30 April 2008

The Sweet Melissa Baking Cookbook Giveaway - Deadline is TODAY! 2

Which 5 RANDOM contestants will emerge victorious and win the ultimate prize? A FREE Cookbook? We will find out Tomorrow!


Thanks to everyone who participated! The contest is going smoothly. If you haven't entered The Sweet Melissa Baking Book Challenge yet, you need to do so before Midnight 04/30/2008 , tonight!

To enter the contest - just bookmark http://abstract2collective.blogspot.com (click on the links) to : (stumbleUpon ) (add it to del.) (Digg it!) (add to technorati favs ) or (blogroll it) . You can also see the original post.

Once you have added Renaissance Culinaire to any one of these 5 sites, email me at renaissanceculinaire [at] gmail [dot] com with :

  1. your name
  2. user name on the bookmark site you used
There is a link at the bottom of this post, which reads "contact me" -you can also use that.

All contestants will be assigned a number, and those numbers will be entered into a processor at random.org to create truly 5 random winners.

GOODLUCK!



Related Posts:

28 April 2008

Oregon : The Last Domestic Kitchen Frontier 11

Allot of people when they think of their industry, they think of big corporate outcroppings and a managerial team. Society and data tells us this is the way to money and success. While monetarily this may be true, what if you are looking for personal success? The kind of success not measured by your bosses' attendance sheet?

Have you ever wondered about having your own business? Not everyone is geared for the roles a business owner plays: Owner / advertiser / footman /On-call employee / Marketer / accountant --- the list goes on and on. Once you commit to your business - you are fully vested. Fully vested - meaning all your output, whether emotional / intellectual / physical / financial, is going toward your business. Most businesses require to be vested in all of the above, to truly function successfully. If you are not committed to this requirement, your business most likely will fail.


I have been thinking allot about my goals in life and I am currently researching (heavily) the process of having a baking related business, in Oregon, in my home. The official license and term for a home bakery is : Domestic Kitchen Bakery.

Currently there are 152 Licensed Domestic Bakeries in Oregon. Considering there are over 3,700,000 residents of Oregon, and 580 commercial bakeries operating in Oregon, the market is not what I would consider "flooded" with domestic bakeries .

If you got to the oregon.gov website and search "Domestic Kitchen Bakery", you will get a page of links pointing you to Commercial Bakery requirements. So much for key word specific searching. This is not very factual or pertinent to your search.

In order to get to the actual Domestic Kitchen Bakery requirements - you need to Download the pdf form. Or you can read it directly from http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/.....domkit.pdf

I found this pdf extremely helpful because it is geared for the home bakery and not intermixed with commercial bakery requirements. Also something else to consider - research your county specific regulations also, certain counties may have different requirements.

As for requirements for applying and obtaining a Domestic Kitchen Bakery, your kitchen must be in accordance with these rules (OAR 603-025-0200) :

  • Doors - doors must be closed during business hours.
  • People - No one besides the licensee or employees, may be engaged in production of your product.
  • Children - No babies or kids allowed in the kitchen during business hour.
  • Domestic activity (outside of business) - All activities must be completed before the hours of business / production starts.
  • Pets - No pets allowed in kitchen during operating hours.
  • Storage - Separate closed storage is required for your ingredients used in production. This must be separate from your home pantry items (i.e a separate cabinet) , and also use of a separate refrigerator. No medical supplies or cleaning agents are allowed to be stored in the licensed kitchen.
  • All kitchens will be available for inspection by the food inspector 8 a.m to 5p.m weekdays or during other production times.
  • All kitchens must have a usable water supply. If you have a well that water must be tested by a certified lab and test results sent to the food inspector, in order to be licensed.
  • Packaged foods are required to be labeled with - Name of product, net weight, ingredient statement and address of the producer.
  • No use of commercial equipment - not limited to hobart mixers, commercial ovens will be used - domestic equipment shall be used ONLY.
You can contact the Food Safety Division Office in Salem, OR for more info : (503) 986-4720. License duration is 1 year. If you move locations mid-year while under license - you MUST apply for another one. The Domestic Kitchen License is non-transferable.

License fees are as follows :

If your business annually produces Gross Sales of :
  1. $0 - $50,000 fee = $146
  2. $50,001 - $500,000 fee = $208
  3. $500,000 - $1,000,000 fee= $312
  4. $1,000,000,001 - $5,000,000,000 fee = $468
  5. $5,000,000,000 - $10,000,000 fee = $624
  6. Greater than $10,000,000 fee = $780
I will be adding future articles about Domestic Kitchen bakery business information, so please subscribe to my site feed.


Please See This Post For Further Info & Tips:
Owning a Domestic Kitchen Bakery: Is Your Kitchen Not Right?




26 April 2008

Soul Search : Saturday Food Poetry 15

In an effort to reawaken my poetry writing, I will be featuring a food photo that inspires me, then let the words that stem from that image fall onto the page. Enjoy! Comments welcomed and appreciated.

Thanks ericmcgregor for use of this photo.


Muscular and artistic hands -
weaving the magic we call presentation.

I see the art,
fashioned of edible sculpture.

Your formulations
are
the
holy scripture.

you are profit of the palate,
to
your
unwavering congregation.

cutouts of cake, bases;
the pulpit
from
which
you preach
your decadent wisdom.

Dripping, oozing
thinning sauces.

Prepping, squeezing;
till heavenly visions
are realized.

Tuiles, chocolate decorations;
An offering
of snap,
of crispy symmetry;
Oh lovely visual revelations.

Is it enough to paint those lines,
to chase perfection
to gain
culinary
holy ground?


© All Rights Reserved. 2008

25 April 2008

Contest : Cookbook For 5 Lucky Random Winners 3





I am having a contest! The first one in a series of many to come. The winners will all receive a new copy of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. You can read the review of this book here.


Once all emails have been submitted to me, I will use Random.org , to choose the final 5 winners. This will create a true random selection. For the sake of your privacy , I won't enter your email addresses into this sites form, because it is not secure, I will assign numbers to each email I receive. Then use the numbers to draw the random winners.








The rules are simple:

1.) You must click on the links below to submit this site to any of these 5 bookmarking sites:


del.icio.us Digg.com Technorati Favorites

Blogroll Me Stumble Me

2.) Once you have submitted Renaissance Culinaire using one of the above links, please email me with an email that you check often:


renaissanceculinaire [at] gmail [dot] com
Email me :
  • Your real name (first name is fine)
  • User name of the bookmarking site you used.
The Deadline is April 30th

Once the results have been collected, I will email the 5 winners to get their name and address information. This will then be sent to the publisher who will ship them right out to you.



Good Luck!



Related Posts:

24 April 2008

Review: Sweet Melissa Baking Book 2


On first glance, this book is a slightly smaller than the average
glossy cookbook, you know the kind - almost ready to feature as
a coffee table book, rather than a cookbook that goes on your shelf.
That kind of cookbook has really become a standard trend.

Unlike allot of other cookbooks, The Sweet Melissa Baking Book gets right to the point. There is no lengthy forward, just a few pages mentioning Melissa
Murphy's schooling and where she has gotten her restruant experience.
She explains her love of baking and why she bakes certain items at her bake shop - Sweet Melissa Patissarie in New York, which has been going strong for 10 yrs .

Reading the forward is enough to make you love this cookbook even more. The forward really sets the tone, and you began to see Melissa's thoughtfulness shine through in each and every recipe she features in this book. The recipes are all easy to follow and have detailed instructions from the procedure, through baking of the final product.

When it comes to cookbooks the trend is to have a glossy full size picture on every other page. This sometimes can deter the purpose of a cookbook - to showcase the recipe it's self. The Sweet Melissa Baking Book is mainly recipes, with a short insert of assorted glossy pictures, but the pictures in noway detract from the main purpose of this cookbook.

As for skill level, I would say that this book is great for all skill levels --- just pack a love of baking and an attention to details, so your recipes will come out just as yummy as they sound in this book.

As you start to delve into the contents, you will notice throughout the book Melissa offers her commentary with personal antidotes on how she feels about the baked goods, she features in each chapter. Also throughout the book there are special notations with instructions to "do it like the pros".


Highlights of this cookbook by Chapter:

01 The first section offers a fine selection of Quick breads, muffins, scones and other breakfast fare.

"...I've realized that it may seem odd to some of you to to eat dessert for breakfast...so I disguised it. But who are we kidding? You love sticky buns first thing in the morning just as much as I do!" - Melissa Murphy on Dessert for Breakfast.

My favorite recipes from this section include: Hot Pepper Muffins with Orange Maple Butter ; Guinness Gingerbread; and Raised Waffles with warm brown sugar bananas.

01a Prefaced with a story of her childhood involving her older brothers tricking her into eating creme donuts that had the least amount of creme, and her disappointment in the lack there of . She devoted this section to creme filled sweet buns - spawned from her love of donuts, but lack of equipment in her bake shop to fry them, she ingeniously created a great formula to bake in the oven.

" I Love the resulting compromise - sweet tender brioche style buns filled with pastry cream then dipped in honey caramel...Mm-mm-mm-yummy!" - Melissa Murphy on Bee Stings.

She outlines the formula for both the sweet buns and the pastry creme.

02 Devoted to yummy after school treats cookies and brownies - such as Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies, Black Bottom Brownies, and Pistachio Linzer Thumbprints.

"..The highlight of my day I remember was ...just baked batch of my favorite cookies. "- Melissa Murphy on After School Snack

03 Features a Step by step guide to assemble, crumb coat and frost a layer cake. Filled with tantalizing layer cakes , complete with lovely frostings and the fillings to accompany them.

"..one thing is for sure: You have to start with a great cake. This is essential, and to me, the best part." - Melissa Murphy on Special Layer Cakes

These recipes can all be used for wedding cakes, without any special formulation, just double or triple the recipes for more layers.

04 This section has many crust recipes. Your mouth will water when you read the titles of these recipes for various pies, tarts and and a master recipe for preserves. Examples are: Pear Cranberry Pie with Ginger Snap Crust, Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit preserves.

05 Luscious recipes for puddings, Specialty Pies, Cheesecakes and more. Just read some of the titles : Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake with Cornmeal Crumble Crust, Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Blackberry Glaze, Pumkin Bread Pudding with Caramel-Rum Glaze.

"My mom made dessert to end our meal, but she always made it on Sundays...you could smell it at the end of the driveway...she knew how to get her children to the..table" - Melissa Murphy on Sunday Suppers Grand Finale


06 The Last section deals with gifting of homemade candies, brittles and truffles.

" ..recipes in this chapter are even more special for gift giving because these are things people rarely make themselves. Honey Cream Caramels, Butterscotch Pralines, Peanut butter Truffles, Chocolate Peppermint Meringues---You can't buy these presents." - Melissa Murphy on Favorite Gifts


I think that The Sweet Melissa Baking Book is a purchase well spent. It will become a favorite addition to any cookbook or baking library.



Related Posts:


21 April 2008

Food Photography - Ballad of A Foodie 3

I took these shots in the flickr collection noted below (at bottom of this post) in "Ballad of a Foodie"- over a span of 2 years. There is allot of emotional attachment to them. It is about food. It isn't about people who were captured - their poses frozen in time. No, it is about the way I captured these images. I was a newly amateur photographer who was obsessed at getting enough pictures to fill my memory card at the end of the night. I have heard people say "you can't take decent pictures with a digital point and shoot, or anything under 8mp", that opinion is ridiculous.

Ballad of a Foodie flickr collection - see below for links

When I first started taking pictures, I had this little point and shoot digital camera, it had only 3 mp. I got to know the limits of my camera by experimenting heavily in different lighting, conditions etc. I found what worked and I pushed those limits of my little camera, with sometimes amazing results. Then I moved on to a camera with more control, larger lens capacity and full manual functions, a digital with 5 mp. Not all my shots are great, but allot of the subject matter makes them unique. 

I like the irregularities in photographs --- liken it to the cracks and pops you hear when you play a vinyl record. Taking pictures of food is an even harder media to work with. If you are looking for ways to better your food photographs, I suggest you start with the basics --- take lots of pictures of non-food related objects. 

Experiment - go outside, take pictures in the sunshine, pictures of objects with the sun behind them. Take photographs in the rain (not literally - stand under an overpass or porch. Get used to shadows and capturing the right color spectrum. If you have a digital, try using the "live view" LCD , this will help you visually see the way the lens reacts to different angle and light changes. Get accustomed to what situation calls for flash - flash can either make or break a picture. 

Try taking the same picture from different angles and lengths using the flash at different points, then compare what works best. When you have truly gotten to know your camera, then try taking pictures of food. You will now have a reference point to go back to and say - "right, my camera can capture this better from that angle". Then slowly you can introduce props . I have found it is better to take a "on the fly" approach when capturing food production, no props, no special lighting. But then again I like action shots. In the future I will be taking on food photography again -- and this time it will be more "posed" shots.

Amber *'s buddy icon ballad of a foodie

This is my foodie collection on flickr. Mouse over to see Set title. Click on any of the links to View that Set on flickr.

More Plated DessertsPlated DessertsSweet LifeArtisan BreadsBaker behavior
IngredientsEquipmenttartsCake/French PastryEarly Morning
Life of a bell pepperWhat's in your pint glass?Glutenenous motionCake Dec. (beginer)Special Order Cakes



20 April 2008

On Blogging : The Active Digg'r Blog Roll 0

Inspired by a recent thread on Blog Catalog that I read this morning., I thought I would start an active digg'r blogroll.

On many blog community sites, the topic in most forums is social networking. Social networking sites connect people with like minded interests, and introduce new content that other members of theses sites have bookmarked or posted about. Popular sites with bloggers include digg, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon , twitter. These sites can boost your readership and traffic. because not only do you have links to your posts submitted - but you can add a link to your blog within your profile. If people like what you are submitting, or just want to view the profiles of other members who have given their content a boost - the gives you a potential visitor.

In the blogosphere, links are very important. Potential visitors can view links to your content they otherwise might never have been exsposed to.

Many social networking sites also allow you to add widgets to your blog, or blog post footer, which allow readers to bookmark and promote your content within each specific social networking site.

As bloggers it is very important to reach out to as wide an audience as possible. Most blog posts get very minimal exposure. Even if the content is excellent and informative - if you do not work to promote your content then the effect on readership or traffic is not seen as positively reflective of your blog. The less exposure - the least amount of readers will stumble upon your blog content. If you are trying to gain traffic then this can be a real no-win situation. Especially if you are not a frequent participant in forums or part of a Publisher / Ad network. There is however a very fine line between promoting your content and seeming spammy.

In this post I am mainly referencing digg. Members of digg submit content that they like, which is then publically displayed in different categories - so that other members can "digg" or vote for the items they like. Members may also comment on , or add each item to their favorites, or "bury" the item if they don't think it is worthy, or stupid.

If you have a blog and frequent blog community sites such as entrecard , blogcatalog, or Mybloglog , you will see many groups devoted to social networking. There are alot of forum threads posting about digg exchanges. And I am all for promoting my fellow bloggers, I will digg a post if I believe it is well written and the content is believable and informative., even if it doesn't pertain to me or my niche. I will add someone to my digg friends if they will exchange diggs with me.

But the problem with digg exchanges is that many members will post their link, expecting everyone to friend them or digg their post, but then will NOT reciprocate. This creates a rift in the digg network. Not everyone understands what or how to participate in a digg exchange. That is fine, but I am talking about the chronic non-reciprocaters.

A lot of these non-reciprocaters will post "shouts" or messages , alerting their digg "friends" un-mercilessly, about content that needs a digg. The worst offenders post shouts sometimes 5-10 times a day - all the while ignoring friends shouts and NEVER digging something shared with them. These chronic offenders can turn off a new member to the digg exchange very quickly. It is also frustrating to have to remove these people from your own digg friends lists.

So inspired by these events, I am starting a blogroll listing bloggers who actively support their blogging peers through dig exchanges and digg friending. The Active Digg'r Blogroll
not only will provide a sense of community within the blogosphere, but will also be a way of promoting member's blogs and content.

Here is the button all members will display:







Click here to Join!


19 April 2008

Hot Pepper Gingerbread Muffins with Orange-Maple Butter 6

Thanks Darwin Bell For Use of his Photo.




I found this recipe in The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, Which I will review in a future post.

This recipe sounds so good. I love ginger and cardamom. And maple butter is one of those taste memories from childhood- my grade school would have waffle days, and they would serve these waffles made from scratch, big pale yellow round ones the size of a plate. The waffles were barely browned - so that they were soft and warm and not crusty on the outside. And on the top they would serve a scoop of fluffy maple butter, so when you spread it onto the waffle, the maple butter would sink into the individual spaces in the grid, exploding into your mouth at each bite....yumm! I have never forgot that taste.


To Make Hot Pepper Gingerbread Muffins:
Preheat oven to 350°F , use the center rack. Line your muffin tin with muffin papers (or grease / spray).
Makes 12 muffins
(you can refrigerate this batter over night if you need to, just fill your muffin tin cups, then refrigerate.)

Ingredients :
  • 1 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 3 TBsp. freshly grated gingerroot (use a microplane - best tool for the job)
  • 2/3 cup strong boiling hot coffee

Procedure:

  1. In a medium bowl whisk these dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, salt, powdered ginger, dry mustard, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, cardamom.
  2. You will need a kitchenaide or other electric mixer with a whip attachment. Beat eggs, brown sugar and granulated sugar until thick. With a slow steady pour - add the oil and molasses. Stir in the ginger.
  3. On medium speed add the dry ingredients in three batches. alternate with the hot coffee, mix well after adding each ingredient. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Pour the muffin batter into the prepped muffin tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Orange Maple Butter

Ingredients:

  • 8 TBsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature.
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 TBsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp fine grain salt
Procedure:In a medium bowl, whisk together butter, zest, maple syrup and salt until smooth. Serve at room temperature.


Serve the muffins with the orange maple butter. This butter keeps refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Allow it to soften to room temperature, whip if necessary.

The Sweet Melissa Baking Book Recipe © Melissa Murphy. All Rights Reserved.


Related Posts:


Foodies : 16 Great Groups to Share Your Passions 2

If I didn't know better, you landed here through some search engine, or a link on some blog network. You look around my blog, and see the bits and pieces that I bring to the foodie table. Everything but the nice linen table cloth - this isn't that kind of blog, honestly - maybe the site description threw you for a loop...or maybe it was the analytical Wallstreet Journal Fog Index readability score (I KNOW - it baffles me too)...I digress.

Hopefully when you view my blog and it's labels and the contents held within you will see the person behind this blog - and find a deeply passionate person, who thinks about culinary constantly, who notices the baker references in that Shins' song, or cringes at the "so - called" baker in Stranger Than Fiction - - the one who licks the batter off her hands and wrist - in FRONT of her customers! (( now Come ON!)) but secretly is flattered that being a baker has hit mainstream (ala 16 Blocks - yes I mean MOS DEF).

So as I have come into my pastry life - I had a real tumultuous start, not while at school. But just dealing with some hardships that I never disclosed to classmates. And having to buck up and get through the day, slowly - I just retreated inward. It made taking care of baking classwork all the harder to manage - and I am surprised I walked out of there with as high of grades I did, struggling through things outside of school. So if I seemed a little distant and difficult to read - I apologize. Don't worry about me though --- The smells of the kitchen and bakery made everything that much sweeter.

shaping danish - Pinwheels


So as of late I have had a deep nagging within me to seek out fellow foodies, and the like-minded souls that I can relate to, and it was on this journey that I came across some great sites. Sites that were full of compassionate foodies willing to share themselves and their cooking melanges.

So I would like to share them with you and hope that your experience is just as positive.


Foodie Groups to Join

Some of these links will go to my profile on the groups. There will be a join link on the right hand side.
  1. Foodbuzz. It is a site to rate / review restruants, to aggregate and post your food related posts, to befriend other foodies. Anyone can join .If you click on the link you will be taken to my profile. Say hi, or friend me :)
  2. I am a foodbuzz featured publisher - if you have a food blog and would be interested in joining the FoodBuzz Publisher Network, please contact me. It is by invite only, but I can send out invitations :)
  3. The Chocolate Life If you are a serious chocophile, you will enjoy this site. Lots of great chocolate info. Members have contributed lots of great historical photos of chocolate factories, and post their factory tours and cocoa adventures. Lot's of member interaction and forum action. Promote your chocolate related content and photos.
  4. Chilefire Member This group is for all of you hotheads a.k.a pepperheads. Started by the Chilefire.com blog author (who is a great guy BTW). It is a fun group with lot's of fun foodies to interact with. Not solely dedicated to Hot stuff, there are different groups to join within the main site. So foodies of any status are welcome. You can also promote your foodie blog content here. And photos
  5. Chef Network A great group to join for those of you yearning to find out about becoming a chef, or for Chefs or foodies. Promote your foodie self.
  6. YUMMYtales More foodie goodness!
  7. 浏览我在 wearefoodaholics 上的页面 This foodie site is in Chinese - We Are Foodaholics says it all doesn't it.
  8. For Food Service professionals, who are interested in networking with other companies and viewing discussions on various business themed data, as well as posting your recipes etc. then join : View my page on Foodserviceclub
  9. View my page on FoodTube.net Foodtube.net is a very active foodie community! It's like Utube, but solely themed with food and cooking. Also there are frequent contests and challenges. Great members too!
  10. Visit The Ghetto Gourmet O.k this site is dedicated to"wandering kitchens" who set up venues all across the US to celebrate art and great food. There are the cast and crew and the froopies (i.e groupies) .You can find groups within this group for your specific area.
  11. View my page on Flavorshare This group is another foodie video site - the tag line is : "channel your inner cooking show host". Promote your food blog posts, videos and photographs.
  12. Dancing Spoon Connect to foodies just like you: people who are passionate about the culinary world. Start a discussion, post a blog, meet other foodies!
foodie Blogrolls
  1. now-were-cookin-blogroll Very nice people and the blogroll is jsut gaining momentum.
  2. Click to Join the Foodie Blogroll Leftover Queen created this blogroll. The list is so large that they started a website / directory dedicated to the blogroll. Great blogs listed!
  3. **Join Make it from scratch Make it from scratch is not solely devoted to foodies - but if you make things from scratch - crafts / food / etc - you can join, which means foodies are in! I like to shake it up a bit anyway - great way to gain new readers :)



14 April 2008

Review : Morimoto - The New Art of Japanese Cooking 5


For me this is an orgasmic book of unmeasured proportions. I have loved Iron Chef. I have loved Japanese cooking and finally the two have merged and come full circle. On viewing the book it's self - wow. A nice presentation. A heavy slightly over sized cookbook. 

Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking.

Morimoto


The editing of this book is very well done. Nice graceful modern designs. Page after page of glossy step by step images and techniques, and notations on traditional Asian ingredients and how that translates to using and accessing them (or a finding suitable substitutions) in the US . If I ever wanted to publish a cookbook, it would be in this style.
This book showcases why Chef Morimotow is at the axis of a foodie empire, in this creative and intuitive take on Japanese cuisine. When I read this cookbook, I felt like the foodie version of Being John Malkovich , as this book allows you to peer inside the thoughts and actions of this culinary genius.




In relation to skill level, I would recommend this book to people who have at least an intermediate knowledge of culinary techniques. The beginning home cook might not know how to utilize or apply the techniques Chef Morimoto has outlined in this book.

It would be wise to do some further research on Japanese Culinary techniques also, as this book can only highlight certain facets of the cuisine itself and not act as a reference manual or course book on Japanese Cuisine as a whole.

If you have ever had an inkling of adoration for Asian style cuisine, or are awestruck at the complexities of the full spectrum of Professional Japanese Culinary , as I am, you would enjoy this book.

Highlights of this book include:
  • An in depth look at how the Japanese chef works his knife magic to create beautiful Sashimi w and Sushi w works of art out of various ingredients - parts of fish, Octopus , and Various Vegetables .
  • Recipes that are full of depth and charisma.
  • Master recipes of various sauces and marinades.
  • Text about the origins and importance of ingredients utilized in Japanese cuisine.
  • Beautiful photography displaying the frame by frame procedures for each culinary technique, and the eloquent plate presentation for each recipe.
  • A glossary of Japanese terms , as well as a source guide for obtaining specialty ingredients.

Overall this book is a wonderful culinary journey that enables the reader to cultivate a better understanding of chef Morimoto, Japanese cuisine and the culinary revelations that Morimoto has contributed to todays culinary field. I loved this book!

12 April 2008

Recipe Carnival : Popular Recipes Revisited 1

These are some of the most visited recipes this blog has to offer:

Popular Recipes on Renaissance Culinaire (food blog)



Click on any of the links to read the original blog post.

1.)Recipe & Procedure : Tuile Cookies Curls 2.)Dessert Costing : Banana Strawberry Torte 3.)Blogosphere blurb / Recipe: Pear Chocolate Belle - Helene 4.)My Recipe : Curried Asparagus 5.)Recipe : Gulab Jamun | Indian Sweets 6.)Oregon Hazelnuts + Recipe : Praline Paste 7.)Recipe: Italian Turdilli 8.)Formula :Lemon curd , Lemon Tarts , Authentic Scottish shortbread. 9.)Seduction by Savory souffle... 10.)Formula : Chocolate Souffles w/ orange white chocolate sauce 11.)Recipe: Orange marinated Fish Fillets w/ Carrots 12.)Formula : Pumpkin Crunch coffee Cake 13.)Recipe: Green Tea Sesame Sauce 14.)Recipe: Mango-Ginger Salsa 15.)Formula : Americanized Pumpernickle Bread 16.)Formula: Short Dough Cookies 17.)Formula : Pate A Choux , Éclairs & Cream Puffs revisited 18.)Giddy Over Oregon Crab...| Recipe : Fresh Mango - Crab Spring Rolls 19.)Formula : Black Forest Cherry Gateau 20.)Recipe: Watermelon Gazpacho 21.)Formula : Callebaut Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Scones 22.)Cake Recipe: EDITED Mocha & Chocolate - Vegan Style. 23.)Formula/recipe: Croissant with a starter 24.)Blurb on Big Small Plates : Recipe for Tomatillo - Avocado Salsa


11 April 2008

Food Photo : Chocolate Mousse with Strawberry Sauce 3

08 April 2008

Recipe & Procedure : Tuile Cookies Curls 7

This is a formula adapted from Le Cordon Blue Professional Baking 3rd Edition. It bakes up to 90 cookies, so you may want to divide this recipe in half or maybe even thirds if making for your self. You can also make this formula ahead of time and store the batter in the fridge for up to a week before use.

TUILE COOKIE / Stencil Paste BATTER
I did mine in a kitchen aide mixer. Preheat oven for 350 F.

  • 3 oz Butter
  • 4 oz confectioners sugar (a.k.a powdered)
  • 3 oz of egg whites
  • 3.5 oz cake flour
Total batter weight equals 13 oz

To make the batter: Cream the butter and sugar until creamy, add sugar until mixed thoroughly. Whip in the egg whites. Sift in the flour, mix until blended. *Let the tuile batter set up for a few minutes before using.

I suggest baking the tuile on a sheet pan with parchment, or use a silipat (if you don't have one yet -- GET ONE. They rock).

You can use any sized or shaped stencil you want, just make sure the material of your stencil will hold up to the moisture from the batter.

To use your stencil : Position the stencil on the area of your sheet pan you want the cookie to bake. Use a small offset spatula, take a small tsp sized lump of batter, lay this at the foot of your stencil. Hold the stencil onto the pan - with the other hand use a forward motion - slide the side of your offset spatula the length of your stencil, use the stencil as a guide. What you are trying to achieve is a thin level layer of batter that fills up your stencil, as the excess is removed.

Once your stencil is full: Gently lift the stencil with an upward motion to release the stencil from the batter that will stick to the pan and form your specific stencil shape. What you want to achieve is a cookie that holds the stencil shape and forms equal and very evident sides once the stencil is removed - this will tell you whether you did the above procedure correctly.

Don't feel bad if your first tries end up with terrible results. Most people aren't used to stenciled cookies. Just keep reminding your self you are trying to create something yummy too. Make sure you work quickly, and if you need to halt baking for a period of time, refrigerate your batter.

Alternate method: You can spread the batter directly on the silipat and once baked you can cut into shapes. Let the shapes cool and harden, garnish away.

To Bake : You will need to stand and watch these cookies. Even more so the more batches you bake-off, as the oven temperature will increase the baking of your tuile cookies the further along you are. Bake your cookies for 5 minutes. Take them out when you just notice the very edges browning.


To Make "curls": After you have pulled the tuile cookies out of the oven, When they have been out of the oven for 30 seconds, quickly slide a spatula under them (while still warm) use a rounded stick (such as a dowel or even a thick wooden spoon handle) and wrap each softened cookie around the stick to your liking. Let it cool, and then remove the hardened cookie from the stick.

You can also bend them over a rolling pin or other round objects to achieve a special look.



I made a simple stencil by cutting shapes out of sturdy cardboard (in this case a cake box) with an exacto knife.



Tuille cookie curls


Here is the finished product.

03 April 2008

How To Make a Simple Proof Box for Your Home 2

If you have an area that is protected by drafts , where you can create a moist air with steam, then you can create a proof box.

What you will need:

  • Get a standard shelf. [[Make sure it can fit a deep pan or bowl that you will use to proof your dough.]]
  • Wide sheets of heavy plastic / or tarp. [[Allow the sheet width to accommodate the width and depth of your shelf - so that you can tape the plastic sheet sides together]]
  • Heavy wide tape - such as duct tape or heavy packing tape.
  • Good sharp scissors for removing excess plastic.
To Create your Proof Box:
  1. With sheets of new / clean, heavy plastic or tarp, Drape a plastic sheet over both the front of the shelf and the back. Gather the top of theses plastic sheets together , centering where the top of the sheets meet above your shelving, allowing it to drape to the length of the shelf, all the way to the floor.
  2. (Remove any excess plastic that is longer than your shelf length, or too wide on the sides.
  3. Using duct tape or heavy packing tape - Create a sleeve of the plastic sheeting with a sealed top, and leave the bottom open(this is where your "steam" will be created) , that you can slide over the shelf when you need to proof something --- by taping the top and side edges together, to form an air tight seal.
Steam can be created by :

  1. Placing a bowl or pan you can add boiling water from a kettle to, at the bottom.
  2. Put your dough to be proofed on the shelves (on a pan or in bowl), and zipper the cover tight / or slide your newly designed sleeve until it touches the floor snugly . [[If using a store bought green house shelf --- You might want to tape the seams of the zipper, to prevent drafts. ]]
  3. Allow dough to rest for recipes specified proof time.

If you don't want to DIY (do it yourself):
**An indoor green house shelf unit (with a zippered plastic cover) that you buy for $20 .00 at Fred Meyers will work. Follow the "steam direction above.

***Or use your oven--- put your pan or bowl of dough, covered with a damp cloth, on the center wrack. Add a pan at the bottom and pour boiling water from a kettle into the pan. Proof as the recipe calls for.


02 April 2008

Renaissance Culinaire Available Via Mobile Devices. 1

The importance of mobile feeds in the blogosphere. Steps on how to optimize your wordpress blog via the plugin – or how to use a third party provider if not on wordpress.


Get Updates sent right to your mobile device! Learn how now. Also other Renaissance Culinaire related links.



To Subscribe to Renaissance via Your Mobile device :
Subscribe here


Renaissance Culinaire Links :

Feed | Amber (personal) On Twitter | Updates Via Twitter (Feed) | Subscribe Via Email | Community On BlogLog | Get Recipes Feed


"What’s needed is a version of your blog that is designed for display on a mobile phone and other small-screen mobile devices.


That means a focus on displaying the content (the text) in a way that’s easy to read on a small screen, easy to navigate it using a typical phone’s small buttons, and display hyperlinks in a way that makes it easy to spot them.


It also needs to be quick to load over the comparatively slow connection speed of a cellular network, or even the comparatively faster speed that you might get with a wi-fi-enabled mobile phone.


All this needs to be available in an easy-to-create way that doesn’t require you to spend hours coding and creating a mobile-specific version of your blog.


You’re in luck if you’re a WordPress user – there is such a tool. It’s a plugin called WordPress Mobile Edition, created by Alex King (one of the most generous contributors to the WordPress user community).


This plugin is simplicity itself. Upload the files, activate the plugin, and that’s it – the mobile version of your blog is done. It works (and looks) a treat as the photo suggests. Download the zip file and follow the simple instructions
.



Having an easy-to-use version of your blog for small-screen mobile devices is becoming more important if you want to make your site easily accessible to visitors no matter what device they use to connect to the net."—-Quoted from Neville Hobson




Don’t have a Wordpress blog?? Don’t know where to start, but want an easy method to turn your site mobile accessible, without coding?


Turn your feed into a mobile site with FeedM8, You just need to give them your url or feed url, and within a few seconds you have a moblog link to offer your readers!! Cool.

Renaissance Culinaire Nominated for 2007 BOBs 0





Congratulations!!! You have been nominated for a 2007 Best Of Blog Award!! Especially designed to bring attention to lower profile bloggers, The BoB’s as we like to call them are currently taking nominations in over 20 different categories. To find out more about how your site has a chance to become one of this year’s Best Of’s and how to nominate other bloggers, visit us at www.thebestofblogs.com. Remember voting begins May 5th so make sure you pass the word to your friends, family, and faithful followers.

Sincerely,
Bill Beck
Project Mgr.
www.TheBestOfBlogs.com
Email:Bloggerbeck@aol.com

How cool? I am very excited to be a nominee. It's nice when the little blogger's can get in on the action. Apparently the Best of Blogs had some technical errors and decided to allow more time for nominations .

Below is a new schedule :
  • Nominations end April 21st
  • Two weeks later on May 5th the Top 10 in each category will be announced and voting will begin.
  • May 26th marks the date that a winning blog in each of the 23 categories will be announced.

If you are wondering how the BOB's work here is more info from the BOB site:



  1. After the nomination period, the panelists assigned to each specific category will weed through the nominations and pick what they think are the 10 most deserving blogs in that category. Panelist decisions will be based first on blog content and second on user-friendliness; a blogs visual design will only be a minor consideration.
  2. The fans will then vote on a their favorite in each category. 100% of the popular vote will be used to pick the winner.
I am so happy to be nominated. It is an honor. I had taken a break from blogging, and let this blog remain parked and not updated while I took care of a host of personal business, but people still visited and left comments, and linked. It was great to receive reader emails asking if I was o.k, or mention how they liked my site. It makes my day when I get feedback. It makes me want to blog more.

I have appreciated all the subscribers and fellow bloggers who have supported this blog for the long haul. It has gone through many metamorphosis's , but my interest to share foodie tidbits has been ever increasing. I think about culinary ALL the time...I am such a foodie.

I will be adding more updates about the BOBs in the future. I would appreciate any support when it comes time to vote for BOBs . So if you like this blog and what it stands for --- please consider posting a vote.

If you have other favorites --- there are 23 categories to choose from to nominate your favorite blogger, but you must visit the site and put your nominee in comments under the appropriate category . Make the content that you love soo much , get the exposure it deserves - Vote for your favorite bloggers.

Type-A Parent New York City Bootcamp (Focus: Brand-Blogger Relations)
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