19 December 2005

Chocolate column 4

When chocolate is tempered (a series of temperature drops to encourage the forming of a specific crystal which allows the chocolate to harden), you can do just about anything --- this accetate strip was rubbed into a stream of tempered chocolate, until evenly coated. The coated side is then turned inward, then taped to form a column. These column are then set aside to harden. Once hardened the accetate strip is removed.

Here you can see the inside.

Chocolate column, originally uploaded by Amber *.

Please stop by to see my latest template upgrade, I promise it won't disapoint! After recoding and tweaking --- I think I am finally happy now.

Today we had a winter storm...the snow was blowing sideways...brrrrr!

I have been doing alot of pondering, more specifically along the lines of "Pay it forward"; If America or the World ever needed this concept--- they definetly could use it NOW!

I am thinking about all the practically nameless people, who have connected with me, in the vast cyber universe.

I browse their webpages,tinged with subtle clues from their non-cyber lives --- proof of an outside world.

Touched by the words on glowing page, after glowing page. A testament to human emotion. Sheding light on our own disablities or insecurities; making a mockery of our own sarcasms.

We are not "the blind leading the blind" , nor our we drifters.

We float on bandwidth --- toggled to our keypads. Clicking link, after ugly colored link.

Seeking out the most current and relative information.

Until our eyes strain, our heads fall heavy....overrun with the immaterial.

08 December 2005

Cream Puffs 2

Pate a choux (éclair paste) used for puffs, with wonderful pastry creme custard...ripe sweet strawberrries, then whipped cream as a go between.

Cream Puffs, originally uploaded by Amber *.
The tops are dipped in chocolate ganache.

A sweet, yet sensual , but light dance on your palate.


It has been awhile, I know. I am organizing my non-cyber life at the moment.

You might be wondering what have I been up to?? Well as my first quarter of Professional Bakery/Pastry Management I had to manage 2 stations (each for 5 weeks). My first station was Cakes & French Pastries. As described in a previous post.

The 2nd station I managed was CTO, I was acting pastry chef for the banquet hall in the Culinary Student's kitchen. I had a culinary student partner, and we were in charge of baking, finishing and plating the deserts for customers. We also had to make rolls/bread for 100+ servings.

We had total control on which deserts we could create. There wasn't however a wrack to set our pre plated deserts -- which limited the amount of production we could plan.

The typical count for people dining during the 11:15 a.m to 1 p.m lunch, was 110 people. Now not everyone would order desert, but if a 15 person table ordered desert at once, you really needed to be on the ball.

Some of the desert items we made included fresh fruit napoleons, which I will be detailing in my next post.

As for school I have taken my finals and now I am on winter holiday. I will be taking Winter quarter off.

09 October 2005

Styled in J. Lambeth Fashion 11

Hail J. Lambeth, originally uploaded by Amber *.

Here is one of the pictures I took of my cake from Friday's Cake class.

We were working on the Joseph Lambeth scroll work. This Frenchman wrote a book in 1910 and it typically sells for $400 due to it's rare publishing of a dozen copies. My instructor snagged a copy for $75 at an auction.

His work is described as classic, with lots of string design and layering of basic borders to create a very impressive design.

Here are other shots, click to see larger sizes :

food 010 Buttercream design food 006 side work detail

26 September 2005

The Flickr Katrina Auction ---Own one of my prints! 0

Due to the tragedy that has hit the gulf/Southern states, the members of flickr.com felt compelled to do something. We banded together and members from all over the world donated prints to be put up for auction, all proceeds went and are still going to charities which are accepting donations for Hurricane victims.

The first round was very successful --- we raised $11,831.00 All going to American Red Cross or other charities. You can view the final bid amounts & winners for the first round here.

In the spirit of things, and due to the immensity of damages we have hosted another auction which will end Sept. 30th 2005. I have a print up for auction (current bid is $25), Click here for bidding instructions , all prints can be bid on by outside bidders through email :

My thoughts & prayers are with those, victims of this catastrophe.


Professionally printed on archival paper with archival pigment based inks.

Will ship an unframed, signed 8 X 10 matte print to the highest bidder.

Will ship flat in postal envelope.

Bidding closes at 8:00PM EST on Sept 30th 2005

NOT A FLICKR MEMBER? Email your bid! Be sure to include your name and bid amount in the body of the letter.
Please click on the banners above to see what other fine photography there is to offer. There is some nudity--- so be careful if surfing from work. All profits will go to charity!

If you have thought about donating , but haven't yet --- why not take home a print to hang on your wall in the process??

24 September 2005

New Quarter - New Instructor 0


I like this photograph, it is of my former instructor, a rare moment when all bakery happenings seemed to be halted. He was computing our inventory --- inventory for the Danish station, figuring out what we must make the next day, what we must bake off.

My first week of the Fall term has ended. The nervous flutters in my stomach, the tense pressure to make a good impression...Has dwindled a little. I am managing the French pâtisserie /cake station for the next month.

I am a management student officially, a second year student. I was quite intimidated at first...I had mixed feelings about my capabilities to communicate effectively. But I quite thinking about it, and natural instincts and confidence settled in to replace the anxiety.

I also chose to manage the new Head Instructors' station. Where else could I feel things out better? I think that is where most of the nervousness stemmed from...I heard these great things about him like that he was an a world traveled pastry chef , not just a PC but had been Executive Pastry Chef, a chocolatier. He had taught at a well known culinary institute. I was quite humbled.

It turns out he had made Executive Chef in as little as one year after being hired on--- that is how good he is. But he is also very down to earth --- a great guy, a brit. The first day he sat down with us at lunch in the cafeteria. So the pretentiousness I thought might be a factor is not.

It is great to have new ideas and techniques. He is teaching us so much, and it it refreshing. He plans to upgrade our curriculum.

I am excited to see what changes will ensue.

16 September 2005

Making of a Wedding Cake 0

Here me and class members are working on the tiers for a wedding cake.

Making of a Wedding Cake, originally uploaded by Amber *.
The filled one is the middle tier of a 10 inch size. White semi chiffon with lemon curd/ buttercream.

The cake on the left is the top layer of 7 inches, a black magic cake w/ mocha buttercream.

The cake being filled in the foreground is also a black magic cake with vanilla buttercream. This is a 15 inch layer.

These pictures were taken in the spring.


Congratulate me! I was one of only 78 students , out of over 5,000 who attend my college to receive a place on the VPs list. I got straight A's!

So I am very proud of myself. Even with everything going on outside of school I was able to get nice grades!

13 September 2005

shaping danish - Pinwheels 1

shaping danish - Pinwheels, originally uploaded by Amber*.

These are filled with Almond paste. Once proofed, they are egg washed, then the center is pushed down & fill with cherry filling.

06 August 2005

Cook Book Meme - Long over due! 0

I have been devoting my time to school and other things, like Blogs That Flickr ,
sad to say even my photoblog has gotten more attention than RC. I'd like to say thanks for those that have added me to their links, and even deb has featured me as "site of the week" (*blushes*).

Thanks for the comments on my photography. My camera has broken recently, so it may be a while before I can collect funds to repair or buy another camera to take new pictures. If you wish to help out , visit my photoblog (link above) and click on "about" , there you will find links to donate or purchase pictures.All proceeds go to camera repair.

I was tagged in July with a cook book même by Food Chronicler. This is my first même. Sorry I am so late in delivery.

1. Total number of cookbooks I own: Well not nearly as many as I'd like. Only 30, I have just started collecting them in the last year or so.

2. Last cookbook I bought:

Bugalli on Pasta
Ok ,I am a thrifty person when it comes to everything (I am a poor college student) so I frequent dusty little used book stores searching for deals. I bought this for $10 a couple weeks ago. To quote Jamie Oliver (a.k.a Naked Chef) on his thoughts on pasta, more specifically ravioli :
" They are sexy special little things, they're like little presents..."
I feel Pasta is rustic, simple and palate pleasing. For a pasta artisan to create the perfect zen like experience it must involve care and the right ingredients. I love pasta books.
3. Last food/cook book I read:

Bugalli on Pasta

4. Five (cook) books that mean a lot to me:

Cooking The Indian Way (1967) I found this book for $1 and It was such a find. There are a lot of traditional Indian entrees; desserts and appetizers. Plus it offers translations of Indian cooking terms. I love Indian food! I can envision the people who purchased this book in 1967, into a minimalist pad draped in and overflowing with orange color schemes with brass accents, no funiture just floor pillows and ambiance provided by soft citar music on the record player.

The Cake Bible

The Cake Bible .This book is fabulous and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in cake assembly/design- especially wedding cakes. The author offers really great tips for assembling wedding cakes and trouble shooting; her formulations in this book offer several types of buttercreams and ganache; even poured fondant. It was the book I referred to when doing my first wedding cake.

In The Sweet Kitchen

In The Sweet Kitchen One of the first baking books I have seen that isn't filled with a lot of what I call fluff (author quotes, full page photographs etc). It is filled with formulas that have great ingredients, and a good offering of history and info on the ingredients. When I think of baking for Christmas or other holidays, I search through formulas here first.

Professional Baking

Professional Baking This book is definitely a great one, with plenty of reference material; formulas and techniques. I will never get rid of it. All formulas use bakers percent. I really want the newest edition though --- it's even better!

The Professional Pastry Chef

The Professional Pastry Chef I received the 3rd edition as a graduation present from my uncle. He always supported my baking dreams whole heartedly. This book is indispensable. There are so many formulations and techniques outlined here. This has to be my favorite pastry book. The photographs are superb ---

5. Who would you like to see fill this out in their blogs:

J.T of Pastry Life. He has frequented here since I started this blog. He is always picking up some new culinary book...and now that he has graduated I wonder if this will start a new surge of buying needs ; )

26 July 2005


"OH THE SMELL OF DOUGH!", originally uploaded by Culinarynovice.

01 July 2005

Free association : First week of Summer Term 1

Monday started with a 5 a.m wakeup. I had class at 7 a.m. It was a very odd feeling to be attending school in the month of June. We will be attending class 4 days a week (7 hrs a day), for 8 1/2 weeks, which is 3 weeks shorter than the regular school terms.

When I wondered into the bakery...I felt as if I hadn't left for the 3 week hiatus. The benches and the flour bins sat empty of clutter, lifeless and sanitary. They begged to be slapped with mounds of dough and a film of powder.

The hearth oven loomed, lifeless and cold. How odd? Students trickled in, their chef hats crisp and unfettered. So little mess.

After surviving my first and only dull week --- I say dull due to the fact that we had 2 days of Demonstrations, mainly for the new students' benefit. We were split up into groups with at least 2 new students, so that the more experienced 3rd term (me)or Management students could act as guides. I was looking for any excuse not to stand around, watching my group. I was itching to start baking again.

I have to say that Summer Term is quite different. There is no retail sales on Friday. There are only 4 stations to rotate.

And the culinary dept.(other side) actually has been cooking some decent entrées. Tender meat and veggies, flavorful sauces! These meals normally are not much about palate pleasing, as far as the line is concerned. The Banquet hall is another story, they have excellent standards (but those meals are not covered in my tuition, as the line is.)

Today we slowly moved back into production. I am in the bread station. We made some beautiful Challah (snail shaped) and Sunflower-oat, which was shaped into batards.

Sunflower-Oat breadSunflower-Oat breadchallahchallah resting

I am no longer concerned with technical jargon, I am determined to use my baking intuition. So far I have learned that my note taking has paid off, all that knowledge is soaking into me and bleeding out, like an oil to cloth.

17 June 2005

The Story of The Croissant 0

My old instructor, originally from Denmark and a long line of Bakery heritage, would talk fondly about lessons he had learned. A smile would spread from ear to ear, his eyes brimmed with excitement as he talked of bakery times. On one such occasion my group in Laminated pastry station, were gathered around the 40 qt Hobart - waiting for a batch of croissant dough to reach full development.


Do you know the story of croissant dough? A long, long , long time ago The Turks were invading Vienna. Everyone retreated to hide. As there was constant strife - many normal practices were shut down, this included Bakeries --- baking was deemed forbidden. Forming alliances Bakers made deep underground "bakeries". The Turks, while seeking a strategic attack that would overwhelm The Viennese --- found out about the bakeries , troops were ordered to start tunneling toward these secret caves.

As the tunneling neared , Fighting the Turks off with everything they could , a lone baker was able to run and alert the king's guard, and The Turks were defeated. The King told these bakers " Since you have shown such loyalty and bravery, I declare, If you create a pastry, I will patent the formula and name it for you", so out came croissant dough. Although it had quite less layers or butter as modern dough does. It also contained a small amount of egg. In Europe it is widely called "Vienna Pastry". It's Formula still can be found made today.

I have learned that to find the story behind your formulas -- it can prove quite interesting.

14 June 2005

The 2nd Annual International Weblogger's Day 0

This blog is apart of the celebration. Blogs From all over The globe are participating. We are relishing the weblog movement. We know That our words can accomplish something --- move our readers into tears, anger or joy. Not only are our words powerful, but they can ignite a torrent of activists, creative voices and effect how the media views global events. No longer is there a cyber grey area of wasted space --- webloggers are here, and will be for a long time!

To Help spread the word & Celebrate fellow webloggers --- Tag your blog post today with this tag! Then ping your blog using Ping-o-matic.com So your blog post will register with technorati.

Click the graphic below to read more about The 2nd Annual Webloggers Day! There are links to other blogs Participating.

587 blogs. 43 countries. 1 day.

11 June 2005

Formula :Lemon curd , Lemon Tarts , Authentic Scottish shortbread. 5

More lemon

Perhaps that most enlightening thing about fresh lemon curd is the way it pleasures the palate. Lemon flavor that is not sickenly tart, just a mellowed, yet tangy citrus. The mouth feel is gentle but still has substance. Lemon curd makes me crave summers of my childhood, the fields ablaze with bronze and brass hues; the skies deepening atmospheric blues that cried out for a good chasing. This same sky which engulfed my small piece of earth seemed to be never ending.

In this post I will outline formulas for :

Candied Lemon slices
[can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 months; suspended in lemon simple syrup]
Authentic Scottish shortbread
{NOT the americanized version}

Fresh lemon curd
You will enjoy these....

Please note ( # = lb) These formulas are in small production batches. Please convert to 1/3 for home use.

Candied Lemon Slices :

If assembling the lemon curd tarts ---make this at least 4 hours ahead of time.

Have a plastic container w/ lid handy. These can be preserved for up to 1-2 months if properly covered and refrigerated.

Simple syrup:

4 # cold water
2 # 1/3 sugar
juice of 5 lemons

To make the simple syrup: Combine the water, lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

While this is happening Thinly slice 4-5 additional lemons. You are looking for a round that is complete , Discard the ends or any pieces that are broken inside. Gently Remove seeds with the point of a paring knife.

Thin sliced lemons

Once the syrup has reached a rolling boil , turn down to low heat and add your lemon slices, lightly push into syrup with heat resistant spatula.
Allow slices to simmer in syrup for up to 10 minutes --- this allows absorption of syrup into the citrus membrane / peel . The lemons slices will appear translucent, and the white membrane will look moist.

After simmering in simple syrup.

Remove from heat. Let cool. Gently remove the slices, laying them on a paper towel. Pour the syrup into a plastic container --- then carefully lay slices into the container, make sure the upper layers are under syrup. Put lid on and refrigerate.


Lemon slices are added to boiled simple syrup

Lemon Curd :

This lemon curd formula is very good. It was passed down from an English grandmother. It takes some preparation but it is worth it! I would prepare it the day before use.

Please not this is also a small production formula -- please convert to 1/3 .

[# = lb.]

Lemon curd


-- 12.5 oz Egg Yolk

1 # 4.5 oz Sugar

1 # .25 oz fresh squeezed Lemon Juice [ commercial lemon juice concentrate can be used for part of the amount , better to use all fresh]

-- 10 oz Butter

-- -- 3 Tbs, plus additional 1 Tb of lemon Zest

In non-corrosive saucepan , beat egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Add remaining ingredients except for zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring
constantly , until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.
DO NOT BOIL. If mixture begins to steam, pull from heat and continue to stir.

When finished, put immediately through a fine sieve, pressing with a spatula.
Discard all residues. Stir zest into curd, pour into an air tight container, cover and refrigerate.

English Shortbread:

Many shortbread formulas today are Americanized , with added shortening or lot's of sugar. This formula is authentic or what is also Called "true shortbread".

I have adjusted the ingredients for home use :

AP flour 8 oz.

Sugar 2 oz.

Butter 6 0z [COLD]

Below are ingredients for a small production batch. Use 20 qt w/ paddle.

[# = lb]

2# AP flour
-- 8 oz Granulated Sugar
1# 8 oz. Butter [COLD]

Put flour and sugar into mixing bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and add to mixing bowl. Mix in 1st speed until it forms a ball.

Block dough into a rectangle .Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes.

To work, let warm up slightly before rolling out. Generously flour your work table. Flour top of dough . Apply pressure and pin in the center of your dough block, apply force while rocking the pin back & forth. The friction will cause the butter in the dough to soften.

Assembling Lemon Tarts :

Roll out your English shortbread dough to 1/4 of an inch, try to make it as circular as possible --- this will allow you to fill more tart shells. Place your tart shell bottom down on the shortbread. Using a paring knife cut out a circle 1/2 inch larger than the shell.

English shortbreadCircle of shortbread is cut around the edge of your tart pan

Circle is pulled awaycircle is formed into tart pan..

Lift your circle away from the main piece of dough press lightly into your tart shell --- rotating with one hand press dough into shell with your other hand.

Edge are cut off with knifeTart shells filled with shortbread - ready for bakeoff

After filling your tart shells, hold a shell in your hand - taking a paring knife in the other run the knife outward away from you, parallel with the edge of the shell rotating as you trim off the extra dough. Place prepped shells onto a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes.

Baked  shortbread tart shells

Blind bake tart shells for 15-20 minutes. They will be golden and slightly browned on the edges.
Fill baked tart shells with lemon curd. Take out one candied lemon slice , per tart [4 inch] more for 8", and drain on paper towel. Center the candied lemon over the lemon curd on each tart.

Adding lemon curd to shells

Dry on paper towelLemon in thin slices

Bake for 8 additional minutes, or until set. Let the baked off tarts cool. To remove from metal shell --- take small offset spatula and firmly grip it while you run it around the edge of the shell. This should loosen it. Push the bottom upward and set aside the ring. Run your spatula using the same method in an even motion -- be careful not to thrust your spatula upward and break your tart into bits.

Finished lemon tarts

Close up of the 4 inch lemon tarts

Finished tarts- out of the pan

Mmm. The 4 inch tarts are suitable for 2 people, or if you want to be gluttonous --- one for you alone. Makes for an easy flavorful treat.

02 June 2005

Photography : Heart-shaped moon 0

Heart-shaped moon
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

Ain't distortions wonderful? Doesn't this make you want to believe - in romance & all things love?

01 June 2005

Photog: Hand to Dough 0

opiate 038, originally uploaded by CulinaryNovice.

I love this photograph. Not because it has the greatest technical aspects, but becuase it shows baking in it's purest form - a hand on dough, flour everywhere, hands crusty from working the dough.

31 May 2005

Fraudulent Emails - Where to Send them! 1

I recieved this wonderful news today. Seems I am a winner, and when I win - I win REAL BIG money:

Subject: congratulations..........................
Date: 4/3/2005 5:37:14 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time
From: jjhen@i12.com
Reply To:
Sent on:

Sent from the Internet (Details)
Internet Address Card Attached



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you have emerged a winner under the Third Category, which is part of our
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being officially announced today April 3 2005. Participants were selected
through a computer ballot system drawn from 40,000 names/email addresses of
individuals and companies from Africa, America,Asia,
Australia,Canada, Europe, Middle East, and New Zealand as part of our
International Promotions Program.You/Your company, attached to ticket number
1811-5-742, with serial number 89-63 drew the lucky
numbers 19, 21, 25, 30, 41, 44 (22), and consequently won in the Third

You have therefore been awarded a lump sum pay out of
US$1,500,000.00 (One Million Five Hundred Thousand
United States Dollars) in cash, which is the winning
payout for Third Category winners. This is from the
total prize money of US$6,000,000.00 shared among the
4 international winners in the Third category.

Your fund is now deposited with ALFA CONSULT BV. GROUP insured
in your name.In your best interest and also to avoid mix up of numbers and
names of any kind,we request that you keep the entire details of your award
strictly from public notice
until the process of transferring your claims has been completed,
and your funds remitted to your account.
This is part of our security protocol to avoid double
claiming or unscrupulous acts by
participants/nonparticipants of this program.
We also wish to bring to your notice our mid year
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ALFA CONSULT BV. Blakelands House, Yeomans Drive,
Milton Keynes, MK14 5HG.uk
EMAIL : henhill4@yahoo.com

For due processing and remittance of your prize money
to a designated account of your choice.
Remember, you must contact your claim agent not later
than 31st June 2005. After this date, all funds will
be returned as unclaimed.
NOTE: For easy reference and identification, Find
below your reference and Batch numbers, remember to
quote these numbers in every one of your
correspondence with your claims agent.

Congratulations once again from all our staff and
thank you for being part of our promotions program.

MR Henry Ford
ALFA CONSULT BV. Blakelands House, Yeomans Drive,
Milton Keynes, MK14 5HG.uk
EMAIL : henhill4@yahoo.com

N.B. Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the
winners will result to disqualification.
Please reply to this email or Contact your claims agent

I quickly googled "BV. Promotions" and I found this site : 419 Legal.org - Law Enforcement
Which is home for South African Police Services. This site is great, I strongly urge anyone to check out their services. Plus the more of us out there who contribute this "spam" to their archives, the better evidence they will have to continue their investigations. Here is the mission statement from their website:

419 Legal is a website dedicated to fighting 419 Advance Fee Fraud.

We collect information on fraudsters, their methods, their victims and the tools they use. Much of this information is supplied by a dedicated group of informers who's information has helped to get many fake websites taken down and save people from falling victim to these scams.

This website is also acting as a discussion point between Law Enforcement, Anonymous Informers and Business Professionals in order to fight this type of fraud more effectively.

In order to contact us or report a scam, please send an e-mail to 419@419legal.org , Scam letters can also be sent.

I myself have been overwhelmed by spam as of late. I hope you find the email addresses & site info helpful.

Down with spam - fight to ban!!!

30 May 2005

Seduction by Savory souffle... 0

Cheese & Asparagus Souffle: This delicious souffle serves 2 ; )

With such beautiful coloring, you may not want to dig in, but a bounty of flavor hides beyond the browned top. Tender and wonderful, you will surely want to eat every bite.

Béchamel :

  • 1/4 Cup milk

    • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    • salt & freshly ground black pepper,to taste
    • pinch of nutmeg
    • 3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature (you will only need 2 egg whites)


    • 2 egg whites, at room temperature (this is in addition to the 2 above)
    • pinch of cream tartar
    • pinch of salt
    • 3/4 Cup grated, imported Gruyere cheese
    • 1/4 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed, steamed 5 minutes, sliced 1/2 inch thick.

    Preheat the oven for 375° F. Place rack on lower level of oven.

    Butter (2) 8oz. ramekins, dust sides & bottoms with 1 Tbs. Parmesan , each.

    To make Béchamel : Warm milk in saucepan. Melt butter in second saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour until smooth, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring with wooden spoon; allow to bubble but not brown.

  • Take pan off heat, whisk in warm milk and return to heat; whisk vigorously, scraping bottom and sides to prevent scorching. When mixture simmers, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring often from sides and bottom, 5 minutes, or until thick. Season with salt & pepper & nutmeg. Remove from heat; stir 1 minute more. Beat in 3 egg yolks, one at a time.

    To make Souffle: Using electric beaters (i.e kitchenaide hand mixer), beat 4 egg whites in a bowl, starting at low speed and slowly increasing speed until they begin to foam. Add cream of tartar and salt, beating until satiny peaks form & hold their shape; Do not over beat.

    Combine remaining cheeses. Using a rubber spatula, stir one-fourth of beaten egg whites, and fold together. With each fold, sprinkle in a handful of cheese mixture & a handful of asparagus, giving bowl a quarter turn. When everything is added, the mixture is uniform, carefully spoon into souffle dishes (ramekins). Put a baking sheet on bottom rack.

    Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until puffy and browned; do not overcook ---centers should be slightly runny. Enjoy!

    29 May 2005

    Chocolate cake with swag... 0

    Chocolate w/ swag, originally uploaded by Culinarynovice.

    did this friday. More to come.

    28 May 2005

    Baking theory Notes: Chemical leavening; Dough strengthener; Crumb softeners 0

    Chemical leavening

    1. Reaction of Sodium bicarbonate (baking Soda) & An Acid
    2. [Acid + Salt + Water = Carbon dioxide gas]
    3. Baking Powder is this Formula plus a filler to retard reaction.
    1. Double Acting Baking Powder is 2 acids

    - Substances that react like acids:

    1. [buttermilk]
    2. [chocolate] { kill reaction (rise) made by baking soda, that is why these are commonly used in cookie formulas}
    3. [lemon/citrus juice] { kill reaction (rise) made by baking soda, that is why these are commonly used in cookie formulas}

    Dough strengthener

    1. Eggs
    2. Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) [only additive allowed in European Production of Baguettes/French bread]
    3. Potassium Bromate ---> {outlawed in most countries , NOT the U.S} carcinogenic = causes cancer
    Basic formula for bread {100% flour + 60% water + 2% salt + 2% yeast)

    Crumb Softeners {click here for more info}

    Surfactants, through complexly with flour protein(gluten) break the surface tension between non mixable substances.

    1. Give longer shelf life in bread [yeast raised products]
    2. emulsifier & surfactants retard the Staling.

    Two ways of Staling
    1. starch molecules change & become rigid
    2. loose moisture in product becomes dry.

    27 May 2005

    The Culinary Equipment Fairies...Blessed me With a Baking bounty! 0

    queue the "sugar plum fairy theme"..... The curtain draws, the house lights flicker and fade. In front of you - a stage, the set painted and built to resemble a porch?

    As I had described in earlier posts, I had posted a blurb in the "wanted" section of craig's List . Mentioning my need to find culinary/baking things, used, at a discounted price.

    Because let's face it, being a student is not cheap, but let alone having to pay childcare on top of the normal expenses is even more devastating to finances.

    The response I got was great. A local caterer was willing to sell me ALLOT of baking things for $25 total. [You can read about what I got
    here.... ] I had been using my Cuisinart Custom prep Food Processor , that I got 3 years ago for a wedding gift, to mix. It works fine for non finicky doughs.

    But I had wanted a kitchen aide for a long time. Money was not playing into my favor. Someone offered to sell me one for $50 dollars. [You can read about that here...]

    Someone who wanted to remain anonymous, sent me an email. She had offered to give me a copy of Professional Baking , for free. So I was not going to turn that down. My daughter was ill so I had my husband go pick it up. And when he got there, there was a box on the porch that said "Have Fun Amber!", the box was full of cool things :

    A baking Bounty

    a Stoneware loaf pan; A Black n' Decker "Handy chopper" ; A wire cake cutter ; 4 other baking related books ; 3 large cake molds ; A set of Canape molds ; Unopened - artichoke pesto, almond paste,marzipan, poppy seeds ;A large unopened bag of instant yeast ;a large bag of bay leaves ; A large can of Gum - Tex; A Cream Whipper/filler;

    A copy of The Naked Chef - Jamie Oliver ;

    Jamie Oliver

    A brand new-in box , Zenker "Super Cake Baking Tin - Which I love!

    Hp Zenker

    Her generosity blew me away. I was not asking for charity by any means. I had items listed in my post , which if buying brand new , retail for pretty spendy prices. I specifically noted in the post I would like to purchase used items, at a discounted price. And here I was blessed with this baking bounty.

    How can I convey how great these culinary equipment fairies are??? We humans tend to get caught up in our own pursuits, forgetting there is a world out there. That there are caring people. It is so easy to feel alone, to feel soured by images we see plastered all over the news & television screen. You almost have to grow a hardened shell, retreat into your own little world, to deflect that.

    A Big Thanks To those who have been so kind! Also to my readers, for listening....

    (originally blogged March 22nd, 2005)

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