Sunday, July 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Princess

Well it is Lucy's birthday tomorrow. My princess is turning six!

Today when I was writing a post for my blog, I asked my hubby to pass me the Anthony Bourdain book so I could make reference to a particular chapter. Both of us being too lazy to get off our butts, he called Lucy over and had her deliver it to me (a little dog spit too). (She also has the weekend duty of bringing in the paper). Such a good girl.

Happy Birthday Lucy Lou!

Nasty Bits

Well I finished the Anthony Bourdain book, The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones yesterday. It amazes me how someone who writes so beautifully, so eloquently, can also be so dirty, so "colorful". He is truly a great writer in my opinion (and obviously many others).

The book is broken up into five sections: Salty, Sweet, Sour, Bitter, and Umami (the basic tastes). Some of the stories told, I was able to recount seeing on his television show , No Reservations, on the Travel Channel. My husband and I try to watch this show together whenever possible. We are both big fans.

I really enjoyed reading, A View From the Fridge (a chapter from the Sour Section). Even having worked in the hospitality industry in High School, I still learned a little about "behaving" in a restaurant and what I can expect as a result of my actions. It also reminded me of an article I read last week in Olive magazine, "How to dine" by Terry Durack. The article was not about restaurant etiquette, but on how to really eat and experience a meal.

I definitely recommend Nasty Bits as a good read (I finished it in three sittings). And just when I think Bourdain can discourage me from ever wanting to be a part of the industry, I get sucked in even more. I love being a foodie, and can't wait for the day I can become someone "in the business".

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Books and Blog!

Yesterday at lunch I went to Border's and picked up Anthony Bourdain's new book, The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones . I really enjoy his writings and shows, so I'm looking forward to diving into this one, and I'll get back to you on a review. Also, a special treat arrived in the mail yesterday, courtesy of my mother-in-law. She sent me The Complete Caterer by Elizabeth Lawrence. Maybe I will be able to get cranberryRelish up and going sometime soon!

Also, I wanted to welcome my dear friend Amy (who just moved to Atlanta) to the world of blogging. She is a wonderful gal and eloquent writer/speaker so I look forward to keeping in touch with her in her new home! You can check her out at More Social Than Work!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Saturday Night with Mak

I went into the Cooking School to help out with an Indian vegetarian class last night. Mak Ghangurde was the featured Chef. He was a lot of fun. Mak was born in India, raised in Ottawa (his accent is a give-away), and now working in Austin. He spends time learning traditional fare by working in the kitchen with his grandmother in India when he gets the chance.

We had a full class and were pretty busy with prep before class began. Here's what we served: Tamarind Rice with Mustard Seeds; Saag Paneer; Dark Chick Peas; Baingan Bartha; and Cucumber Raita. I was in charge of the Baingan Bartha, served with some Naan, which turned out pretty well. All the food was delicious. We even made Chai Tea to serve at the end of the evening. In fact, I just had another cup with breakfast this morning! He also passed around a lot of spices and explained a lot of stories/history of Indian cooking.

Mila, a longtime volunteer, took care of the dishes and I didn't have to wash any! But my feet were pretty sore by the end of the night. Seven hours running around in clogs, plus it was so hot last night, the AC couldn't keep up!

Mak was great to work with, taught me a few tips, and a genuinely great guy. Rumor has it he is working on a cookbook, so we'll watch for that to come.

I'll probably help out in a couple more classes this month. I'm not on the schedule until Aug. 1st though...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Soupe Du Jour

Happy Friday Y'all. I worked at the cooking school last night. David Bull from the Driskill was the guest chef. It was my second class with him. He did a hands-on soup class where the people taking the class all had a hand in making the soups. There was no set menu, just whatever Chef Bull came up with after browsing the market.

Here's what they made: Chilled Tomato & Spinach Soup with Greek Yogurt, Oregano, Parmesan Crackers; Hot & Sour Soup with Snap Peas, Rice Noodles, and Squid; Cream of Potato Soup with Pork Sausage, Brioche Croutons, and Buttered Leek Puree.

I had Chef Bull sign my 2003 Food & Wine Magazine in which he was featured as one of the top ten new chefs. (I tried to attach my signed copy, but with no luck, but here's a link to what appeared in the mag).

There were five volunteers (plus Paul and Cindy were the house chefs on hand), so the work was easy and Volunteer Steve did almost all the dishes. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a few things last night.

I always leave there on such a high. I love being there. Cindy asked me to work again Saturday night, so if hubby isn't working I'll be there again. Paul told me I could just show up and work a class anytime (I'd be there every day if I could). Also Chef Bull told me when I was ready to change careers to give him a call (I'm sure he was just being nice)! But a girl can dream...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lunch a Bust

Mark (a co-worker & friend) and I went to lunch at the Frisco on Burnet in Austin today. We had good expectations. It had great atmosphere, was pretty busy (with what seemed like regulars), and is a longtime Austin diner.

Despite great service, we both agreed we wouldn't return. Mark had a fried chicken salad and I had a club sandwich with onion rings. Didn't eat a heck of a lot. Then we thought we'd splurge and share a piece of pecan pie, which you can't screw up if your in Texas right? Wrong! It had no flavor.

Sorry Frisco, like your diner, not your food...

Today's Breakfast

Last night, before bed, I whipped up a Tomatoe and Goat Cheese Galette to take for breakfast this morning. It is kind of an unusual breakfast, but it was very good with my cup of coffee this morning. It is sooo easy to make and has very few ingredients: puff pastry dough; goat cheese; tomatoes; olive oil; paper thin slices of red onion; and a little oregano. I highly recommend it if you are in the mood for a savory breakfast. Tasty!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sorbet or Sherbet?

We were trying to figure out the difference between Sorbet and Sherbet Saturday evening, as we enjoyed our Lime Sherbet. Here's what I found out...

Sherbet: A frozen dessert made primarily of fruit juice, sugar, and water, and also containing milk, egg white, or gelatin.

Sorbet:A frozen dessert similar to a frappé, usually made from fruit juice and having a mushy consistency.

A similar result on Wikipedia. The basic difference is milk, egg whites, or gelatin in the Sherbet. And Al it isn't pronounced like Sorbet. And Sherbert is something entirely different!

So now you know... :)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Happy Friday!

Well there hasn't been a heck of a lot happening in my life since my last post. We did have a nice long weekend, in which I seemed to get nothing accomplished.

I did work at Central Market on Saturday morning and did an olive oil tasting class. If you've never done one, as I'm sure most of you haven't, it is really cool to see how different oils from different regions compare, much like wines. I think it was the second one I've done. And you swirl and sip them just as if you were tasting a wine (just don't down a glass!). We tasted oils from France, Italy, Greece, Australia, and others. We also served some foods made with the olive oils: Assorted Bruschetta & Tapenade; Poached Tuna with Spicy Dipping Sauce; Arugula Salad with Parmesan Curls; and Olive Oil Cake (with plums and raspberries). A low key class. As a bonus, Chef Paul made us some delicious breakfast tacos to eat before class. Yum!

So for our July 4th celebration, we didn't do much. We headed over to the fire station for a pancake breakfast on Tuesday morning for the scout troop. It was so hot and humid. We watched fireworks at the golf course on Sunday night, and a bunch of people were out in the cul de sac on Tuesday night setting them off.

Last night we hosted a "Good Bye" party for our friends Amy and Eric would are moving to Atlanta this weekend. We were expecting about 25 people, but only had around 15, so the guys at work are enjoying the leftovers this morning. We had fajitas and all the fixin's, mixed greens salad, and a fresh mozzarella/cherry tomato salad for the main course, and assorted appetizers (spinach artichoke dip; baked Brie in filo; goat cheese with fig walnut confit & pear salsa; heirloom tomato, onion, and olive oil puff pastry; chips; fruit tray; etc.). We topped it off with some cake, brownies, and mini cheesecakes topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberry puree. It seemed to go over pretty well.

Tomorrow afternoon we are invited to a barbecue at Chef Paul's house. I'll have to try to come up with a good side dish to take! Have a great weekend y'all!