Thursday, August 30, 2007
As Sunil said, all of Italy is like this in August
Monday, 20 August 2007
This morning I got up just before 9am (I have to be in the kitchen at 9:15) to the sound of (I'm guessing) the bathroom door opening. Genesis knocks on my door and asks if I am up at 9:02. I quickly brush my teeth and wash my face, dress and head out the door. Today Patrick is off and instead of travelling to a neighboring town, he decided to stay in and watch the DVDs I brought.
In the kitchen I start to prep without Danielle from the list he left. Genesis helped me to decipher his notes. I boil eggs, boil potatoes, slice zucchini for later grilling and prep tomatoes for drying.
This morning, Rene is asked to make the pasta for family meal. As a master chef, I know her wants to impress but I remind him that pasta for family meal is very simple (food). Rene cooked a combination of fussili and penne pastas with cherry tomatoes and a chiffonade of Swiss chard. Danielle make roasted potatoes and Gianni (actually Johnny) made roasted chicken with rosemary. We also had some grilled zucchini - the same used in the millefoglie...and water and bread (of course!).
Millefoglie are grilled zucchini sliced lengthwise and marinated in BAC's own olive oil and fresh mint leaves. We place the zucchini atop crisp, thinly sliced crostini then top it off with a slice of fresh buffalo mozzarella...it is then placed in a hot oven until the mozzarella begins to melt. We stack two layers and plate it.
I try to use the time normally spent hanging out in the yard drinking coffee and conversing to make my first blog post...or rather to cut and paste to the blog ( it has all been written on Patrick's Macbook at the apartment). After lunch service, I check email, write to my production instructor regarding my grade on my final exam - more on my GPA later- and head back to the flat...it's actually more like a house...with three rooms, a TV room and a bathroom...and no kitchen. It is located on top of the restaurant but with a separate entrance. There is another section to the house past the TV room where here is another bathroom as well as another bedroom where the guys sometimes nap...and past that room is Sunil's side. HE'S got a kitchen.
When I get back, Patrick and Genesis are watching Forrest Gump. I take a load of laundry to wash and come back to shower up. I thought I might take a nap but instead I download photos from my camera to the external drive that John set me up with to use. Good thing too because it takes forever to upload photos from the kitchen office. There was a snag initially with the E.D. ( haha sounds like Erectile Dysfunction) but reformatting it fixed that.
My mobile phone rings, it's Gina calling to let me know she read my first post and to tell me that the next time I see Irene, she will give me some $ from my mother. She also gives some really good advise regarding travelling (fares, etc...), seeing a doctor if I fall ill, what personal products are and aren't available in Italy, contacting ex-pats, and that I can call her mother-in-law if I need to.
I go back to check on my laundry but it is still not done so I bang out on the internet until it is. I come back and hang the clothes up to dry...soon after it is time to head back to the kitchen for family meal and dinner service.
I'm getting the hang of things and believe I'm doing well but I want to ask Danielle if I am working fast enough but I'm afraid he's going to say otherwise.
Amuse tonight is bruschetta. Danielle asks me to concasse 15 tomatoes (that's A LOT!) but after 5, I ask him to confirm if he had said 15..."Yes, 15." I show him the amount of concasse I had in my bowl from 5 - he then says, "Okay, 7."
Dinner service had a slow start. Reservations were for only 8 persons total (we normally also take in a number of walk-ins) so that allowed time to prep for the next day. The only notable things for that evening was that one customer did no like the Polpo. He/she ate all of the fennel salad but left the octopus. Danielle, Johnny & Francesco all tasted the octopus but it was fine. One order of canolo - a cannoli shell stuffed with driced fresh fruits in a whipped cream mixture sitting atop a bed of vanilla pastry cream and dusted with powdered sugar and cocoa powder - came back with all the stuffing missing but the shell largely intact. Rosario (one of the servers) tried to cut into it with a knife but it was hard as stone! Who would have guessed that Uncle Junior would mess up a cannoli?
After dinner service I put up another blog post but was unable to upload photos to accompany it. Genesis stays to make a phone call while I head home. I must say, my surroundings are wholly picturesque. The only "modern" things visible when I walk the back path from the kitchen to the house are the employee cars parked along the dirt road. While gorgeous during the day, it is treacherous at night. I walk back in total darkness...other than the moon, there are no lights to light the way. I have come to memorize exactly where the drainage ditch is and to avoid the area where there is some re-bar sticking out of the ground. The worst part however are the steps down to the house. I carefully make my way forward feeling where each step ends. Once I am a few feet from the front door, the motion sensitive light comes on and I am home-free. I had actually started calling out to Patrick at the top of the steps but he was watching "The Last of the Blonde Bombshells" and didn't/couldn't hear me over the music. I journal on paper - Patrick's using the Macbook to watch movies - and go to bed