Thursday, July 28, 2011

MIA Wallet

Perhaps its cos I have been using them so much lately, but seems like my credit cards have decided to abandon me. Or perhaps they had no say in the matter... Whatever the case. It is frustrating having lost my wallet today and creepy cos there have been transactions on my card...  Knowing that someone out there has or had my personal belongings in their possession...

Its been a long day. Its been a long week. Its been a rough month... or 2... Let's hope this is the apex at which things change around cos I don't think I want to or can deal with very much else thrown at me at this point.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Petits Fours Galore~~~

Hi everyone, just ended a long day which stared out with our petits fours exam followed by a royal icing piping workshop... I'm beat... running around non stop in a kitchen to make pretty little things is exhausting!! I'll give you an update firstly on all the little desserts made in this section and leave my exam pics till tomorrow when I have downloaded them to my computer. I have to selectively use up whatever energy I have left as I am currently running on empty... just like when the fuel light comes on, at this point I may stall at any moment

 How many of you have melted butter in a saucepan? Show of hands?

For those who have, you probably stopped when you saw this

 However, for Financiers we cook it till it browns and smells nutty. That aroma is from the browning of the milk proteins in the butter. It is known as the Maillard reaction and that is probably more than you wished to know~ Too late! Taught you something! I'm sneaky that way.

 Fill a barquette mold that has been generously buttered for flavour more so than to prevent sticking~ and can be left plain or topped with fresh fruit or in my case I used a chocolate button

 Here are some large ones made in a bigger mold... These are dense and heavy cakes so a little goes a long way

 Here are my tiny ones unmolded

 I know what you're thinking. That does not look appetising. Wrong.

 Once baked, these tuile cookies give off their lovely orange and nutty goodness... not to mention the crunch of the caramelised batter

 Don't they resemble lace? 

 We also made Langue De Chat aka Cat's Tongue cookies

I have to say... these weren't very good... to make or to consume.

Ohhh yes. We made checkerboard cookies!!

 All I can say here is. Only attempt this on a very cold day or you will live to regret it.

 Two doughs need to be made, vanilla and chocolate. They are then rolled to equal thickness and stacked on top of each other. Strips of the doughs are then cut and the strips are stacked in opposite directions as seen above.

 An outer wrap is rolled out and wrapped around the log and then when fully chilled, the cookies are sliced into their little shapes and baked


 Cute huh?

 Almost too cute to eat! Almost...*crunch... nom nom nom*

 The 2 same doughs can also be rolled thin, then stacked on top of each other and rolled tight, then chilled, cut and baked to form these swirl cookies

 As usual, being me, I made tiny swirls... Just how tiny is that you ask?

 This tiny v^.^v

 Comparison to normal cookie

 Speaking of cookies, we also made a lemon cookie sandwiched with raspberry-cassis jam which were dipped in chocolate.

 Oh yes, we also made small madelines :)

 More Petits Fours to come soon with part deux tomorrow... my body's shutting down now... goodnight everyone... 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bread Exam!

So, here is my tray presented for my bread exam. I made Croissants, Pain a Chocolat (chocolate croissants), Petits Pains and Lemon-poppyseed Muffins

 My croissant shaping has somewhat improved since last I made them~ Watching different chefs and their varying techniques help, as well as youtube videos of people rolling them poorly~ cautionary tales as to what NOT to do.

 Although yummy as is, I added elderflower syrup to the batter and the glaze of my lemon-poppyseed muffins for that extra moistness and floral note. So delicious. I made a regular batch and brought them for my roommate's birthday celebration that very evening and they went down a treat! :)

 My Petits Pain, I really liked how this particular roll came out. They are to be shaped like rugby balls and scored just before baking, sprayed with water and loaded into a hot oven with a tray of ice on the bottom to inject steam to promote a good crust formation

Quick Tip - Once out of the oven, try to flip breads around to let the steam evaporate out, as if not, the middle of the roll or loaf will turn soggy!

We really used alot of trays that day!

I was really pleased with my results this module! I got my first 100% on my written test and a 96 for my practical which entitled me to my first A+ :) I'm working hard to keep improving and I'm glad its finally showing in my grades.

We have since been making Petits Fours (small bite-sized desserts) and in fact, we are going to have our Petits Four exam tomorrow!! We were allowed to choose whatever we wanted to make for this exam, and I have chosen a somewhat ambitious menu of 3 items and one item that we are to make with our partner. How it goes? You will just have to tune in tomorrow to find out!!

I'll be sure to update on all the pretty little desserts we have been making in the Petits Four section soon. I know I have been a little stagnant on the blogging, but life had me a little overwhelmed and I am finding my little ways of coping through all the nuances and tart bitterness within of late which perhaps could be from all the lemons life has been throwing at me. Most importantly though, one has to continue putting one foot in front of the other and move forward. A slower pace maybe but progressing forward nonetheless. I shall persevere.

Oh yes, speaking about progressing, I have confirmed my internship! I am now an extern at Public :) I recently conducted an interview with head chef Brad Farmerie who has previously participated in Iron Chef America btw and is one of the top 25 chefs in NYC now I believe. I did one night shift last week and got to plate desserts for important people, plate a mini sampler display for a wedding party and cheese plate! Not to mention helped scoop ice creams, make a jalapeno-passion fruit sorbet and a huge-ass portion of focaccia bread dough that consisted of an entire sack of bread flour.

 Sticky Toffee Pudding with warm caramel sauce topped with Armagnac ice cream and a lemon chip

 White chocolate and pink pepper corn panna cotta topped with a strawberry sheet, fresh strawberries on a cilantro reduction and served with salted strawberry sorbet

 Yuzu cheese tartlet with candied macadamia nuts, sesame tuile served with coconut ice cream and garnished with microgreens

 Little sampler plate for the wedding tasting~ Isn't it cute?!

Needless to say, this is the cheese plate consisting of 4 different cheeses paired with cherry compote, mango chutney, quince jelly and I can't quite remember the last one...

I'll refresh my memory on Sunday when I go back to work a 9-5pm shift. Its pretty intense working the weekday shifts as I am on my feet literally for 19 hours straight. So I'm hoping it'll be one weekday a week and one of the weekend days... but its yet to be confirmed and also depends on my school schedule. Yawn~ as you can tell, there are more things to come but I will still continue to try to update as much as possible! So stay tuned and thanks for being on this journey with me so far~


End of Bread~

Hello everyone! Its been awhile I know... forgive me? It has been hot and humid and sticky here in the big apple of late. During which we completed our second bread section of the program. Everyone packs on the pounds during the breads sections we were warned... and duly so *pinches bready doughiness around my waist* (just in time for the summer and bikini season she thinks to herself...)

Here's what you've missed.

The Pissaladiere. I'm almost 99% sure I spelled that right

 Like many of the other breads made so far, it started out a smooth ball of dough

 It is then stretched out by hand into a free form circle and topped with sweet caramelised onions, salty olives and anchovy fillets

Once the sides were oiled up with some EVOO, it was sent for baking and it was yummy. You can take my word for it.

 We then took a detour and visited Italy with the pizza.

 Allowed to play with our own flavours, I used a basil infused olive oil around the edges, tomato sauce as a base, topped with cheese, fresh basil leaves and a sprinkling if chilli flakes. Be sure to either cover up fresh basil under ingredients to prevent them from burning in the oven, or oil them generously as I did and found out the fun way that by doing so they crisp up nicely during the baking process

 We also revisited the brioche, however this time, with the addition of sweet potato :)

 We were supposed to get orange sweet potatoes but were given yellow ones instead so you can't really see much of a colour variance from the original dough but its in there~ I decided to practice my braiding here from examples I watched and learned from youtube!

 Handsome fellow don't you agree?

 This was done with just one long strand believe it or not, and it was my first attempt!

 We also made little rolls, in which we added some caramelised shallots

 Can you spot the shallots? They were rolled into the dough... yum.

 Don't freak out. That my friend is 21 portions of 5 grain bread dough!

 Once shaped and once again rolled in the representative 5 grains that went into the dough, they were baked and came out so cute

 The grains in the dough were soaked prior to addition to help them stay moist in the dough. The ones outside on top however were not presoaked so they toast and get get really nutty in flavour

 Here is how it looked like inside sliced up. Best served sliced in half, toasted and topped with cream cheese or deli meats or eaten plain

 The best f-ing banana cake I've ever had.

 Banana-crumb muffins... I added little chocolate chips in mine and kept the bananas chunky... man these were gorgeous.

 Another muffin made were these lemon-poppyseed muffins :)

 Glazed of course... Sooooo good.

Moist lemony deliciousness in every bite.

 Another liquid-fat method of quick breads is the cornbread. This time we made jalapeno-bacon cornbread topped with a bourbon-honey glaze.
 The answer to that thought in your head right now is- Yes. It was every bit as delicious as it sounds.