I’m currently between jobs, a position I originally thought to be detrimental, but now I see it as an opportunity to reassess my life and sort of figure out what I want to do with it. I’m 26, unmarried, have a bachelors degree and a have a whole life ahead of me. I absolutely love what I do, don’t get me wrong, but I work in a high-stress industry and I don’t want it to get to a point where I start to hate what I do. I really don’t ever what to hate what I do! In lieu of all of this, I decided to get away for a week to Florida for a little R&R. What better time than during the winter, especially during the coldest week to date?! St. Louis is experiencing temperatures in the negatives plus snow. Here in Florida we have a high of 72 with a brisk low in the 40s- absolutely perfect!!
So like I said, I’m reassessing my life and trying to figure out what to do with it, so what better time than the present to attempt to resurrect my blog! So I bake delicious pastries for a living (in case you didn’t know) and have ever since I finished Pastry School (I went to pastry school right out of college). I also have a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art, and what I loved about pastries is that it blends both of my passions: art and baking. I’m at a point where I’m starting to contemplate if I want a slight career change. I don’t have a particularly vast skill set that would allow me move into any career, but ultimately I would like to work in a field that combines my passions. I have always loved to blog, especially about food (I know it’s been on a yearlong hiatus), and if I could get a job where I could try new foods or recipes and write about them- that’s the dream right there! Maybe I should become a food critic, wouldn’t that be interesting? I could create different aliases and go incognito to new restaurants, pay in cash, and write reviews about how the steak tartar was superb with little nuances of nuttiness or how the crème brulee was underwhelming as it was over baked- like eating scrambled eggs. I think it would be fun, that is until someone found out it was me and called me out for the scathing review! One of these days I’ll find my niche- I’ll know that “this is where I belong”!
Enough of all of that, I had a wonderful day today. It started with a solo bike ride up to Norman Love Confections where I bought 4 beautiful and equally delicious chocolates. Norman Love is a world-renown chocolatier. His flagship store is located in Fort Meyers, FL, and is also the location where all of the chocolates and pastries are made and then delivered to the retailers, of which there are 2.
The chocolates I purchased. Top row from left to right: Mint Chocolate Chip and Tahitian Caramel (I was told it was Norman's favorite flavor). Bottom row from left to right: Savage Heart (chai spiced chocolate with marshmallow) and Caramel
I couldn't choose just one of the pictures I took of the case. The chocolates are too beautiful for words.
As I admired the beauty and craftsmanship of the chocolates and truffles this morning, I thought to myself (seriously) this is what I want to do! I had a crash course in chocolates in pastry school (3 weeks) but in that time, I really fell in love with chocolate. There’s an essence of perfectionism, a little OCD sprinkled here and there, and a whole lot of artistic skill. It’s a industry I think I could thrive in, unfortunately there are slim pickings in St. Louis, as there is only one premier chocolatier, Kakao.
After a breakfast of chocolates and green tea, I ran some errands with my mom, made a fresh batch of sangria (recipe to follow), and a big bowl of guacamole (Florida avocados are huge).
I'm not kidding! Banana for scale.
To finish the day we took a long walk on the beach. Something happened today between high tide and low tide because there was an insane amount of dead starfish, crab legs, and sea sponges on the beach. We also saw 2 jellyfish, found a couple of sea turtle bones, and this strange thing we thought was the skeleton of a sea snake or a plant.
After some Googling and a little bit of luck, I found out that it is actually the egg casing of a whelk, which is a sea snail that looks similar to a conch. Inside the, what we thought to be vertebrae, are actually little baby whelks. How interesting?! I guess you really do learn something everyday!
* Not my photo. Borrowed from "http://thehunterandthegatherer.blogspot.com"
I have one more day here, and it has truly been a whole lot of R&R, that I most desperately needed. I don’t have many foodstuffs to report here, but I have some time off to try new recipes, restaurants, cafes, so hopefully (fingers crossed) I will have more to write about in the upcoming days! Below is the recipe for my Blood Orange Sangria! Enjoy responsibly!
Blood Orange Sangria
Yields 1 large pitcher (approx. 4-6 glasses)
** Little note: I couldn't find blood oranges at my local grocery so I used Cara Cara instead. They are red oranges and have a sweet taste. They work just as well- use if blood oranges are unavailable.
6 Blood Oranges
1 (750mL) bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup Sprite
1/2 cup Triple Sec
2 Apples, chopped
1. Juice 4 of the blood oranges into large pitcher. (I juiced mine by hand)
2. Chop remaining oranges into pieces
3. Combine all ingredients together in large pitcher, including chopped fruit.
It's really that simple. I make mine a couple of hours ahead or cover it and leave it in the fridge overnight to allow all the flavors to mix.