Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stuffed French Toast: the experiment

Ah, Sunday mornings. I have several years of memories of getting up before the dawn to go to work at church (a gig I really loved, by the way) but now with my bohemian lifestyle in full swing Sundays pretty much seem like every other day. Kasey does have to get up early to go to worship and praise the Lord with song (but he almost always has to get up before me anyway). Today we got up early together to make french toast!

It all started on Wednesday while I was listening to Splendid Table on NPR. Lynne described to a listener ways to make monte cristos (a fried sandwich I had never had) and it sounded so delicious I had to give it a go. Long story short the process of making the (very successful) sandwiches made me think that it would be good for stuffed french toast. I bought the old fashioned white bread from Big Sky Bread Co. and ricotta cheese. I also happened to have some frozen strawberries (thawed out last night), sugar, and a touch of vanilla.

I mixed up the filling so it was just sweet enough and creamy (cup of strawberry slices, third cup sugar, half cup ricotta, splash vanilla extract) and it looked like this:

Weird looking yes, but it tasted good. We built sandwiches with the filling then dipped them in egg batter. This is the before (see some of the pink filling dripping out!)

Kasey was in charge of the actual frying. French toast is a specialty of his. They turned out pretty good; as far as experimenting goes I would call it a success. Now we have a place to start from if ever we want to try it again. It was an interesting technique. It kind of makes me curious what else I put into a batter-fried sandwich. The end result.

We had ours with a little bit of syrup but the filling was pretty sweet and the egg made it really moist as well. So now I have the rest of Sunday to nap off my breakfast.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Houston trip part 2

First, and unrelated, my right shift key isn't working suddenly and it is making me cranky because I highly favor it over the left (not for political reasons, of course).

Ugh! Now that I woke up super early yesterday I woke of my own accord at 6 am this morning. This was after having stayed up until 11:30 last night, so I really should have slept like a baby until my alarm went off. I still stayed in be until 7:45 trying my best to nap. I got up and got a quickie shower, dressed and checked out of my fabulous hotel:

Candlewood Suites: Extended Stay Accommodations

True, one evening does not typically constitute and "extended stay" but it's what orbitz suggested and who am I to dispute? The cool thing is that because of it's intended clientele the Candle wood comes equipped with a kitchenette. This amenity inspired my culinary exploits the night before (see extensive blogging below about making a sandwich).

The primary item on my agenda was to catch up with a member of the voice faculty I hadn't gotten a chance to meet yet from UH Moores School of Music (having done the majority of visiting yesterday). We met and keeping with my experiences at UH it was a lovely meeting. I was quite impressed how on the mark the advice was and how it seemed to fit right in with what I am looking to accomplish.

It seemed Rice University Shepherd School had a lot to live up to after UH. I got very confused driving around the rice campus, which like UH is ENORMOUS! The again almost everything feels giant after attending OCU a small private school that only encompassed about 3 city blocks (*disclaimer* this is my unprofessional guestimation I have no idea how big OCU actually is but I'm pretty sure six of them could fit into the Rice or UH campus).

After finding my way to the music building I met up with a voice professor and had a lovely little meeting. Some fabulous lunch leftovers and a brownie from Panera. I went back to Rice to meet with the music school graduate advisor and watch some studio classes. End assessment: Rice has a lot of attributes that I value and it will be in my application rotation.

Driving out of Houston at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon is difficult. I gave myself two hours to drive the half hour trip to the airport and it ended up taking about an hour and fifteen.

*AIRPORT DRAMA* of course, let's just say there was some de- and re-planing and we were delayed an hour. But right now I'm back in my bed. I couldn't be happier!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Houston, Voice Teachers, Schools, Food

I left behind the torrential rain in Oklahoma City Thursday morning for the sunnier pastures of Houston, TX. I am traveling all across the land researching and discovering all I can about music institutions of high learning. You could probably consider this the first in a series of installments about me looking at schools.

First was the University of Houston Moores School of Music

Beautiful campus and facilities! Also in a great and convenient neighborhood which all makes for a good first impression. I have a tendency to get swept up in a school so I'm trying to stay objective through all the proceedings (so as not to pin all my hopes on something that may never be *sigh* or idealize something to the nth degree) and I can objectively say that UH was pleasant in every way and the faculty I had the opportunity of meeting with were informative and congenial.

What is right for one person isn't always right for another. UH seemed like it would be a good fit for me, financially, aesthetically, geographically, and professionally. Let's just say it will stay on my A-list.

I met with a few voice teachers, sat in on an opera music rehearsal, and spoke with the graduate admissions counselor on Thursday and was all pooped out by 4:30 and in much need of sustenance. This is when I made an incredible realization. Houston is home to a wonderful thing...


I went to one of these places with my friends and Logan's mom in Dallas once. At the time I was young and smitten. Now that I'm older I can say with certainty it is the most wonderful place on earth. It's a grocery store, btw, more appropriately a foodie paradise!

At central market there is unbelievably huge section of produce, a 30 foot long olive bar, 700 kinds of cheese, a giant bakery, gourmet cured meats, 100 kinds of fresh fish, you get the idea. It's a beautiful place.

I wandered around in there for almost an hour sampling and taking in the atmosphere. Finally settling on making a beautiful sandwich. This is what I came away with:

Havarti cheese, mustard seed salami, parmigiana focaccia, roasted tomatoes marinated with garlic, green bean salad, fresh figs, peaches, and honey flavored Greek yogurt (which if you have never had it go out and buy some right now!), and a fitness magazine, to curb the guilt of eating salami!!!

For dinner I made a focaccia sandwich with the tomatoes (and all of the marinating oily goodness!), salami, and cheese. This sandwich was incredible. It tasted like peperoni pizza the morning after when all the flavors have mellowed and you eat it cold from the fridge. Just fabulous. I also ate the green beans for some vitamins and crunch and had two of three figs.

Allow me take a moment to talk about figs. Figs are incredible. They are tiny (like about the size of a ping pong ball), really sweet, and they have the texture of butter creamed with sugar (smooth but with a kind of fine granulated texture). You can eat the entire thing and they look like this. Don't be afraid.

The Greek yogurt and one of my peaches and figs are my designated breakfast along with the pecans I brought from home. We will see if they last the night. I have a weak spot for midnight honey yogurt treats.

So for the rest of the night I'll be distracting my self with some tube, especially the much anticipated season premier of It's always Sunny in Philadelphia (9pm central time on FX). Tomorrow I'm hitting my next Houston school: Rice!

I'll edit this post with some pics from my trip soon. Forgot to bring my usb camera cord on the road with me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Personally speaking

I decided to move. Blogs that is.

There are many reasons why. Mostly the reason is I want to talk about food a lot. I didn't think it was super appropriate to blah blah blah on my work site about making food and watching TV. I guess I didn't want to seem lazy or maybe distracted or something. So I started this new one.