October, 2003

Coronal Mass Ejection

Geomagnetic storms, baby yeah! I felt a bit like Mary Poppins as I left school last night. The weather was so freaky! For those of you who don’t live in California, let me just give you a quick debriefing: It’s always beautiful, sunny and warm here. It’s rarely–if ever–windy, and almost never rains. So, taking this into consideration, you can imagine my surprise as the palm trees were bent in half by the wind and the night sky seemed to be howling! It was also about 10 degrees colder than it usually is at 6pm.

The wind and howling continued all night, and our power flickered and died completely at several points! Apparently, this was all due to a geomagnetic storm. There’s a magnetic storm on the sun right now that creates these flare-ups of gas that shoot off the sun into space. Besides the flare-ups, there are also CMEs, or coronal mass ejections. These are much more intense, and are basically giant eruptions from the sun that blast a billion tons of highly charged particles into space at speeds greater than a million miles per hour. The particles that are flying around in space thanks to this eruption cause auroras (read: the Northern and Southern Lights). Luckily these types of emissions only affect earth by disrupting satellite communications and power grids–which is what happened to us last night!

Halloween in the Castro

We’re heading to SF for Halloween! Apparently, the Spook Night celebration in the Castro District is THE place to be, so we’re going to check it out. There’s a parade to kick off the night’s events, lots of music, some costume contests, etc. It’s as close as SF gets to Mardi gras. There’s even a Tantric Underground Dance Stage, which intruiges me… it seems like the Risque-factor for that particular event could be pretty high. I guess we’ll have to see how daring we are! What are you all dressing up as?!?!

School Days

I’ve finally updated Hotshots a tiny tiny bit! You’ll find some pictures of our first few days at Greystone. And since I was at it, I thought I’d share the rest of these random “product pics”! In this first photo, Team HC prepares some goodies for the cafe.
And here’s a bleu cheese & chive quiche our group made the other day. It was so delicious–and extremely rich. Perfect for those family Sunday brunches when you’re looking for a savory adult-type treat.

Wendy proudly displays her traditional bially.

Below, the cake with the powdered sugar stripes on it is a roman apple cake, and one of the first items we learn how to make.

Moving right along to the laminated dough station, here’s a variety of croissants–some savory, some sweet, some filled, some not. I filled mine with gargonzola dolce, carmelized onions, sage and walnuts. Yummers! SIDENOTE: gargonzola dolce is my new favorite cheese.

These little numbers are filled with — you guessed it — chocolate! And when they’re hot out of the oven, oh baby oh: soooo good.Moving clockwise from the back of the plate, here’s a Christmas stollen (one of my new favorite breads, stollen–pronounced schtollen–is NOT a fruit cake). Next we have Kugelhopf. And finally panetone. Filled with golden California raisins that were soaked in dessert wine for two days, our rendition is a decidedly Norcal-style pastry.

Here’s Ann with some more panetone. Seriously good stuff–for any meal!

Daily wrap-up with Chef Jorin. It’s important to evaluate each new product and share constructive criticism.

Here’s a close-up of that stollen. When it’s hot out of the oven, we brush it heavily with butter and dip it in two different kinds of sugar. This helps preserve it for a long period of time and makes stollen an ideal bread to make early for the holiday season.The flavors of the rum-soaked fruits and nuts mature with age.

Pumpkin Fever

pumpkins.jpgI am so happy that Autumn has finally arrived! It’s been a busy couple weeks–I’m helping edit the recipe book for the Worlds of Flavor conference that’s coming up in November, working on the hot side for our special events department on the weekends. Dave came to visit this weekend and we had loads of fun! Pictures and stories to come soon!

O is for Pumpkin

pie.jpgI have Thanksgiving Fever baaaad. During my excursion to the grocery this morning (no school — Thank you Colombus!), I discovered a fabulous new dairy product: Pumpkin Pie Flavored Yogurt! Can we say “YUMMERS”!! I did, several times, outloud! This spicy pie yogurt is sooo good that it inspired me to research pumpkin recipes, and I found several great ones to experiment with this week. (It also inspired me to buy a case of pumpkin-flavored yogurt, so if any of you want to try it, I’m your woman!)
I love all the colors and the festivity of harvest time, the way the cool air makes your cheeks rosy… The whole season just excites me to no end! And pumpkin carving–oooooooooooooohhh pumpkin carving, hollowing those beloved pumpkins! Hunks is coming to visit in a couple weeks and we’re planning an Autumnal Celebration! (Read: We’re going to eat all of the leftover pumpkin products from my experiments this week, carve carefully selected orange squashes… and sing Halloween songs! He doesn’t know about that last part yet…) I wonder if the leaves are going to change here in Norcal. They haven’t yet, and I’m becoming quite concerned. Will I survive in a climate that lacks the vibrant foliage transformation?! How will I live without that pleasant crunch of dry leaves beneath my sneaks?! If those of you living in places where the leaves still change could start sending me some of those rare specimens, maybe I can pretend that I’m not so far away from the beautiful East Coast. I’ll even send you a Autumnal-themed, pumpkin-flavored treat in return!

Much more than a hunch

While reminiscing I discovered these pics of the fam and just couldn’t resist. A full family tree version may be coming soon! This picture of Ben is from last summer during football season. He occasionally dyed his mohawk blue, but, alas I never captured it on film! Seth’s picture is from our most recent trip to the Outer Banks (recently pummeled by hurricane). And here’s Phoebe at her Wedding Rehearsal Dinner in June. The picture of me was taken last weekend after our attempt to Nightclub in Napa. We ended up going to Bouchon for coffee and dessert after three un-happening bar hops. Bouchon is related to the world-renowned French Laundry of Chef Thomas Keller (Known in these parts as Tommy K), where the girls and I will be dining on a 12 course meal in early December! HOTNESS.

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