Saturday, December 15, 2007

End of Production Day One

My ambition to roll the entire 32 dozen dark chocolate flavors was not to be. I keep forgetting that I'm not the toughest nut in the bag anymore. I gave in at around 20 dozen and took my mother and April out to Camacho's for dinner.

Once I get this new camera figured out I'll do a photo essay on the place. Camacho's place is a little restaurant that sits on a ditch bank, across a field from a feed lot. Out in the middle of nowhere. The food is legendary. When they come here to do their winter training the Blue Angels always are found at one of their tables. They bring the little plane models and wave them around as they talk about the day's flying. When they had their last change of command the team flew down to Camacho's from Pensacola, loaded up bags of food for the entire crew and their guests and flew back.

Tomorrow I'll roll the last 12 dozen. Then I can start dipping on Monday along with making the white chocolate flavors.

And that's the news from down south.

Rolling Day

This is what rolling truffles is all about. I will be rolling the eight flavors I put up yesterday all today.

The music is set for random. My hands will be very chocolaty (if that's not a word it should be) so I won't be answering the phone or pushing "next" if there's a song I don't want to hear right then. The lovely April is here, but she just laughs when I hold up chocolate covered hands and ask her to do trivial things. She tends to say things like "It's only three minutes, deal with it." or, "Don't even think about touching me with those."

Lovely girl.

We are right on schedule to begin dipping tomorrow.


18 doz have been rolled so far. The lovely April is in the shower because she warned me off touching her and I said "But, you're so lovely, your hair is so golden." I'm too big a mess to worry about cleaning up beyond washing my hands between flavors. She's a delight. She puts up with me and that counts for a lot. My mother adores her too. April was worried about that at first because of the whole stripper/escort thing. Mom doesn't care about stuff like that. She only cares that there is a lovely woman who has struggled her whole life to do right by her children the best way she knows how. She knows that this woman also brings out the best in me. That's something mom likes seeing. Me. Too. for that matter.

Friday, December 14, 2007

R.I.P. Ike Turner

(this was a comment i left over to Bad Tux, the Snarky Penguin's)

about five years ago, i turned a young drummer friend over to ike. the kid had monsterous chops but he needed to learn the business. he needed to learn to be a professional. ike fucking schooled him. i never worked for, or with ike. i only knew him after he sobered up. thing was, if in the last ten or so years, if you worked for ike, you fucking worked. and you got paid. ike flat handled shit. club owners and producers didn't even think about stiffing ike. ike. would. cut. them. if you worked for ike you got paid what you were told you would be paid. and you worked.
other folks had to get day gigs to get by. not if you worked for ike.

ike knew how to put on a show. every tune, every note, every move was studied and chosen for effect. ike was a showman, a dying breed.

he is missed.

Goodbye Ike. I bet it won't be very long at all before you school a proper Doo-Wop line with those angels. God, Jesus, please take Ike, and try not to piss him off.


a short thought

David Hazinski can suck my unprofessional and unedited ass.

That is all.

Friday Random Ten (and beginning truffle stuff)

First song up

Rally 'Round The Flag - - - Ry Cooder

get the camera ready. I am having to take the pictures myself and it's a new camera so this post will be about descriptive visuals in case I foul it all up.

Get 10lbs of bittersweet chocolate chunked in a big ass bowl. Start to heat a gallon of heavy cream and a pound and a half of sweet butter over a medium flame. Ready the flavorings. First batch is:

Song Change

Hand In Hand - - - Dire Straights

Classic bittersweet, Jenna's Candied Ginger, Jessica's Peppermint Stick and Raspberry. So I chop the ginger, crush up the peppermint sticks and measure out about a half a cup of frozen raspberries. Then I line:

Song change:

Come Along Home (Tom's Song) - - - The Chad Mitchell Trio

Four aluminum cooking trays with Press 'N' Seal® and check on the cream. I'm going want to stop the heat right at the edge of a boil. Most folks who make a truffle ganache boil their cream. It makes for a fudgier, tighter ganache that is easy to roll and handle. I don't go there. I want my ganache to be creamy and smooth. I want my ganache to liquify instantly at body temperature. (sorry tata, that's what i want it to do, I'm not trying to get anyone all excited and shit) This means that:

Song change:

Loudmouth - - - The Ramones (live bootleg from CBGB's)

When you have the ganache in your mouth it goes all gushy and contrasts with the chocolate shell and any residual flavoring bits.

When the cream and the butter are perfectly heated. Small bubbles around the edges of the cream and the butter is totally melted, I give a few quick turns with the whisk for a loose liason and dump it over the chocolate chunks.

Song Change:

Vague Feeling of Dread - - - Far Beyond Frail

Wait five minutes

Not Alone - - - Patty Griffin

And stir untill the ganache is smooth and glossy. Divide this into the four prepared pans and add in the flavors. That takes about two songs.

The Brave Engineer - - - The Carver Brothers (from 1928)
20 Eyes - - - The Misfits

Wrap them up tight and close so there's no air exposure. If you don't do this right, the ganache develops a skin and that's icky. Then refrigerate overnight.

Rockin' In The Free World - - - Neil Young (Live, Unplugged)
Death Letter - - - Son House

Bonus track while I get ready to do the second batch of ganache:

O Thou Who Tellest Good Tidings To Zion - - - George Frederick Fucking Handel.

Pictures and stuff will be posted later this afternoon if I don't fuck it all up.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Truffle Breakdown

The flavors are set.

In the dark chocolate we have

Classic Bittersweet
(nothing but chocolate ganache, pure and uncut, my personal favorite)

(ganache flavored with raspberries, exquisite with dry champagne)

Jenna's Candied Ginger

(using home made crystallized ginger)

Jessica's Peppermint Stick

(flavored with crushed peppermint sticks)

Sofia's Mexicali Spice

(cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and a splash of espresso muy fabuloso)


(hazelnut liqueur)

Starbuck's Coffee Liqueur

(better coffee taste than Kahlua or Tia Maria)


(Menorval Reserve 15 years old)

White Chocolate

(flavored with Tahitian Vanilla)

White Chocolate Raspberry

(very nice stuff)

I have boxes of eight and boxes of 12. At $2.50 per truffle a box of 8 goes for $20 and a dozen for $30. Shipping is done overnight by UPS. I up for suggestions for a contest theme. The first prize will be a dozen truffles shipped on my dime. Second prize is a dozen but you pay the shipping.

I'm going to keep this up at the top of the page for a while.

Medical Update: Today is a bitch. Oh my fucking gawd it hurts. I've been through this before and tomorrow will be my dancing day. Today it's nothing but staying the fuck off it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Second Road Trip

back to San Diego, this time to pick up my 40 lbs of 70% cocoa mass chocolate, then pick up 15lbs of white chocolate buttons, and some decoration supplies. We will be in production mode come Friday.

Third stop on the way out of town is to see the bone doctor dude again. I was telling him about the week coming up where I need to be at something approximating full strength, able to spend time on my feet and stuff. He's mainly a sports doctor so he understands me when I say "I gotta play this game." I'm going to be getting a series of cortisone and some other voodoo stuff injected in the hip, knee and the arch of my left foot. He says that a series like that will cost me one day of inactivity on Thursday, but once the site trauma calms down (they take these needles about the size of irrigation pipe and cram them deep into the joints) I should be able to sustain pretty normal levels of activity for a couple of weeks, without having to resort to heavy duty pain killers and stuff like that.

After that our plan is three fold. He wants to try a resurfacing job on the hip. He thinks that by building up parts of the chunk that got shot off and then hosing down the existing joint surface he can approximate something that will last me for a while, thus putting off the eventual replacement for a few years. On the knee he wants to try "microfracture" surgery. That's the one that Amare Stoudamire and a lot of the basketball players have had. What they do is to go into the cartilage surface of the knee (that's the part that's been wearing steadily away with me) and they make a series of small, microscopic fractures in the surface. The theory (since proven in practice) is that in the process of naturally healing these tiny little cuts the bigger areas of wear will be resurfaced too. It takes about a year for the surgery to really show results, but hey, talks between the WGA and AMPTP have been suspended while the producers try to find some negotiators who aren't taking large quantities of LSD and other club drugs. They might have to move the negotiation site because the producer's team has already worn out the supply of teen aged hookers from both sexes on Sunset. They're thinking maybe San Francisco would be a better site. The producers are foolish to think this. The hookers in San Francisco were unionized by Margo St. James back in the 70's. They. Hate. Them. Some. Scabs.

The foot stuff going on will be done by an orthopaedic specialist who does nothing but feet and ankles. She's a friend of my regular bone guy and has worked on some pretty famous feet, both sports types and some well known dancers. I see her right after the new year.

So, more road work today. Rest tommorow. Then, it's truffle game time.

Put me in coach. I'm ready.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Road Trip Day

Off to San Diego this morning. I will be seeing the bone doctor. He is going to be finishing up his diagnostic process on my left knee (actually it's my whole left side from the hip on down). We will then figure out our options and course of action. After minimal activities over the weekend and a sudden weather change Monday morning I was thrown into a state of near immobility.

Not something I care to live with or in. A broken body can feel like a cage for the soul. Time to get shit fixed.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Yearly Gripe

with me is most of the "new christian" music. Usually it's a combination of bad music and bad religion. A friend stopped by with a song she wants to sing at her church and is wanting me to play backup. My gripe with this song is typical of my gripe with both this kind of music and this kind of faith.

Here's my short version of the song. . .

We start out with nice, light holidayish full of baroque filigrees stuff and the lyrical theme is along the lines of Oh, look at the lovely stable, see the beautiful star, there in a lowly manger, how happy we all are. . .

then there is an abrupt change to dischordant crashing and jangling minors and the voice tone switches to sound like Korn with a hangover


Give me Pretorius, Luther, Mendholsson, Bach, Handel and the other tried and true classics of the holiday. Lest any of you think that I'm a faithless bah humbug Grinch I must also report that I have already agreed to accompany my 12 year old nephew who has been taking guitar lessons for three whole months when he plays "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Silent Night" at his church Christmas weekend.

(Phrasing note to carolers and other non-musician types who will be singing this year. In most carols you can glean great phrasing tips from the punctuation of the song. It's God Rest Ye Merry, (pause) Gentlemen, NOT God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen just thought you should know. It won't cost you a cup of cocoa on my porch but there are purists out there)