Reboot. Recharge.

When all else fails, just shut it down for 5 seconds and turn it back on. Just like new!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Spin Cycle 05/31/07

The last day of May!

Since I spent time in the UK last week, I thought I’d pay homage to 2 artists from the UK that I dig – Jamiroquai and Joss Stone (1 outlier is a song by Maroon 5 that I thought went well with the style of music).
Jamiroquai has funk, soul and style and creates songs with a disco feel, but with more maturity.
Joss Stone has an ethereal voice which has soul and body.
On my ipod, I named this playlist New Soul - I think that sums it up....
We did primarily hills today, since I've been torturing the class with alot of work in 2 lately, and wanted to shift the focus a bit. 16 students - not bad for this time of year, where there is always a decline in students due to the great outdoors.

1. Hot Tequila Brown - Jamiroquai
2. Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now – Joss Stone
3. Makes Me Wonder – Maroon 5
4. Put Your Hands On Me – Joss Stone
5. Electric Mistress – Jamiroquai
6. Tell Me ‘Bout It – Joss Stone
7. (Don’t) Give Hate a Chance – Jamiroquai
8. Arms of my Baby – Joss Stone
9. The Kids – Jamiroquai
10. Baby Baby Baby – Joss Stone
11. Planet Home – Jamiroquai
12. Headturner – Joss Stone
13. Canned Heat – Jamiroquai
14. Light Years – Jamiroquai
15. Black Devil Car – Jamiroquai

Home Home Again

I like to be here when I can......

Back to the US, without a hitch, thank god, and feeling good in the neighborhood.

I waivered back and forth on my trip, with my decision to start my own personal chef business, but by the end of the trip, I confirmed with myself my decision to do it.
Now, I struggle to actually work at my current job. I mean, it takes effort to come in each day.
Starting Monday, I'll be part time and that will continue through July, then I'm done.
In the mean time, I'm working on my new "career" and might already have 2 potential clients.

I think I've settled on a name: Thyme to Cook, Personal Chef Services....well, that's the front runner anyways.
I'm trying to work on a logo etc.
Anyone know any logo designers/web designers who'd want to work for cheap???

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Albanach = Scottish

It's true, the word Albanach means Scottish, in Gaelic.
Tonight's dinner brought to you by the Albanach Whisky Bar and Restaurant - more info here:
The menu was packed with modern takes on traditional Scottish food, like beef stew and dumplings, fish cakes, haggis (yes, haggis), smoked salmon, grilled salmon, you get the idea.
I decided to keep the streak alive, and eat fish again.

For starters, I had one of the specials that they were offering - scottish mussels in a scallion, garilc, cream and wine sauce. The mussels were tiny and sweet and delicious. It was served with 2 big chunks of brown bread that I used to sop up the cream sauce. Couldn't get better at home, that's for sure.

My main meal consited of fish cakes made with smoked haddock and shrimp. They were bound with mashed potatoes and has some scallions in them. They were substantial, but were supposed to have salmon in them, not shrimp, so I was a bit disappointed about that. They still were extremely tastey, smokey from the haddock and firey from a sweet chili sauce that was draped over them. 2 large cakes were served with a small salad and potato chips - really fries.
You know, chips are crisps over here, and fries are chips....

Dessert was a chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream - the cake was ok, but the ice cream was more icey than creamy. That's ok, it didn't stop me from eating it...

One more day of auditing, then we fly to London, Heathrow tomorrow night to stay overnight, as the flight out of London on Sat morning is at 10, and we'd never make the connection if we flew direct from Edinburgh on Sat morning.
I can't wait, really, as I miss being at home very much.

I have decided though, that I really dig Edinburgh, and would like to make a return trip here some day, not on business.
I'll try to post tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

From Nature to Plate

That is the philosophy of the restaurant I ate at tonight.
The Kitchin, wonderful , truly a wonderful eatery.
The chef, Tom Kitchin, believes in using sustainable, fresh and local foods. In fact, one of the items on the menu, the scallops were not offered this evening, because the waters were too rough last night, and the divers could not dive for them!
That's how fresh and local the ingredients are.
The meal started again, with an Amuse Bouche, a petite dish of small chunks of Burgundy potato, olive tapenade over a salt cod mousse, with burgundy potato crisps and pea shoots. The salt cod is made by Chef Kitchin, and it is cured for 2 weeks, then washed continuously for 24 hours before using.

I then had the Spring Salad, a mix of greens, including herbs and pea shoots, with shaved fennel, thin rounds of beets, burgundy potatoes, burgundy potato crisps, baby artichoke, aspargus, green beans and a hard boiled quail egg. So fresh and light - the perfect way to open the meal.

For dinner, I had roasted halibut, served over a confit of squid, with olive tapenade and a brilliant green pea sauce and sauce of local garlic.

I had dessert tonight - fresh mint tea, with "Peach and Pistachio", a grilled, quartered peach, with pistachios, homemade pistachio ice cream, and an almond cookie. A drizzle of chocolate sauce crossed the plate.

WOW. I am at a loss for words, and can only say that this has been a great eating week, and I feel fortunate that I have gotten to experience this fine dining. As a foodie, its what I dream of all the time, and to have it 4 nights in a row, its crazy.
I told my supervisor that I happen to be travelling with, who is NOT a foodie, that he could pick the restaurant for tomorrow night, and that he has been a good sport for coming to these restaurants.
I'll report back, but don't expect anything other than pub food.....not that there's anything wrong with that either.....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


+5 ponds that is - I'll be lucky if that's all I gain on this trip.
Whoever said the food in the UK is bad, should be shot.
The food here has been EXCEPTIONAL.

Dinner on Monday night was at a place called The Shore, in the section of town called Leith. I actually ate there the last time I visited Edinburgh. It is a charming little place, consisting of a beautiful hardwood bar, and probably 5 tables in one room, and a smaller room off the side, with 4 tables and a beautiful ceiling, which probably was white at one time, but now is blackened from cigarette smoke; smoking is no longer available inside establishments in Edinburgh.
I'd post the website, but unfortunately it is under construction, and has been since I last visited in 2005. But who cares about that, lets get to the food.
I had a steaming, big bowl of fish stew to start. It was piping hot, a golden-green broth, filled with an array of herbs and huge chunks of fish. That's it. It was AMAZING!
Some crusty bread, and butter, YES, butter, accompanied the stew.
Oh, did I mention that the butter over here is WAY better than the butter in the US. It's true, really.
The main course was a big thick piece of roasted cod, perfectly melting away into a pile of butter beans and smoked bacon. It was delicious.
No dessert for me....too much dinner. I also had a glass of wine, a white that I can't recall, from the Cote d'Rohne. It too was delicious- softer than a Sauvignon Blanc, and lemony.

Dinner on Tuesday night was at a restaurant called Stac Polly - website StacPolly
I haven't had a meal like this for a loooong time - think Radius good. Really, it was amazing.
I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc to start, and the waiter brought out an Amuse Bouche, or gift from the chef. It was a sleek demi-tasse cup filled with a sexy, creamy carrot-ginger soup that was velvety and bursting with ginger.
My appetizer was a gorgeous tower of crabmeat, and the thinnest sesame crackers, swapping levels between the 2, probably about 5 rows high. Flanking the bottom of the dish was a sweet tomato jelly. Unreal. The sesame wafers were so thin and crispy, just a hint of sweet to them. The crab was lumpy and delicious.
My dinner was out of control good. By this time, I am stuffed anyways, but couldn't contain myself and at almost everything.
It consited of 2 fillets of lemon sole, delicate and delicious, over a mash of peas and marjoram, pureed cauliflower, green beans, and smoked mussels. The peas and marjoram had the most amazing flavor. The flecks of marjoram throughout the peas lended to little bursts of minty, lemony flavor. The fish was moist and again, melting in my mouth.
I couldn't stop eating!!!!!
Oh man, I did pay for it last night. My tummy was full, and aching, and I could NOT get comfortable to get to sleep.
It was worth it though!

Sleep on friends - it's 2:36am in Boston, 7:36am here in Edinburgh, and I'm going to get some fruit for breakfast, and some fruit to bring with me to the lab, because, unfortunately, the food there is UNexceptional! :)

More tomorrow!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hello from Edinburgh.

I wanted to write about the amazing food I have been eating over the past 24 hours (it feels like it's been 5 days).
First off, my meal last night in business class - it was VERY GOOD.
It started with the glass of champagne as you board; the champagne was Pommery Brut Champagne. Here is the description from the menu:

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines, manicured in the Pommery classic vineyards, yield small grape clusters packed with rich flavor-making wines which are blended from several vintages to perpetuate the famous Pommery "house" style. The result is a dry, white sparkling wine of crisp tartness and savory toasty-apple bouquet.
That description is dead on. It was delicious (even if it was served in a little plastic cup)...

Next came the wine. I had a white, Sileni Estates Hawkes Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
I have been drinking Sauvignon Blanc lately, and have been digging it's assertiveness.
This wine was no wallflower. It was crisp and tangy with a wallop of a finish reminiscent of pine.
The description in the menu said the wine was "bursting with fresh gooseberry-tropical flavors".

A little dish of warm, mixed nuts accompanied the wine, and the appetizer and salad followed shortly. The appetizer was coppa ham and fresh mozzerella cheese topped with what I'll describe as a tomato jelly. The salad was mixed greens with sun-dried tomotoes, cucumbers and artichoke hearts. I dressed it with balsamic vineagrette.
For my meal, I chose the Shrimp and Scallops with Tomato Risotto. It was out of this world and came with a creamy goat cheese sauce on top of it. My one complaint is that the risotto was not "al dente" enough, and that is probably the result of it sitting around waiting to be served. However, it was so delicious, that I did not care.

Unfortunately, I conked out before the dessert came, and woke up 3.5 hours later to some crazy turbulance, and the pilot saying, we are going to climb to 40,000 feet to see if it's better up wasn't.....

Today in Edinburgh, on what is called the Royal Mile, the historic part of town, I had a wonderful lunch at a place called Maxie' Bistro. I think it suffered from identity crisis, as it wanted to be a bistro, but offered food that I wouldn't classify as bistro food, like the Veggie Enchilada with guacamole I had for lunch. It was really great - the tortilla had a pleasing texture, and the veggies inside were perfectly cooked: spinach, sweet peppers, corgettes (otherwise known as zuchini), and green beans. There was the slightest bit of cheese melted inside, and a mildly spicy sauce draped over the middle portion of the enchilada. It really hit the spot.

So, now, I sit and wait to eat dinner at a place called The Shore. It is located in the section called Leith, right on the water. I ate there on my last visit here, and I am looking forward to eating there again.
I'll report in again, describing my dinner and telling you why this is the greatest place to eat snacks....

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bon Voyage

I'm off to Edinburgh, Scotland for what I hope is my last business trip.....
No Spin Cycle this week.....already working on a playlist for next week though!!!!
Be back after the Memorial Day Holiday.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Spin Cycle 05/17/07

A bit all over the place, sort of, with the music for this morning. I was going for a fast paced class, one that kind of bounced. So, while I did replay some songs that I have used over the past year, it was only to fulfill the requirements I had in mind for the class, and it was FAST. I kept the resistance moderate at best for the class, and urged the students to not be too heavy handed with the resistance knob.
My legs are toast, between last night’s ride, and this morning’s ride.
Love it!

1. Bring Your Lovin’ Back Here - Gomez
2. Back on the Train - Phish
3. This is Us – Mark Knopfler & Emmy Lou Harris
4. New York City – moe.
5. Vertigo – U2
6. I Can’t Explain – The Who
7. Ride The River – Eric Clapton and J.J.Cale
8. Where Are We Runnin’? – Lenny Kravitz
9. Want You More – Duran Duran
10. Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder
11. Think I’m in Love – Beck
12. Clocks – Coldplay
13. Here it Goes Again – OK Go
14. Love Invincible – Michael Franti & Spearhead
15. Take the Money and Run – Steve Miller (Acoustic)
16. Yes I Will – Michael Franti & Spearhead
17. Sabrosa – The Beastie Boys

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When life gives you lemons,

You make lemonade.
It’s never a good feeling when someone close to you says “We need to talk” or “I need to talk to you”. A pit forms in the center of your belly and burns a hole. It’s reminiscent of the feeling you get when a boss comes by and says “Got a minute, why don’t you come to my office”.

So, when my nanny, and friend Lynn, of 5 years approached me about 3 weeks ago and said “I need to talk to you”, as that sinking feeling set in, I jokingly said, I hope you are not going to quit. She just stood there and kind of stared at me with an “I’m sorry”, cringing look and said, well…..

I was stunned. I knew Lynn would move on some day, I just didn’t think it would be for a couple of years. And you know, I can’t blame her. She is young, and has her whole life in front of her.

Since Lynn gave us her notice, I’ve experienced the whole range of emotions: shock, fear, sadness. It’s almost like a break-up or a divorce as for the past 5 years Lynn has come to our house almost every single day. I asked her a few times was it something we’d done, and asked her how long she had been unhappy, trying to figure it all out.

Lynn herself is saddened as well, but will move on to the next part of her life and will explore going to culinary school, at the school where I actually went, 12 years ago, The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. I am excited for her.

I will also embark on the next part of my life.

We are not going to be getting another care giver. It is too complicated a time right now to do that, attributing it to behavior and schedules. Thus, I will segue into being a stay at home mom, sort of. I am scared out of my mind! I have never been a stay at home mom.

In the past I have thought that I wanted to stay at home, but the reality of it is, is, I liked being able to go to work, even if I hated the job I was doing. With this decision of not getting another caregiver, I knew I had to come up with something to do a) to keep my sanity b) to generate income c) to keep my sanity!

As most of you know (or maybe not), I am passionate about cooking and baking. Therefore, I have made the decision to finally use the culinary schooling I received many years ago, and become a Personal Chef. I will be taking a course from the Culinary Business Academy, in conjunction with the US Personal Chef Association to develop myself into a business for hire (get your minds out of the gutter!)

There are many spins I can put on marketing myself: full fat cooking, low fat cooking (I did just drop 22 lbs), homemade baby food, baked goods, personal shopping, organic and whole grain options.

So, my fear cycles into excitement and back to fear again. Will I be able to do it? At times, I get a glimmer of hope that passes across my eyes, and I think yes, and everything will be alright. At other times, I think not, and that I don’t have the capability to do it.
A friend of mine sent me some words of encouragement, a saying that she had hanging in her cube that was instrumental in jumpstarting her move to a new life:
Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one's courage.
Very appropriate for me these days.
In any case, as I try to figure it all out (like coming up with a name, logo, website etc), I’m trying to remain calm and with a clear vision. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Spin Cycle 05/10/07

I dug down deep into my Spinning Archives for this ride - back to 99, when I segued from using casette tapes (what are those???) to CDs.
I did this for 1 reason - just in case they did not replace the wire for the ipod to the stereo, I wanted to have a class with 2 speakers going.
Well, they did change out the wire, but I still used the CD anyways:

1. Madison Time - Donald Fagan
2. Like A Prayer - Madonna
3. Let it Whip - Dazz Band (Anney, this ones for you)
4. You Got the Look - Prince
5. Jumper - Third Eye Blind
6. Everything to Everyone - Everclear
7. Blue Skies - Tori Amos with BT
8. Gettin' Jiggy with It - Will Smith
9. Got to Get You Into My Life - Earth Wind and Fire
10. Word Up - Cameo
11. Walkin on the Sun - Smashmouth
12. Jump - Madonna (I added this one to the ride from my ipod, because my CD was not long enough to cover the ride)

It was a good class - very humid in the room, lots of sweat.

I picked up another class to teach, Wednesday evenings at 6:30, a 45 minute class (versus the 60 minute class on Thursday mornings). Back to back classes like that are tough, but based on circumstances, I need all the income I can get. Look for another posting on that a bit later....
Have a good day!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Spin Cycle 05/03/07

Funk, Soul, Get on the Good Foot Y’all!

James Brown, Tina Turner, Otis Redding. Class was great this morning, despite the fact that one speaker was still out. However, I figured out the problem. It is the wire that connects the ipod to the console that is faulty. The left speaker was not working when I plugged in this morning. I noticed that the Left and Right wires were switched in the console; I unplugged them and when I did, the right speaker went out, and the left started working. A-Ha! Hopefully there will be a new wire next week….

Class was FAST paced and aerobically challenging for sure. I did a lot of work in 2nd position (running, jumping etc) and we climbed 2 major hills. I wrapped up class with a live version of Proud Mary, that started off REAL SLOOOOWWWWW, and then segued into a real fast pace for the ending. It was awesome. Here’s the playlist:

1. Living for the City – Ike and Tina Turner
2. Celebration – Kool and the Gang f. LuLu and the London Community Choir
3. It’s Too Funky in Here – James Brown
4. Get Up Offa That Thing (Release the Pressure) – James Brown
5. Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine – James Brown
6. Jam – James Brown
7. Sugar, Sugar – Ike and Tina Turner
8. I Want to Take You Higher – Ike and Tina Turner
9. A Thing Called Love – Ohio Players
10. Shake – Otis Redding
11. Hollywood Swingin’ – Kool and the Gang f. Jamiroquai
12. Getcho Soul Togetha, Pt 2 - Breakestra
13. Proud Mary – Ike and Tina Turner
14. Lets Stay Together – Al Green
15. Something’s Got A Hold on Me – Etta James

During class I mentioned that I take for music for granted. When I hear music such as I played this morning, I take it for granted. Can you imagine being around when music such as this was ground breaking??? Something to think about....