Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 9

Today was a group project day.  The way our classroom/kitchen is set up, we're at tables in groups of four, two on each side.  Today we made apple strudel in our group and each pair of us made cannoli!  I didn't get to bring anything home, unfortunately, none of it was done in time for grading tonight.

I'll start with the strudel since that actually did get done.

We started by stretching the dough out so that it's very thin and pliable on a floured tablecloth (this will make sense in a minute).

When it was fully stretched we sprinkled it with a mixture of panko bread crumbs, cinnamon and sugar.

Then comes the apples and any other fruit and nuts you want to put in it.  We chose dried cherries and almonds...mmmm.

When the filling is done, we rolled up the strudel, using the tablecloth to handle the dough (see, I told you).

This is the strudel after it came out of the oven.  We topped it with melted butter and decorator's sugar.

One of my teammates, Celeste, modeling the finished strudel. :-)

Since I unfortunately will be missing school tomorrow due to needing to finish moving out of my apartment and I am exhausted, I will post the cannoli pictures tomorrow night.  

Before I go,

The Awesome Socks Corner

Tonight the ASC is dedicated to Onyia and Matt....

Yeah, they know why. <3

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 8

Today was great!  I actually pretty much got everything done (I have to make a few more crepes) and everything came out well.  We made crepes, corn muffins and beignets.

The crepe batter was easy but cooking them was a challenge.  They are so thin and you have to get the batter in the pan and all even really quickly.  Chef wants me to cook off a few more of them tomorrow but mine were ok.  They were just a little more brown than she was looking for.  We'll see how that goes.

The beignets are little french doughnuts made with a pate a choux dough (the same stuff that eclairs are made of).  We rolled ours in cinnamon and sugar and they tasted like fluffy churros...YUM!

The corn muffins were tasty!  They haven't been graded yet, hopefully Chef thinks they're good too.

This is the batter for the crepes that Celeste and I made...

Mmm...thin pancakey goodness...good thing Mom got strawberries and whipped cream at the store!

The pate a choux dough is put in a pastry bag to pipe it out.  The dough is very basic and there isn't a whole lot of flavor by itself.  That's why it's good for doughnuts and other fillings and toppings that have a stronger presence.

The beignets. You can pipe them onto parchment paper and freeze them before cooking or do like we did and drop them directly into the fryer.

Just out of the fryer they look like mozzarella sticks....mmmm.

We rolled them in cinnamon and sugar and they were completely tasty!

And last but not least...

The Awesome Socks Corner

At least he's always prepared for class!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 7

Today was...frustrating.  Chef checked the macaroons, brownies and oatmeal raisin cookies I made yesterday and as I suspected, the brownies and macaroons passed with flying colors but I have to redo the oatmeal raisin cookies.  She said that the taste and portioning were good but they spread too much on the pan which could be the result of ingredient misporportioning or the dough being too warm.  I am pretty sure it's the latter so I should just have to make them again and it should be fine.

Tonight we made scones and lemon pound cake and, unfortunately, I'm redoing both of them.  The scones were good but I forgot a couple of minor steps and they just didn't come out as well as they could have.  Chef said she would sign off on it, but I would prefer to do it right.  I'm not sure what went wrong with the pound cake.  It collapsed in on itself and the texture was slightly off.  I'm going to have to stay late on the nights I don't work to scale the ingredients and make up these 3 items.  Never a failure, always a lesson, right? Ugh.

I put the scones in the oven and realized I'd forgotten to roll them out more so that the dough would form a pocket around the filling and brush the tops with cream and sugar....way to go.

They were ugly but tasty.  I made dark chocolate, cherry and almond.  I will try again when I have a chance.  Scones are something I'd like to get good at. :-)

The lemon pound cake stuck to the pans (greased them but forgot to flour) and did not rise as much as it should have.  The flavor was pretty good but the texture was not as smooth and dense as it should be.

The brownies from yesterday...this recipe is not the best but they came out well within those parameters.  We have been issued a challenge for a better brownie recipe.  If anyone knows a basic brownie recipe that's out of this world, let me know!

While it's very frustrating to feel like I'm falling behind and needing to redo this stuff, at the same time, it will make me a better baker in the long run.  It's definitely teaching me about the interaction of ingredients and conditions.

(get it? Awesome socks?  Awesome sauce? ...Ok, well, I though it was funny)

Adam wore his "Shark Attack" socks today, they were great!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 6

Today was the first day of the second week of school!  We made brownies as our group project and then coconut macaroons and oatmeal raisin cookies on our own.  There is a lot about cookie making that I wasn't aware of and it's been quite informative.  For example,  unlike for cake batter, you want to barely mix your ingredients, especially the butter and sugar, to avoid incorporating air.  If there is too much air, the cookies become dry and tough when they're baked or the dough spreads too much in the oven.  It's CRAZY!

As a group we got our ingredients scaled out for our brownies and melted the chocolate and butter on the bain marie (essentially a double boiler but with a pot of boiling water and a bowl on top).

Mmm, Chocolate!

Then I mixed the eggs and the sugar (not too much!)

Jessica tempered in the chocolate (poured it slowly while mixing so as not to cook the eggs) while I held the bowl.

Swirly goodness!

In go the dry ingredients and our walnuts....almost done!

Hey look, a pan of brownie batter!  We were so busy after this that I didn't have a chance to take a picture of the finished product but we'll get graded on it tomorrow and I'll let you know how they turned out.

The coconut macaroon recipe is a lot different than the one I used at Christmas...I must admit, these are so much better!  This is the batter after it's cooked but before it's baked....

Ooooo, Macaroons!!  They were so good!

My oatmeal raisin cookies were good but I think the dough was too warm when I baked them because they spread more than they should have.  We will see what Chef Wild says tomorrow.

I'm excited about tomorrow! We're moving into quickbreads so we're making Scones!  We get to choose our internal garnish...I'm thinking cranberry...mmmmm.

Today, Adam's socks were especially awesome, featuring Le Chat Noir! (

I love these socks!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 5, The End of Week One!

Tonight we continued our exploration of ingredients and managed to get through the sweeteners!  We learned about different sugars and liquid sweeteners, how to make simple syrup and inverted sugar (the sugar, sucrose, is broken down into two parts, dextrose and levulose which is better for certain kinds of baking).

After lecture it was time to do our first official baking!  Remember the ingredients we scaled yesterday?

Well, here are the shortbread cookies I made!  I'm afraid I overcooked the first batch (oops!) so here's the good batch of them.  They are quite tasty!

This is what the biscotti looks like before it's baked.

And after it's baked the first time.  From there it gets sliced diagonally and baked again to dry it out (this seems to take FOREVER!)

And here is the finished product. Isn't it pretty?!  It came out really well and I'm very happy with it!  

For me, I think I might add a bit more sugar and extracts, but I like strong flavors and I don't dip mine in coffee or anything....maybe I will dip a couple of pieces in chocolate and see how they come out.  :-)

Well, we made it through the first week!  Next week we start on some serious baking and it's all very exciting!!

And tonight in the sock corner we have....

Beer mugs!!

Lol, Adam's socks.

Day 4

Tonight was a fun night!  We started our chapter on ingredients (there are so many different kinds of flour it's not even funny!) and spent the first two hours going over the first 3 pages of the chapter.

We were supposed to have dinner in the restaurant at 7:00p but since we get out of lecture at 6:00 (because another class comes in), we had some time to kill.  Chef Wild decided to have us scale our ingredients for tomorrow's baking projects.

First I scaled the ingredients for my Almond Biscotti!

When I was done with the Biscotti I did the scaling for my shortbread cookies...

At 7:00p, we went to have dinner in the restaurant.  It's a four-course, gourmet meal for $18 (free for us though) that the students of terms 2 and 3 make.  SOOO good!

Sadly, my classmates were divided between two tables, but this was the larger one...learning names...wait for it....L to R from the back...Nicole, Amber, Dana, Erica, Ellen and Jessica!

That's Jennifer waving, then Adam, Mary and Celeste

This is where all the action happens!  The Restaurant Management students do all the serving in the restaurant and the Term 3 Culinary students do all the cooking here on the line where everyone can watch.

We had a lovely dinner, we got to choose from 2-4 choices of each category... I had the Chicken Consomme, Ten-Herb Salad, Salmon with Asparagus and Potatoes (it had a fancier name) and the Angel Food Cake with Sorbet Trio.

This was the salmon I had.  It was AMAZING!  The asparagus was cooked to the perfect tender crispness, the potatoes were just slightly mashed with something and the white sauce on top was sort of lemony...mmmmm!

And look, my mom and Chanelle came to eat dinner too!  They got to sit up at the bar and watch the chefs prepare everything.

Before I end tonight's post, I'd like to draw your attention to a new, temporary section dedicated to Adam's socks.  He apparently has 10 pairs of Awesome Socks which I will be featuring each night....

First, I bring you....The Corncob Socks!

I don't know who came up with this idea but it's awesome!  Go Adam!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 3

Let me tell you something about commercial kitchens...they have some AWESOME toys!  There is a machine that you can put bread dough in and it acts like a refrigerator to retard the dough and then, at a set time (whenever you set it), it turns into a proofer to make your dough rise so it's all ready to go when you want it.  So you put your dough in there when you make it in the afternoon and then when you come in the next morning to make the bread at 4am, it's all risen for you!

We spent the first part of the day working on more conversions and baker's percentage stuff and then went over a lot of the various large machines you could see in a commercial kitchen.

When we got into the kitchen Chef Wild had us go through the book and gather as many of the various pans and gadgets we could find and then went over them with us.  

You'll notice a red silicone pan/mold on the bottom right corner of the table...I'm pretty sure that's for making Dalek bumps.....

There were some interesting gadgets...I'm pretty sure I saw this one in a  book about medieval torture devices:

It's actually for perforating dough so it doesn't puff up when you bake it, but....yeah, I don't buy it.

After we were done with the equipment ID, it was time to make our pizzas!  

Chef Hammer made us some great sauce (hehe, awesome sauce) and got out lots of topping ingredients

Chef Wild scaled out 10oz of dough for each of us to make our pizzas

She cut up some veggies for her own and then cut the cheese. ;-) 
(ok, yes, I'm 12)

I got all the ingredients for my pizza ready; cheese, spinach, mushrooms and lovely thick-cut pepperoni....mmmmmmm.

A work in progress...
I'm pretty proud of myself at how round it came out!

All ready to be put in the oven
...and now we wait...

It was SOOO good!  

Tomorrow we get to eat dinner in the school's restaurant.  I had dinner there when I first signed up and it was delicious, I can't wait for another go!  It's only $18 for a 4-course meal...