Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Bromance Banana Bread" or "Chaos Theory"

Hey there,  I know it's been a while since we talked but I'm about to bore you with feelings so I thought I'd bring you some banana bread to make up for it, cool? Cool.

So how were your winter holidays? Good? Good. New year is here and it's blowing my mind! Some big things just happened to me, I just turned a year older ( 26! What?!) and I attended my very last class of culinary school! WHAT?! WUUT?! Yeah it totally doesn't feel official yet since my graduation ceremony isn't until May (booooo! hisssssss!) but yeah. Totally sprung. Wait, I meant like sprung from jail... not... like, the other one...  Anyway soooooo, after spending what felt like forever in school, and here now creeping up on 9ish months working in the field, I sort of discovered I don't want to do kitchen work. Like as my passionate lovey dovey job. Which... I guess I kind of knew, but didn't know officially, going into culinary school. I knew I needed to try for some reason, because it felt at the time like something I would regret forever if I never did it. Kind of "I coulda been a contenduh!" type moments later in life. So yay on that front, crossed something off my bucket list, but all the same I find myself standing here a quarter life, a time I assumed in my youth that I'd have at least some things figured out, basically staring at a whirlwind of chaos and options.

Being a meticulous planner this is sort of ruffling my feathers. The upside here is that I've come to this realization without (m)any scars or any school debt (thank god for that!) But starting over again and spreading the news isn't exactly an appealing prospect. I know you can't live your life for other people, or in fear of what they will think, but it is however an awkward thing to announce to people that your life plans have changed after you've crowed (maybe too loudly) for a year or two about something you thought was set in stone. Kind of like attempting to tactfully announce the end of a relationship in the facebook age. You know nobody really cares, but at the same time they kind of do, because otherwise facebook wouldn't exist, right? But what's the alternative? Pretend forever? Um. No.

So what's my next move? Well as of right now, I'm indulging myself in what I like to call "mourning the loss of familiarity" it's a bit like a post breakup funk, there's a lot of sleeping, consumption of carbs such as banana bread and cookies, and there's a lot of binge watching of BBC Sherlock going on ( in times of trouble, turn to bromance). Long term? I'm toying with the idea of a return to school, this time for photography, something I've loved long and hard since my teen years but deemed too impractical to pursue outside of hobby status. As for what the future holds for this space? I've been looking into that too, it's suffered from a bit of neglect since my entrance into culinary school and needs a bit of an refocus and adjustment too, but all in good time.

This has been a (not that helpful) Magar update. Recipe follows.

Bromance Banana bread

Adapted from Frame by Frame Baking-Christine Last

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup ap flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

*optional, 2/3 cup shredded coconut, or chopped dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a 8x4x2  inch loaf pan(or whatever, my pans are like 8x10) with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl add the mashed banana, sugars, eggs, salt, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
Whisk in the sour cream, then the oil, then add the baking powder and the flour mixing until all the flour is moistened. Add mix-ins if using, and spoon into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until risen firm and golden brown. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack and cool completely.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

October Instagram

How is it November already? HOW?! 2013 is almost over! October (apparently) came and went in a whirlwind of food and travel. Here's what it looked like.

The very FIRST week of October I spotted Christmas decorations for sale already in Target. Even though it doesn't mean what it used to (since I don't work in retail anymore), it still gave me a shiver of exhaustion.

I would however, totally buy that Santa. Too adorable.

I had a BIG career challenge this month, my bosses went out of town and left me and the Sous Chef of Biscuit Love to run a wedding event in the boonies. I was super worried the whole time whether I was doing a good job, but everything went wonderfully and the ceremony was gorgeous!

I got really wrapped up in school projects this month, here we were practicing fruit and vegetable carving. Clearly this is my calling.

We have a catering project for school that's due in November, it involves planning menus, cooking food, and table decoration. As a blogger, I fixated on the visual aspect of the project and sort of got carried away with my prop shopping.

Still totally usable and kitchen safe, right?

Recipe testing for our catering project it went pretty well until I somehow melted the top to a ink pen in my oven (wtf?!). That made me feel really professional!

My brother turned 22 on October the 9th, he requested muffins instead of a cake this year (?). I included some Lego block candles because they were his favorite once upon a time...

We tried out quite a few new restaurants this month. We went to Burger Republic in Lenoxx Village to have dinner with my boyfriend's parents.

Fondue Tots 

Banana Split Milkshake

The  "Eat The Farm" and Bacon Mac and Cheese

Later in the month we tired out a Greek Lunch place called Kouzina Cafe,  I had the falafel gyro, it was sooo good but HUGE!

I also tried out a brand new food truck in town Churro Queens! 

Things have been slowing down a bit on the truck lately now that we're getting into the fall and winter, but we've been to a lot of fun events.

Attack of the Scarecrows at the Franklin Farmer's Market. All the vendors displayed themed scarecrows. This one was ours, modeled after our head chef and  notorious cookbook hoarder, Karl.

Square dancing with Yazoo brewery at Bells Bend Farms. This event was SO much fun, every one had such a good time, and the music was awesome too! The only bad part was that the temperature suddenly dropped down to 40 degrees while we were out there! I was really glad I was working so close to an oven and a fryer. Cold or not though those people keep on drinking and dancing.

Halloween was a bit of a bust this year, with Tornado speed winds and thunderstorms all night. Lucky for me my running club has a costume night  that day before the storm hit so at least I got to dress like a goober in public ( which as I'm sure you're aware, is one of my favorite pastimes). I went as Fionna from Adventure Time.

Only people with kids of a certain age even really knew who I was supposed to be, but I didn't care!

And that was the month of October!

If you want to follow me on Instagram I'm madame_magar

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Midweek Marvels - Kern's Pear Nectar

Unlike some people I happen to love pears, and the very sudden arrival of the freezing cold fall temps in Nashville has put me in a very pear-y mood. So I thought this week I would pick out something very pear-y that I've seen around for years but never tried; Kern's Pear Nectar.

It comes in these teeny tiny cans all sealed together in a little wholesome six pack that made me feel like I was buying brewskies for a barbie doll. It was a weird situation. I was in to it.

Turns out though, that in all these years of passing Kern's Nectar by, I wasn't really missing much. It has the texture of orange juice concentrate plopped into water before a good mixing. And there isn't much impressive taste to speak of (pear or otherwise), and I think part of me was disappointed that it wasn't carbonated ( conditioned expectations with cans and all that). I guess if you just wanted a can of juice-y substance to hand a kid to keep him quiet this would work. But for this pear lover, it was really nothing special.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's Sunday I'm In Love

My ability to care about anything else has hit an all time low, I am way, way too caught up in this food truck life. I'm in the last few weeks of my last semester of culinary school and I don't care, self set blog posting deadlines keep coming and going and I haven't done a wonderful job of keeping them up, but this day job of mine has become way too much fun.

This job came along at just the right time for me. I've always been so obsessed with rules and schedules and meticulous details and this chaotic changeable work situation is so very much the opposite of all that. The very nature of taking this job on a food truck has put me in the position to take work when there is work to be done regardless of notice and it's done wonders for my uptight Capricorn sensibilities.

Just a little Saturday night square dancing
Working the truck has been a bit like having a wild, no good, motorcycle riding boyfriend, that you can never pin down to set up a date. He just shows up at all hours of the day or night, randomly, asking if you want to go out in an hour (or worse, right now), and your instinct is to say "no boo, plans are necessary" and yet you know that if you say yes and go that you will without fail have a marvelous, unforgettable time.
So you make a choice, do you say no, stay home, and get a full night's sleep? Or do you roll with it, buy yourself some leather boots, pull all-nighters, and learn the time saving benefits of drinking coffee in the bathtub? Some weeks I say to myself that this is too much, it can't possibly last, and that I will die young from lack of sleep, but every Sunday morning I find myself with stories to tell.

Bluegrass in the boonies
Even my hours spent baking, away from all the action are blissful. I put on a spotify playlist in the empty commissary, get elbows deep in biscuit dough and sing and bake all night, (or morning, or afternoon) until 300 or 400 or 600 biscuits are buttery golden brown and wrapped. Then roll on out to the next chaotic shift of bluegrass parties in the middle of the woods, brushes with country stars ( just keep it cool, don't let on that you know), and the inside of more port-o-johns than any sane person should see.

The problem of course now is finding a way to break free from the snake charming skills of the 'no good boyfriend' to deal with things like swiftly approaching finals, blog post deadlines, etc. I know that somehow, some way I will find a balance...

All the same, it's very lucky I get paid to do this. Food Truckin is one hell of a drug.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Midweek Marvels - Daelman's Caramel Wafers

This week has been a BEAST. It's brought visits from almost in-laws, emergency rooms, and a brief encounter with a film crew. I am exhausted and it's not even Friday yet! Sometimes on a week like this, all that can help me is some quiet time to myself to enjoy a good cookie (or six). Luckily this week I found the perfect one.

Daelman's Caramel Wafers taste remarkably unlike I expected them to. I imagined something crispy and sickly sweet. It turned out though that these tasted like neither of those things. The caramel brought a soothing savory richness and the wafer cookie  had a satisfying chew that I really needed. Yes, I said  needed. And I meant it. Did things just get weird?

The overall flavor combination reminded me of one of my favorite guilty pleasure foods; super processed  still warm snicker doodle cookies from the food court in the mall. You know what cookies I'm talking about. The ones the size of your head (and yes they must be this size). Sooo relaxing after a long day of wandering around in chaos. I guess that's what made these caramel wafers the perfect stress reliever after the week that I've had. They hit those sweet/chewy/salty therapeutic cookie spots just right. 

If you find yourself having a week like mine, give these cookies a try. They just might help bring your center back. And if not, you can always add booze. 

Or wait... I mean milk. Milk goes with cookies...right? *cough*Kahlua does too*cough*