Well folks, I’m back.
While last summer was a busy time for CrazyTastyKosher, this year required me to take a hiatus from cooking and writing so I could focus my energies elsewhere. The past few months have been a tremendously transitional time for me. I am no longer a high school teacher. I am, once again, a student. I have four separate business projects that are all exciting, and all require a good deal of effort on my part. Add these things to a busy family life, and whats left on the other side of the equation is my free time in constant decline. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! I enjoy being busy with work, but these are a lot of balls to be juggling, and time management has never been one of my strong suits.
Lets talk about what I’ve been up to these past couple of months.
I am currently taking a full course load with the goal of enrolling in a Physician’s Assistant program, hopefully this coming Spring. This means that so far I have taken Anatomy and Physiology 1 & 2, and still have the following on my roster: Microbiology, Chemistry, Psychology, Statistics, Medical Terminology and Biochemistry. As intense as these courses have been, especially the ones I took during the Summer semesters, I have thoroughly enjoyed them all. I have always been somewhat of a science nerd, and now have the lab coat and safety goggles to prove it.
On Monday, I returned home from what was likely the most grueling two weeks of work that I have ever done. I was asked to cater a retreat in upstate New York for close to two hundred people, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I knew that the job was not going to be easy, especially since I had been there before, and known that the kitchen looked like this–
As you can see, I had only the finest, most technologically advanced equipment to work with. This made my job sooooooo much easier. I really wished I had approached The Food Network beforehand to make a show about the worst kitchen in the world. I would probably have a movie and book deal by now.
The most fun was had two Thursdays ago. Thursday night is the time when we would start Shabbos prep, under normal circumstances. We did not have normal circumstances at hand, however. As we were making a very large BBQ for dinner on Thursday night, all of our meat dishes were dirty and in the sink, waiting to be washed. Luckily for us, we had the mother of all clogs brewing in the drain. Who knew that pure vegetable shortening was not supposed to go down there? Not me, apparently. It took three tries for my staff to come back with the drain cleaner that I wanted, but that didn’t stop me from trying the other two on the clog as well. After a half an hour of waiting, nothing seemed to be working, so we called Bob, the head of campus maintenance. More good news. Bob had just taken his wife to the ER to deal with a broken wrist, and wouldn’t be back until after midnight. So, after trying to manually drain what felt like 1000 gallons of disgusting grease water with buckets into a different sink, we were now forced to admit defeat and move these giant pots and pans to a smaller sink, and wash them there.
Time to get started? Not so fast! My right hand man in the kitchen managed to slice his finger open and needed stitches. This was at midnight, and we hadn’t cooked a single thing yet for the 180+ people that were coming for shabbos. My staff and I pulled it together, and when I finally went back to my room 3 A.M., we had a lot accomplished, and there were pots on the stove, and cooked food sitting out on the counters that was to be put in the fridge shortly.
When Bob got back, he immediately poured industrial strength cleaner into the drain, which turned out to be undiluted sulfuric acid, not knowing that there were already three different types of drain cleaner in there. This was a bad thing. Once that acid hit the sink, it caused some sort of reaction that filled the kitchen with noxious fumes, and required the whole building to be evacuated. I found all this out, by the way, with a knock on my door after climbing into bet at 3:00 for a few short hours of rest before getting ready for breakfast at 6:45. Needless to say, I was tired all through Shabbos.
After this experience, I needed to go somewhere and be waited on and cooked for, for a change. So, on our way back, we stopped in Teaneck, NJ, and checked out Etc. Steakhouse. Here’s what we ate–
oxtail corndog with plum ketchup and fried egg
beef cheek gnocchi with fava beans and cherry tomato
filet steak with smoky swiss chard risotto
BBQ ribs with Johnny cakes and summer salsa
“peaches and cream”– macerated peaches with caramel cream and marzipan crust
While I can’t say that I was “wowed” by anything in particular that we ate, overall, the experience was lovely, the food cooked perfectly, and the service impeccable. If you’re in Teaneck, I highly recommend stopping by and checking out etc. Steakhouse.
Well, now that all of this is behind us, lets talk about the future. I have a big announcement to make, one which I hope will be received with enthusiasm by you, my dear readers. So stay tuned for the next post, coming later today!