Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Summer Job

I was driving home one night in this past summer, listening to NPR when the summer jobs segment came on. It got me thinking about my summer jobs. I guess they were pretty typical: fast food place, summer camp, with the exception of pineapple cannery. 

I was a trimmer (big knife) on the last shift (overnight to 6 am). Took the job because it paid well and a group of friends were going to do it. On top of that, I still could work at the fast food place (If I only had that energy again).

A trimmer trimmed of the bits of skin still on the pineapple after it ran through the skinning and coring machine (the ginaca machine, cool name). You would sit at the conveyer belt as the pineapples would roll by. You picked one up by sticking your thumb in the core hole and trim the extra skin off the other end. Then you would flip the pineapple (remember you have a big knife in the other hand) to trim the other end. This flipping part took some time learn and after the first night, I had a terrible rash on my stomach from the pineapple juice because I was using my body to help me catch it. 

After a quick trip to the infirmary, because of nausea and my rash, the old timer suggested that we wear a garbage under our clothes to protect our skin. After a couple week, I could flip and catch those pineapples like a pro. 

I did have few "Lucy" moments. There were 6 of us per side, that meant, you need to pick up 1 of  every 6 pineapples that came down. The smaller the pineapples, the faster they would come. If you couldn't keep up, you would have just grab them and put them on the side. The supervisor would either come by and help you (annoyed, lots of sighing) with your pile or they would stop the line for you to catch up (more annoyed, more people sighing). The ladies from the first shift were always so nice, letting us go a little earlier. I think they did it because they just didn't like they way were doing it. 

A healthy muffin

My sister was sprinkling flax seed meal on her morning bagel. I decide to try it to see how it taste. I had flax seed before but not the meal. It tasted the same a little nutty. I decide to buy it when I got back. There's a recipe for Bran Flax muffins. Just the name alone almost scared me away but as I read the recipe I thought it had promise.

Grated carrots and apples, how bad could it be. The only thing is that it didn't have a whole lot of fat in it. It had 3/4 cup of milk and 2 eggs. I was a little nervous.

Well, 17 muffins later the jury is still out. The taste isn't bad, and it is quite moist but the texture a little strange. It could be the flax meal and oat bran. I still think it need some fat (butter or oil). Here's some pictures, before the oven, done, and inside the muffin. The before and after pics look only slightly different.

17 bran flax muffin waiting for the oven

Muffins all done

Inside of the muffin

Mischief night

struck our house last night. 

Ding dong, my doorbell is ring at 10 last night. WG is passed out, doesn't even move. I start making my way down to the front door, looking to throw something on over my pj.

Ding dong, ding dong, knock, knock, knock.
I'm coming, I'm coming. Who is it? I asked with a little concern.
It's the New Brunswick Police, from the voice behind the door.

Now I'm even more concern and I hurry to open the front door. There he was Mr. Policeman and another person with a bucket.

He tells me that there were kids in the neighborhood egging the houses and cars. And our house was one of them. The young man with him was one of the kids they caught and he was here to clean up some of it. 

The young man wipes my screen door off and makes an utter mess. Then give me a half-ass apology with a smile on his face after the Mr. Policeman asked him to do it. And now there were off to other house to clean up.

Now this all came as quite a whirlwind and much confusion for me to absorb in the moments it happen. After they left, I had screen door with a soapy mess on it. It took 20 minutes to clean up. And I could figure out why it had such an aftershave smell. 

So I woke up this morning thinking I could use this morning to start baking early and testing more recipes. But I forgot to get eggs and I think I need more butter. 

So out the door I went at 10 to find out that I had a flat tire. I have no proof of who or what made the tire flat but I just find it an odd coincidence that the flat tire is where there is crap on my car from those outstanding young people from my neighborhood. And by the way, that stinky aftershave smell, is that awful men's bodywash. I have evidence as they threw the container down near my front door. Here's some picture some pictures of the evidence and my flat tire. 
Evidence #1

My flat tire
So instead of baking, I'm writing my story about mischief night and those outstanding young people in my neighborhood. And by the way, they suck. 

recipe test #1

Fruit and Savory pies

I was having a conversation one day about coffee and bake goods when someone mentioned the pineapple empanadas from that famous coffee place and that they don't make them anymore. The way he describe them, they sounded really good, something I would like to eat. So I did a little research and this first test is a result of that conversation.

I really don't like making pie dough but think this would make a great appetizer or dessert for the restaurant. I made up a pineapple pie, tart apple pie and savory mushroom pie. 

For the pineapple pie, I sauteed the pineapples in butter and brown sugar and add grated lemon zest. I like it but it need something else. Maybe some thyme or mint.

The apple I just added lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest. Kind of traditional. Maybe a pear version would be better.

And the mushroom pie, both WG and my favorite. Made with chanterelles mushrooms, shallots, thyme, sauteed in butter, with grated manchego cheese. It was delicious. I've been drying to make this. WG said we should add truffle oil.

Above all, the crust was really flaky and buttery. But I'm testing and recipe to see if it will work better. 

Next in my line up for these pies will be another try with the pineapple and mushroom, a new flavor: potato, chorizo and pepper combination. I'm making up the dough today and will bake a batch tomorrow. 

Today's baking: peanut butter cookies, some kind chocolate chip and more zucchini bread. I'm trying to adjust my recipe, I think it is a bit too sweet. Stay tune for more pictures.

Here's some pictures of my fruit pies:

Pineapple and apple fruit pies

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A good cleaning

That's what my kitchen got this morning. I needed to do it. Got rid of junk that we would probably not use and reorganized cabinets and shelves. Now I have space on my counter to do something. If it only could stay that way.

Tonight will be a big baking session to test a could of a ideas for the restaurant. Hope one of my ideas turn out tasty. Pictures to come.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm on a new schedule!

I get an 1/2 hour extra of sleep (if I want), get to exercise in the mornings (if I want), and now I have time to do things that I was too tired to do when I got back from work. 

But the best thing is I'm not sitting in as much traffic as I was trying to get to work by 8:30. And I was leaving close to 6 every night (if not later), that it made sense to change my schedule.

Now I only have inspire myself to get running in the morning. Stay tune.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Got the keys!

We officially got the keys on Friday. Saturday started the major cleaning and it continues on. Power washing and degreaser are our new friends.

Got a couple of pictures. All the furniture is moved around because we are cleaning the kitchen and need to move equipment out. Will post more as we have more progress.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Belated Birthday cake

For my sister and brother-in-law. A chocolate loaf cake. Got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Overall, not too bad, could be a bit more moist. Good chocolate taste. Not sure how I would alter, maybe another egg, maybe more butter? Would make again but would adjust a little. Here's shot of the cake.

I forgot to add the link to the recipe:

I should take better food images. But with my iphone and my forgetfulness, I take what I get. Maybe I pick up a little point and shoot soon to get better pics.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The rest of my short vacation

I spent in Orangevale CA @ my sister's. Did some shopping (candy and yarn), didn't make to auntie k's because of all day headache. But spent my day with Mira the dog (2nd niece) try to chase this headache away. Tomorrow all day travel day--drive to sf airport from Orangevale then a flight to newark. Back to work, bright and early on Thursday for day of way too long meetings. I hope I survive. Here's picture of Mira looking annoy because I'm taking a picture of her.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Marin Headlands Center for the Arts

The wedding I attended yesterday was at The Marin Headlands Center for the Arts. What a beautiful place, secluded amongst the hills of northern CA, wildlife running around. It was an old military facility and it still has all the fixtures and charm. Wish I had more time to go and explore. Worth a visit.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Trying to take a picture of myself. . .

With my iPhone, in the middle of the redwood forest. I got 4 different versions of me looking confused and unsure if I got a shot. Note to self, close your mouth next time you try this.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone