Oh man. Eek. I’m cutting it close tonight. 11:12pm my computer is telling me.
So let me just start with a little disclaimer – this post won’t be an award winner, it won’t be prolific – in fact I have no idea what I am going to say. This here is the nitty gritty of NaBloPoMo (or NaMoWriMo – the difference I have yet to figure out).
I had great expecations for the day – recipes flagged, grocery lists written, camera batteries charged and while I did manage to get started on my edible Christmas presents by making 5 jars of Quince Brandy (I will share the recipe soon) that was about all I was able to check off my list.
Instead of finishing the to-do list I had the great pleasure of filling in at Delancey (famed pizza restaurant owned by Molly (Orangette and her husband, Brandon) tonight. Due to some sick staff members I was called in to help feed the pizza-loving Seattleites their perfectly blistered and charred pies.
At 2 o’clock Brandon called to see if I wanted to create some sort of dessert to serve tonight. Doors open at 5. Three hours. No problem.
My head began to spin with possibilities and of course my first thought was apples – as we have been using them so much around here lately.
Apples. So many possibilities but my mind always goes back to the classic flavor pairings – caramel, almonds and butter – lots of butter.
Puff Pastry, roasted apples marinated in Calvados and caramel, almond frangipane and Creme Fraiche. And there it was – tonight’s dessert special.
2 1/2 hours remaining until dinner service I quickly cut up my butter then threw it into the freezer to chill while I measured out the flour. Caramel on the stove, almonds toasting. Measure the sugar, add the butter, fold, roll, stir, blend, mix, chop. Breathe.
For a brief moment I felt that all too familiar rush that used to be a nightly occurrence when I worked in the restaurant. I still seek that rare rush. It’s that feeling of – can I do it? You’re pushing myself to the limits to see what you can accomplish. It’s a thrill and then when it’s all over and you’ve succeeded you are flooded with intense pride – and exhaustion.
Tonight, after the dessert was all prepped and ready for Kari to work her plating magic when the orders arrived, I took my position next to Brandon and the intensely hot wood-burning oven. For the next five hours I pressed, stretched, placed, topped and repeat.
The dough warm from the active yeast working its magic to produce perfect bubbles stretched from the weight of itself as I gingerly worked it over my knuckles.
The smell of the housemade fennel pork sausage wafting off of the pizzas was enough to make me so envious of the diners until I too was able to devour my own.
I walked into Delancey wearing a black t-shirt, as I walked out the color was questionable as a coat of flour covered every inch of me – even my face which gave Brandon a good laugh.
So now I’m home. Full, tired, happy. It feels so good to return to a restaurant kitchen. It feels familiar – as a home should. In that place I am confident and sure.
8 minutes remain until the clock strikes 12. And I can’t help but think that this post is exactly the reason why I pushed myself into posting everyday for a month. Had I not have set this goal for myself I would probably be sitting in bed with my computer watching some tv show having forgotten the premise of the show by the morning. Don’t get me wrong, as soon as I hit the publish button I’m crawling into bed with my computer.
But the point is that I did it. I posted. It wasn’t a great post and I didn’t even include a recipe. But in order to truly excel at something you have to push yourself to be in daily practice even when the exhaustion and they layer of flour coating your hands makes it hard to type.
I apologize for not having more to offer you in the way of photos and recipes but I guess this post was for me. To remind me that it’s okay not to know what to say but that just the act of doing it is an accomplishment.
Tomorrow is a new day and a new post. Also, for those of you following the Food: A-Z project we are now on to “B”. This time we will only have one week to upload your “B” photos – so get them in soon.
Thanks for letting me write through my flour-covered, tired self. I will see you back here tomorrow – oh shoot. I guess technically I’ll see you back here today since it is now 12:07 am.