Sunday, January 29, 2006

For those interested, where I work:

here

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I have been tagged with a meme. Normally, I never do these things, but considering it's Genevieve who tagged me, I feel I better ;)
Anyways, here goes:

Four jobs I've had in my life:

Pizza Delivery Guy
Electronic Publishing Coordinator (blech!)
Cheesemonger
Garbage man

Four movies I can watch over and over:
Gremlins
Ghostbusters
Dr. Strangelove (..these are all so obvious)
The Princess Bride

Four places I have lived
Vermilion, Ohio
Lakewood, Ohio
Tremont, Ohio
Brooklyn, NY

Four TV shows I love to watch:
Lost
The Daily Show
Anything by Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly) <-all stolen from Genevieve's post
X-Files


Four places I have been on vacation:
Ireland
Toronto
Florida
North Carolina

Four of my favorite dishes:
Anything from Phnom Pehn
General Tso's
Torta al Pastor
real tacos (must be on a 2 soft, corn tortillas and served with cilantro and onion, as it standard)


Four Albums I Can't Live Without:

Area 'Fragments of the Morning'
Slowdive 'Souvlaki'
Hungry Lucy 'To Kill a King'
something goth rock with lots of drum machine

Four Vehicles I've Owned:

Oldsmobile somethingorother
Ford minivan somethingorother
Ford stationwagon somethingorother
Honda Accord

Four websites I visit daily:

My webmail
Blogs
Chud
there is no #4

Four places I would rather be right now:

Ohio in the fall
Back in Ireland with Genevieve
In Oaxaca, chowing on some serious food (and never getting sick! hey, this is fantasy, right?)
Riding a train across Europe

Four bloggers I am tagging:

I am not so cruel! ;)

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

For Christmas, we recieved some cookbooks from my sister. They're really unique books (one of which is a Czechoslovak cookbook, which I'm dying to make something from), but one, in particular, suprised me as I flipped through it. The book is based on TBS' series "Dinner & a Movie", where they play a movie and, during the breaks, provide some recipes loosely based on the film they're showing. It's a cute and fun book, but, in the back, it contains a list of tips that I think should be in every cookbook. It's a well explained handful of suggestions for making your dinners even better. This is stuff I paid a good chunk of money to learn and I thought I'd reprint them (not verbatim, of course) here for everyone, as they are good things to know.

* Use seasonal produce whenever possible! It's cheaper and will always taste better.

* Always rest your meat after cooking. If you cut into it right after it's cooked, you're losing all those good juices. They need time to redistribute after being heated through the cooking process.

* Taste a dish constantly, as you're cooking.

* Don't be afraid of salt! Things with salt do not tasty salty (unless over-salted), they taste more like what they are. They just taste better. But, do not salt things (like sauces) that will be reduced, until they are finished. Because, along with flavors, reduction will intensify the saltiness, as well.

* Clean as you work.

* Calibrate your oven. Nobody's oven is perfect and the right temp can make a good amount of difference, especially when it comes to baking.

* Buy whole spices and grind them yourself. A coffee grinder works well for this.

* Warm your plates before serving. This is a very common restaurant trick. Warm food should be served on warm plates and cold on cold.

Enjoy!

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Friday, January 20, 2006

I had a great birthday yesterday. Thanks so much to those who called, e-mailed, etc. to wish me well!
I got some great gifts, including sil-pads (the ultimate in non-stick) and a great Projekt cd I was listening to on the train today. I also got a hand mixer, which I'd been wanting for awhile, but never picked up. Thanks Susan!

To celebrate, Genevieve and I went out to a place in Park Slope called Al Di La. They're an italian restaurant, considered to be one of the best restaurants in the area and they definitely lived up to the hype. I was a bit worried though, as they'd recently gotten a good review in the NYT and were, based on online reviews, kind of infamous for their wait. But, even arriving at 7pm, we were seated promptly in their family styl tables.I started out with a dish of grilled polenta and salt cod, which was excellent (though Genevieve had to comment that the salt cod looked like gefilte fish ;) Genevieve had an imported radiccio salad, which was a bit tart, but otherwise yummy.
For my main course, I had a glass of red wine and pork loin, served with a pan sauce, sage and proscuttio. For her main entree, Genevieve got beet ravioli and, despite being nervous (beets are one of those things that can either be amazingly good or gross and it's a very thing line. They're a vegetable I have yet to master, though I will continue to work on it. Because, when they're good, they're really good. Earthy, sweet and vibrant. And yes, her ravioli was all of these things). Finishing things off, we had a pear tart with whipped cream and a plate of three gelatos (Honey - which Genevieve loved, Ginger and Early Grey. I was very wary of the latter, but it turned out to be really good. I would never have thought). It was a really comfortable and enjoyable experience and I wouldn't hesistate to go back.

In other news, I have now finished Module 4 - Baking and Pastry! Unfortunately, I work tonight, so having a large drink, as I often do to celebrate, is out of the question, but I am happy to be done with it. At the beginning, I was really excited and the relaxed pace was nice, but I dunno..I'm just tired of sweets and looking forward to getting back to cooking. Next and last in-school module is International cuisine. Should be alot of fun.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A quick update for everyone:

My holidays went really well, got a lot of great gifts and I enjoyed heading back home (yes, I still consider Cleveland "home") and visiting family and friends. I hit the ground running when I came back though, having to work 4 days in a row starting the day I flew in. It wouldn't of been so bad, but they were the days leading up to New Year's Eve (which I worked and was completely nuts).

TO make matters worse, Genevieve started getting sick on the last day of vacation and hasn't managed to shake it since. I've gotten a bit of it: sore throat (which caused me to lose my voice on the busiest day of the year at work..not fun) and some coughing, but nowhere as bad as Genevieve has gotten it.

Other than that, things have been going smoothly. I'm halfway through module 4 (baking) of school, which has been a welcome relief from the very intense mod 3. The next and last in-school module is after that and then it's off into the real world for my externship. I am simulatanously excited and nervous (as is often the case with me).

Genevieve and I have also been exploring new areas of town recently. The other day we took a brief train ride into Hoboken, which was strange since it's soo close to New York, but seems so different in personality. First things, it's *much* quieter and cleaner. It also has less personality. There's always trade-offs. We also hit Sunset Park, a neighborhood in Brooklyn very close to ours. It's the Mexican area of town and I really enjoy it. It's pretty middle-class and chock full of exciting (and cheap!) food joints (I hesistate to say restaurants, as the two I have been to are such tiny hole-in-the-wall locales). I can see myself returning quite a bit. If anything, on the search for unprepared masa (not to be confused with corn flour), which my new book, Tamales 101, recommends as the best source for good tamale batter.

That's it for now. Hope everyone had a great holiday!

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