r.i.p. gandalf

this april it will be ten years since Gandalf passed away. even now when I start to think about him, I feel a deep sadness, regret, and pain. he was such a sweet, happy, nice bunny. he loved to eat pellets, hay, and vegetables, especially broccoli. he loved getting pets and neck rubs. I wish I could have given him a better life. He lived outside in the yard in a hutch by himself. we built a little running area, but I didn’t always make time to take him out for that. later, I went to college, and he only got to come out once a week when I came back on the weekends. I felt bad for him, so I moved him to the side yard of our house, where another bunny used to live many years ago. he ran away once, but I found him and brought him back. then I came back home one Friday night. I was thinking of going to visit him but then never did. in the morning, my mom woke me up and told me, “I’m so sorry, Gandalf is dead.” what? how can that be? are you sure? “something attacked him…” my mom had put a rag over him so I didn’t have to see it. but I touched the rag. I felt his hard body. I dug a hole to bury him in our yard.

I feel so much regret for what happened. I should’ve known there were cats and other creatures in our neighborhood. I shouldn’t have left him out there, unprotected. later when I started volunteering at a bunny shelter and fostering rabbits, everyone agreed that it wasn’t safe to leave your rabbits out unsupervised. some people even heard of rabbits being picked up out of yards by birds of prey. and before he lived out in the side yard, he shouldn’t have been left alone in a hutch. rabbits are social creatures and are much happier when they have friends. we should have adopted a friend for him to have. he should have been a house rabbit. he would’ve been such a happy house rabbit.

I wish I could go back in time and save him. in college, I started fostering rabbits in my dorm room. that could have been Gandalf there with me. Cameron says I wouldn’t have helped as many rabbits or had such a heart for house rabbits if he didn’t die. it’s hard though. it’s hard to get over what happened. I don’t know if I ever will. but with every rabbit I’ve fostered and now with my three adopted house rabbits, I try my best to give them the best life, the most happiness, lots of pets and attention; all the things I wish I could’ve given to Gandalf. rest in peace, Gandalf.

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happy thanksgiving! (and the corn bread stuffing rant)

happy thanksgiving! I love thanksgiving, but this year I was getting a little stressed as thanksgiving was approaching because at work, we had extra prep to do plus I had to make stuffing and yams early since I had to work on thanksgiving. once the day arrived though, the kitchen smelled great, there was excitement in the air for the big thanksgiving lunch at work, and everything went well. a lot of families come to celebrate with the residents too, so that means more food and more good cheer. it was really nice seeing everyone enjoy their lunches and their time together, and lots of people complimented the food.

this is the first time I made my stuffing and yams early, but both turned out very well. they both can easily be made a day ahead. i finished them, put them in the fridge, and then Cameron just had to heat them up the next day at 325 until they were warm (~1 hr i think), then about 15 minutes at 400 uncovered to get a little crust. this year’s stuffing was the best yet. I’ve been making the same recipe for about five years now I think, but every year gets a little better. i’m very happy with it now. this year I started making pretty much the ultimate white sandwich bread (from the bread bible), so I made a batch to use for the stuffing. using good ingredients is the key to most things. having good bacon is also important. I used some thick cut maple bacon this year, which was perfect. finish it off with granny smith apples, fresh sage, and homemade chicken stock! in fact, this year we ate it all! no leftovers!

now for my rant. I am against corn bread stuffing. first of all, corn bread is pretty much cake, not bread. and cake is crumbly! at work, they said this year they wanted to make corn bread stuffing. I had never tried it, so I figured I would try it at least. ugh, so gross! ok, it’s crumbly and like a cake, then you add other things to it and probably some stock. result: mushy mess! stuffing needs real bread that can stand up to all the flavorings, moisture from the other ingredients, and liquid from the stock/eggs. I don’t want to eat a mushy mess! i think this can only work if you actually make corn BREAD, i.e. make a yeast type bread with corn flavor. that i am okay with if the bread is properly made and fit for stuffing. anyway, that is the end of my rant.

happy thanksgiving!

update

hmm i haven’t updated my blog in a while! well, it has been a busy year. i finished culinary school in may, hooray! i’ve been working as a cook for about a year and a half now, and it’s been going pretty good. now that cooking is my job and not just my hobby, i kind of don’t know what to put in my blog. i have some recipes i might post, but it’s hard to remember to take pictures! i might post some more crafty things and bunny related things instead. we’ll see!

 

some photos from patisserie class

some photos from the first three weeks of patisserie. been tempering chocolate, doing chocolate work, made a cake, working on things for plated desserts for the restaurant, ciabatta bread, other stuff. learning a lot and having fun.

some filigrees from week 1:

assembled into a nice piece that can go on a plate:

an army of filigrees:

cake with green tea, chocolate, and pound cake layers.

buttercream to cover it:

made some chocolate spikes, rings, etc.

assembled and put as cake topper:

lots of cakes!

chocolate flower:

chocolate pots:

ciabatta bread!

first night of service – green tea cake with dacquoise (crunchy bottom) and greek yogurt yuzu mousse, mango orange gelato on a hippenmasse leaf (like fortune cookie), and chocolate pot with strawberry/raspberry compote and creme anglaise. very nice and delicious!

second service night – dark and white chocolate butterfly on chocolate spike, creme brulee on top of ginger tapioca in puff pastry shell, strawberry/raspberry compote on a small hippenmasse chip + some chocolate and creme anglaise sauce. those butterflies were hard to make and really fragile, but very pretty! also quite tasty.

last day

today was my last day at my computer job. one more month, and it would have made five years. i will definitely miss the people there, but i think it’s a good time to move on. part of the reason i started going to culinary school was because i felt frustrated at this job. i wanted to try something different, not just look for another job in the tech industry. i didn’t think i would actually become a cook though. i mean, it’s hard work being on your feet all day, the pay is way lower than in the tech industry, and i had no experience before i started school. probably a more rational person would not do this, but i found out i like being in the kitchen and making food. i have more energy overall when i work in the kitchen instead of at a desk. i feel like by making food for people i’ve done something useful and hopefully made some good food for people to enjoy. i don’t really know why, but i guess this is how i am. so i’m going to go with it and see where it takes me. i’m not very good at planning life or making the most rational decisions, but i try to follow my gut. everyone says life is short, so if we can, we should follow our dreams, take chances, and see what happens. we’ll see what happens!