Spoiler for The first turn of the downward spiral:
Back in early 2000, we moved to a new building for the bakery. We would then own the building instead of paying rent, and as a bonus the building payment, moving cost, and costs of new equipment and maintenance was comparable to what we had been paying someone else to use their corner of a strip mall.
Moving in meant we now had room to fill. Not only mechanical room to bring in industrial ovens and a 60qt Mixer, but also to move some old wooden display cases from storage and fill them with delicious baked goods. We had the technology, we could make the cookies better. My grandfather opted for a different route.
We began to buy pre-made "gourmet" cookies for our customers. It was the type of ingredients that were "special" like macadamia nuts, or maple walnut cookies, even dark chocolate chunks. I loathed them, but they sold even at the higher price. These Gourment cookies actually sold well enough that we were not selling enough of our homemade varieties.
Once again, I loathed these buy-frozen, bake-off cookies. They were a convenient means to filling our cases.
However, the company we bought them from merged with a larger distributor and lost the facilities to make their brand of gourmet. The cookies that are sold are a size too small or two sizes too large, the bake differently, puff up differently, and their shelf life is in question.
Also, they do poorly in an old-fashioned wooden case, becoming so soft that they smush when trying to pick up for a customer. Haha, whoops.
So, no more convenient cookies
I'll nice mince too many words. While the door closes on an era of easy-bakers, the slam shook debris from our roof and uncovered a beautiful skylight.
Which, when opened, is exactly where that delicious smell is escaping from.
Spoiler for Allergies aside, this is great news:
We're making Peanut Butter cookies again.
There were opportunities for Peanut Butter Gourmet cookies, but a few years ago the scares and horrors of allergic reactions caused the familial council to veto Peanut Butter. No Peanut Butter of any kind.
We do have customers come in and ask if anything we sell has Peanut butter in it, or was processed with anything that has processed peanuts. We tell them, we don't know.
And we don't know.
We buy our ingredients from a distributor, fifty pounds at a time. what happens at that factory is usually unknown to us, though some of our ingredients do say "Processed with equipment that processes soy, peanuts, and some tree nuts" and we're completely up front about it.
But we get some interesting allergy reports from customers.
Particularly the color red. That is likely the strangest question we must answer. Apparently children are, I don't know, developing an attention deficit from home-experiments. A mother cut out all red in her son's diet and he started doing better in school, so... yeah. Don't get me wrong, me, my dad, we don't like "red" food coloring because of its bitter taste(we both have been tested for extra tastebuds and have an unusually larger range of tastes), but I've never felt likely I would accidentally hit a car because the stop sign was delicious.
We have customers with gluten allergies, digestive disorders, etc. I'm not insensitive, I myself have problems with Macadamia Nuts, pecans, etc, so I'm very understanding when I tell them "No, I am sorry but we can't sell you a cake in good conscience". Sometimes they press further, and I let them know, gently, that any cake for the person in question needs to be made with supervision and care. We cannot charge them enough for the time it would take, the ingredients we would have to procure.
By the end of it, they understand. Sometimes they are thankful. It's important to be safe, and that's personal.
Also, we couldn't afford to get sued because someone stuffs their allergic child with a peanut butter cookies. I mean, come on, you bought the cookies, how were we supposed to know you intended to put it to bad use?
Oh, and can you imagine a grape preserve icing for them? Oh, my. Yes.
Spoiler for How to make sweet things spicy:
Variety just pours in. We have an old style Cookie King machine(I've affectionately named Gertrude) that cranks by hand. It's deliciously non-electric, and more than made up for its price years ago. I can do forty-eight dozen cookies in about a half hour, including cleanup time. The best part of that machine is how it does not discriminate.
We use it for our Sparkle and Sugar cookies. Sparkle Cookies used to be squeezed out by hand using a cloth piping bag onto a sheet of non-stick baking paper. We charged about ten cents apiece, a single batch was forty dozen cookies and took about four hours.
It was horrible.
The machine churns out about 80-100 dozen in around forty minutes. I can't get over how amazingly wonderful that machine it.
We make a batch of any kind of dough, and its gears pull and push through the hopper into a die, and a thin wire comes across at the setting to slice and flip the cookies out.
For Sugar Cookies, we food color the dough and make Trees, Hearts, Pumpkins, Stars, even Bells. We get a lot of use out of those shapes during the holidays. Hearts are Valentines exclusive. Trees are for Christmastime, and the Stars can go all year around. We made Red and Green Bells, and during some Halloweens we've made the dough as white as possible for the bells. White Bells = Ghosts, with little faces punched in by hand as soon as they come out of the oven.
So, we just did a batch of Peanut Butter, and I dipped our twenty-one dozen in about twenty minutes. A larger batch would have run through in the same amount of time using Gertrude.
We could do Brown Sugar cookies. Add chocolate chips, pecans, nuts, whatever we need, to the top to bake in. So very many things to put into it without mixing it into the dough to get beaten by the beater, and it allows for "customizing" later on.
One, you see what goes into the cookie when you bite into it.
Two, it's one dough with several variations.
Variety is the Spice of Life.
So now that we are making more types of cookies, a new question arises: Price.
Spoiler for Two Cannibals walk into a Cannibal Grocery mart. One turns to the other and says "Have you seen the price of an arm and a leg?!":
Earlier I mentioned that the gourmet cookies were pricier, and we got a good price out of them.
Price is a huge problem right now. Customers do NOT want to spend money on walnuts. But we had to buy the cases at their set price. We have had to fight the price increase for years, but our ten cent cookies finally went up to eleven cents, or $1.19 a dozen. Plus, people are fuckin' cheapskates coming in and buying ten dozen ten-cent cookies for the child's birthday. Seriously, that kid's gonna have to explain to their friends why they each are getting a cookie the size of a half-dollar.
"Times are tough," I know, I know, I've heard everyone say it. Reminds me of the poor guy saying "buy one teapot and get another for a penny", then the customer says, "well, I'll buy this one for a penny because the other one has a chip in it". Hilarious movie, sure, but customers pull that kind of shit all the time.
But you buy five pounds of flour in the store for a set price. We pay less per pound buying fifty pounds. In fact, most of our ingredients cost us less because we buy them in bulk. A regular kitchen can't do that. You'd get sick of having it around and it would spoil because you wouldn't be able to use it all in time.
But we can.
There's a trinity that goes into any production: Time, Effort, Money.
You need two out of three to succeed in anything. And typically one of those things pulls hard from the other two.
Time comes in the form of efficient usage. I churn out dozens of cookies quickly. I make fifty pounds of icing in half an hour. I decorate a simple cake in about five minutes. Every member of my family can write on a cake as fast as we can write our own names, and in my case the cake actually looks better than my handwriting. So Time is on our side, we're very efficient with our time.
Effort is a big part of production. Effort means hard work. The cakes are ordered a certain way, and we decorate them to our customer's liking. Ingredients are sorted, stored, maintained, and all of that takes effort. Selling to customers also involves effort, listening and pushing a product. Using your mind to figure out what to do, that's a big portion of the cost of a production.
Our biggest problem is money. We still have payments on the building, to the tune of thousands of dollars a month, hundreds of dollars in utilities, and salaries/pensions. Sometimes things don't work out, and you have to look at the times of feast to save up and prepare for the times of famine. Costs of ingredients go up, and we have to make judgments on what to charge.
In the case of these peanut butter cookies versus the gourmet: We going to charge about twenty cents less than the gourment's current price per cookie, and around two bucks less per dozen.
We believe we'll make up the difference in happy customers.
I'd like to know what other bakeries charge for their cookies. If you're reading this, maybe you can shed some light on what the cost is for a delicious cookie. What do other bakeries charge in their part of the United States? Maybe you can help me find out?
Our cookies are .59 cents. The cookie is about an ounce-and-a-half.
I've heard stuff about Red 40 dye in particular potentially causing kids to be more hyperactive. I had a friend who said that he was banned from eating red Skittles because he used to eat a ton of Skittles growing up, and once he cut those out, he was much less hyperactive.
"Although, it could have been because I stopped eating so many Skittles."
Also I miss working in a bakery even if it was a chintzy grocery store bakery. Reading these brings back memories. -w-
Red Dye has a lot of mystery to its origins, or not depending on what articles you read. I seem to have difficulties without the red dye.
I've never worked in a Grocery Store bakery, but I knew someone locally who did. One of his "jobs" was throwing away the old doughnuts, because the store couldn't risk giving the doughnuts away and having someone get sick. So every day, he would take a garbage can, put in a fresh, clean bag, and take all the doughnuts and baked goods that were "going bad" that evening, and slowly take his time getting all the way outside, eating a little as he went.
He gained ten pounds. He wasn't allowed to take the food off premises, so he ate during the job and nobody said "boo". Fun story, though.
Innovation! Today's journal entry is about innovation!
Spoiler for Do you like chocolate brownies?:
We fiddled with the ratio of our chocolate Brownie recipe, changing the consistency with extra cake flour. This allowed us to dip it out like a cookie while still keeping the delicious flavour of a Brownie.
Even better. Gertrude can dip out those cookies even faster, now.
Years ago we tried this but Gertrude was new and we tried it with the regular brownie batter. As a batter, it poured through the machine. We wrote it off as a failed experiment. Yesterday, we brought up the idea again because the Peanut Butter Cookies were a success.
My father is a very technical person. He puts together the components and arrives at the result before it actually happens. He looked at the batch and compared it to other doughs and decided the best amount of flour to add. Since Brownies are not actually liquid from milk or water, they get everything from the egg and butter, then the sugar and heat causes an exchange that becomes water.
Compared to Peanut Butter cookie dough, or sugar cookie dough, there was not enough liquid to add the %40 flour at the end of the batch. Had we added the %40 more flour, we would have ruined it. Instead the ratio was ~%28 flour. Go Dad!
However, I did contribute in a different way. Our plan was to churn out the cookies at a certain size, and we tried rolling them into balls, flattening them, dipping them, etc. I provided the efficient methods for each variation, including the flattening.
We had been pressing the cookies down after they came out of the oven(to prevent them from touching and fusing into one cookies), I had the idea to run Gertrude and put eighty cookies to a sheet, put another baking sheet on top, and use the bottom of another pan to press them all down at once BEFORE baking.
We're both idea people.
Yesterday I had tried to make a chocolate puff cookie, using a Dane Wedding Cookie recipe, to some success. I ajusted the recipe and baked them out(mixed them by hand. Haha, it's like squeezing a brick). But the recipe flee short at the time it took to dip out and bake. Delicious, though. I'm keeping them for snacks.
But we sound board off each other. We come up with an idea, we talk about it during the baking day, and we make a plan to try it out. Usually within a few minutes we have enough back-and-forth to say whether it's worthwhile to pursue. Sometimes, though, it gets vetoed.
That's where the stubborn streak comes in. I'll push by waiting until lunch break, then I'll go weigh up a small batch and try it out. Once it's out of the oven, there's nothing that can be done about it. After that, it comes down to whether or not people will buy it.
These brownie bites are about a quarter of an ounce apiece, and topped with icing and/or pecans, cherries, etc, they'll probably get up to about half an ounce. They fit twenty-four to a box, and we'll probably sell them at $2.99, or about .15 cents apiece. Those boxes are forty cents, though, so we may have to adjust the price to cover the cost of the box.
So a new cookie adds to the lineup. we haven't made a chocolate cookie in more than twelve years, all because we got in a hurry to try everything at once and disregarded everything that didn't hit the ground running.
And because of variety, we get more than one type of cookie from the same exact dough!
Spoiler for Want something sweet? Well, TOUGH COOKIES!:
I've wanted to do this for years, and I think I've finally got enough pull to get it into the case. The cooler case.
Our buttercream icing is delicious, and people will buy two cookies and ask us to put icing in the middle to make it a sandwich cookie. They're called something by one of the local bakeries, but I don't know what. Those cookies are about two bucks, though. Our gourmet cookies with the added icing aren't even close to that steep price. But I'm getting onto a tangent, and I don't need to.
These brownie cookies are about the size of a half-dollar, and weight a little over a quarter of an ounce apiece. Dollop that buttercream onto one, and sandwich it with the other.
It's the size of an Oreo-type, but it tastes infinitely better. Brownies with icing filling, haha, and any flavor you want, too.
The problem is how creamy the buttercream icing is. When you bite down, the icing flows out the other side. That's why the oreo "stuffing" is so solid. We can't do that, so I had a different idea to make them solid: Cold.
Now it's wintertime, so I don't expect people lining up around the block for something frozen to put in their mouths, but during the summer I'll bet they'd love one!
And these are the perfect size, perfect flavour, perfect everything. And since a dozen would involve twenty-four cookies, we could sell them for .29 cents apiece, or boxes of twelve for $2.99.
And as though that isn't enough, we have one more use for the Brownie Dough.
Spoiler for Marsh-Bottom Cheesecake:
Years ago we had a cheesecake recipe that was pretty good, and we've given some thought to trying it again if the conditions were right. Well, our biggest selling point was using a brownie crust instead of a cookie crumb crust.
Hench the name, Marsh Bottom. The Brownie was baked separately and then baked a second time with the cheesecake batter on top. The cheesecake pan was set floating in water inside the oven to give it an even cooking temperature without burning. And yes, it was goddamntasty.
Currently, the plan is to bake the brownie dough into cupcake liners, and then take the brownie cookie with the liner shape into a new cupcake liner with cheesecake batter poured on top. We probably won't suspend it in water, but that bridge will be crosses if/when we come to it.
Makes a nice little signature confection.
A good day for new ideas, technical breakthroughs, and innovations. Good luck from a pooka.
We baked breads, and cheesebiscuits, but to no avail. The breads would sit a couple days and we'd be forced to slice it up and eat it ourselves.
People can lose their shirts making bread. A few years ago a man and several women opened up a Bread Shoppe where they made gourmet breads with a large variety of flavours, and we would help them out by ordering the ingredients for them(our distributor adds an extra charge if the order is less than $500) and let the shipment piggyback on ours. We weren't rivals, in fact we do that kind of thing for a lot of folks in town.
For example, there's a man who raises bees to pollinate his farm, he makes a nectar for them out of Corn syrup, which we buy for him and sell it at the exact price we pay(we print a copy of the receipt for him). We've done the Corn syrup for churches and schools, too, they use it to make lollipops for fundraisers.
We buy milk powder, soy lecithin, patent flours, etc, for local places, because we buy the most and on a weekly basis. We pass the savings on to them because it's not right to make them pay extra.
The cheese biscuits were small, very good, but made exclusively by my grandmother. As she got older, it got to be more and more of a hassle and not enough people were buying to do mass-produce them more efficiently.
Those chocolate cookies, though, I seriously want to put something spicy in them.
I should point out that my Grandfather is a really good chef, he did all the cooking for the family lunches. He has cookbooks so old the covers are made out of wood.
And we all have recipes we like to make outside of the bakery. I'm really good with breads and biscuit type foods, my sister has taken to making Curries, our mom likes to make pastas and crockpot style foods, and our dad does some amazing things with a fryer(I remember when he made his own batter for onion rings and fried mushrooms when I was very young).
Siz, have you heard of Greek Chili? The kind where Spaghetti is involved?
No worries, but I have been spending too much time talking about food, and I get the impression I should be ranting more since this is something of a journal.
Okay, let's talk about megapickles and gigglebites.
Spoiler for Photo manipulation miracles:
I'm waiting on a customer to bring in a photo for later today.
They e-mailed an image to my mother that they wanted me to crop and print out. I asked them to make sure it was a good resolution and she told me that it was "1200 pixels wide". That's not the finest, but that's a good resolution, so I took their word for it.
And they want me to crop out everything but the man's face in the center of the image. So it's about 120X200. Oh boy, oh boy, oh hellfuckno, crap, son of damn, bullcaca, god doesn't love you anymore. This is not going to work.
And you can't convey this over the phone. It's just not possible to tell a person "If I print this out, it will pixelate, it will not look good". Customers send us cell phone photos of a picture in their wallet, and expect it to come out at 7"x9" perfect.
So they are going to come in some time today, or, well, this morning, so I have to be ready with the printer primed up and able to print. The cake is due at 5pm, and I prefer to run the pictures the day before so the food coloring dries overnight on the sheet.
I don't know if it is a generational gap, exactly.
My grandfather used print for photos well into the 2000s, in fact his film camera is sitting right up here on a shelf above the table for the digital printer/scanner. Before we moved, there was a camera shop that developed film three stores down, my grandfather would send me or my sister down with one of those little black and gray plastic holders, and he'd pick up the photos later on in the week.
When the digital age finally crept up to him, he went out and bought a digital camera, it was at least three megapickles. That's good, you know? Pictures were on compact flash cards, and he bought a card with 32 megabytes on it. Eventually, he bought a card that had 2 gigglebites. That's good, they told him, you know?
Of course, now he's got his own laptop and he's writing something of an autobiography, which is actually really awesome because he's experienced some amazing things in his lifetime, but he gets sidetracked and fell in with the wrong crowd. He hardly writes about what he did in his younger days. 8(
I think what it really comes down to is interest.
Spoiler for Damn hooligans, with yer whyf-eyes, and yer google-tubes!:
I look at the implantable controllers, and game that "use the power of your mind" to do certain tasks and think "Okay, but what happens to hand/eye coordination if we sit and stare at a screen to make things happen?" and just like that, I realize I'm old. I'm a part of a generation that "doesn't get it" at some point. So, I look back at stuff.
I like sketching, drawing, I love the medium. It translates very well to digital, too, with tablets and touchscreens. What I'm wondering about, though, is sculpting. Sculpting doesn't translate, figurines don't translate.
Handmade doesn't translate.
Maybe there needs to be a return to building and making things, fixing things, etc. I love Parks and Recreation, fixing things around the house JUST FEELS GOOD.
Ah, crap, I can't avoid it.
Spoiler for Yo dawg, I heard you liked peanut butter in yo chocolate, so..:
We made peanut butter icing for the chocolate brownie sandwich cookies. We doublestuffed, them, too. I don't know how well they are going to do, but I've eaten three.
the peanut butter icing was made using the flower icing(a stiff recipe that has less liquid, for making icing roses and other piped on decoration), which I think the peanut butter softened. They want to combine it with the buttercream, but I think that will be too soft.
I may have to make the (peanut butter) icing from scratch to make things easier for them. Again.
Spoiler for I want a chocolate cake with peanut butter and banana icing. Call it "Velvet Elvis":
It won't sound like much, but we made twenty-eight dozen Red Velvet cupcakes today.
The problem with the RVCCs is their cupcake liners. They're a plain paper liner, so folks see that they are, indeed, red. The liner, however, can get soggy when it comes out of the hot oven into the relatively cooler air. When they are wet, they soften and pull away from the cake. We have cooling racks for them, but the extra step slows down the entire process.
Recently, I made the decision to order a metallic wrapper for the cupcakes. They're sturdy, and the matte finish has some charm, but they cut the time down by more than half.
So we use the huge oven, which has three large compartments. Each compartment holds three full size pans. Each pan holds two dozen cupcakes. Six Dozen cupcakes come out of a single oven at a time, give or take about fifteen seconds. My dad takes out a pan of two dozen and flips them onto a cooling rack, and then I take the cupcakes off as quickly as possible to make room for the next two dozen.
When I was little, I used to grab one cupcake at a time, flip it over, and set it on a pan.
Now I can do five, two in my right hand and three in my left. There is some juggling involved, but it's done without an oven mitt. Just hot hand on cupcake action. The edges aren't so bad, the folded paper in the liner leaves enough space to hold on without blistering.
The metal ones, not so much. The oven is around 400 degrees. It's like grabbing the pan bare-handed. It hurts now, but worth it to get the job done more efficiently. In time I'll be perfectly able to hold the cupcakes and the heat won't get to me.
I'm serious about those Velvet Elvis cupcakes.
This conversation is about to go straight in the crapper.
Spoiler for She probably won't mind me telling this story.:
So, a couple years ago my sister lost her cellphone. Absolutely could not find it. We searched high and low, and phoning it to hear the ringing was impossible because she went a couple days before telling folks she couldn't find it. So, a little extra looking around now and then became the norm.
Seemingly unrelated, the ladies room toilet was "having trouble flushing" and seemed to get worse each day.
You probably see where this is going. I know I did.
So, we all pretty much assumed the cell phone was in the toilet. And nobody wanted to fish it out. Surprisingly, people kept trying to use that toilet, too, despite knowing full and well it wasn't working proper. And eventually, the Men's room became the sole bathroom being used. This laster about six months.
When you're a baker, you learn to budget your time. Cakes don't burn sitting on a turntable, or on a shelf. But when a cake goes in the oven, you have mere minutes to do anything before you have to give them a turn. Only having one bathroom became a problem for some of us who have to wait until those opportunities. Sometimes you put all that planning into effect and someone else is sitting on the men's room toilet playing Animal Crossing for twenty minutes. It got really bad, is what I'm trying to say. So bad that I finally had enough of sharing a bathroom.
And I know what you want to say. Go hire a plumber. Well, plumbers get paid by the hour, and there was no way to know how long it would take to recover that cell phone, if it could be recovered.
I tried the next best thing.
Fast forward to February of the following year. It was a nice, cool Sunday, I got up at 6, went to the hardware store, bought some supplies and a cheap toilet, and went to the Bakery.
It took about two hours. I had no training, the instructions had very few words telling me how and what to do, and what had been seen would never be unseen. I replaced the entire thing, moved it into the storage room at the back of the bakery, and put the new one in. Not easy. But it was done. We had two bathrooms again. I took a one to make sure, and let me just say I felt pretty damn good standing in the ladies room, taking a one, making sure that my toilet was installed properly.
I felt so potent!
But I wanted to know for sure. See, the cellphone could have gone past the toilet and down into the line, and there was no real way of knowing without getting the cell phone or intentionally trying to clog the line.
Hammer'll fix that.
I went to the storage room, set the toilet slightly forward, and took ONE GOOD SWING and it shattered. Nothing. Damnit. But there was more space for it to have been stuck, so I aimed and took another swing, chipping only a few flecks. So then I put more effort than necessary and knocked out the curved part just before the exit. And out popped that cell phone.
Now, obviously this was some kind of hell for anyone with a nose, but I didn't care I had my assurance that the new toilet would not clog.
I think I may have done a dance. It feels like I did a dance. Hard to say, I was pretty high on endorphins.
The toilet still works, but it was a cheapie crapper that only served to get the job done. I should think about getting a decent one to take its place eventually.
The toilet say in the storage room until the Afternoon of last Saturday.
What does that mean? Read on.
The afternoon was spent clearing out the storage room. It's essentially a two-car garage, but the ceiling is maybe thirteen feet, with drop tiles so likely taller.
Spoiler for This is how we get our deliveries in:
The storage room has been cluttered for months. The last time it was straightened out was March, and I had to take a scraper to the floor to remove the dirt, flour, and sugar that sludged up the place. We store party goods like plates and napkins, balloons, and decorations for the holidays. We have wooden pallets for boxes and non-perishable deliveries, great to keep things off the floor in case it rains heavy.
So the job involved making room for more party goods, and sidequested to finding our old cookie cutters.
We also found a photo of my dad baking from twenty years ago. He looks exactly the same, save for the white beard he grew a year ago.
Most of my help was grunt work, lifting and arranging things. Using Tetris skills to assemble the boxes in patterns that allowed easy access and immediately told what each box contained.
There's entirely too much stuff that we are not using right now. When the women who worked for us moved to Texas, she left us her elliptical machine. We have some old transformable hand trucks. Several shelves were unused and taking up space. There's a ridiculous number of useful ladders, too. It all boils down to the fact that clusterfucks are magnetically drawn to that room.
Oh, and that smashed up toilet was there, too. That was my reward today.
Yes, I'm mentioning the toilet twice. And here, another time.
Spoiler for Talk about cathartic release:
I took a hammer and a metal pokey stick, similar to a pickaxe, and tore that porcelain throne to pieces, one blow at a time.
If you ever get an opportunity to bust up a toilet with a hammer, give it some serious thought. It's like being appreciated. When someone says they busted up a toilet with a hammer, I'll smile, and they'll look at my smile and know exactly what that smile came from. We'll both know exactly what we've done.
I took the pieces and put them in three plastic five gallon buckets. Strictly easier to store than a full size commode.
And that was an untypical Saturday. Good luck from a pooka.
Kind of neat, sometimes I'd just punch a hole in it, and other times it would split into several pieces. Learned some stuff about structural integrity.
But I'm talking about destroying a toilet. What integrity could I possibly learn?
Spoiler for Weekend Meal:
I bought a steak, about $3.49 a pound here. Put Salt in a mortar and ground it up with pepper and added garlic powder. Slathered the steak with the spices and about a teaspoon of olive oil. Set the oven, sliced up potatoes and got those cooking for about 30 minutes.
I got a skillet hot, seared the outside of the steak for about five minutes on each side, then wrapped it in foil and put it in the oven on a separate pan. By the time the potatoes were done, the steak was cooked to about medium. Absolutely delicious.
Cut up some Jalapenos lengthwise and removed the seeds, grilled them in the skillet while the steak cookies. Had a modest salad covered with homesliced bacon.
It depends on the thickness of the steak, how the potato gets cubed, and what flavours you want, but cooking is the best trial and error since you get to remove the "mistakes" your own way.
Cost of the entire meal was probably $5, depending on the portions from the potatoes, steak, and jalapenos.
In fairness they probably have access to better materials, more experience, better cuts of steak, etc.
I don't care about how tender it is, though I could probably take it to a slow cooker or broil it differently. It depends on if I am cooking for myself or others. I made Hamburgers last week, and used similar seasoning, "grilled" in a cast iron skillet on the stove, juicy medium well burgers. That makes me think I would rather come home and cook something up than drive out of my way and wait at a fast food window.
Still... have to wash dishes, so that's how they get you.
Went into work early and mopped the floors of the customer areas and the bathrooms. Spot mopped in front of the sinks before that.
I am so proud because there was a batch of icing yesterday that got air in it and would not smooth, today I mixed it with a heavier smoothed icing and it managed to crush out most of the air. It's still a little "lighter" than I'd like, but it's smooth and the cakes will look good.
Last night in Guild Wars I talked to a guildie about the new stuff we're making at the Bakery, and they said it sounded really good. Was nice to have a little conversation like that. They might be moving to within driving distance, but still hours away. I've been a member of the guild for years now, but I've not met a single one in person. Just as well, don't want to scare anyone away.
I need to get my website fixed, or move it to another host. I can't upload images, and the host's website is messed up. Trying to log in, Firefox alerted me that they didn't receive a "trusted certificate" before sending the data and offered me to leave before sending. A red flag, indeed.