Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The End of an Era

When I originally started this blog, I intended to write about the switch from working a full-time office job to attending culinary school full time while working 30 hours a week at my old job. As it turns out, photos of croissants are a lot more alluring than photos of excel spreadsheets (who'da thunk?), so I focused more on the pastry aspect of life than the data analysis one.  That's not saying, however, that my job did not play a significant role in my life this year, because it definitely did.

Well, today marks my final day of working at Teach For America.  It's been five years! Even though I definitely took a plunge by attending culinary school and scaling back on my work hours, I feel like this is the first time I'm really taking a risk and flying the coop.  See ya later, health insurance - it's been nice knowing you. Adios, direct deposit paycheck… I've enjoyed hanging out for two or three days twice a month. (Yes, that's a joke about my excessive spending. Har-de-har har. I have nice handbags, get over it.)

I have to say that all of the people I work with have been truly amazing this year.  They put up with my bizarre office hours, waiting patiently for me to arrive home from class to ask me any questions. When I wanted to pursue my wine certification, my boss enthusiastically encouraged me to do it - even though it meant I was in class from 7 am - 10 pm on Thursday and losing an entire day out of my workweek (Oh, and PS… I only got four questions wrong on that crazy exam. By some miracle, I'm now an intermediate wine professional with distinction).  And perhaps most notably, ALL of my coworkers encouraged me on the days where I was so exhausted that I could barely form coherent sentences. Hearing people's excitement about what I was working on in school or the crazy project I had to complete for homework really kept me going on the days where I thought I was reaching the end of my rope.

It's all happening, people!  This time next month, I'll probably be weeping into my pate a bombe, longing for those cozy 14 hour days spent in my cubicle. But - I'm incredibly excited for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of me! I am also incredibly excited to have 2 weeks of relaxation and vacation before a crazy 2 months begins.  Bring it on.


Enough sappy stuff. Last night, I made French Onion Soup for the first time. I actually made beef stock a few months ago and froze it, and needed to free up a large quantity of freezer space for ice cream. I did some online browsing and figured that if I was going to make something French, I might as well stick with the master, Juila Child. Smitten Kitchen has a good, quasi-dumbed-down adaptation of the original recipe -- if you want to recreate this at home (you should! It's delicious!), I definitely recommend trying her version.


Look at how many onions it uses! Holy crap! I think I still have onion scent stuck in my nose.

The onions eventually cook down to barely nothing (I caramelized them for an hour)

The most embarrassing part about this whole situation is that we had to go and buy special bowls to eat this soup. Does this mean I'm committed to making French Onion Soup on a regular basis? Can I make anything else in these weird little crocks?

Finally, I put some toasted baguette (operation clean out the freezer continues!) and delicious melty cheese on the top.  Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think this looks pretty boss… I mean, it could definitely pass for TGI Friday's quality, right???

Delicious. Now, I'd better get to work!

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