Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Loomy Tunes Wednesday

 Today is the day I normally write on Loomy Tunes, but as many of you know, Blogger isn't cooperating, and hasn't really been behaving itself for the last week.  Desperate to post, I've decided to post here, and hope to get your attention on Loomy Tunes!
  Yesterday was my first Tuesday weaving in a very long time.  Check out Loomy Tunes for the goings on posted by LouAnn.  But here is my view of what happened.  I threaded the 8 shaft Mountain table loom, such a lovely piece of furniture!  I got everything ready, after a big hiccup threading, even wound my shuttles, but the clock struck almost 2, and normally, by that time of the afternoon, I need a cup of tea or a nap, so I quit.  I went home and had both tea and nap, but not simultaneously!
  I've enjoyed the last three days off, but it's time to head back to work tomorrow, shag rug not completed.  My dear son turned 35--gasp!--today, but did so without gifts from his loving parent.  Can you see the anchor I'm weaving in the shag?  Their downstairs bathroom is nautical themed, so I'm weaving it in teal, sea green and beach sand colors (see, Linda?  no food names!), with an anchor as the center.  It'll probably be another week or so before it's done.  This weekend is busy, busy, with the Second Annual International Biscuit Festival in downtown Knoxville--we're serving brunch--and a wedding at the farm, plus the annual ice cream social that always threatens to push me over the edge.  What fun!  So, no weaving.
  And while we've been pummeled by storms lately, like most of the rest of the country, we've been fairly lucky.  Unfortunately, my son's yard was hit yesterday, when a small tornado touched down in east Nashville at 3 in the morning.  This tree crushed their garden, a labor of love for the past five years.
  Many of their friends are still without power, but they are all safe and sound.  I hope you're all safe and sound, too, and hope the storms tomorrow are much less severe for everyone!
Happy Weaving!--Maggie

Sunday, May 22, 2011

This Week

 Another busy week on the farm, with three blissful days off in front of me!  Thursday was the first day of the Hospice du Rhone, with guest Chef Andre Jaeger of the Hotel Fischerzunft in Switzerland.  He brought descriptions of the desserts he wanted me to make, but no recipes, so I wandered through the valley of the unknown dessert, making a trio of chocolate pastries for him.  It was... interesting.  I took no pictures, because I always have time for other courses, but during my own, I'm too busy.  Here are the plates for his fish course lined up, decorated with Oak Leaf Hydrangeas.  The fish was cooked in foil pouches and opened at the last possible second.
  Suzie made 70 chocolate pieces, decorated in spices Chef Jaeger brought, for the lobster dish.  I got a photo, just before they started piling things on top of the plaque to obscure her three hours of hard work.  She was slightly disgruntled, but I was told the chocolate was noticeable in the taste, at least.
  Yesterday was the Maryville Farmers' Market, and Krissy was up all night baking for it.  Her bread is always the hit of the market every Saturday, with folks lining up an hour ahead of time.  I just had to share the photos I took of her product before Jeff took it to market.

And Krissy herself, making doughnuts.  The unglazed ones on the back of the left hand sheet tray were for us.  We eat far too much sugar, just tasting what we make, so when we don't have to eat sweets, we take advantage.
  That said, we did all manage a bite of the gorgeous Banana Pudding Cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and brown butter caramel the Sarah made for the group's lunch yesterday.  I leave with that parting shot.  Please do not drool on your computers!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

French Sweets

Alain Ducasse was at the farm this week, just for the day, while his sous chefs worked diligently to prepare his cooking school class and the dinner for the finale  of the school.  The savory chefs, Sylvain Portay and Kelly Hughett, seemed to be peeling an awful lot of asparagus.  They roasted shallots, peeled artichokes, braised pork belly.  Chef Portay taught the class, while Chef Ducasse helped some, from what we could see.  Chef Ducasse came by the pastry department after the class, asked me how I was, and took some vanilla cookie scrap from my sheet pan.  He proclaimed it good and walked away.
  But his pastry chef, Sandro Micheli, worked in our chocolate room for two days, crafting some beautiful stuff.  Above, courtesy of Melanie who worked last night, are photos of the chocolate dessert.  It's a milk chocolate dacquoise topped with a tempered circle of milk chocolate, topped with caramel-milk chocolate mousse, another piece of milk chocolate, then milk chocolate Creme Chantilly and a chocolate garnish.  On top is milk chocolate sorbet.
  The second dessert is poached rhubarb surrounding a fromage blanc mousse and a rhubarb mousse, topped with a rhubarb granite, and a rhubarb soup poured table side.  I wonder if he won that battle?  I've never been able to get the wait staff to pour anything table side!
  When I left work yesterday, he was painstakingly lining up the little slabs of rhubarb in acetate cylinders and trying to get them to stay lined up long enough to get the mousse in them.  He didn't want any help, seemed perfectly happy, though a bit nervous, so we left him alone.
  And at the end of the dinner, he passed out macaroons and chocolates.

He had more macaroons, but when they arrived, a lot of them were broken.   When Krissy asked him what happened, he said, "I guess they don't like to fly."  But the remaining ones look beautiful, don't they?