Passion, Princes, Pomp and Circumstance, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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One would have thought that I would have taken the opportunity, to use the Royal Wedding as a post. However, I did not want to be so cliche. It seems as though so many are using the event to cook something British. Every other blog is doing a piece on scones and what to eat as you are watching the nuptials of Harry and Meghan. Seeing as this is the point of the blog, I wanted to go another route. It was synchronicity that led me to another to another topic by way of the wedding

You see, this week was the 27th anniversary of when I graduated from The Culinary Institute of America - 17 May 1991. The CIA, as it is referred to, was a former Jesuit Seminary. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin a Jesuit himself, whom Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry referred to in his sermon at the Royal Wedding, is buried on the property of the school and former St Andrew's on the Hudson. de Chardin as Bishop Curry noted, "was at once a scientist, a Roman Catholic priest, a theologian, a true mystic. His was one of the great minds and spirits of the 20th century. He suggested that the discovery and harnessing of fire was one of the great technological discoveries of human history. Fire made it possible to cook food, thereby reducing the spread of disease. Fire made it possible to stay warm in cold climates, thereby marking human migration possible. Fire made the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Revolution possible."

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In light of this, de Chardin said that if "human beings ever harness the energies of love, then for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire. Love is the very fire and energy of real life!"

I find it ironic that de Chardin refers to fire in terms of cooking as he is interred on the grounds of America's foremost school of cookery. Doubly ironic is that he compares fire to love. I have been looking to rekindle the love of cookery and food that I found within those walls. That is what this journey is all about. There is no doubt that I love food and creating it. The many tomes of books that line my shelves are a testament to to that idea. The ultimate goal is to keep that fire burning and that love growing enough to create a body of work that pays homage to this food that I love so much.

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This story came full circle this week when my son asked if I could bake something for after prom. I figured that brownies, the same brownies that I learned to make at the CIA, were the perfect choice seeing as how it was the anniversary of my metriculating. They bring me back to a special time in my life. They make me recall the good times that I had while being there at the school. They help rekindle that passion, that fire, that love that brought me there. For me, food is just one of the things that fuels me with the energy of real life.

So here is the next step of this blog. The part where I actually start posting recipes. 

Yield: 35

Brownies - The Culinary Institute of America

Brownies from my alma mater - dense and fudgy type not soft and cake like

ingredients:

340 grams chocolate, semisweet

510 grams unsalted butter

15 each eggs, whole

1.02 kilograms sugar, granulated

teaspoon vanilla extract

340 grams cake flour

510 grams walnuts, chopped


instructions:

Chop chocolate and set aside in a heatproof bowl

Melt unsalted butter over medium-high heat. Once simmering and all of the butter has melted, pour over chopped chocolate and stir with a whisk to melt chocolate and make a homogenous mixture. Set aside.

Combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Set over a double boiler on the stove. Heat mixture to 110°. Stir to make sure sugar has dissolved.

With an electric stand mixer, whip egg mixture until doubled in volume and is holding a light tread from the whisk attachment.

Mix in chocolate mixture.

Fold in flour and half of the chopped walnuts.

Spread batter in a greased parchment lined 1/2 size sheet pan.

Sprinkle remaining chopped walnuts on top.

Bake in a 350° oven for 30-45 minutes depending on how fudge like you prefer your brownies.

NOTES:

Can be topped with ganache (equal amounts of melted chocolate and boiled heavy cream) for even more decadence.

Following the journey inside my heart...

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I have been away from "the Irish restaurant" for four years. In that time, I have been working various food and non-food related jobs since. Nothing else has captured my heart as that restaurant had. It has been more of a journey to find the right outlet for my passion. I came here specifically for that job. I moved my family here. I have no regrets about that. I think what I regret is, letting the love for what I do, not matter "enough". Sure, I started this blog. But, I have allowed my self to just do it haphazardly. I've done it as a hobby. I think this is the point where it needs to be more of a way of life. 

I have had, in the last few weeks, a voice inside telling me that I need to make this a second career in order for it to become my first career. I need to work harder on getting this message out there. I need to listen to my heart. I need to treat this more like it is a part of my soul and not just some Pinterest board. 

Listening to the "voice" inside

I wanted to walk away from the job that I had been doing recently. That job afforded me extra time in my life to do things related to A Kilt and a Cuppa.  I thought maybe if I found another full-time chef gig, it would make me forget how miserable I have been. What I failed to realise was, that nothing else was going to make me as happy as doing A Kilt and a Cuppa. Then my current job offered me a contract with a 3% raise for next year. The voice inside me, the spirit, said loudly and clearly, "You are not trying hard enough to make this work". The voice was right.

So I faced my fears, knowing that financially, right now this would be a difficult decision. But I went ahead and committed myself to it. Somehow, someway, A Kilt and a Cuppa needs to be made known. It needs to get the message out there. Sure, what we do is a niche market. That does not mean it cannot work. It just means that I need to find the right people and make them believe in me and in it. 

I need to believe that sacrifices now will produce rewards later. This is my home now, here in Pennsylvania. But that does not mean that this is my home forever. I have to look ahead and see that I can get back to my real home. The journey cannot just exist inside my head. If it is to come to fruition, then it needs to start inside my heart. The journey cannot just be the map. It needs to be the physical and spiritual act of putting one foot in front of the other. It needs to be the act of taking it all in and absorbing each and every experience. Hopefully when I reach the destination, be it physically, or emotionally, or both I will have returned to that place in my heart.

Here is to a safe and happy journey...

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What is new besides the New Year?

New Years 2018 A Kilt and a Cuppa

      What will this new year, 2018 bring? In the back of my head, I am hoping that it brings better things than 2017 did. Last year was not horrid. The again, it did not exactly fill me with feelings of warm cosiness either. While things did get better work-wise, they did not in relation to this blog and the side business of A Kilt and a Cuppa

A New Year, new ideas, and a new look...

     Right before the holidays last year, the website was hacked and destroyed. This meant the shop was lost and there was not much opportunity to make sales for the season. At first, I thought that it was not worth it to keep going. 

     When I began this as a blog, I did it mainly for myself. It was part of the healing process to move on from the Irish restaurant that I spent almost seven years at. There was a lot of myself that I put into that place. I wanted something to show for it. In the course of time since 2014 when I left, the website was hacked 3 different times. After this last time, I decided that I needed to do things differently. I moved the site to Squarespace. I decided on a very clean minimalistic look for it. I wanted to start clean, neat, and completely different. 

     Yes, this blog is written for me. It is in part for my kids, so that they have something to go to in the coming years when they want to reflect on the foods that we have all come to know and love. It is a cookbook to share with everyone. I am not a believer in "secret recipes". Food is meant to be shared be it as a meal or as recipes for others to prepare themselves. That is what the writing part of this is all about - sharing. I get to share my passion, my interest, my knowledge about this specific type of food.      

     The other part of this site (due to take form soon) will be about the Shoppe.  This is where I can share the physical fruits of my labours. This is the place to sell those things that we became known for when we were at the Irish restaurant. There are things that we will do seasonally as well as regularly.  These are the items that we will produce for delivery sales.

     One of the goals for this year is to figure out shipping details as well. This way we can share with a much broader audience. Hopefully, we can have all of that ready to go, so this year's holiday season will be much more profitable. 

     Other goals on the agenda for this year include a more consistent writing schedule, promoting our catering menus, and not just waiting for things to happen. This is the year that is about getting out there and really promoting A Kilt and a Cuppa. This is the year to really let people know what we do and why it is so good.

     If you plan on embarking on this journey with us, welcome aboard! Tell anyone and everyone that you know. The more people that we can get to share this trip, the better. This year will hopefully be a good journey. May the road be filled with many stories to tell and good food to eat!

 

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.
— John O’Donohue
New Year 2018 A Kilt and a Cuppa