Food quote of note

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience"…Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Summer Intern at 48!

Hey everyone....Happy 4th of July!! It's hard to believe it's 4th of July's truly been a whirlwind since I got back from France 10 days ago.  While a month in France was truly a luxury and we did have a glorious time - I have to admit I was actually getting a little antsy by the end of the trip...most likely due to the fact that I didn't have a specific plan for what I was going to do with myself starting June 25.  I know, I know - that seems a little crazy, given the fact that I just left my job of 18 years - so, now you know why I was feeling a little antsy! catch you up...

     While my original post-vacation plan had been to immediately start a 1-year baking and pastry program at the Art Institute here in Atlanta, I had actually been rethinking this recently based on some discussions/advice I had gotten from some of my friends/acquaintances in the industry.  Several very seasoned, successful and wise culinarians had actually challenged me to consider a different approach - rather than a 1 year academic program, why not put together a series of experiences and smaller, more targeted educational programs that would really set me apart, help me understand what I wanted to do and better prepare me for a job.  Well, gosh - that sounded like a pretty good idea - except for the fact that it blew my nice, neat plan for starting school in July right out of the water, required alot more thinking/planning on my part and therefore scared the crap out of me!  So, I took a deep, cleansing breath and headed to France - hoping that sunshine, baguettes, wine and cheese would help me sort out my options.

     Well, as usual, things have a way of working themselves out.  As luck would have it, at the very end of my trip, just about the time I was starting to get antsy, I got an email from Gena Berry, the owner of Culinary Works and a very important player in the Atlanta culinary world. (you may remember that I mentioned Gena in a previous post - "Do I Smell Something Burning").  I had chatted with Gena before leaving for France and she knew I was interested in working with her - and, lucky for me, she had a couple of projects come up - so she was contacting me to see if I would be available to "intern" with her through the end of September.  Like - are you kidding me - of course!  What an amazing opportunity to learn about this side of the business - Gena does "all things culinary" - from culinary event planning to teaching classes to food styling to recipe development - and I will get to work directly with her on two major projects and several smaller ones. 

     So - I got back from France on Sunday June 24 and started with Gena on Tuesday June 26  - and it's been full-on since then.  The two major projects we're working on are 1) recipe writing and testing for a new cookbook for major chef here in Atlanta and 2) planning a 3-day food and spirits festival on Saint Simons Island.  In just a week I've had the chance to spend the day on a movie set helping with food styling, help develop a proposal for a major sponsor for the food festival and work in the kitchen with one of Atlanta's Top Chefs - whew!  I know the next 3 months will be filled with great experiences - it will also give me time to think more about exactly what sort of school experience I will take on.  It's hard to believe I'm a summer intern again at age 48 - but, to be honest, I'm pretty excited about it and feel incredibly lucky to be getting such a great opportunity - how wild is that?

     So, it's July 4th and I have enjoyed the day off - this intern thing is pretty hard work.  Spent the day at home with my sweet husband, did a little baking and also enjoyed barbecue with some friends.  I have much to be thankful for and it's been a great day - God Bless America!

Lots of blueberries buried in a moist, rich cake.

Blueberry Crumb Cake for 4th of July Breakfast - God Bless America!!
It's that time of year - when the berries are plentiful and delicious.  Made the Barefoot Contessa's Blueberry Crumb Cake for a holiday breakfast treat - a very tasty way to start my day off!


For the streusel:
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
For the cake:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh  blueberries
  • Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.

For the streusel: Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.

For the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light.
Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers,
crumble the topping evenly over the batter.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

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