Dodge the oil, embrace the blog

Oh, to try and be humorous or to risk inevitably sticking out like a sore loser blog post in front of all the cool kids.

Let’s do this.

I look at my blogpost & I as a relationship.

It’s you and it’s me baby; it’s my thoughts on your page. I’m sorry I leave you infrequently but I’m making a resolution to be better.  I have a notorious track record for being a little behind in the game…

I make my New Year’s resolutions in the summer  [apparently]. I do my spring cleaning in the summer heat- torturous, really. I grew up on encyclopedias as a research tool  while everyone else’s parents were out buying their family households the newest installment of Windows. I did not learn how to ride a bike until I was fifteen nor did I realize how much I would miss you blog, until now.

Currently, avoiding oil splashes from some squash blossoms that we’re frying so have to get moving to safer ground. Check back in later for the recipe & pictures!

Advertisements

Take a minute to boast

Since I have been gone for what seems like an entire anniversary ago… I wanted to let the blog community out there know I have made my first wedding cake! I feel that when that time comes for a baker to venture off and make that particular friend a wedding cake there is a sense of independence and internal achievement and recognition you feel. The reason I am choosing to discuss is based upon a quote I recently read from Bob Dylan, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”

The wedding cake was asked to be a vanilla cake with cannoli cream filling, bare to light vanilla buttercream frosting on the exterior, and fresh flowers to garnish any way I desired as long as I left room for their Despicable Me cake toppers. I drove in such horrendous traffic to deliver those cakes. Let me tell you, I will drive the safest when I am transporting cakes, but my poor friends and family? You will see me roll through that stop sign probably a little faster than you would like.

So here is the cake! She’s the first one; I hope for there to be more but I had an interesting challenge with you and I admire my accomplishments thus far.

Wedding Cake

What Anniversary?

Do you know how terrible of a human being I feel when I finally return to my wordpress blog and the first notification I receive is a “Happy Anniversary!” message from wordpress itself. I apologize wordpress that i’ve been neglecting you all this time and come back on the day of our anniversary. This blog post goes out to you…

My mother’s friends own an old country Inn located in West Dover, Vermont. I have spent many a-holidays there, eating up all the scrumptious food they cooked, and being enrobed by their love and hospitality. They have been there many years now and are interested in selling the place. The Inn will be sold by an essay contest with a registration fee of $100. Isn’t that insane? All anyone has to do in order to participate is construct an essay describing why you would like to own and operate your own inn! So check it out it out, the name of your future Vermont property could be the Deerfield Valley Inn.

Anyways, I am not here just to brag about this inn for sale, I am also going to provide a Rhubarb Loaf Recipe in which one of the owners provided me.

Vermont Rhubarb Cake

Vermont Rhubarb Loaf:

2 C fresh rhubarb, chooped

1/2 C sugar

1/4 C AP flour

1/2 C butter (1 stick)

1.5 C sugar

1 egg, beaten

2.5 C AP flour

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 C milk

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 C sugar

1 t cinnamon

1/2 C coconut

Sprinkle 1/2 C sugar and 1/4 C of flour in together with the rhubarb and set aside.

Cream butter and 1.5 C sugar.

Stir in egg followed by the sifted dry ingredients.

Add into the butter mixture.

Add in milk and vanilla followed by rhubarb.

Pour into floured and greased pans.

Top with cinnamon sugar and coconut.

Bake at 375 for 45 mins.

Cool in pans and serve!

Bakery Review: Sweet Corner Bakeshop

I am happy to follow my last post with this delightful one!

Each time I go into the city I make it a goal of mine to visit a new bakery and for this city trip I visited Sweet Corner Bakeshop. The funny story is I actually met the owner of this bakeshop when he came to build a wedding cake at the resort in Georgia I had been working at. Honestly you should check out this cake it was pretty amazing…

IMG_3068

What I like about this shop is that it’s simple and straightforward. The vibe I got was “we have amazing pastries, just buy one and wash it down with our delicious coffee”; there was no added fanfare or pompous display cases. I ordered their renowned chocolate chip sea salt cookie and a latte. I sat in the shop enjoying my purchase, while watching all the eager wealthy children of the west side rush into the shop for what must be a daily after school stop.

IMG_8692IMG_8690Sweet Corner is a little tricky to find as any New Yorker knows the West Side doesn’t follow the NYC grid, but once you stroll upon that sweet corner and smell those fresh cookies you’ll known within that first bite that it was worth the hunt. Also, you’re in the west side now- go explore! go shopping! enjoy yourself! 😉

**This coming from someone who left with huge shopping bags to carry on the subway home.

Bakery Review: Financier

To those who have recently discovered my blog…welcome! I hope you stay a while and are able to try out a recipe or two. If you’re wondering why I have so many bakery reviews it’s because I’m not the biggest fan of yelp. Whenever I wish to read reviews on bakeries I find myself continuously scrolling through people’s comments and half of the time that huge essay that you just spent 20 mins reading to find out how those croissants they ordered tasted just ends up being an essay about how the family couldn’t find an appropriate seat for their uncle cause there was a strange draft coming in. Has this happened to anyone else?! Anyways, these brief reviews are just a recount of my experience to help one decide if it’s worth your while to trek out to a specific destination for a sugar fix.

I have just recently visited Financier, a very traditional french patisserie with locations all throughout NYC. Unfortunately, I had an awful experience here. To begin with I was standing in line, knowing already what I wanted but when an employee walked down the line I happen to have my eyes on the glass display case so instead the employee said to the gentleman BEHIND me, “You look ready sir, I’ll take your order right here.” Okay in all fairness I could see maybe she thought I was still making up my mind because I was looking down but at least have the decency to ask me first!  I could see from where I was standing in line that the cashier was giving everyone a free sample of a financier. I remember thinking “Okay, awesome! Now I don’t have to worrying about buying my own financier to taste because she is giving out samples!” But, of course, by the time she took my order she decided not to give me a sample, but don’t worry the woman that followed me got her free sample.

Image

 

So at this point my drink order and pastry order is placed and the people before me AND after me have gotten their orders but I am still standing there. When I finally get the attention of one of the worker’s I stated what I was waiting for (an ice coffee and a macaroon- probably the simplest order ever, no milk, no sugar, just pour the damn coffee in the cup and put the macaroon in a bag, nothing to be heated or sliced or anything of the sort). I barely got an apology from any of the workers and I just walked out and rushed to my train.

Now I am on the train and I cannot wait to have a bite of this pistachio macaroon. Here I am hoping it will be the best macaroon I’ve ever had after the wait I just went through for it….. But no….no no not at all good. Once the first bite hit my lips all i could taste was food dye. that fake pistachio flavor. and wayyy tooo much cookie, not enough filing. Extremely disappointed with Financier and I would NOT go back.

ImageImage

New Adventures!

I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America exactly 3 weeks ago. As soon as I walked into the ceremony it finally hit me- this was it, my two year education at the world’s premier college was over. Here’s the thing though, I did not feel that I was done learning. I suddenly felt lost, overwhelmed, and nervous; my life at the Culinary Institute of America was all that I knew and now it was all over. Fortunately, I have better news to talk about and this is how I got to that placid state.

If you can relate to my situation, ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow. If it’s not going to help you then move on.

I have recently accepted a job as a sous chef at a camp I used to attend in the past, Canoe Island French Camp. Canoe Island is located in the beautiful San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state. I’m excited to spend my summer working in that kitchen and being in a managerial position. 

New opportunities wait around every corner, you just have to pay attention to detail to see it.

Bakery Review: Harney & Sons Fine Tea Bar


Image
I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY LOVED this tea bar! Harney and Sons not only has a factory in Millerton, NY but they also opened up a tea bar. The tea bar is divided into 3 rooms- one room for tasting tea, the next to shop, and the third is the restaurant portion. The employees are extremely cordial and friendly. I visited the tea bar with two of my friends, Monica and Abby.

My friends and I were absolutely starving by the time we got to the tea bar that we just sat down at one of the tables in the restaurant portion of the shop. Fortunately, when we explained to the woman who came to take our order that it was our first time visiting Harney and Sons she informed us of how the store was set up; furthermore, after she took our order she told us to feel free to go into the tasting room and try some teas and that she would come and get us once our food was ready.

In the tasting room they have 4 “Teas of the Moment” which are all free to taste. Then each person gets to pick one tea from the wall that they would like to try as well- sounds simple right? Well you should see this wall of teas!!! They have everything from black teas to white teas to green teas- I was completely overwhelmed. I ended up sticking to my safe zone and choose a black tea, English Breakfast. It was wonderful doing the tea tasting with friends because we all had the opportunity to try each others.

Their menu is simple yet intriguing. I ordered a proscuitto and brie baguette, but honestly the way they described their peanut butter and jelly sandwich sounded amazing I was so close to ordering that  instead! For dessert my friends and I went all out: We ordered two pots of tea, fruits d’alsace and hot cinnamon spice, then we ordered the scones, carrot cake, and rice pudding. I found the hot cinnamon spice tea to be a little too sweet with all of the desserts; the fruits d’alsace tea was delightful though. 

ImageImage

The scones were my favorite pick out of all the desserts. They were crumbly and light and served with delicious clotted cream and jam. 

The prices were all worth it. I spent about $25 on my meal but then again the average person doesn’t share three desserts at brunch, so yours could probably be a little less. 

Definitely cannot wait to return to Harney & Sons!

Image