Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Exam Daze

Could have been worse, but I did not finish everything I wanted to get done, and not everything came out the way I hoped. I did temper some dark chocolate--twice, actually, so I got some practice with that. I should have tempered some white, too, for the practice (remember that white chocolate is evil, and that's partly because it's such a pain to temper), but just didn't. I cut up my ginger ganache, and dipped it, and it's definitely better-tasting after dipping; opinion is divided on it. No one hates it, and some people really liked it a lot, but I didn't think it was all that, and I wasn't happy with the flavor. I cut the pate de fruit, which came out extremely well, thank you very much. I also cut the caramels, which did not come out very well. They weren't completely unacceptable, and the flavor was nice, but they were too soft. I made the circles for the hazelnuts and dipped those, so I got some dipping practice.

The thing with which I had the most trouble was casting chocolate into molds: I did it not once, not twice, but FOUR times before I got it right (and cleaning out the molds is tedious, because you have to wipe them clean, using cotton balls; four times I did that). By then, it was too late to fill the shells and put bottoms on them and so on, so I didn't get to practice everything I would have wanted to practice. In part because the casting took so long, I also didn't get to do any sugar work today, and I didn't get to remake the caramels (though I'm less worried about that). Still, it was worthwhile to redo the casted chocolates, not least because that will almost certainly be on the exam.

At the end of class, we traded some food, so I got some of D's peanut butter ganache and some of J's lemon verbena ganache (which I appropriated for S, who loves lemon verbena). J also made some lime caramels yesterday that were quite spectacular. A surprising number of people didn't show up yesterday or today, and two other people left early today (one had to go for a blood test and the other has a sick child); we finished class with only 10 of the 16 of us around.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide what to do this afternoon. If I want to play handball, I need to leave in about two hours, and, because S is playing in a league match tonight, I wouldn't be able to get a ride home from him until 8:30 or even a little later. I would get to play, and I could deliver chocolate to S, but I probably wouldn't get a very vigorous game, and it's a lot of shlepping the night before an exam. (I have to study, too, so I know what temperature things are supposed to be, by heart.) I could go to a yoga class at about 5:30 instead--it's only two blocks away, and it's a good teacher, but it would cost money, and remember that lack of paychecks thing? I could come up with the cash (or credit card), but . . . Or I could study for awhile, and do my laundry, and maybe eat something in which the primary ingredient is something other than sugar and/or chocolate and see how I feel (which is, of course, what I'm most likely to do). C is out of town again tonight--Rochester, this time, because of course the company that's firing 30-some people seems to think it's more cost-effective and time-efficient to fly two or three people to Rochester for one night. Apparently they are unaware of this invention called a "telephone," and this event called a "conference call." (Last night he was at his sister's, so he and she and his brother-in-law could discuss some work C might do for them.) Much as I miss him, it's also nice to just be able to rummage around in the morning and make whatever noise I need to make. When he's not here, my brain lets me sleep until the alarm goes off, rather than waking me up at 3:30 or something (the alarm goes off at 4, but if I wake up early I get up so the alarm doesn't wake C). Enough. I need a vegetable. Or a grain.


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