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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The past 2 weeks in review

It is high time I had some time off. Spring semester has ended and now I have 2 weeks of nothing but work. Eh. I would rather have it the other way around. I don't know about anyone else but the work environment is SO important to me and well let's just say, my work environment is draining. None the less, I'm going to make myself enjoy the days that I do have off as wonderful as possible! So much has happened, yet what I have here is not anywhere near what I wish to show you all. Considering my absence since...well november when work and school got in the way of blogging. What has this world come to?????

I'll start this post off with a little humor. Can anyone tell me what this picture reminds you of?:

As Brandon puts it "It's like George from Seinfield when he posed on his velvet couch." Scary picture in my mind! Leben looks alot cuter though. He's now 5 months and weighing in at 52 lbs!

Here's a side that I made for dinner tonight (above). It's quite tasty and refreshing. I sliced up some cantaloupe and honeydew and sweet onions, tossed it with 2 TBS of simple syrup, about 1/4 C rice vinger (more or less depending on your tastes) and then tossed in some crumbled blue cheese. OOOHHH LALA! (I didn't really say that out loud, just in my head.)

Last monday was the last week of spring semester classes before finals, so we made bread sculptures out of salt dough and we were allowed to make anything we wanted, so I opted to go for the pig, then my friends said he needed an apple. So an apple I made. He got baked at 275 degrees F for ... forever till he dried out. Best class ever!

Oh, This is our collaboration. Kim made the hot dog and the bun, I made the weener dog head, hence hot dog. HAHAHAHA...okay it really wasn't that great of a joke, but it was late, and we had been there since 7:30am.

I also made some spanokopitas sometime ago. I love feta and spinach, so this was the perfect finger food. Emmm...cheesy. I used olive oil between the filo layers instead of the traditional butter and it crisped really well!

Ahhh...well sorry to say my dear dear readers. At least those who happened to stumble across my page, willingly or unwillingly. Never the less, the 80 degree weather here in Florida has caused the self destruction of my prized chocolate hat. It's life was taken away by the stabbage of the stand itself. Horrific! I fell on my hands and knees and cried "WHY? WHY OH WHY?"
Really though, I was just sad I didn't eat it before it melted and well...after weeks sitting there being free food to flies and what not, it didn't seem proper.

OH! The last day of class also revealed to us (the pastry students), that we were really ready for sugar work. As you can see, we cast sugar into this stainglass window. The boys made an evil angel but their manly hands caused the decapitation of the the angels head and the eventual collapse of her body onto the bench.

Well, that's a wrap! There's more to come. I made an olive oil rosemary bread the other day, but didn't copy the picture onto the computer and well...I'm just too lazy to do it right now. hahahahaha. So you'll have to wait! *suspense has been created*

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Redneck Cheesecake lollipops!

You know you live in a redneck town when:

the only thing you can find as stems for the cheesecake lollipops are toothpicks! SWEET!
That's what I'm looking for. hehehe.
The only real problem I had was that the toothpicks came out of the cheesecake lollipops, probably cause toothpicks SUCK at doing anything besides picking out food from between your teeth.
Other than that everything went really well. I dipped them in caramel, chocolate and white chocolate then covered them in either sprinkles, crushed oreos or coconut.
Our neighbors gobbled up the ones we gave them and Brandon also gobbled up most of them. Which is good. I had my fair share but they are only good for 3 days max. Then they start to taste more like the food in your refrigerator than anything else. Ew!

It must be magic, because Brandon had annouced his "need" of cheesecake the week I had planned to make these so it came right in the nick of time.
So come ye, come all, Elle – Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah – Taste and Tell
has challeneged us, and we have prevailed! GO DARING BAKERS, GO!
Cheesecake Pops - Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor
Makes 30 – 40 Pops
5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed
Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)
Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.
Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.
Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.
Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My..has anyone seen my hat?

Does it ever feel like it takes you forever to get something done? Well, quite literally this blasted Baked Alaska has taken us 3 whole weeks to compile! I was pretty much ready to hit them against the wall by the end of Mondays class. It's like a huge paint ball, only yummy with homemade french ice cream and a gooey truffle surprise!

Then came the real challenge of the day. We are working with chocolate, so Chef decided it was time for us to make a hat and stand and base - ENTIRELY out of tempered chocolate! We sat there, jaws locked in open position. Drooling at the thought of all that chocolate, but mostly because we were dumb struck. Are we ready? How do we even start? Let's just say, after 4 hours of non-stop chocolate work, I came out with this.

'Please do not try on hat, ask for assistance'

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Shake your bon bons!

Monday class was a blast. We busted out a bunch of truffles, ugly truffles actually. We were literally covered in chocolate by the end of class. Luckily we had aprons on but somehow I managed to get chocolate all over my chef jacket sleeves. I must have short arms or something, yeah that's it.
I think those above look like malteses more than delicate truffles but the chocolate ball molds are filled with pureed raspberry & raspberry liquor then capped off with tempered chocoalte and dipped in tempered chocolate which gives it that sheen.
Now these are called splitters, which are basically toasted nuts rolled in a milk chocolate ganache. It looks like poop to me.
here are the cognac balls and Celibeth and I made. By the end of it, we were so fed up with not knowing what to do cause the recipe just plain sucked, that I was throwing them in the tempered chocolate just to get it done instead of delicately dipping them in. It's a cognac ganache ontop of marzipan and then dipped in tempered chocolate.
Now, I think these chocolate covered cherries turned out the best. I just want to eat that right up!
These "truffles" are made up of temepred chocolate discs set on patterened transfer sheets to get the stars stuck on them then inbetween two discs is a rum ganache.
Lastly these are coffee filled truffles.
Then night class we got to mess around with marzipan and made mini fruits! See if you can guess what's what!

OH! Yes, pastry students like to shake their bon bons in class and well...culinary students seem to like "other things" if you know what I mean.