because pizza is on its way and I'm very hungry!

If you ever need an ego boost, go to the grocery store wearing chef's whites. Preferably a specialty store like Sprouts, World Market, or Fresh & Easy. Everyone you see wants to know "oh wow, what is she buying?" You get great questions like "wow, are you a chef?" and "what are you planning on making?" You are automatically the expert in the room, even if you say you're just in school.

It certainly feels good, and I've decided, after encountering this twice, that the perfect time to go shopping is after I get off of school on Saturday afternoons.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Short blog tonight, but I wanted to thank my husband for being there for me. It's so strange to think that I came to the realization that I could be a chef so late in the game. I've always cooked, so it never seemed like anything different, or like it could be more than just for fun, or something you have to do to, well, not die. But before I even considered school Dave kept saying to me I could do these shows like Hell's Kitchen and Chopped and The Next Food Network Star. And when I finally saw that this is where my life was headed, he was, and still is, my biggest fan. He has fewer doubts than I do! It's reassuring that, no matter what, the person who is most important in my life thinks I can do this more than anyone. He's never had a single doubt. How many people can say that?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This is finally getting hard

And not for the reasons you may think. Mostly because I miss my husband. He just left to go study, as a good boy should, for his nursing test on Thursday. He was also lucky enough to win a trip to San Francisco, travel and hotel paid, to see the Seahawks/49ers game. He's been a die-hard Seahawks fan all his life, and has never had the chance to see a game before. But between his work and school schedule, and my work and school schedule, and then the trip, I won't really be able to see him until Monday evening. How can I be expected to study yeast and flour right now? And I feel bad, because I don't want to discourage him from studying, because really, nursing is hard enough as it is.

I've always been an independent person so this is a little weird for me to be so reliant on someone else, but I think it's also the fact that he's the only person I talk to on a regular basis that knows I'm in culinary school. I can't talk about it at work, and I don't have as much time to spend with friends that I used to. So I'm excited about everything that's going on, but I can't tell anyone about it. Sure, I have the blog, and I assume people are reading, but how can I know? I hope there are people out there...

So this isn't as exciting of a post as usual, but it's all part of the process. There are eight steps in the baking process - I guess this is one of the steps in my own developmental process. In order to become a successful chef, you have to go through the fire.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

PBK 101 done - on to 111 and bread!

Well, it was a successful first class and perfect final. On to PBK 111, where we learn to work with yeast breads. I'm so excited about this class, but I'm concerned for those people who had difficulty in 101. Surprisingly everyone passed; not sure how that happened. But how are they going to do working with yeast? As Chef put it, it's like having a pet. It's not hard, but it's definitely not easy, and if you kill the yeast it just won't work. There's no middle ground.

All in all I'm very happy with the program. I couldn't have asked for anything more. Also, I'm glad we have the same chef for this second course, because he had already expressed to us more than once how much he loves this module.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Week Three: Pound Cake, Devil's Food Cupcakes, Ganache, Swiss Roll and Genoise

Translation: dry cakes with lemon curd. Gross. Well, not gross, exactly, but I'm not a huge fan of lemon. The cupcakes were awesome though. You can see the pics in my previous post.

These recipes were all pretty neat though, since many of them involved equal parts. For instance, pound cake is equal parts flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. Ganache is equal parts chocolate and cream. Genoise is equal parts flour, sugar, and eggs. Chef is fond of saying that if we are ever stuck in the Amazon jungle and have a craving for genoise, we don't even need a recipe! It's that easy! We just need access to a stove. And a mixer. And an oven. And hopefully some icing, cause this stuff is dry as hell.

Final week of class is up next, and we're re-creating some items we've done before as part of our practical final, and then taking a few tests. Should be pretty easy. And the next class we start working with yeast doughs! I've lost a bit of weight from the stress, exercise, and dinners-on-the-go this first month, but I don't know anymore. I can very easily hand off a plate of cupcakes to my husband and say "here, take these to work." But a loaf of bread? Forget about it. I can eat that single-handedly while watching So You Think You Can Dance, reminiscing about when I used to dance and weighed 120 pounds.

Ah me.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Blogs to make you hungry: Photos From PBK101 - Introduction to Patisserie and Baking

**Side note before blog actually begins: when I was typing the title my finger got away from me and I originally typed "Introduction to Patisserie and Banking." That's a whole other class!**

All right, official beginning of blog starts now.

This is a short one, with just some pics of my work so far.

Devil's food cupcakes with chocolate ganache. Sprinkles, eat your heart out!

Cream puffs with chantilly cream, and eclairs with vanilla cream

Apple pie

Mixed fruit pie

I hope you're all hungry now!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ganache and Papparazzi

If you read my previous post, you are well aware the Jackson family chose to have their post-interment dinner at the restaurant next door to Le Cordon Bleu's West Campus location. As such, the entrance to school was blocked off with 10 foot high black sheets to provide the family a mediocre bit of privacy as they entered through the back of the restaurant. Didn't really bother us much; their staff and security couldn't have been more polite.

However, after four hours of cupcakes, ganache, and creme brulee we staggered out under the weight of our equipment, books, and diabetes-inducing concoctions, only to have to face the paparazzi trying to sneak through the back way. While we all muttered under our breath words like "vulture," "fucking hell," and "idiots," one was heading straight my way, not even looking where he was going. I therefore took it upon myself to continue on my straight-and-narrow path, with the full knowledge that my bag full of knives, spoons, a rolling pin, and various other accessories would far outmatch his delicate camera bag. I was celebrated by the rest of my class after shouldering him out of the way, and figured I had done my good deed for the evening. My only regret is the camera was around his neck, and he didn't drop it during the collision. I'm sure he picked that tip up during douchebag training.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We interrupt this blog to bring you...Michael Jackson?

Or his family at least. Apparently the Jackson family decided tomorrow night they must dine at the restaurant on the corner of Colorado Blvd and Green St in Pasadena. The problem is, Le Cordon Bleu's West Campus (where I have class) is also on the corner of Colorado and Green. Well, in order for the Jackson family to dine in peace, they have to shut down Colorado Blvd. And for anyone who is not familiar with Pasadena, Colorado Blvd is the largest street in town, and one of the few that is two-way. You know the Rose Parade? It goes down Colorado.

Now the question is; how do I get to the corner of Colorado and Green without either driving on or crossing Colorado?

At least we got out early tonight, so I can google a new route for tomorrow. Ah, no rest for the wicked, I guess.