Monthly Archives: November 2013

Ummm….

So.

I have an announcement.

Ready?

BAKING IS SOME SERIOUS HARD WORK.

We started off our morning, so full of optimism with a spring in our step and hot non-fat mochas (with whip, of course), in hand.  We darn near skipped from our car to the Elks front door.  We quickly made ourselves at home in our Elks kitchen and fired up our ovens to blind bake some shells.  Early morning, optimism, you are such a sweet thing.

As our day progressed, we fluted so many shells that I fear I suffered a fluting-related pinkie finger injury (is that a thing?).  We learned to use the commercial dishwasher (hint: I really need Santa to bring one of those to my house).  We held many tutorials so that Jeanne could learn to use the timer on her iPhone.  We stirred, melted, and chopped.  I seriously couldn’t begin to guess how many pecans we chopped, but from my Sam’s receipts (and the subsequent second trip I had to take there for more darn pecans), we used around 24 pounds.  Jeanne in action:

pecans

And let’s talk about boxes for minute.  I anticipated a lot of things for our two days in the Elks Lodge commercial kitchen, but I never really lingered on the fact that we would have to assemble all of the boxes we would need for the finished pies.  We ordered some really cute chocolate brown 12x12x5 bakery boxes and some AH-MAZ-ING 3 1/2 inch stickers with our logo.  Both were delivered from the manufacturer today (whew!).  I can’t remember what we paid for the boxes, but I am telling you, I would have paid TRIPLE if those suckers would have come pre-assembled.  We focused in and got 62 done before my fluting-related injury demanded no more.  I can feel the rest of those flat as a board, un-assembled boxes mocking me now from the Elks Event Center.  I’m pretty sure this doesn’t happen to Pizza Hut.

But, honestly?  We had fun today.  Time flew by and it was dark outside before we knew it. Tomorrow will be THE DAY.  The go-big-or-go-home day.  The I-have-butter-on-my-shoes-and-flour-all-over-my-apron day.  The we-are-blessed-to-be-on-this-adventure-so-we-are-going-to-have-fun day.

And the very best part?  Of all the dough I rolled and fluted, no two pies looked alike.  Not a single pie.  I fluted 93 percent of our shells today and I can guarantee that no two look the same, even though it was I doing most of the fluting.  I love that about baking…each time through shows you in a little different perspective…

Send good vibes tomorrow!  We can’t wait to see you all on Wednesday.

30 Dozen Eggs

Have you ever purchased 30 dozen eggs at one time?  Me either…until yesterday.  Because our food broker couldn’t deliver to our temporary Elks location (it is a long and boring story), we found ourselves at Sam’s with a flatbed cart, 30 dozen eggs, pounds of butter, an embarrassing amount of flour, sugar, chocolate chips, and one really big bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon.  You know a really bad time to drive a flatbed cart through Sam’s with all that stuff?  The Saturday before Thanksgiving.  We got a few curious glances (that could have just been our driving skills) and a few questions about what the heck we were doing.  When we finally made our way to the checkout, the guy in front of us was buying 40 turkeys, so he officially won the “strange Sam’s shopper” award and spared us any sort of humiliation.

Today we made pie dough.  Oh, so much dough.  So, so, so, so much dough.  After we made all that dough, we rolled all that dough.  Two rolling pins and two work tables and approximately one billion pie tins to fill.  It took about as long as you would expect: forever.  That said, getting all the dough rolled and ready to flute was a huge part of our prep work.

The order system is still up as I type this.  We got quite a few orders today and we worried that if we shut it down, then someone wouldn’t get their order in and we would end up feeling guilty (we should probably visit Dr. Phil to discuss this issue).  So tomorrow morning, we will do our final count and begin to prepare our baking schedule.  We will prep all of our dry filling bags and flute A LOT of pies.  By tomorrow night, we should be 100% ready to go and be able to blaze into our kitchen Tuesday morning READY TO BAKE.

Up early on Wednesday morning, we plan to assemble boxes and fill boxes and label boxes (and honestly, I bet you $5 we are still baking at sun up on Wednesday). I do have some exciting news – Shortwave Coffee has graciously offered to be at the Elks Lodge with us and serve up coffee and have their roasted coffee available for sell.  (I’m going to need a double mocha by the time you see us, Shortwave.  With whip.).  We are super excited because a) the smell of coffee and fresh pie is AWESOME and b) we will need caffeine, so much caffeine.  (On second thought, maybe I should email Shortwave back and ask if they could also come by on Tuesday night with the double mochas).

All that said, as tired as we thought we would be, we are really just super excited for this week.  And the mochas.

 

 

Apple and Peach Praline Pie…Oh My…

Our Thanksgiving order form has been open for about two weeks now and we’ve been watching the orders update to our fancy(ish) spreadsheet.  The thing about doing this for the first time in ten years is that most of our conversations with each other start with “I wonder…” and so around here lately, it has been “I wonder how many orders we will get?” (so far, about 100) or “I wonder what the top selling pie will be?” (so far, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan) or “I wonder if we will need to start at 4 am ALL OF THE DAYS?” (so far, probably so).

Surprisingly, we hadn’t asked ourselves, “I wonder if we offered enough variety of pie?”  We were trying to keep it simple.  A maiden voyage in a temporary kitchen made us reserved and unsure…in other words, nothing like ourselves in real life.  And not surprisingly soon after the form went live, the emails and Facebook messages began to roll in with requests for favorites like apple and peach praline.

If there is anything about this journey that we value the most, it is keeping it real.  We should have just added all the favorites for Thanksgiving from the get-go.  Our bad.  It isn’t too late though…the smart thing about messing up is fixing it when you realize it.  So, that said, the new Thanksgiving order form includes the following pies:

  • Pumpkin
  • Pecan
  • Chocolate Bourbon Pecan
  • French Silk
  • Apple
  • Dutch Apple
  • Peach Praline

We will leave the order system open through Sunday to accommodate late orders based on our new additions.

Now that the ordering issues are resolved, we are getting SUPER EXCITED to begin baking! Check this out – our temporary food permit for our few days at the Elks Lodge:

health permit

Let me tell you, THIS IS A BIG DEAL.  The health department people have rules…oh, so many rules.  All issued permits should come with a free iTunes download of the “Chariots of Fire” theme song so you can just listen to it whenever you need to be inspired from your harrowing journey.  (The Missouri Department of Revenue should just send you a thank you note and a bottle of wine in the mail on a periodic basis).  (I bet there is a special “booze in the mail” tax, right?).

In one final note, we visited the Elks Lodge today to scope it out.  First of all, it is really easy to find (just a bit down Highway WW and on the right).  Second of all, it is HUGE in there.  It has a large kitchen that is completely equipped (hello, commercial dishwasher!  I already love you!).  It also has a restaurant area, a bar, and a massive room for wedding receptions and parties.  Elks, you have impressed me.

So, order away on those new options.  We can’t wait to see you on Wednesday!