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Monday, December 29, 2008

Stuffed full of Christmas!

It's been a looonnnng and exhausting month this December. The older we get and the more married couples that have entered our lives, we see ourselves attending more and more couples activities. It doesn't get as event oriented as December.

Ladies of VT-35: Me, Hye Sung, Megan, Andrea

VT-35 Squadron had a mandatory Christmas Party. Mandatory and Christmas together seems uninviting but because all of our good friends would be there it seemed less daunting. It actually turned out to be super fun and Brandon even won two free meals at a Mexican Restaurant.
Christmas morning baby Leben got to sniff the presents and was the first to open a present. He sure loves Christmas but he is still getting the hang of opening up the presents.
This picture of Leben should belong in a movie of some sort, perhaps one about the Mafia. He actually stole my candy cane I had sitting on the table and was shocked when he got caught.

This year I decided to test my craft skills. I really didn't have any craft skills to be honest. I'm not the perfect homemaker and I don't sew nor own a sewing machine but I found the sewing kit my mom gave me like 3 years ago and after a trip to Joanns fabrics, the stockings above popped out after a month.
I also decorated the stems of the wine glasses with frosted cranberries and a tiny ribbon. I didn't know what else to do with the extra cranberries I had.
My other crafty thing that I attempted to do was make a Christmas centerpiece for our dining table. Considering that I've never done this before, it turned out ok even though it was hard to wrap everything around everything else. But with my arms of steel, I managed. :-)
Here is the dinner table with the ham, double baked potatoes with scallions, onions, green peppers and cheese, and green bean casserole. Cye brought over the mac and cheese and a beautifully presented salad.

I made a selection of breads. From left to right I made soy dinner rolls and mini challahs and on the right normal butter dinner rolls.

When all was quite in the Adams household and all their guests had finally left, a baby Rotti fell asleep on the couch, wrapped in his favorite blanket of all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It is done!

There's not alot of beauty that can be found here in the Texas scenery. The palm trees are nice but knowing that roaches breed in them make them unappealing. The beach is beautiful if you can visually ignore the big oil barrels and trash washed up from Alabama. The one thing I have found that is amazingly beautiful is the rising and the setting of the sun. It's pretty breathtaking seeing the intensely different colors blending together. The day I took this picture was the day I finished my last final for my last class for my pastry degree! WHOOOHOOOO!!!!!! (dancing around in a circle)

So folks, I am officially done! As Neo from the Matrix would say "It is done." (DORK!) So what does all this new free time have instore for Val? Hmm...well I am working 5 days a week now but other than that I get to actually read "Persuasion." Though, you know how things go. You want to read and you want to do all these things when you have no time then when you finally have the time, you don't want to anymore. So is life.I've decided this year to make our own stockings and christmas cards. The first stocking that I conquered is for Leben our Rotti. I sewed those paws onto the material and I even handstitched them because unfortunately I am not a superhuman housewife and don't own a sewing machine nor do I want to own a sewing machine until maybe I am 70. Speaking of 70, I heard on the radio this morning that a couple in India who are in their 70's gave birth to their first child. It's amazing! I was amazed anyways but then amazement turned into 'uhhh.' I felt bad for the poor kid. I'm sure they'll be great parents but they can never run around with them and play soccer with them. By the time they're 10, whos to say their parents will be also? So how fair is it to the child?
Right now I am actually blogging in bed! Sweet! I also did a facial mask. That hasn't happened in like 2 years. Seriously folks. School, work, dog, and a family takes so much of your time. Now that school is over and I don't have to study anymore I can pay more attention to Brandon and Leben. I have felt like a terrible wife these past year and a half. Between school and work, it was hard to keep the house clean and make time for others. Brandon did so much to help around the house so now I am glad to say I can finally take care of him again. He's actually flying right now. He was suppose to get home around 3pm but it's 4:30pm and he's not back yet. It always scares me when he is flying. You just never know but I really don't have to worry because I know God listens to my prayers.
Okay really, I will talk about baking. I got my dirty little hands on a can of pumpkin. It's been sitting in my pantry for like 3 weeks. It's my own recipe and I really thought it was quite tasty! It's healthy too ;-)
Soy Flaxseed Pumpkin Bars
Recipe by Valerie Adams

1 C soyflexseed cereal
1 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 ts baking soda
1/2 ts nutmeg, ground
1/2 ts cloves, ground
1 ts cinnamon, ground
1/4 ts salt
1 C sugar
3/4 C canola oil
1 egg, beaten
1 ts vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven 350 Degrees F and line a 10 in square pan with parchment paper and oil the sides of the pan.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients together
  3. Mix the liquid ingredients together and add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle some chocolate chips over the top if you would like
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until done

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Well well if it isn't that time of the month again! I swear this month has been cake after cake after cake so going into it I was not too thrilled. So with that, I thought I would make them into cupcakes and then I saw that alot of people had already done so. So I whipped out my mini cake pan and the rest was history.
This months challenge was from Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater with cohosts Chronicles of Culinary Curiosity , Blondie and Brownie, Foray into Food, and Gluten a go go
I was incredibly surprised at how dense the cake itself was. I did decrease the amount of sugar that the recipe called for because everyone had said that the cake was way too sweet. I think the cake was really tasty the day after. It was more moist and less dry. I LOVED the frosting. The taste of the browned butter was delicious! When I read the recipe it seemed so complicated but once I started, it just flowed. I really didn't taste alot of caramel in it, perhaps next time I would use all caramel syrup instead of granulated sugar in the cake recipe. I wonder if that would give it a more caramel taste?

Shuna Fish Lydon's recipe

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperatures
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

1) Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.
2) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.
Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
3) Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase
4) Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl
again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
5) Sift flour and baking powder.Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry
6) When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry
ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called
the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high
proportion of liquid in the batter.}
7) Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is
uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan.
Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own
oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle
comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it. Cake will keep for three days outside of
the refrigerator.


2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

1) In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture
feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush.
2) Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.When color is
achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is
very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.
3) Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers.
{Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}Note: For safety reasons, have
ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.


12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste
1) Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside
to cool.
2) Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk
attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to
take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth
and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated.
3) Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

Monday, November 24, 2008

Good Ole Kiwi Breakfast

I often think back to the times when I was younger and crazy about rugby when I lived in New Zealand. It's funny that a 13 year old girl would wake up at 4am to walk over to her neighbors house to watch a game. That memory aways reminds me of vegemite. Aunty Gay used to make us toast with butter and vegemite while Uncle Vaughan and I watched the game.

I was walking around World Market after church with Brandon a week ago and saw the cutest tiniest vegemite jar ever! I hesitated to buy it but Brandon urged me to and for the past week I have been having vegemite on toast every single morning. lol. Am I sick of it yet? Nope but I sure am glad that Brandon has no interest in it. hahahaha.
My beautiful 5am breakfast before I head out to work
Oh! and can't forget the latte. ;-)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pleeeassse no more!

Shivering in the 40 degree F kitchen for 2 days, hovering over my undeniably insufficient cake whilst trying to make the best of it without bursting into tears that I know I would never get a medal for. Perhaps I was overconfident, or perhaps I had no chance to begin with since I was competing with cake decorating students or perhaps this is just not my area of specialty. I can't help but feel a little punched in the face and gut and beat down onto the ground with a baseball bat. All in all, I am SO glad this is over and I do not have to do another competition unless I want to.

My cherry blossoms that I made with gumpaste and painted with colored dust.

One side of my cake. It was a tough cake to manage. The yellow cake I had started to fall apart around the edges so the cake took forever to level and still it was not the most level cake. On top of that my buttercream icing made with all butter started to fall. After 6 hours of trying to ice and fix the darn thing, my friend helped with scrap it off and reice it with buttercream made from Crisco. I could not have done it without her. I was at my breaking point.

The judges told me the reason I didn't win anything is because my cake was not completely level, my branches were not delicate enough and my marzipan didn't cover the gaps as well as they should have between the bottom and top tiers. So all in all, a HUGE disappointment because I like to be the best at everything I put my heart into and when your results don't show your passion it really really hurts.My friend on the other hand got a medal. She did an amazing job. I can't say it enough. She presented a novelty cake of a sushi box. It was the most adorable cake ever. I told her I would eat her cake since I was hungry and sushi always sounds good. ;-)
A close up of the sushi box. The sushi rolls were really amazing. She made the rice out of rice krispies. She really deserved a medal for it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pinot Noir Party

How I needed a Saturday off. Finally I got one and I took the chance to have Neil and Renae over since I didn't have to go to bed at 9pm and I wanted to see what they thought taste the best with my wine for my school project. I chose an Oregon wine because I miss it so much and what is more popular in Oregon than Pinot Noir? So I went on a quest and there is only one Oregon Pinot Noir in Corpus. So I definitely didn't have much of a choice but it actually turned out to be an amazing wine.

We first paired the Pinot with some medium-firm cheeses. I chose a camembert, a sharp Gouda and a Jalopeno Havarti. Since Renae is Gluten-Free, I picked up some Almond Rice crackers and they went really really well with the cheeses to my surprise.

I went to HEB and got 8 lamb loins. They were small, that's why I got 8. Leben definitely approved of the lamb loins. He is SO cute! He also approved of the camembert because I found him seated on the dining room chair and his nose deep into the camembert. hahahahaha.

I marinated the lamb loins in olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper and let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple hours. I then seared both sides lightly and finished it off in the oven till medium-rare.

I made a side of red potatoes tossed in olive oil, basil, garlic and salt and pepper and baked it until golden brown. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Since I don't eat Red Meat (though I was REALLY tempted) I baked some salmon with diced tomatoes, diced onions, garlic, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper. It went really well with the cherry flavor of the wine. Oh So Good!I was sitting in the office typing up my powerpoint presentation for my wine project when all of a sudden a blast of basil aroma shot up my nose. I found Leben in the other room with a stem of basil (the best looking stem of the bunch) haning out the side of his mouth. I was angry but at the same time it was SO funny. Our friend Karl calls Leben the OC dog because he is SO snobby when it comes to lifestyle. He does not like to be outside for more than 10 minutes, he has a $200 bed, he sleeps on the couch, on our bed, he LOVES cottage cheese in his food and he is extremely picky about his dog food. He savors his rib bones when I boil them for him and he definitely knows his cheese. ;-) Almost 1 years old and he is the joy of our lives. I can't imagine life without him greeting us at the dog, nubbin wagging and all. He is the biggest baby that I have ever laid my eyes on yet he protects me so well. We love him with all our hearts and he is the biggest daddys little boy in the world.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cake Fever

This month must be cake month because I feel as though I am surrounded by cakes. This whole school salon competition is really starting to seem like a big deal. It's just weird to have competitions in something that to me is more of a passion than a need to win. I mean sure I want to be the best at what I do but having to be judged on's creepy. I'm all for criticism to better my work, but it seems as though the grades are based on the judges preferences. For example, if they prefer that the cherry blossoms on my cake should be white instead of pink then I get graded down. So needless to say, it is a little stressful.

Today we practiced decorating for salon and there were a couple of things that I need to fix. I didn't add enough milk to my buttercream so it was a little uneasy to spread. My cake needs to be taller so I need to double the recipe. Other than that everything else seemed to go quite smoothly.
This is the simplified version of my salon cake that I have sketched up. I didn't have time today to do the whole marzipan border on the base of the cakes so I just did some royal icing designs. The cherry blossoms also are done in icing.

All in all it turned out decent. The car was a little too hot for the cake so the buttercream slid around a little bit and one of the blossoms fell off. I really need to get everything prepped before the day of the salon otherwise I will go crazy. I'm not joking either. I was told the judging takes at least 3 hours. What am I gonna do for 3 hours??????? That just does not sound like fun. Oh well...once in a life time right? Hopefully I walk away with at least a decent grade and an award (that's dreaming high).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

curried sweet potato fries

How I wish I could get my hungry little hands on some purple sweet potato. Emmm...when I was little, mom used to just poke a couple of holes in them with a fork and microwave them then in it goes into my belly! They were so delicious. Much sweeter and more intense in flavor than the usual sweet potato. I try and justify that if you bake a potato, it is healthier and sometimes a gal just NEEDS her fries. These are delicious baked in olive oil, curry powder and garlic powder. Toss it together and bake at 400 degrees F. Emmm yum yum!

Brandon has been doing night flights so basically when I get off work, he leaves for base to fly and I am stuck at home by myself. I have seen him for a total of hmm...15 minutes in the last 48 hours. It's tough and it's going to be tougher tomorrow when I get out of school at 1pm and have the rest of the ENTIRE day by myself. Usually, that would be something I look forward to if Brandon were home. So I have come up with an idea. I was watching the movie "The Jane Austin Book Club," last night and it really made me want to dive right into one of her books. So my plan for 'Val's day to herself,' is to go buy a jane austin book I haven't read before and have a book club of my own.

Oh! I unboxed my yoga dvd today after work cause I figured that it would help me with my insanely tense muscles and sore back and neck. Boy did it do wonders. I felt SO loose afterward, of course I am just a tense person and I can already feel the tension coming back. I totally need a professional massage - perhaps for my birthday??? hmmmmmm

Monday, November 3, 2008

Beach hike and pastry spree

It still feels like summer in November. There is absolutely no feeling of fall here. No crunch leaves to step on and kick, no chill to wear my sweaters for and definitely no craving for hot apple cider which I LOVE during this time of year. It's not all bad though. You can't complain when you can hike along the beach during this time of the year.
If you like to trash hunt, this is the place to do it. The beaches here are littered! We found a HUGE oil tank!

We packed the puppies into Karls new SUV and they were so excited to be going to the beach together "best buds for life."
It's rolling to that time of the year - fall semester is almost out. 3 more classes left and we are preparing for our salon competition which is basically a competition judged according to the ACF standards. It's exciting but at the same time nerve wrecking. I want to do good but I'm such a novice with cakes, I really cannot guarantee the end product.
So today I went on a pastry shopping spree which I haven't done in like forever! I stocked up on cake supplies and some gum paste mix and I hope to become more comfortable working with it. What I have in mind is a 2 tier square cake with a red marzipan strip that covers both of the base of the cakes and branches of cherry blossums spreading around the cake. I got a bunch of pastry tips and disposal bags and some sprinkles for the pollen of the cherry blossums. SO cool! I love looking at pastry supplies but I tend to stay at those stores too long...and that ends in too much money being spent! I will keep you up to date about the progress! I will start on my gum paste cherry blossums tomorrow! YAY!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Passion is in the air

We're rolling into that age group where all our friends are married. It's a scary thought actually, not marriage but that we're in the 25-30 age group in questionnaires. I feel old everytime I check that box. I literally hear my back crack and give way. In a way though, it is a great thing. Neither husband nor wife have to ask their friends "do you mind if my wife/husband comes too?" it is expected if not compulsory.

The last of our friends here in Corpus Christi just got hitched (lol). So there is absolutely no singleness around town. We were all unable to make it to their wedding because well the wives had work and the men had their planes to fly. So we all decided to be nice and surprise them with a "It's too late to turn back now," party. Kidding! We just wanted to show them we care. So we all got together at Dave and Andreas house for dinner last friday. Everyone brought a dish. Andrea said she was going to get a cake. I couldn't let that happen even though I was going to have a busy week with school and work. There was no way I could justify a store brought cake. Snobby? Yes.
It was only AFTER I had offered to make the wedding cake that I realised 'I have NEVER made a wedding cake before." When, am I going to have time to make this????? Anywhos, I made a mental sketch in my head. Something simple, something light blue. Out out popped this cake.

I baked 2 - 9" chiffon cakes and sliced each cake into 3 layers. Each layer recieved a generous helping of passion fruit syrup and a layer of ganache. I covered it marshmellow fondant and it was simple enough but this texas heat just made it 3 times more difficult than it needed to be. It stuck to everything! even though I kept smothering it with more powered sugar. You know, I was going to get those pretty pearl decorative balls. That was until I found out they were like $11-$14 for 40 of them. Then I said "Simple does it."

If you ever want to make a very moist, easy and tender cake I recommend the Chiffon cake. It keeps SO well and honestly, there was no need for the passionfruit syrup since the cake itself had no hint of dryness at. So definitely use this recipe if you ever want to bake a cake.
CHIFFON SPONGE CAKE - The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg
3/4 C vegetable oil
8 egg yo9lks
1 C water, room temp
1 tbs vanilla extract
14 oz cake flour
14 oz granulated sugar
4 ts baking powder
1 ts salt
8 egg whites
  1. Line pans with parchment paper but don't grease the sides of pan
  2. Whip vegetable oil and yolks together just to combine. Stir in water and vanilla extract
  3. Sift cake flour, 1/3 sugar, baking powder and salt together. Stir into egg yolk mixture then whip on high for 1 minute. Set aside.
  4. Whip whites to a foam and gradually add remaining sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Fold meringe into reserved batter. Divide between pans.
  5. Bake 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes till cakes spring back when pressed lightly in center.
  6. Invert and let cool on cooling rack.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fit for a Princess

I read the recipe over and over and over again and STILL I could not mentally picture this "princess cake" in my head. Our Advanced Pastry teacher gave Patti and I this recipe to do and I do not think I have ever been so exhausted after baking and decorating a cake before. It was none stop going from 8am-1pm. I think I almost passed out.

It is a basic sponge cake that is cut into 3 equal layers. The bottom and middle layers are brushed with simple syrup and the bottom layer is then covered with a strawberry jam (we didn't have any so we used raspberry jam). It is then topped with the middle sponge cake layer and then spread with a bavarian cream. The top layer is then put ontop the bavarian cream and a thin layer of whipped cream is spread around the sides of the cake and ontop.

Then we lined the inside of a bowl with plastic wrap and filled the bottom of the bowl with whipped cream, flipped the cake into the bowl ontop of the whipped cream and put it in the freezer to set up a little. Once that was taken care of we rolled out marzipan and covered the cake with it. We used royal icing and piped along the sides of the cake.
All in all though exhausting, the cake looked REALLY pretty. The people who did taste it though thought it was rather bland. I didn't taste it cause it was just too much cream in it and that would infact probably make my stomach curl up.
So if you are ever up for a challenge, let me know if you want the recipe. It is like 6 pages long. hahahaha.

Friday, October 17, 2008

chocolate tuile joconde cake with caramelized fig

This is only my second time doing a practical midterm. The first was the challah bread I did for the breads class midterm. This time around it was for Advanced Pastries class and we basically could make anything we wanted but no cookies, pies or tarts. So I chose to combine a couple of recipes together. I used a Black Cocoa tuile paste, which is a really thick batter. So thick that you can scrape of some of the batter to make pretty designs. The Black cocoa which is now my favorite ingredient smells and tastes like an oreo cookie! It really was an accident on how I used the black cocoa. I actually was opting more for just regular cocoa powder but I saw this black cocoa in the pantry and I was like "Sweet. That would make an awesome contrast with the color of the joconde base." So after I put designs on the tuile batter I froze it whlie I prepared everything else. Next, I made the joconde base which is an almond cake batter. I poured that over the top of the frozen tuile paste and baked it off. Since it was such a thin layer of cake (1/8 in thick) I decided I should layer it ontop of each other inbetween chantilly cream. The caramelized figs I messed up on a little bit. The caramel didn't work well with me. It's suppose to have a long tail of caramel that hardens as it dries so that the fig has an extra long stem almost. It was a fun recipe and it look less time that I thought that it would.
All these recipes are from The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg
Chocolate Tuile Decorating Paste 8 oz
Joconde Sponge Base ½ recipe
1. Spread chocolate tuile paste evenly over 1 full size silpat, covering them completely about 1/16th inch thick.
2. Remove half of the paste in straight, crosswise or diagonal lines along the length of the silpat with a decorating comb.
3. Lift silpat by edges out of the sheet pan and set on top of an inverted sheet pan and freeze till firm
4. Spread batter evenly over tuile batter and bake at 400-450 degrees F for 4 minutes or until sponge color changes slightly.
5. Dust flour lightly on top of sponge and invert onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper and buttered sides of pan.

Butter, unsalted, room temperature 4 oz
Powdered sugar, sifted 4 oz
Egg whites, room temperature ½ C
Vanilla extract ½ ts
Bread flour, sifted 3 oz
Unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted 1 ¼ oz

1. Sift cocoa powder and bread flour together
2. Sift powdered sugar and cream with butter in mixer with paddle attachment.
3. Add egg whites, 1-2 at a time. Scrape and evenly mix after each addition.
4. Add vanilla extract then the flour and cocoa powder mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix.

Blanched almonds, finely ground/almond meal 3 oz
Powdered sugar 2 oz
Bread flour 1 oz
Whole eggs 3
Egg yolk 1
Egg whites 2
Granulated sugar 1 oz
Melted unsalted butter 1 oz

1. Place almond meal, powdered sugar and bread flour into mixing bowl and mix in eggs with paddle attachment for 5 minutes on high. Scrape sides regularly.
2. Add egg yolks, till combined on medium speed. Set aside
3. Whip egg whites with sugar to hold a soft shape. (soft peak)
4. Fold half of egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Stir in melted butter and then fold in the rest of the egg whites. Spread out on top of Chocolate tuile decorated baking sheet.


Chianti wine 2 ½ C
Granulated sugar 2 oz
Figs, whole 15

1. Combine Chianti and granulated sugar in saucepan large enough to hold figs. Allow liquid to come to a boil and then lower heat to simmer and add figs.
2. Poach 5 minutes, remove figs with slotted spoon onto a baking sheet lined sheet pan.
3. Keep boiling poaching liquid till reduced to thick syrup. Let cool off heat.
4. Skewer each fig through the side and hold skewers at edge of counter with a heavy object so the figs and skewer stick out of the counter.
5. Line floor under figs with baking paper.
6. Dip each fig into caramelized liquid and place back securely on counter.
7. Let cool till caramel sets.
8. Snip off tail of caramel to desired length and remove each fig with latex gloved hand to prevent finger prints on the figs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Korean 1st birthday girl!

Our wonderful friends we met when Brandon started his aeronautical masters degree in Dayton, OH had their baby girl a year ago. They invited us last weekend for their baby girl Graces' 1st birthday. It is the MOST important birthday for a child, a big deal in the Korean culture. Let's meet our contestants today!

Pat, Grace and Hye Sung sitting down at Graces mini table with layered fruits, cookies and cakes. Layering is important because it represents length of life. They're in their traditional dress right now. I thought Graces hat looked like a purse. It was TOO cute!
Grace trying to "boo" at the cake
This isn't only traditional in Korean culture but in the Chinese culture as well where you set out a number of items that represent the child's future infront of him/her and wait till she/he picks one up. The flute is for a future in music, money for riches, pen for intellectual and noodles for long life. She chose the flute! Hye Sung plays the flute.
OH! The other day in food prep was great! We were studying vegetables so I was excited since I don't eat bloody meat. :-b Anywhos there was a dish that one of the guys made that made me literally pass out on the floor cause I thought itw as so good. So here's the recipe. I changed it a little.
Pinto bean and vege bake
1/2 onion, small dice
1/2 green pepper, small dice
corn (frozen and thawed) 8 oz
16 oz can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
chile pepper powder
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheese (to top)
bread crumbs (to top)
  1. Heat some olive oil in a saute pan and sweat the onion
  2. Then add in chili pepper powder and cook for a minute
  3. Add peppers and corn and cook till tender
  4. Add pinto bean and season to taste
  5. Top with shredded cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven to melt the cheese
  6. Top with bread crumbs and broil till golden brown. SO GOOD

Side note: Adding poblano peppers (canned) makes it MORE tasty!

For some reason, I tend to attract female jerks to talk to me. You know how you first start class in a new year, in a new school, whatever the situation may be, you TRY to pick a table with people who you think you would fit in best with. Considering I'm older than most of the people in the culinary school, I decided why not go for the table of girls who range from freshmen to their 30's. Inevitably, I made "conversation" with this 30 year old. Now, after several weeks of sitting with the same people, you can't quite move to a different table once you find out you think they're crazy and childish. Our class is so small that the boys sit with boys and girls with girls. How stupid is that! SO there's no way for me to move without offending anyone.

Last week I went to class and I was extremely excited about the fact that I had made truffles the day before so here is the convo:

me: "Guess what? We made truffles yesterday!"
girl: "Shut up. No one cares." (she doesn't say it in a way where she hates you, but her tone definitely makes you think 'what???')
me: "Piff, you're just jealous cause you don't know how to make truffles."
*silence* --> Girl is nice to me the rest of the class

It's not that she's a mean person. She's VERY high school in her way of thinking and acting and speaking. Seriously, I had to resort to silly high school responses to make her realise she's not All that and a batch of frozen cookies; presliced.

A couple weeks ago I had mentioned to her that I was in a hurry to get to my bible study after I got off work and I only had 2 hours to make something sweet for the bible study. So I opted on making bread pudding which I have never done before nor tasted. I commented that I did not really like the taste of it. She told me "Why didn't you just make a pie?" In the 'you should have made something more elaborate' attitude. This coming from a women who does not work ontop of school. I have limited time with work, school, the gym, the puppy and a husband to have time daily to "bake a pie" in under 2 hours.

So I replied to her "I just didn't have the ingredients that I needed and the time it would take to make a pie from scratch."
Girl: "Why, you should have just gone to the store. You know they do have frozen pie crusts there."
I seriously almost blew up in anger. I AM A PASTRY STUDENT. WHY WOULD I BUY FROZEN STORE BROUGHT PIE CRUST?????????

SO glad I'm not her lab partner.