God my school is so stupid.
They only have three classes I can take, and one of them is already full. So I'll only be in two classes. Actually one, because Intern B is just me keeping up with my log book; the class only meets twice the whole semester.
If I was able to take a full course load I could be finished in three semesters.
And to top it all off, I have a plethora of finacial aide, now that I have reached independent student status. The irony is I can afford to pay tuition for just two classes out of pocket right now. And if I had had this money last year I would only have two semesters to go.
...denotes that dreaded time of semester--finals! Finals and projects! Which I am almost through with! *flail* One more final to take this afternoon and the second semester of culinary school is officially over!
I recieved a grade of A on my Nutrition project, as well as some nice comments from the instructor. Not bad for the slapdash effort it was.
I've already mentioned I did well on my practicals--
( Speaking of which... )I am so glad I practiced this at home! The practials for stocks and sauces weren't as fun because we chose three sauces at random. But then we went in the kitchen and he'd set up one of the tables in front of the range, and said he wanted us to pretend we were on a cooking show and tell the class what we were doing as we made our sauces (mine were veloute, mayonaise, and buerre blanc). Gah! It wasn't so bad, but still--most of you know I hate getting in front of people--for any reason.
( Just for a laugh. )
And look! There is my hand!
So all I need to do now is take the written final for Stocks and Sauces and the whole thing is finished.
Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that this morning I overslept and was an hour late to International Cuisine. As I was walking to the building, I saw my instructor and called out to him--good thing, too, because he had been about to leave. Not only was I late to take the final, but I missed the scully, too. (Which is just a funny term for cleaning the kitchen, or parts of it, anyway.) Oh, darn! I was so looking forward to cleaning out the walk in fridge! I was able to take the test though, and that's the important part.
Practicals for International Cuisine are done. And I am told I did very well! The chef said everything was really good, especially the eggrolls (I am definately keeping that recipe around for future use, it is too awesome!) and the rice pudding, which I did not forget under the broiler this time. I have pictures but they will have to wait until tomorrow. All I have to do now are my written exams, one later this afternoon and two next week. God I can't believe it's almost over! I am really, really going to miss International Cuisine. Stocks and Sauces has been a blast too, but there was something special going on in that class. (And Nutrition--yeah, can't complain other than the crazy amount of homework we had.)
So, all in all, I've had a great time this semester. I have an internship, I had some great classes, and even if FA doesn't work out for me over the summer, well hey, I can use a break.
I happen to think this is utterly sweet:
( More pics here )( More pics here )( More pics here )
If I manage to work this crap out, I am probably going to have at least one class with TDC. Possibly more. It was too good to last, I knew it.
But on the upside, I have no more projects to do, and the practicals for stocks and sauces are out of the way. I have one more practical (for international cuisine) and three more written finals to go. *flail*
Also, Olive is going to the vet in the morning to have her kitty making factory closed. Positive thoughts and vibes are appreciated.
We have to include recipes, yields, garnishes and plate setups, all that good stuff.
Pffff, say I. I can pull that off lickity split. And I did. In one afternoon I had a neat little menu all set up, and I was even going to make the food, take pictures of it, and turn it in with the project (Due Monday), just to show how committed I am.
Unfortunately, I somehow completely missed the section that said I needed to include nutritional information. Such as Calories, percentage of Calories from fat, saturated fat, etc... To be fair, the instructor also wrote down a website that will let you enter in a food item and its search engine will dig around its data base and tell you all about it. However. That would mean entering in every single ingredient by itself and adding up the total. Which I do not feel like doing.
So I ended up spending all morning looking up recipes on the American Heart Association's website, because not only do they have recipes, they also include all the nutritional info as well.
( The menues, before and after. )( The menues, before and after. )( The menues, before and after. )( The menues, before and after. )
The garden is growing! I am a little shocked that it's actually thriving! The pepper plants and basil have already nearly doubled in size since Friday. I think it's because I bought some halfway decent soil instead of whatever was cheapest. But IT IS ALIVE. Except for possibly my leeks. Toby keeps trying to eat them. Gah! At first I was pissed, but then it occured to me that cats probably eat grass when they get sick like dogs, and I know he has a problem with hairballs. So then I felt bad. He probably had a tummy ache and was just trying to feel better. But it's not my fault he won't eat the medicine the vet sold me. He won't even eat bacon grease, which is an old folk remedy for hairballs. Since the medicine the vet has is basically flavored vasoline there's probably no harm. But he won't eat it. Instead he eats my leeks. The idiot.
Well. That's what's been going on. Garden, Toby, work (is still great, and I'm not quite so intimidated by working the line anymore), class (is still great too, I have a ton of pics I need to get around to uploading), I think I've covered everything.
Oh yes, I finally finished Last Argument of Kings. I think the problem with it is that I don't sense that Joe really likes his characters very much. I know he set out to write his books as a kind of anti-epic fantasy, and he certainly succeeded in that...but for some reason it just didn't engage me, at all.
But I found out about a scholarship opportunity, wherein you earn a scholarship by blogging. No kidding! It's called collegenet.com. I kept it simple and used the same username over there as lj. Sign up for a free voter account, poke around over there, and vote for the people you think deserve it (namely, myself) based on what they say in their blogs. I can win up to $5,000! Go, vote!
I just finished applying to a new program. One of the ones I looked into before but decided against in favor of my current program (not the one in Atlanta, sadly, but still a good one). While it's true that things have been getting better here, I can't shake the fact that this was my absolute last choice, scraping the bottom of the barrell. Not so long ago, before TDC developed dementia, it was a great program. Now, not so much.
There's also the fact that this a fast track program, meaning if I started now I would be finished by the end of the year.
Also, I never actually got around to switching my major to pastry. I could have done it anyway, against advice, but I let myself get talked out of it. Now I'm pissed that I did, because as much as I like the people at my new job, the job itself is what I have problems with. Now that I'm doing it for real and not just in class, I have discovered that working on the line truly does suck, and plainly put I just don't feel up to it. The program I just applied to just started a pastry program, and it looks mighty appealing, let me tell you.
The problem with all of this, is that I need money. Lots of money. More than I can save in two months. A conservative estimate puts me at around $2,000. There's the money I would have to pay to break my lease (which comes at $800). There's money to rent a trailer to haul my stuff and I'm not sure how much that costs (I'm going to sell most if not all my furniture; I don't need it, really, and it's not as if I'm attached to any of it--and even then my car simply won't fit all the rest of my things--books alone will account for six or seven boxes), and of course there's money to pay a new security deposit, new utility fees, and I'd best have enough on hand to pay my first month's rent too, so I'd probably need between $2,500 and $3,000. My solution? Go ahead and do the FAFSA. Then go to my student loan company directly and get more money from them, enough to cover tuition and all the costs it will take to move. A Stafford Loan, even combined with a Pell Grant, simply will not be enough. Maybe if I was twenty-four and I was applying myself, I could get enough, but I've already bitched about that before and I won't do it again.
Edit: I will be heading to the school Monday to discuss options, look around for places to live and job hunting. Also looked at some supplemental loans and it appears that I will be good.
Grouper Meuniere, that is (supposed to be trout, but hey we use what we've got). I got some lovely pats on the back from the chef and fellow classmates. Last week everyone loved the poblano cream sauce, too (although the chef said it needed more salt...however his was the only dissenting opinion). And then there was that compliment on the way I presented the grouper I made last week, for international cuisine. I just felt like sharing. You know. That I am gettin' pretty good at this whole chef thing. :D Pics will follow tomorrow.
Now I get to see how I did on the quiz for stocks and sauces.
International Cuisine's culture of the day was The Carribean. This is a whole pig la caja china style.
Just before we cut into that bad boy. Or girl.
Before it was delicious.
My contribution to the spread, pan seared grouper with grilled pineapple and red onion salsa, and mango rice.
The whole spread: jerked chicken, fried plantains, the grouper, black bean cakes and various dips and salsas.
10 chilies pasilla
10 chilies guajillo
1/2 garlic bulb
1/4 liter white vinegar
fresh whole pineapple
2 lbs thinly sliced raw pork (pork shoulder)
Cut the pork meat in thin slices in necessary (I had to break down a whole pork shoulder--fun times).
Take the seeds out of the chilies, cut them in little pieces and mash them together with the garlic, cloves, and cumin. Avoid touching the chilies and vinegar with your bare hands if possible. The vinegar and chilies can "cook" your hands. A food processor would help here.
Boil the ingredients from the above step in the vinegar until it makes a sort of heavy paste. To make sure it won't burn, stir it often. Once fully cooked let the mixture cool down.
Apply the paste to the meat putting one steak on top of the other. At a real taquerias they would form a pile that eventually goes into the rotisserie. Since we do not have a rotisserie, place the marinated pork on a sheet pan, and cover that with a wire rack.
Now peel and slice the pineapple. Place the pineapple slices on the wire rack. Put the whole thing in a preheated 350 F oven for thirty minutes. Next dice the onion and chop the cilantro for toppings/garnish. You can dice the pineapple afterwards and also use it to garnish.
We also used some sliced mangoes. It was unutterably, sinfully delicious. I cannot even begin to imagine what they would tast like if they were made totally authentic. The chef said it's hard to find recipes for tacos al pastor because the taquerias keep their recipes secret, and he had to search long and hard for this one.
See, when I said International Cuisine was the best class ever, this is why I said it. Because the chef goes out of his way to find really authentic recipes, or as close as he can find. He said that the textbook the college gave him to use had a recipe for nachos con queso in the chapter on Mexico. It was written sometime in the early eighties, I think, but still. I am so glad I have a chef instructor who realizes that none of us are paying thousands of dollars of tuition to make nachos con queso.
International Cuisine: Best Class Ever. No lie. We did the whole knife skills thing, as per usual, then the chef told us to split in teams of two, and make something--whatever we wanted, out of the potatoes, carrots, onions, and green bell peppers that we had practiced on. He just let us loose! My team did a sesame seared tuna, and I made a vegan Thai curry with the peppers, carrots, and onions, along with some mushrooms we found to toss in (I wish we'd had some spinach or basil but there wasn't any, oddly enough). The veggies were stir fried in a couple tablespoons of canola oil, and I stirred in about two and a half tablespoons of red curry paste, a can of coconut milk, and voila! Pour over steamed rice and mmmmmmmm. Plus I get to take home the leftovers! Oh this semester looks like it's going to be so much fun! If only Stocks and Sauces goes well, that is. That's in...an hour and a half.
Stocks and Sauces: also awesome. I got some really awesome instructors this time around. Thankfully! I think I am going to actually be taught something, instead of gleaning what I can from reading the text books. Oh and also, TDC caught me in the hall and said, "Hi Kelly". Kelly. For god's sake. Also heard about a job opening at a supermarket bakery; I'm going tomorrow to check it out. I was told to talk to Sharon. We'll see!
...went well. Except for the hour long video we had to watch that was filmed sometime before I was born. Zzzzzz. It extolled the virtues of margarine as a replacement for butter. *shudder* Fake food: just say no. The class was Nutrition, by the way. Tomorrow is International Cuisine and Stocks and Sauces, and more careful questioning of instructors revealed that TDC is not one of the "staff" that still shows up on my schedule when I look it up online.
I just finished Red Seas Under Red Skies and Scott Lynch: You, sir, are a bastard.
So I now here I sit at the good old computer lab with their lovely fifteen inch monitors, and I learn that I made a B in TDC's class and and A in my two others. So I am pleased. And apparently FA paid out for me to take International Cuisine, even though it's outside my degree plan (that is fucked up to me; as far as I'm concerned any class that is about food and how to cook it should be in my degree plan) so I won't be dropping to half time status, after all. The problem is there is no money left over to buy books. And none of the books I bought last semester on the list to buy back at the bookstore. However Dez (you remember him, hopeless crush) has offered to sell me his books for cheap, but they might be old editions by now.
Aaaand, the Nightrunners series, which I may have mentioned I love once or twice, is being rereleased with new cover art, by the new guy that did the cover of Shadows Return! Ordinarily I wouldn't buy them, 'cause why? Same book, right? But the covers of the first three are just so...so...not good. And the one on Shadows Return IS! I would love to see what this artist makes of them!
It's almost Christmas, I've survived the Class From Hell, and I've avoided taking more classes with TDC, not to mention that even though class starts January 7, it's on a Wednesday, and my classes are on Monday and Tuesday. Haha, I get an extra long vacation! Except for work of course, but I can deal.
Development number two is, I'm switching my major to Pastry. Yup. From what I've seen, I think I'd like that a lot better, and I really do love baking. I still can't make brownies for the life of me, but cookies and cakes and breads, I can do. Thankfully I came to this decision while it's still early enough that it won't make difficulties, such as right before graduation...
On to The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore!
Nothing evokes the spirit of Christmas like murder, one night stands, and zombies! God has sent an angel to Earth to grant a Christmas wish. The angel, who is none too bright, grants the wish of a little boy named Joshua, who witnessed a woman murder her ex husband while he was in a Santa costume. Joshua wants Santa to come back to life so that Christmas goes forward as usual, so the angel resurrects the dead santa, as well as all the other dead occupants of the town, who suddenly and inexplicably have a craving for brains.
I know aurillia has already read a Chris Moore book, so she knows what I mean when I say that the man if fucking funny. He has a great sense of irony, and the book is peppered with random pop culture references and profanity, and well, it's just great.