Monday, October 31, 2005

So I am home for Halloween today. I hadn't intended to be, in fact, I was supposed to be working till 10:30pm doing inventory at Murray's. But, thanks to a oil spray while I was sauteing in class, I am the owner of a nice burn on my eye. It hurts like hell and is just as red, but I can see, thankfully. I did stop by the eye doctor (who, thankfully, understand my lack of health insurance and didn't drain my bank account with the visit). The end result is some ointment, some pain relievers (which don't seem to be doing squat) and I gotta wait a few days to let it heal.

I would rather be at work.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

A small update...

The cheese job at Murray's has been going well. I still have alot to learn about the cheeses we provide, but I've been happy that between working with the cheese and reading 'Cheese Primer', I've been able to identify (by name and sight, at least) much more than I could just a week ago. Last night, I brought home my first cheese, the Selles su Cher. I picked it because, as a small mold, it wasn't something I could taste at work and it was an AOC approved cheese. The AOC is a "seal of approval" by the government of France. Very few cheeses get this approval, since it requires the cheese be produced in the "correct" location and method. Any cheese with this seal can be counted on as a quality cheese (albiet probably not a cheap one). The Selles su Cher I picked up was a young goat cheese and, as such, very mild (though, since it was a whole mold and, therefore, still alive, I could have aged it at home, which would have resulted in a sharper and chalkier taste). Anyways, it was quite good, with a light nutty taste.

In other news, I also finished "module 1" of school today. The finishing test was a written exam and "practical", where we were required to make a cream of broccoli soup and a mayonnaise. I am happy to say I got a 100 on the mayo and a 98 on the soup (it needed a little more salt). I'm not sure what I got on the written exam yet. I celebrated by opening a bottle of hard cider that we picked up on our trip to the orchards of New York (and finished with a bit of pumpkin flan I made).

Not much else to report, I promise a more substantial blogging (and some horror movie reviews at 'Come Play with Us Danny..') soon...

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Good News!

I can open that bottle of hard cider that's been sitting in my fridge for over a week now, waiting for a special occasion. I have a job!

I got hired this afternoon to work at Murray's Cheese Shop. Though the name might not mean much to either non-New Yorkers or non-cheese freaks, it's a considerable name to have on my resume. Murray's supplies cheese for most of the major upscale restaurants in town (as well as out of town, they supply cheese for the famous French Laundry) and is a well known establishment in the city.

It's also a job I was really hoping for, since it'll give me a chance to learn way more about cheeses than my school could possibly offer. I will be working there three days a week, during the weekdays (their main traffic is from commuters during rush hour - the store i will be working at is at Grand Central Market), which is the perfect schedule for balancing my school and work.

I do have another interview on Sunday. I haven't cancelled it, as it's supposed to be for just once a week (on Sundays) and it's pretty close to home, so it might be a good source of a few extra bucks. Okay, I'll be honest, it's because it's a speciality beer and wine store and if I can get a employee discount on both my beer *and* my cheese, well, that's just a bit of heaven.

So, I'm really excited. I'll be sure to let everyone know how it goes.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Home again, home again...

We just got back from a short trip into upstate New York. You see, growing up next to a Cider Mill (and being a big fan of Halloween ;), fall has always meant alot to me. The air is fragrant with the smell of hot apple cider and fallen leaves, pumpkins are lit up with huge smiles and the cold chill of winter hasn't quite hit. So, here in New York, already with a bit of homesickness, I found myself really missing my Ohio Fall. Unfortunately, a trip back home would have cost too much, so we opted to rent a car and head upstate.

Our first stop was a small Cider Mill in Westchester County. For those who don't know, Westchester is the kind of place all exclusive snobby country towns want to be (Martha Stewart has a fortress around there, to give you an idea). The house across from the Mill was going for 1.5 million. Anyways, we grabbed some good, if not kind of pricey, cider and a few apples.

The next stop was closer to our final destination (a Bed and Breakfast built from an old Cider Mill..sense a theme here?), a pick-your-own orchard. This was probably my favorite part of the trip. Wandering around a huge orchard, munching on apples fresh picked from the tree and ending up with a whopping 14+ lbs of them (for only 8.50), it was heaven for me.

Before heading to the b&b, we had one more stop, Warwick Valley Winery, makers of wine and hard cider. We arrived in the middle of a tasting, so I grabbed a awesome slice of pumpkin cheesecake and sat down to wait for the next one. As it turned out, the cheesecake was better than what I was waiting for. Though the hard cider was good, more of European style cider with a definite dry wine taste, the wines were ranging from iffy to, in the case of their port, downright astringent and bad.

Not much to say about the bed and breakfast. It was nice, quaint and our host (the b&b is owned by a husband and wife team, but we never saw the wife) was very helpful and friendly. But, we were around there for the Fall experience, the cozy night was just an added plus. That said, if you ever find yourself around Warwick in the Hudson Valley, I would definitely recommend the Cider Mill Inn. They even helped us make reservations at a nice dinner location (the chef, like so many around there, was a CIA grad), as well as pointed us to a nice dry bit of the Appalachian Trail the next morning.

After hiking a bit this morning, we slowly made our way back home, but not before making a couple more stops. Once at a small store and cider mill (more cider!) and next at another cidery and winery, this one called Applewood Winery. Applewood was a definite step up from Warwick Valley. Though their Reisling smelled and tasted slightly of diapers, their apple wines were very good. They managed to hit that nice balance of a fruity, sweet taste upfront and finish with something a bit drier. They also had a dessert wine which was the equivilent of fermented mulled apple cider, which I picked up. We finished our trip with some fresh doughnuts (which are 100X better than those stale, hanging out all morning, kind I'm used to) and hot apple cider.

There was a huge hassle in getting home, but I'm trying to put that past me, so I won't share that with you. All in all, we had a great time and our fridge is currently stuffed to the brim with the taste of fall.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Sadly, there's not been much news on the job front. I had an interview today with a cheese shop that seemed really promising (good hours, no crazy kitchen environment and I would get to learn about lots of artisanal cheese), but sadly, they were supposed to call me back this evening, but never did.

I do have another interview scheduled for tomorrow at a chocolate shop (high class, not like Malley's). In addition, I have another scheduled for thursday at a bakery just down the street. At this point, I'm looking for work that will increase my general food knowledge, instead of kitchen knowledge. Maybe I just want something where I can count on getting home at a decent time, who knows.

Oh, I have a nice bottle of hard cider I bought today that I've decided to hold on to until I get a new job. I hope to get to open it soon.

School has been going well. We've been dealing with butchering meats these past few days. It's an area I (obviously) have very little experience in so, as school should be, it's been a learning experience. The first day of it, when i was behind most, it was also a very humbling experience. But, by the second day, I was doing significantly better and was not among the last to get done with their cuts of meat.

Halloween is starting to get in the air and my mind has been turning to what I'm going to do this year. There's a ton to do in New York, so it's all a matter of picking what to do of the myraid of events (and what won't cost me $30 or so). I'm interested to find out how trick-or-treating works around here. Our neighborhood is very kid-infested, so I hope to see all the goblins outside, but we'll see.

Anyways, at this point I'm rambling. More later.

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