Peter Reinhart is one of our favorite writers on baking bread. He makes bread baking seem easy, approachable, and practically inevitable. When you read his books or listen to him speak he makes you want to bake. Passion will do that.
We've had some interesting conversations on Twitter lately about pursuing passion. The idea of doing what you love for a living is one of endless fascination because we all want to love what we do. Of course that doesn't mean it won't be difficult. It means that you are inspired enough by your daily activities to overcome obstacles and solve problems because it makes you happy to do it. That's a pretty lofty goal and sometimes the hard part is defining what you want to do and, more commonly, the hardest part is making it a reality. Truthfully it often comes down to your ability to sell. You're selling your passion to other people so they will pay you to do it. Sounds so simple as long as you're willing to put yourself out there to make it happen.
A few years ago I was invited to a cocktail party/meeting of Les Dames de Escoffier in Manhattan. I hadn't seen that particular friend in several years though we had reconnected via Twitter and I was feeling restless. Amaya was at an age where I finally felt comfortable sneaking away for an afternoon and evening and not being able to return quickly if needed. She spent the day with Dad and I hopped on a train into the city. I grew up in New York City and though I may never live there again, it always feels like coming home. Hanging out in Washington Square Park before the event, people watching and enjoying the afternoon, I was reminded that no matter how much changes in the city the core of it remains the same.
The event was exactly as I expected, several big names and semi-familiar faces, all of whom seemed to know each other quite well. It was wonderful to reconnect with my friend but I was reminded of how little I enjoy social events where I have to introduce myself to everyone. That's sounds terrible, doesn't it? Alex is very good at networking at these kinds of gatherings. He always has a smile and something to say to everyone he meets. That is not one of my special talents. One of the older ladies who noticed my discomfort gave my the eye and said "You know dear, you only get out of these events what you put into them. If you stand on the sidelines all night you may have wasted a trip." It was a fair assessment and one I took to heart. I still hate going to events with more strangers than friends, but now I try to remind myself that if I put some effort into things I can become the person who makes the introductions rather than trying to find a way to break into a conversation. I enjoy bringing people together, that is one of my talents. I just need to be comfortable enough to do it.
This Ted talk seemed somewhat timely given those recent conversations about pursuing our passions. Perhaps it's a good time to mention that we are planning to evolve our approach to workshops and create more small group classes to bring people together. While the one on one workshops are special, we want to focus more on interaction, bringing people together in a kitchen to share ideas, learn new techniques, and revisit old ones in a small hands-on environment because chefs learn best by cooking. You'll learn more about this soon. In the meantime here is a great talk by Sally Hogshead about how to fascinate your audience.
Two videos in one week? Yup. They are totally different and this one I found via Chuck Wendig's website. It's about creativity and we're always looking for a little more of that around here. Less than five minutes of your time for a little bit of light-hearted yet serious inspiration.
This one is about food and really should be watched by all of us. Those of us in the business know a lot about food waste, what we don't know is how to solve the problem. We all want the best and most beautiful ingredients but what do we do with everything else? The first step is identifying the problem, the next step is figuring out how to get the most flavor out of every ingredient and putting as much as possible on the plate.
It's video five because ketchup is a classic. We love the original Heinz so much that we were inspired to try and make our own. It's a relatively painless process and the results are totally worth the effort.
For the fourth video we decided to go with something sweet. Pistachio brittle is a favorite of ours and hopefully it will become one for you too. In the recipe we use a combination of white and brown sugar, if you prefer, you can easily substitute all white. The flavor will be slightly different and equally delicious.
1/2 cup light corn syrup 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup butter, diced 1 1/2 cups raw, unsalted pistachios 1 teaspoon baking soda
Combine corn syrup, water, sugar and brown sugar in a heavy sauce pan. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and add salt and butter. Over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, cook till the caramel reaches 280 degrees Fahrenheit (soft crack stage). Turn off the heat and add pistachios, stirring to combine with the caramel. Return to medium heat and cook until the candy reaches 305 degrees (hard crack stage). Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Pour the hot brittle out on to a sheet tray lined with either a silpat or buttered foil. Let cool to room temperature.
All Amazon links on this website are part of an affiliate program. Ideas in Food will earn a small percentage on any purchases made by visiting Amazon through our links. Thank you for supporting Ideas in Food by making purchases through our site.