December, 2003

Weirdos and Cake

dog.bmpI am henceforth boycotting Expedia.

I had such a ridiculous experience at the grocer’s tonight. I ran in (literally) for some extra-bitter bittersweet chocolate, butter and pistachios–and so there I am, reviewing the lame-o selection of inferior chocolate that Safeway sells and I feel someone watching me… I look up and hello, weirdo alert–and then he actually winked!! So I pick some chocolate and quickly head to the nut aisle–where–while I’m perusing the nuts for about 30 seconds this same creep peeks around the corner THREE TIMES!! OMG. Starting to get annoyed (especially since they don’t sell pistachios at Safeway either), I move on in search of butter. Surprise surprise! Guess who else decides he needs butter?! So he sidles up to me and says–get this–“Hey cutie! How you doin’?” GAG ME WITH A WET NOODLE PLEASE! What a FREAAAAAAAAAAK! I was so upset by the entire encounter and by not finding anything in the quality I needed that I dropped all of my goods onto the pile of butter and left the store! Ha!!

In other news, I have several new favorite cakes. The most interesting is the Gateau St. Honore. What a hot piece of work this is. I really want to make it for Christmas dinner, but don’t think I’m going to have time…this is the picture of the one I made in class a couple of weeks ago. Sooo yummy!

In yet OTHER news, I am extremely disappointed that none of you have enlightened us about what you would like in your stockings this year!!! Where’s the holiday spirit folks?!?! Where’s the creativity?!?!


ribbon.bmpChristmas Stockings are a highly under-rated tradition (if you ask me). Think of all the potential those empty hose have!! Hellowww: SUCH POTENTIAL! Stockings hung by the chimney with care are like big chunks of blank space craving to be filled with sweet goodness! And still, we stuff the bottom with grapefruits, rocks and cans of olives to make it look fuller than it really is. Let’s kick it up a notch, people! I am henceforth sending out a challenge (to all of you who celebrate Christmas): take advantage of The Christmas Stocking. Let’s revive this tradition! How many extra-special little treasures can you fit into that sock?!

People around the world stuff socks at Christmastime; In Holland, kiddies fill their wooden clogs with hay for Santa’s reindeer (or so I hear…I find it hard to believe that parents still get their kids to wear wooden boats on their feet instead of nike or sketchers), in Puerto Rico, they fill their shoes with leafy greens and flowers for the Three Wise Men’s camels to eat, in Italy children leave their shoes out for a witch–La Befana–who comes on the Epiphany (Jan. 5) to fill their sneaks with sweets…and the traditions go on and on.
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Here’s a little example of how one could fill a stocking for (my)utmost enjoyment:
2003 Ultimate Stocking Competition
The Food Lover’s Companion
Short wooden knitting needles, in a variety of sizes
Theater tickets to a Broadway musical
Enrollment in a wine appreciation class
Alarm clock that gently wakes you up to the music of your choice, happy, comforting, inspirational words, or any noise that doesn’t want to make you throw it against the wall
Shopping spree at J. Crew and VS
Private jet fashioned with top-of-the-line kitchen and comfy sleeping area (for those cross-continental trips)
Year’s subscription to a decent, conveniently-located gym with professional kickboxing classes
Enrollment in a learn-how-to-be-a-hip-hop-dancer course
Three skeins of hot yarn (to be used with aforementioned needles…)
Quality speakers for Beatrice (my car)
Small cottage somewhere quiet that can be My Very Own Space
Money to decorate my aforementioned cottage
Weekend getaway in Tahoe
Vacation time to be spent with friends and family
Microplane (brand name) that grates extremely finely
Small camera case
Some nice cheeses
Trip to Spain

Phew! Boy, was that theraputic! Sometimes it’s fun to let go and fantasize for a moment about everything you could possibly want if you were a completely materialistic person. It’s a good exercise for your imagination too (because you’re obviously never going get all that stuff!) So go ahead and dream–What would you fill your stocking with?

Babies and Laundry

So we went to the French Laundry (two weeks ago now) and I STILL feel like truffles are coming out my ears! Those of you who are unfamiliar with the Laundry should know that it is one of the best restaurants in the world and consistantly wins a massive amount of praise from critics around the world! (And oh, the drama of making a reservation! Luckily, we live close enough to walk down and reserve a table in person!)

Chef Thomas Keller (the chef de cuisine) is a very talented, world-renownded gourmand who has done quite a bit to give this restaurant the reputation that it has now. For example, he orders all the butter used at the restaurant from a special farm in Vermont–what’s the big deal, you say? The farm only owns THREE cows (Daisy, Sunshine, and one other…). They ship their butter, unsalted to the FL, where the staff HAND CHURNS it with fleur de sel before presenting it to their guests. It is–by far–the most exquisite-tasting fat I’ve ever consumed. He is a perfectionist, to say the least, and even stores his fish on ice in the same direction it swims in the ocean! We were lucky enough to get a reservation during truffle season, and so partook of the Truffle Tasting Menu–only available for a few short weeks. Picture this: Nine courses, starting with Scrambled Liberty Valley Duck Eggs with Perigord Truffles and Toasted Brioche and finishing with White Chocolate Velours, Dark Chocolate Sabayon, Black Truffle liquid center, perigord truffle syrup and ruby red grapefruit sorbet (pictured below), and mignardises.Dessert.jpg I think my favorite course was the Truffle Wellington(which doesn’t look so hot in the picture, but imagine an entire black truffle wrapped in puff pastry!): Fondue of walla walla shallots and sauce perigourdine–the third course. The desserts weren’t amazingly wonderful, but by that time(five hours later), who wants to think about food? Words can’t describe the experience…

sydney2.jpgIn more exciting news, Phoebe had her baby!!! Congratulations!! I can’t wait to go see her at Christmas–Dave and I have planned a mini road trip to their new place for a Christmas visit. Everyone is already arguing over whose chin Syndey has–Phoebe’s or John’s! What do you think?

I was officially elected Team Leader of Greystone’s 1st All-Female Baking and Pastry Program today! Woot! Speaking of which, we have our final Pastry I practical tomorrow, and I should get to bed. Night night!