Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Viva la bones

So I'm thinking about brown veal stock. I haven't made it in a very long time, partly because making stocks in a home kitchen is kind of a pain. The pots aren't big enough, the sink isn't big enough, it's hard to find a butcher who will even sell you veal bones...but I've finally got my own kitchen to mess up as I please. And a place to have dinner parties. Suddenly, it seems very important to have brown stock on hand.

Normally 80-degree sunny weather doesn't make me think, "hm, you know what would be good? Roasted bones." But lately I've been doing a lot of baking, and I mean a lot, testing a new oven for a manufacturer. I found out today that these things are going to retail for close to ten grand - which would explain why they hire people like me to make sure they at least meet expectations. That means hundreds of cookies, dozens of cakes, cheesecakes, bagels, breads, croissants, get the picture. When I come home, my hair smells like cake. I know many people pay a lot of money for their hair to smell like cake. I am not one of them. Bring on the savory smells.

I'll let you know how it goes. Next week, we test the roasting function of the ovens, and I'll be crying for cookies.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Birth and Death of Betty

Here's the thing. Once upon a time I had an idea. I thought it would be smart to start a business making custom-made desserts. Well, it was a great idea. In reality, I didn't have the experience to pull it off. But that's okay. Because I did the fun part - named it, designed the website, made some pretty pastries to photograph. They website still lives, even though I killed Cake Betty.

Last year I found Betty's brother, SweetCake. Darby is SweetCake's daddy: founder, owner, pastry chef. Darby has the know-how and experience to pull it off. That's why I go work for him when I have some time. He makes the pastries I always wanted to. It inspires me. I love going to that clean, well-equipped, organized kitchen and helping produce beautiful treats made the right way - from scratch, with quality ingredients. It makes me feel like the pastry chef I never was. It helps me keep my production skills up and puts me in a good mood. No drama, just friendly people making pretty little treats. Sweet, indeed.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Notes from the Land of Make-Believe

I'm a lucky girl. The last two days I got to indulge in one of my favorite pretend careers - bartender. It's one of those things I always think would be really cool, but I've never actually bothered to remember the names of drinks. Which means there are some drinks I think I made up but almost certainly exist elsewhere, with different names. I thought I made up a greyhound with a salted rim but it turns out it's a Salty Dog (hey - I get it!) Anyway, I like mine made with fresh grapefruit juice (we have a tree with really sour white grapefruits) and Grey Goose. Now the grapefruits are nearly gone so it's time to move on. Here are two of my favorites. You can tell me if they already exist, I can take it.

Dirty Betty
(I didn't make this one up, Michael Chu did. I just named it. And drank it.)
2 oz Gin
1 Tbsp Dry Vermouth
spash olive juice
big squirt Sriracha sauce
little squirt ketchup
2 fat olives

Shake until icy. Garnish with olives.

1 1/2 oz vanilla-flavored vodka
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
2 oz orange juice

Serve shaken or on the rocks. You can add more orange juice if you like.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Not Annie, me. ME!

Today I finally finished the big blue cake. It hung around in M's dining room for awhile, then mine. Now it's done and on its way to the storage space. Bye-bye blue cake. You got to be famous for a minute, along with my blue-stained cuticles.

BBC was a lesson in airbrushing - I'm still finding stuff in the house that turns blue when anything wet touches it. It was also a reminder of how much I don't miss the ad business. As stinky as this job is sometimes (rotting chicken juice, anyone?) I'd rather be one of the people working on the set than one of the ones sitting around trying to justify my expense account. That's just me. -B