A day in the cafe kitchen with recipes!

A Day in the Cafe.

The season is off to an early start for me, and quite frankly I am not in the correct mind-frame for it. I figured I’d better get some prep done now, as each year the museum and little cafe seem to get busier and busier.

This means the days have gotten FULL. I am now schooling youngest, keeping older 2 on track in their schooling, trying to get my work-outs in and house work and getting some hours in the cafe kitchen. Its been an adjustment. I am still working out the priorities and getting the kinks out. Normally, I wouldn’t start in the cafe until after school was complete for the year.

I am also trying to train for a half marathon, and keep up some strength training, and eat healthy. I know it will all come together.

Today I got up earlier; this is one of the key components to making It work, and my day has been full. I did my morning bible study, then I dressed and headed out for a quick 2 mile run/walk. I tweaked something deep in my hip, and that made me grumpy, because I don’t want an injury to derail my training and aspirations of completing the half marathon. It was on my second mile, so I walked more and tried to step with purpose and jogged a bit until I felt it begin to give me pain and then walk again. I walked the last 5 minutes home. Then I checked on kids, and that school was on track, I popped a few ibuprofen–just to be safe, and I jumped in the van and headed into the gym for spin. I was a bit apprehensive with the hip thing, but figured I wouldn’t know until I tried. I promised a friend I would be there, and I am a girl of her word. Turns out the spin class wasn’t bad at all. This morning I thought maybe it was an old injury come back to haunt me. Last fall I did something on the elliptical that sent jolts of pain in my hip, I was fine walking, lunging and squats etc, but no running and no elliptical and no bike. Glad it’s not the same thing and I hope it’s better by Saturday. I have a 4 mile run planned. We’ll see.

So, today this is what I did in the cafe:

I made these choux pastry puffs….the same thing eclairs are made out of. They come out of the oven hollow and you can fill them with anything. I use these a lot in hors d’oeuvres, I fill them with goat cheese, or puddings whatever the occasion calls for…they are addicting and usually gone quick.

see, hollow, perfect for filling.

I also roasted this turkey to make some soup out of later this week. It was taking up entirely too much precious real estate in my cafe freezer.

my daughter got a hold of the camera. I am focused on stirring the choux pastry.

last night’s amazingly tasty, quick, dinner of homemade meatballs (a la cooking school) and homemade tomato sauce from my home-canned garden tomatoes.


Eclair paste (pate a choux)

milk, 8 fl oz

water, 8 fl oz

salt 1.5 tsp

sugar 2 tsp

butter, 7.5 oz

all purp. flour 8 oz (just under 2 c)

eggs 5-7

preheat the oven to 425. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Have a pastry bag w/ large tip ready (I used a ziplock bag w/ the corner cut)

Place the milk, water, salt, sugar and butter in sauce pan. Bring to a boil, make sure the butter is fully melted.

Remove from heat and immediately add flour, all at once. Beat dough by hand. Put pan back on heat and continue beating dough until it comes away from the sides of the pan and  begins to leave a film on the pan.

Transfer the dough into a mixing bowl and allow it to cool to about 130 before. using the mixer’s paddle, begin beating the eggs one at a time.

my daughter is checking the temp


Continue to add the eggs, one by one until the mixture is shiny but firm. It may not be necessary to use all 7 eggs. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl in thick threads; it will not clear the bowl.

Put a workable amount of dough into the pastry bag and pipe onto the sheet pan in the desired shapes at once.

just a ziplock with a corner cut


Bake immediately, beginning at 425 for 10 min. then lowering the heat to 375 for another 10 min. Continue lowering the heat every few minutes until it reaches about 200, or until the shapes are brown and dry inside. Open the door as little as possible to prevent rapid changes in the oven’s temp.

in the oven

the finished "puff"


cool completely then fill as desired. Left overs can be frozen or stored at room temp.


cooking school meatballs

ground beef  5 lb

dried oregano, 2 TBSP

garlic powder, 2 TBSP

onion powder, 2 TBSP

fresh minced parsley, 3 oz

salt, 1 TBSP

pepper 1.5 tsp

Parmesan cheese, grated 2.5 oz

eggs, beaten 3

Worcestershire sauce 1 fl oz

bread crumbs, 4.5 oz

combine all the ingredients and mix lightly.

using a #16 scoop, divide into 2 oz meatballs and round evenly. Place on sheet pans and bake at 325 until they are just set and not browned, approx 20 min. Drain the grease from the pan, remove the meatballs with slotted spoon and carefully drop into tomato sauce. Simmer for 20 min. to allow the meatballs to finish cooking and to blend the flavors.


Tomorrow I plan to get a good beef stew in the freezer and carve the bird. I also hope to go to cardio dance class in the evening…I am hungry, and I’ve got to go find something to satiate my tummy so I can sleep well. Natural peanut butter is sounding mighty tasty, especially on a piece of homemade 100% whole wheat bread….

Bon appetite!



About wannebechef

I am a mom of 3 home schooled kids, wife of 19 years, head chef/manager of cafe and a personal chef and event planner.
This entry was posted in cooking, culinary skills at home, dieting, food, marathon training, recipes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A day in the cafe kitchen with recipes!

  1. wannebechef says:

    for me that was the best time up at the museam……..Becus i DID NOT HAVE TO DO SCHOOL!;) and of corse i got to haneg uot with you to that was the best part to. Oh and i am sorry i am late for this coment but the E-mail was sent in to spam so………

    Rebekah Nelson;)

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