Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 65

Wow, I can't believe there are only 15 days of class left!  I got an interview today for Ten01, a trendy restaurant near Powell's Books.  I need to call them tomorrow and set it up.

In the mean time I will eat, breathe and sleep this menu project!  I did get some things plated up today for check off and got some better scores than I had before.

I re-plated my Panna Cotta since my other one didn't do so well.  Definitely like this one better.

This was the chocolate honey mousse in a caramel batter cup.  For only having 5 minutes to put this together, it's not horrible. (sorry for the off-centeredness of the photo, I snapped it in a hurry)

We also got our chocolate souffles done today and they were tasty!  I filled it with raspberry coulis and chocolate sauce.

Say hello to Professor Souffle.  

Since our souffles rose weird, Celeste decided to give one of them a bow tie and a face.  <3

There is so much left to do on my menu project and will probably spend most of the weekend at school!  Tomorrow we only have a few plates to do and we aren't really baking anything, so hopefully I'll have some time to prep a bit.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 64

Didn't get a whole lot done today, I spent the first hour and a half of class trying to make chocolate designs out of tempered chocolate that wouldn't set up because it was a millionbajillion degrees in the kitchen.  We were dipping balloons in the chocolate to make little cups and 2 of them popped from the heat!  Pretty sure we were all dying of heat stroke.

Anyway, what I did get done was my flourless souffle.  It's basically just eggs, sugar and vanilla and you can charge exorbitant prices for it because it's a difficult dessert.  AWESOME.

It doesn't look like much prior to baking....

The hole in the middle has creme anglaise inside and powdered sugar on top.  Tasty!

Tomorrow will be a big plating day, I think.  Hopefully it will be a bit cooler so that I can get some chocolate done....

Gearing up for the menu project.  I've finished my ingredients list and my prep timetable.  SO MUCH TO DO!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 63

Thank god it's Friday!  It's been a very long week with not more than 5 hours of sleep at a time since last Saturday (then I got 6).  I am completely exhausted and it shows.  I feel I must apologize to those around me  (especially you, Vincent <3) for my behavior and short temper as of late.

With the weekend (at least from school) here, I will be baking anyway, trying to tweak and perfect recipes for my menu project.  It's a good thing I have boy roommates who love my food!

Today we made some chocolate mousse that we'll use Monday and plated up the things we made yesterday.

My group (Jennifer, Celeste and I) made coulis (fruit sauce) out of these different purees
*Just a side note, Key Lime Concentrate does not a coulis make (it just turns an icky brown color)*

Celeste is over there working hard to make sure everything tastes right.  LOVE her rainbow pocket of pens!

Here's the panna cotta we made yesterday with some kind of abstract sauce design I wasn't overly happy with.  Also, I shouldn't have put the raspberry sauce on top, it looked ridiculous and the condensation made it run....I was just trying to make it not look like a white blob on the plate!

This one I was a bit happier with, though Chef said I should have left off the caramel piece and could have even just gone with either the sauce or the strawberry.  *shrug*

I may try re-plating the panna cotta for a better score (I got a 93 but that's still a B+) next week.  

OH!!!  I have some exciting news that I completely forgot to share!  Yesterday, Chef Wilke, one of the founders of the school, walked up to me in the break room and said, "I heard about your blog!  Would it be alright for us to link it to our webpage and Facebook?" After a moment of stunned stuttering I told him that of course it was alright!  For a while I couldn't figure out how everyone suddenly knew about this since I really haven't advertised it but then the web guy for the school came up to talk to me and said he found it on Google! It's so crazy!  I guess I'm going to have to step up my game and be better about posting every night....

The other big news is that on Friday, when we start the prep work for our menu project, we'll have a guy in our kitchen video taping the whole thing.  I'm going to be in videos on the interwebs!  They will miss some of it since I will be going into school on Sunday, the 1st to prep most things since a lot of it won't last over the weekend.  Oh well.  Hmm...maybe I should make sure my uniforms get bleached on Thursday....

Day 62

Today we made more things to plate tomorrow and played with sugar more.

First we made Dalek Bumps of Panna Cotta and froze them

then strawberry mousse that will be topped with a blackberry glacage (glah sahj), a thin layer of jelly

Then we played with caramel batter which is kind of like the fortune cookies.  When they come out of the oven they're very hot and flexible

I made them into spiffy shapes and bowls and such

Then I put THIS boiling liquid molten lava sugar

into this lovely giant paper coronet (yeah, OW)

and made THESE!  

Then it was time to plate stuff!

Here is the bread pudding with caramel sauce and creme anglaise with a caramel horn full of fruit

and here's the Flan.  The sauce you see is the caramel that was in the bottom of the ramekin before it was baked and then I added some blueberries and a sugar spiral.  

The plating is fun, I like it, though I feel I could definitely use the practice!

Day 61

Ugh, sorry, I'm horrible about updating lately!

Anyway, today was the start of the last 20 days of class and we're moving more into plating and presentation.  Our big menu project is in the works but I'll talk more about that later.

Since today was the first day, we mostly just prepped things that we'll plate tomorrow.  Most of it has to chill overnight anyway.  First up was the Flan.

The ramekins get a little bit of caramel on the bottom

and then filled with custard and baked

We also made bread pudding (not my favorite, but this one was pretty good)

Since we're plating things, of course we needed sauce so I made a caramel sauce and creme anglaise (a basic cream/egg sauce used with lots and lots of things).  We'll be using those more tomorrow.

This last section contains 2 big projects.  First up is the menu project.  Each of us will design 4 desserts, one in each category; pastry (has a crust), custard, chocolate and fruit.  These 4 will be plated and presented on a particular night (for me, August 2nd) but then I get to choose one to be served in the restaurant that night instead of our regular desserts.  There are 3 of us in my group so there will be 3 desserts on the menu for the public.  It's VERY exciting!  I've been thinking about this for a while and I know what I'm going to do, now it's just a matter of the details.  I'm not going to say much about it but I will say that all 4 will have ginger in common.  :-D

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 60

Today was the end of the first half of Term 2.  This means I'm 3/4 of the way through the school part of the program.  I'm also whatever 3/4 of 2/3 is through the entire program. :-D  In less than a month I will be starting my externship at a bakery/restaurant somewhere in Portland.  Speaking of which, I have an interview set for a week from Saturday at Pix Patisserie ( and I'm totally stoked!

Ok, so today everything was due at 5:15p.  We had to fill chocolates and make truffles and I had to finish my wedding cake.  I'll start with the chocolates.

You start by filling a mold with tempered chocolate and tapping on it to get all the air bubbles out.  Then it gets turned over and dumped back into the bowl of  chocolate so it leaves cavities.

Each cavity gets filled with filling.  We have hand-made fondant (peppermint), caramel that I made and truffle filling (raspberry-rum)

More tempered chocolate gets poured over them and then leveled to form the bottom.  After it's set, the temper should cause the chocolate to shrink a little and pull away from the mold.  The molds get tapped out onto parchment to remove the pieces

These are candied pecan clusters coated in dark chocolate

Here's everything, ready to be checked off.  Sadly, my fondant-filled chocolates didn't get checked off because too many of them broke on their way out of the mold.  Chef said I had a nice temper on the chocolate though and that everything came out well.  The balls in the middle are the raspberry-rum truffles

I spent the first hour or so of class finishing up my cake.  This morning I spent some time when I got home finishing the topper for the cake, the TARDIS light.

I ended up cutting the white bit down, I removed 2 columns from the original design to get to this point.  It's all just sugar paste and royal icing!

When I got it on the cake I realized that it was too tall and took off the bottom row so that it fit a little better

and then added one of my 5 flowers to the back of it in a tribute to Rose, my favorite of the companions

Here are some of my other flowers, just tried to do something alien looking

Sorry for the glare, my camera was having trouble focusing

This is one of my favorites, I think

The Dalek bumps on the bottom band came out great!  They're made out of the same sugar paste as the band and then painted with gold luster dust

The Time Lord sigil I made broke as I was packing it up...I decided it fit since the Time Lords were destroyed anyway so I used the crack to my advantage (sort of)

Here's the finished product, Adipose and all!

This was definitely a learning experience and there are certainly things I would do differently next time or if I had to do it over, but it was a lot of fun and I feel like I'm walking away with a good understanding of each product, their capabilities and their weak points.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with how the cake turned out!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 59

This will be a short post.  Two reasons for this 1) I have chores to do here at work and 2) I only took pictures of the flowers I made for my cake.

All I did in class today was make components for the candies we're making tomorrow so I will elaborate then.

Here are the flowers I made.

I wanted them sort of alien looking (Vince's idea) and since they really don't have any business on my cake, I wanted them small so they wouldn't be as obvious.  I have one more that I made before, a rose, in tribute to my favorite of the companions. 

I will finish the cake tomorrow and post the final pictures.  So exciting!

Sunday-Cake Day

After I got home from work this morning, I went to school and spent the next 6 1/2 hours working on what I now realize is a wholly over-ambitious Doctor Who cake.  It still isn't done but it is certainly on its way!

Recognize the letters?  I pressed them into the band around the middle layer to make an indentation and then popped them off one by one (one has already come off here)

This is what it looks like in the show (the left is when they're being burned into the piece of metal, the right is the rusted metal several thousand years later)

To replicate that, I painted the inside of each indentation with black gel.  I think this is one of my favorite elements of the cake

This is the bottom layer.  It's got a bit more to be done to it but I liked this bit. :-D

Here's the middle layer after I got the crack in time and space on there and the drop lace with the bow ties.  The drop lace is just royal icing thick enough to be piped and hang down from each post (bow tie) without touching the cake or breaking.  The smudgy stuff around the crack is luster dust.  It was supposed to make it look like light was shining through the crack but it didn't work quite right.

Here is the beginning of the top. You can see the indentations where I traced the designs to be piped on it (my free-hand piping skills leave a lot to be desired)

and after it's all piped.  I kind of wish I had done the bottom band a bit differently but it's too late now!

By the way, for those of you who don't know what a TARDIS is, here you go....

It is the Doctor's time machine that travels through space too.  BEST. SHOW. EVAR.

Day 58

Today was kind of a busy day.  We made 3 different things, one of which I neglected to take pictures of since it was a very fast-paced procedure.

The one I don't have pictures of is the Jellies.  They're kind of like jello blocks made with fruit puree (so it's WAY better) and rolled in a citric acid/sugar mixture (the stuff they put on Sour Patch Kids!).  I made Cherry-Lime and they came out fantastically, even if they did look a bit rough.  They only looked rough because the way I had my set up arranged (like Chef told us), it was too hard to adjust the size of it and I couldn't get it all spread out before the jelly solidified.

Anyway, I did make chocolate caramels as well.

Mmm...melting chocolate.....bleh.

So they're basically melted chocolate and caramel (which I don't have a picture of)

poured into a mold of candy bars (that's those silver things) and chilled

Then they get cut into little bits of lovely tastiness.  :-D

I also made nougat.  Doesn't this big, squishy, slimy mass I'm kneading look appetizing?

How about now?  I made cherry-pecan and they were great!!

Nougat is kind of fun.  It's essentially just egg whites, sugar and butter (with a few other token ingredients) with internal garnish.  It gets all stiff and sticky and squishy...and then it gets chilled and magically tasty!