Eating on the Run – Day 22

You know I’m winding down with blogging when the posts come at night….

So, restaurant world. You are surrounded by food. You can taste just about anything you want.  Do you know how hard it is to eat a meal while working in a restaurant? Let’s just say the old joking adage of eating over a garbage can is about on par. Scarfing down your meal is almost a given. You are always rushing, and for some reason, eating is a last minute thing.

I’ve had coworkers make me a quick burger and a few weeks ago one of them asked me how it was.  I looked at her and said, “How long have I been back here?”

“About five minutes,” she replied.

“And my burger is gone.” I grinned.  “Yes it was good and I was starving, hence why it is now gone.” (and trust me, it wasn’t small)

I’ve learned to eat quickly and grab a lunch when I can. A few bites in the back set the bowl down and off and running again. I actually don’t mind it much. I do find it a problem when I’m at home and I find standing easier to eat… Okay, not really, but it’s what I’m used to. I’m trying to be more mindful of it.

Even at work, I try to sit down for a bit. I found it rather serendipitous to find that the beer kegs are the perfect size to set a small plate in and create a ‘table’.

Keg Table. How ingenious of me!

 

I’m forever downing cups of coffee at the end of the night, not because I need a wakeup factor, but because it relaxes me as I work breaking down and checking over prep lists.

But food is usually spoonfuls here or there or a very hasty lunch. It might not be the most healthy life style, but it is what it is. For the most part  as well, I am not really hungry. You smell food all day and well, sometimes you just don’t want to eat.  I try not to eat too much food at work as well or bring anything home because I smell it so often I don’t want to stop liking food.

Various things tend to hold my interest more than others. I like savory always over sweet. Probably because I bake. It all depends. But eating on the run has become the new norm.

Kate

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Beyond the Swinging Doors – 31 Days of My Life in a Professional Kitchen

Behind those two doors my world resides. Oh, and right to the left, where pizza is.

My life as a prep/pastry/pizza chef has been a whirlwind of less than a year. Considerably apropos to spend 31 days writing about it, posting about it, pictures about it, since this is the last year of 31 Days in October. Honestly, I can’t believe that this little blogging thing, which isn’t so little, is coming to a close. But as one chapter of life closes, another opens.  I can honestly say that all my hours spent cooking and baking are taking over my life to the point where I can only blog here and there.

The life has lead to some amazing opportunities, not just within the kitchen, but in my writing life as well. Opening doors to new subjects. New loves. New hates. New, new, new. It’s all new. Exhausting. Amazing.

I write this at nearly two thirty in the morning after not getting off of work till midnight, body exhausted and sore, mind fuzzy and wiped. But it’s all good. In a strange way, it’s good to feel this tired. I wish sometimes that I had more time to devote to writing and being at home, but at the same time, I love my job.

You know how people have to keep saying over and over how much they love something because they really don’t? Yeah, well that’s not the case with me. I say it over and over because it’s true. Even the most frustrating moments, like tonight running out of things the morning prep guy should have stocked for me, screwing up a few pizzas,  not having such and such done, and just not being able to close down till late, I still have the good things overshadow the bad. Like having a guy slip a tip over the window to me because he so enjoyed his dinner.  Having another guy say my pizzas were incredible. And another one saying he loved the mussels (which I did not do, Chef did) but he planned to come back soon because he heard how good my pizzas were. Yeah, those are good moments. It’s a good moment when your coworkers ask you to make them a pizza and they love it. I love my job.

So, I shall attempt for the next 31 Days of October to write and post about my life behind those two black swinging doors. The dance. The magic, the whirling motion of life. The food. I have my camera/cellphone at the ready. I already have several mental posts lined up.  Get ready, dearies and my darlings.

Kate

  1. Stainless Silence

Sick Days, Lost Voices

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It’s a very strange thing to go into work and have your boss say, “you lost your voice? What are you doing here? You are sick, go home.”   Probably because I’ve never been in this situation. Sure, I’ve been sick working before, but as a librarian, it’s not that big a deal.  In a kitchen….kind of. So there I was yesterday having Lucifer telling me to get the heck out of the kitchen.  I think he felt a little bad that I had to go, and I really didn’t want to have to go home, but thank god I did.  I actually love my job so much, I just don’t want to have to sit on the sidelines, even though I really want to sit on the sidelines. This virus I have is nasty. A cough, a lost voice, and just an all around “I feel like crap” feeling.  So sick I don’t want to write. Ironic as here I am writing.

This is more just letting the fingers vent a bit and moving. I actually finished a book last night.  I think I am up to three books this year I’ve read.  One that I own. I remember years ago I would read easily 20-30 books a year. My how those days have flown. I don’t have that much time for useless reading, so if I finish a book, it has to be one I really want to read or one that has caught my attention enough to keep it.

I fiddled around the other day and ended up ordering six books from Better World Books, all poetry but one which has to do with cooking. Yeah, like I need more poetry books on my shelf. But I liked what one poet said in an episode of Poetry Off the Shelf. She said that she keeps poetry books scattered on her table like magazines. You can pick one up and read just one thing. That’s what I like about poetry. It can be long. It can be short.  You can take it anywhere.

Right now I’m a little happy with my own poetry as I took three poems into work and posted them on our white boards. Two of them I referenced in the previous post, but one was a quick little ditty about the kitchen and fast movements and in a slant rhyme style. Fun and fluffy, but oh so true. I have had several people at work quite impressed with what I wrote. Juliet was like “wow, we are living this” to me yesterday.  Yes, girl, we are. We (coworkers) are so living this crazy cheffing life; the serving life. We serve. Think about that. We serve. We are placing food out for other people. If you look at it that way, it sounds menial, but it is so not. I have had several people so excited for me when they find out I am a prep chef. Especially when they find that out, and that I am not a waitress (server, as we call them).  They are ecstatic for me. I’m ecstatic for me.

Photo by Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash

There I was on Thursday night, working on a new chocolate frosting for our cakes, experimenting to some degree, but knowing what I wanted. I had the time and the luxury to play around with ingredients and get the input of several people about what we wanted the cakes to look like (now that the menu is about to change…) and it was this great collaborative movement. Having servers walk by and ogling your frosting; let’s just say it did not take any coaxing to get a single one to try it.  Everyone was super impressed. A hazelnut ganache frosting. Yeah, it was swoon worthy.  I want to be able to create more and have that look of hunger cross people’s faces. Like this ultimate desire.  Food is very magical and powerful that way.

I suppose I shouldn’t sound surprised by saying that. Everyone can name someone that moans when they taste something divine. I do it. I’ve done it. Much to Lucifer’s laughter since he does it on a regular basis. Note to readers, chefs do like food. Ha ha. Food is power. Something so primal and relatively simple is at the basis of our being. Eating. And taste, well, there is a reason it is one of the five senses.

So, reading, writing, experimenting with food, are definitely going on right now.  And giving myself a little rest from probably the last 8 months of crazy work. I think my body finally said, “honey, you need a break”. So break it is. Lots of lemon, honey and Alka Seltzer. Thank god for that.

Hope all you dearies are healthy and happy and enjoying the food blogging I seem to be perpetually posting.  I’ve been a little disinclined to submit anything to anywhere because I’m tired. Maybe as the weather cools off.

Happy writing.

Kate

And The Meal Was. . .

Fancy Toast by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

She was served a lovely open faced sandwich of the nicest white bread, toasted lightly with thinly sliced green bell pepper and tomato topped with an over-easy fried egg. The floral plate was sprinkled with cilantro leaves and pinks. Another plate held a slice of the same white bread spread with only the best butter, whipped smooth and fresh strawberry jelly. A delicate teacup held a fragrant brew scented with rose and a fine oolong tea.  -Katie Lyn (just me describing the above photo if I were to write it in a book)

Have you ever paid attention to a meal when it is written about in a book?  Surprisingly, even though my eating habits lie along the lines of “have to” at this point in my life, I still appreciate good food and how it’s written. I think my first example of paying attention to food was a child’s books where bread, butter, and jam sandwiches were served. I can’t recall what book per se, but I have always paid attention to food. I aught to as my sister is forever keeping her journal which is basically recording down the day’s food. She reads  The Food Lover’s Companion like the Bible, and we collect cookbooks to read.

Emilie Loring books revel in good meals. The delight of delicately prepared vegetables, with Hollandaise sauce! Fragrant cups of coffee after dinner. Delightfully delicate sandwiches. Emilie must have enjoyed food. (let me check… Yep, read the second half of this blog post by Patti Bender. Emilie Loring: Good Company ) Food is what makes us all exist and what is the point of living without good food? (My current predicament is odd as I’ve always enjoyed food it’s just become a bit mundane at times for me. Go figure.)

I just started reading  What She Ate by Laura Shapiro and one chapter talks about the British author, Barbara Pym, who delighted in describing meals. She noted them in journals and never left out a simple meal. Apparently. I’m off on a quest to find one of her books as they sound marvelous. The thing that caught me the most was how Ms. Pym (don’t you just love that name?)  kept those notebooks where she wrote everything down. When she would go out people watching, every little detail was written down, especially the food. Describing a simple salad, or a boiled chicken. (They are very decidedly British after all) But food is described.

I’m in love. I mean, what better thing to focus on to slip into various bits of storytelling? We eat. I mean, I find it rather interesting that we never describe our daily ablutions in books, unless a woman is dressing and putting on her face. Granted, we don’t know all the daily doings of our characters, though I find it rather interesting. Personally. But back to food, most people enjoy eating. And we all want to eat well. What I think is eating well  might not appeal to others as I like fairly plain food, but I have never known someone to not enjoy a meal at our home. Simple is nothing to scoff at.

Why, the other night, I came home late from work where I was sending off fancy dishes, and my kept meal was pan-fried pork chop, sauted kale with garlic, farfalle with Parmesan and butter, and a simple salad (head lettuce and tomato, if I recall). Simple, basic, but pleasant after smelling so many exotic scents exiting my Chef’s kitchen.

If there is anything I can learn and glean from this essay on Barbara Pym, it’s to keep track of food better (not to mention people watch better)  and write it down. Even if watching a cooking show. Oh, I imaging Ms. Pym would have loved Barefoot Contessa!

Do you pay attention to food in books? Do you collect cookbooks and recipes? I certainly do, even if I never plan to cook them. My Library has plenty of lovelies. I carried on an online correspondence with a British man who said in England Delia Smith is a Goddess. I’ve never forgotten that and I’ve paid attention to food due to little things like this. Ratatouille is the best foodie film ever, in my opinion. And Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books have Monsieur Wolfe a true epicurean, albeit a bit extravagant in my opinion.

So, again, foodies and writers alike, comment please. I’d love to know your thoughts. Any good meal descriptions you’d like to share? Please do!

Eating/Writing On

Kate

 

 

PAD Day 16 – Eateries – Nighthawk Breakfast Bar

Nighthawk Breakfast Bar

There’s a place in LA known as the
Nighthawk Breakfast Bar
Where it’s only a nighttime affair
From eight to two it’s breakfast there
With a very adult twist.
Milk infused with sugary things
and spiked with a bit of brandy
And maybe a stack of drunken French toast
Or maybe some benedict fries
All with fried eggs in a darkened haze.
Sit with your friends or a lover
ordering bacon towers and a stack
of sweet potato pancakes all drenched
reading the paper like it’s
Sunday morning so lazy and calm
as that hit from the 80s pumps
your blood up for the pear brandy
and challah spread with mascarpone.
A little bit rich a little bit wild
As you sit in the night eating pancakes
Who cares if it’s one in the morning,
It’s Sunday brunch somewhere.

So an actor I know just posted about a marvelous breakfast nighttime restaurant on Facebook and so far, everyone has been oohed and awed by what could be from this place. I so want to go. I love eating breakfast when it’s late at night. I’ve gotten breakfast for dinner when I went on a date with a guy, and there’s something so homey about it.
My grandparents love breakfast dinners. They are the best.

The title of this piece is actually the place and if you click this link HERE you can read the LA Times article.

While it wasn’t written for today’s prompt, I did write a piece about eating burgers at night which is Cheeseburger Hunger.

That one is a favorite of mine. So enjoy these fine eateries.

Kate

Dutch Pancake – Flash Fiction

Updated 4/26/15, for Sunday breakfast

Updated 4/26/15, for Sunday breakfast

“Can I get you something to drink? Coffee, tea, water, beer….” Phil trailed off as he watched Emma inspect his bookshelf.

“You drink tea?” she asked as she looked back at him over her shoulder.

He shrugged.  “Sometimes.”

“I’d love some coffee,” Emma answered and pulled out a book with a red spine.  “Do you happen to have eggs, milk, flour, and a skillet?” she asked as if inspired by something.

“Uh…. What?” Phil stared at her dumbfounded as he pulled coffee from the freezer.

“Do you have all of those things?” Emma asked again, enunciating each word carefully as if he was a child.

“Yeah. I do. Why?”

“Excellent.  How long does your coffee take to make?”  Then she noticed he had set out a stove-top percolator.  “Oh, at least fifteen minutes, yes?”

“Um. Yes.”  She was worrying him a bit with her cavalier manner and random questions.

“Good. Pull out the skillet and let me work.”  She seemed all business as she pushed up her sleeves, metaphorically since she was wearing a sleeveless top over tan chinos.

He fixed the coffee, putting it on his gas range to perk while he watched her rummage in his fridge pulling out eggs, milk and butter. Then she was pulling out bowls, a whisk and mixing flour and sugar while beating eggs and milk in another bowl. The butter went into the skillet which in turn ended up in the oven turned up high.

She found his small bottle of vanilla hiding amongst the salt and pepper in his ‘spice’ cabinet.  He ignored her muttered comment about ‘men and their lack of proper cooking spices’.  He was rather mystified by her mixing.

When everything was combined, she yanked the skillet out of the oven and poured the batter into the pan, popped it back into the oven and set a timer.

“That’ll be ready in no time. Do you have jam or powdered sugar?” at his negative shake she frowned.  “Maple syrup?”

“Yes.”

“That’ll do.”  She rinsed everything then wandered back to his bookshelves.

She was rather a conundrum in his mind.  She worked outside most of her day in dirt and soil, but she wore diamond drop earrings.

“Just rhinestones,” she corrected.

She wore sturdy pants and a chambray sleeveless top; riding boots.  But he caught a hint of lace hiding beneath the shirt.  Why would someone getting dirty outside wear lacy lingerie underneath?

She was prim and proper with her attitude and spoke without cursing, though she did let a swear word out as she commented about something she hated.  She read naughty books but liked to write clean and elegant poetry.  She admired his Varga paintings, and liked some of his more ‘risque’ books, but she looked like she stepped out of a Norman Rockwell.  Or something that would be considered ladylike.  A study in contradiction.

She was gleeful when the timer rang and she opened the door to the oven, shielding the contents from him.  Then he was utterly surprised at the giant puffed up pastry, or whatever she had made, that was practically escaping from the pan.

“It’s a Dutch pancake,” she answered his minor shock.  She directed him to get plates and forks while she cut the pastry and the whole thing collapsed.  The doused their halves of the pancake with the fake syrup in his cupboard and carried their plates and cups of coffee out to the deck, sitting in the mid-afternoon sun overlooking the mountain lake.

His first mouthful was pure decadence. Not too rich or sweet, but oh so satisfying.  He caught her grin as she bit into a dainty bite of hers.

“I moaned, didn’t I?” he asked.

She giggled.  “You did, but I’m glad you like it.  It’s my specialty.”

“Well you do a damn fine job of it.”

“Thank you.”

“I may have to keep you around,” he said as he devoured his piece.

“I may let you,” she teased.

The thing was, he wasn’t teasing……………

Ah, flash fiction…. sometimes it comes out perfectly.  This was inspired by a recent thought and my new love of Dutch pancakes that I make almost daily for my family. There is something so magical about eggs, milk, flour, sugar and butter that puff up to something so ooey gooey yumminess.  For those interested, I highly recommend King Arthur Flour’s recipe but up the sugar. I don’t use lemon, but it’s a personal thing. I really suggest you try it.

Lemon Puff Pancake with Fresh Berries

Or try this one that I think might be better.

Dutch Baby Recipe

As of 4/26/15, I have modified the recipe using both of the links I shared and so, play around with it. You want it to climb and not sink, like my image above.  So much goodness in such a simple thing.(I should add, I do gluten free, so even better)

Kate

Lizzy & Jane – A Review

_225_350_Book.1428.coverLizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay; the sophomore novel by the author of Dear Mr. Knightley, is just as charming as her first.  Lizzy and Jane, sisters, are nothing like their namesakes. In fact they are much more like Anne Elliot and Mrs. Musgrove from Persuasion if I had to pick two people from a Jane Austen book to compare these two. In fact, Lizzy, the one telling her story, alludes to Persuasion several times within the story.

Lizzy has lost her touch in cooking. Just just doesn’t have that zing she had when she first opened Feast a small restaurant in New York City, funded by the charming, but ruthless Paul Metzger. Paul decides Feast needs a bit of help, so in comes the dazzling and popular chef Trent Murray.

Now, not only has Lizzy lost the top position in her restaurant, but her sister is struggling with breast cancer and chemotherapy, something their mother succumbed to back when Lizzy was in high school. Lizzy has never forgiven Jane for leaving after high school, being eight years older, and never coming home during the time Lizzy’s mother passed away. Needless to say, there is animosity between the sisters.

But Lizzy needs a change. So she packs up and flies back to Seattle to visit and try to find that zing she has lost.  From dealing with her sister’s chemo treatments, reacquainting herself with her father and nephew and niece, and even meeting Nick, Jane’s colleague in the marketing world, Seattle is almost more than Lizzy bargained for. And Nick is more than Lizzy expected. Single father of an adorable little boy, he’s a cautious man that has been stunned by Lizzy’s sharp New York self. But he can’t stay away. Somewhat like a Mr. Darcy we all know and love.

Will Lizzy get her zing? Will she and Jane ever reconcile all their past hates? Will Lizzy end up with Paul, Trent, or Nick?  I want to tell you. I really do, but I say just read the book.

I cannot rave enough about this book. I loved Dear Mr. Knightley and I was hopeful Lizzy & Jane would hold up to the stellar review of Ms. Reay’s first book. It has and in a stunning novel. A book that made me want to cry, laugh and plot the ending myself. I seriously thought Lizzy should end up with Paul. Then Trent. And I really like Nick too. There were so many twists to this story, the theme of Jane Austen floating through the story, from food to sisters.  The food alone and descriptions made me want to eat my way through this book. (Ms. Reay, I wish you would have added in all the recipes for this book! Can we say bacon ice cream with maple syrup, anyone?)

This book is seriously within my favorites book. I want to share it with everyone, yet I will not give up my copy, it’s too good.  If you like Jane Austen, or read Katherine Reay’s Dear Mr. Knightley, then you will love this book. Five out of Five stars.

This book was provided to me free through Harper Collins Christian Publishing via BookLookBloggers for my honest review.

Kate

 

 

Pumpkin Spice

Go figure, but this year I am so into Pumpkin Spice I’m probably going to wear down my family. I want to mix it in everything.  I’ve mixed it with plain hot tea and come up with an amazing spiced tea; I’ve put it in oatmeal with raisins for breakfast; I made pumpkin cookies that didn’t have pumpkin spice in them per say, but cinnamon was definitely in them…. I cannot get enough of this stuff.  See the cookies I made last night? Marvelous aren’t they?

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Penuche Frosting

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Penuche Frosting

Then there is this marvelous recipe from Joy the Baker that I feel I must try. Maple Spiced Almond Milk with a hint of Pumpkin.  I haven’t sat down and soaked my almonds for making into almond milk, but I do have the pumpkin out.  So I need to do that.

I want to smell the spice everywhere. I want it in everything. I want to sprinkle it on my toast with sugar. I want to eat it in pies and cakes and drinks.  There is something so delicious about the spices.  And I find it rather interesting that they say men absolutely adore the scent of these spices.  Want to catch a man? Bake a Pumpkin Pie…..  Or maybe just sprinkle on some of the spice cabinet….

Signing off

Kate

Cheeseburger Hunger

We made love in your big bed

All sprawled skin warm and entwined

And afterwards my head pillowed on your chest

I said I was starving

You laughed at me but grabbed your pants

I wore one of your loose shirts belted

Around my waist and kitten heels

You said I looked like a sexpot

I liked that and wanted to put up my hair

Like Bridget Bardo, but

You tugged me towards the door

We went to an all-night burger joint

Ordering juicy cheeseburgers, fries and

Frosty chocolate milkshakes

We laughed and munched slaking our hunger

You wiped a smear of ketchup off my lip

And when I licked it from your finger

Your eyes darkened with renewed hunger for something

Other than your burger and fries

I grinned at you but you knew

Knew that I still wanted you again

Our appetite for food was gone

I gave you a look

Suddenly our teasing game was done

You balled up the wrappers and paper napkins

Tossing them in the nearest trash can

Your keys were in the ignition

Before I could think or argue

Not that I wanted to

No, I wanted you just as much as before

And the car door slammed, your fingers

Gripping my hand as you flung open

The front door, barely making it

To your bed before a new hunger

Rose up to take the place of the need for food

The desire was now for skin and touch, lips and arms

And everything that was before.

 

 Okay, I was really in a mood last night and for some reason the thought of being hungry after being with someone struck me as ‘I HAVE TO WRITE THIS’.  So I did. 

Cheeseburgers were the focus after hearing about a barbecue-bacon-blue cheese burger with beer battered curly fries on an episode of Eureka and  a few days of not eating much more than toast, so I was hungry.  And yes, I had someone in mind when I wrote it, but I do hope you all enjoy.  Incredibly free verse here, and a bit more adult, but I had fun.  I suppose I could tweak it till forever, but other than a few line changes, some spelling corrections and a few other things, I like it. So I think I’ll keep it the way it is.  Course now I have to re-copy it down on paper since it does not match what I scribbled in my journal last night.

 Signing off

~Kate

Red, White, and Blue Chocolate Dipped Strawberries (via Life Tastes Like Food)

I have so got to make these! I have a friend who would adore them. I think her word for them would be, “Glorious!”……

Red, White, and Blue Chocolate Dipped Strawberries The 4th of July is almost always comprised of social gatherings including BBQs and potlucks! When I was younger, I use to live in a cul de sac where the neighborhood was really child-friendly. Every 4th of July, we would block off the entire neighborhood and hold a huge potluck BBQ that would end in lighting off an obscene amount of fireworks into the darkness. Did anyone else ever use sparklers to write their names in the sidewalk as a kid? It's … Read More

via Life Tastes Like Food