30 March 2005

Also Found: "Confidence Game" 0

It seems to me that particularly in the pastry arts one must have
confidence in one's abilities. Not to malign the grill or saute stations, but in
pastry and plating so much appeals to the eye over the taste.

It also
seems that on the culinary side of things, a type of brashness (ala Bourdain's
Kitchen Confidential- no pun intended) exists. I suppose this comes from the
confidence of working with flame, and raw meat, and the ideal to do it faster
and better than anyone else. I know from my general education classes the
culinary students seem to be in a perpetual state of frenzy.

But in
pastry it is the detail, the exquisite and painful attention to detail that
takes a plating from just homemade to four star. I like detail. In fact in my
previous career incarnations as an accountant that was what I was known for. God
(and the devil for those of you who believe in such things) is indeed in the

Blogged By JessamynB of: My Best Friend is My Pastry Scraper

I came upon this blog , the commentary on the intricacies of the kitchen captured here , are well written. All from the view of a 40 yr old former accountant turned Pastry student.

29 March 2005

Cream Puff 1

Cream Puff, originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

We finished these today in the cake station, in class. I will tell you all about them and the formula, in my next post....Yum!

28 March 2005

Baking Theory: Dough Preparation & Fermentation 4

Steps as a Successful Baker :

- Have Balanced Formulas

--- A collection of formulas that work
--- Formulas you have tried out in your bakery & changed to suit your needs
--- Be a Control Freak
--- Have Consistency every time!
--- Know Functions of Ingredients in your formulas, so as to predict the outcome.

-Know Proper Mixing

[1st speed]

--- Remember your Goal is Consistency
--- know that To Control consistency, hold back water.
--- Know NEVER to control mix with flour!

--> Gluten Development

2nd speed]

--- know Proper gluten development VERY important, if dough is mixed too long gluten will separate.

*know your 3 main types of mix:

[Short ] {uneven gluten, tears window}

Uneven Window

[Intensive] { not quite a window, small tears}

[Improved] {fully developed window, feels like skin}

Fully Developed Window

{To check for the development of your dough :
  1. Stop mixer, tug on a piece of dough {always from the bottom, due to more consistent mix} You will feel an elastic feel the longer you mix.
  2. Take out the piece of dough. Start pulling from the bottom of your dough piece Until it is very thin in the middle & forms a window. Let the dough get pliable in your hands -- do not force the stretch.
  3. Hold on sides, & hold up the "window" to the light. You will see the gluten will form "strands" criss-crossing in your dough like a crude mesh , as it starts to develop.
  4. Gently touch with a finger - if it is taught, the dough is ready for the next step}

- Know Fermentation

{note :
artisan bread doughs have longer fermentation}

--- Longer fermentation means shorter mixing.
--- Gluten is modified {Acidity = Flavor}

[ Dough Temperature] [completion of mixing]
{ Best environment for fermentation is 50°F & 80% humidity. Dough doesn't ferment well under 40° F}

---78°F - 84°F [can be as low as 74°F]
---If you lower temp. fermentation slows
---If temp is raised fermentation speeds up.
---Remember cool doughs make for the best fermentation.

[ the process of Fermentation ] [alcoholic fermentation starts]

---Remember fermentation starts as soon as mixer stops.
---This is the MOST important part of bread making
---Gluten is biochemically modified
---improved stretchability
---improved elasticity
---Carbon dioxide gas is produced

-When Scaling out dough

{an efficient experienced baker can handle 8 gal at a time}

---You should never scale out more dough than you can handle in 15-20 minutes. Or dough will ferment further while sitting & product will be nonuniform[larger] .

-Tips for Rounding & Shaping

{ Additional Gluten development = mix + folding (bench work) }

---Cover after pre-shape or "crust" will develop

- Intermediate Proof or Bench Time

---The time when dough has been rounded & now resting under plastic.

- Molding & Shaping

---Flatten dough rounds out to expel gas
---Shape into final loaf

- Panning

Mise en place :

---Strap pans
---Serrated sheet pans

{ seams must be bottom down to prevent splitting of loaf while baking}


---Put into a Proof Box, steamer.
---Almost the last fermentation.
---95°F -98°F , 80% humidity
---Proof according to product
---don't let dry out

{Finger imprint test

  1. Lightly tap the top of a loaf in the proofer-- Finger should stay imprinted in dough if proofed enough
  2. If proofed too long/not enough you can't repair dough.
  3. Over proofed dough can be put into a hotter oven to try & kill yeast immediately. To save product}

27 March 2005

Announcing My New Photoblog... 0

colour 063, originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

You can find my new photo only blog Recovering The Satellites under favorite links.

I will be posting an assortment of photo art I have taken. This picture is one of my newest groupings. If you would like to subscribe to my photoblog rss feeds, please visit and you will find the scroll-down menu.

I hope to have some feedback on my photos. Alot of you have tried to click on them, but you have to be a Flickr member to view. It is free and I highly recomend the services - sign up here

I have also moved my main assortment of links to my new Culinary Novice Links Page , which you can also access through the sidebar under favorite links.

26 March 2005

Garlic & Herbs 0

Garlic & Herbs
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

Can you smell the lovely aromas?

25 March 2005

I am aggrevated with my aggragater... 4

Yeah -- some of my readers cannot fully view my website when browsing with FireFox/Mozilla. In lue of self diagnosis, I downloaded it yesterday and I've got to tell you I feel that the application is lagging. It took forever for my graphics & photos to load. So I did a little more coding, but I don't know if it has fixed the problem.

I know there are scripts that can preload images etc...I will look into this. If you are a "geek" , have any knowlege about coding my website so that it is compatible with firefox or could do some diagnostics into my template, please leave me some comments...

That is not an invitation to be cruel, honest feedback appreciated.

I am tired of Bloglines - they are only updating feeds I subsribe to -unless they are pinged {ALOT}, which I do anyway through Ping-O-Matic or PingMyBlog.com, I use both of them simultaniously incase one of the numerous pings fails. SO if you have a blog and want your latest posts to be noticed and registered as current, use either of those links. They ping : yahoo, blo.
s, feedster ,etc... 34 total sites will be pinged, between the 2 sites !And very easy to use.

I have found a rss reader I love:

It is very cool & free to download. Here is a quote from the website:

"BlogExpress is a full-featured .NET application for content syndication (as
also called a news aggregator or a blog reader). BlogExpress supports all RSS
versions and ATOM. It can read contents from any Weblogs (a.k.a., blog) and any
Websites that provide XML files for content syndication (Generally, a file with
.rss, .rdf, or .xml extension. Please see
Syndic8.com for the extensive list of

BlogExpress is so easy to use. Lockergnome praises it as "BlogExpress stands out as an invaluable tool for those getting started with RSS. " It is carefully designed for high usability. Information readability is one of our primary goals for building this application. Proudly, the result comes out such that you can grab information displayed in BlogExpress faster than other leading content syndication applications in the market.Additionally, BlogExpress has a built-in Web Tab feature in which you
can use it to view any Web pages directly without leaving BlogExpress for a Web
browser. This feature saves you some seconds for each link you click to view.
Those seconds in a long run are hours of your time that you get back from using
BlogExpress.For a blog writer, you can open a Web Tab to post to your
server-based blog tool (such as
Movable Type, Blogger.com, BlogSpot.com or AOL Journal). No need for a separate Web browser window to clutter your desktop anymore!In sum, BlogExpress help you manage more information from the Web with less time! "

It will notify you ect, w a pop up when your feeds have new material. I have used it in the past, it's the way to go. So I will be rreading and subscribing gleefully.

23 March 2005

Giddy Over Oregon Crab...| Recipe : Fresh Mango - Crab Spring Rolls 14

Female Dungeness Crabs have larger "chests" than their male counterparts...hmmm.

photo Male & Female Crab

The 2 Above photos are from GREG JOHNSTON ,SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER reporters Article "Puget Sound's Dungeness bounty is fun to catch and great to eat ", a great article on The Puget sound's dungeness crab, covers many facets.

Here is one of the 2 crabs caught by my husband & friends. Only male crabs are eaten, and they must measure over 6 inches across the shell to be regulation. The crab cage was dropped off of a bridge in Seaside, Oregon - with a rope and buoy attached. You can use basically anything to bait your trap - mink, smelly fish, chicken meat etc. When the boys checked the trap they were very excited.
Ready for a boil

My husband ran back to the house , huffing & puffing, out of breath and exclaimed "There are 2 crabs in there -BIG ONES!" He was like a little kid who had just discovered Pokemon. The locals were very intrigued with the catch. They were asking all kinds of questions - the most frequent one was "Wha'd you use to bait 'em?" and their stern looks were not of approval until the crabs were carefully looked over and measured. After the investigation, the female was put back and the male crab was plopped into a bucket with water, to be carried home.

Crab caught in Seaside, OR.

Now this crab was a real pain in the ass. He was a fighter. You cannot fully understand a crabs' strength, until you are wrestling him into a pot of boiling water. His claws are furled in full battle glory, taking swift pinches at every chance. I was lucky to capture this photo of my husband potting him, because when you are handling a dungeness crab - instinct tells you let go immediately!

Yum, fresh crab!

The crab is cooked until the shell turns from it's natural and alive color of purplish-brown, to a red orange cooked color. Then the crabs sternum[chest] is cracked open and the organs are thrown away, leaving the collection of meat.

Here is a great recipe for crab meat:

Fresh Mango - Crab Spring rolls

  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
  • 3 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger, divided
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 lb. Cooked crab meat, broken into chunks{you can use lobster also]
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp loose green tea, such as Gunpowder green tea
  • 2 small mangos,peeled,seeded and diced
  • 12 , 8 inch round dried rice paper wrappers

Combine fish sauce, wine/sherry,1 1/2 tsp ginger, and cilantro leaves in a medium bowl. Add crab/lobster; toss to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a large cooking pan over medium heat, swirl oil to coat pan. Add green tea and saute until fragrant [ 30 seconds]. Add 2 Tbsp of ginger and saute another 30 seconds. Add crab/lobster mixture; stir and toss until it heats through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Let cool, then mix in mango.

Fill medium bowl with warm water. Dip one of the wrappers in the water for 15 seconds, or until softened. Carefully transfer it to a clean and dry work space. Arrange 2-3 Tbsp of the filling in an even horizontal mounds just below the center of the wrapper. Roll up the rice paper to form a tight cylinder, folding the sides about half way.

Cover finished rolls wit a damp cloth to prevent drying. Serve with dipping sauce.

Sweet & Sour Chili Sauce

  • 1 stalk lemon grass
  • 1 fresh red chili, seeded and minced
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Remove tough outer layers and green parts of the lemon grass. Mince tender base stalk. Combine ingredients in a bowl. Cover & chill. Keeps for 3 days.

22 March 2005

Blurb: Parental Anxiety, torrential Rains | uncomplimentary tastes 0

"Twenty, Twenty - four hours to go....I wanna be sedated...." [---Sung by The Ramones. ] And inevitably the theme song for my night of Hell.....

Well when I last left the blog, my daughter was very ill. Now, the intermittent fever of 104 ° F had ceased, she was medicated. And best of all she was driving mommy nuts in her oh-so-cute-toddler fashion, which is normal and pleasant. So we were relieved, and feeling out of the danger zone.

And that is why, when a friend invited us to stay at their family beach house in Seaside, Oregon - I gleefully excepted. It was going to be fun : good friends, laughs, drinks - all on the Oregon coast. Oh adult conversation and the like - where could we go wrong?

Yes where? When? Funny how the human body sneaks up on you. After the rainy drive through Portland...

Sun breaks through the storm

now some of you are thinking , Isn't Portland & the Pacific Northwest in general - rainy? ultimately yes, but we have had a very dry Winter. Also the temperature has not dipped under 55°F in the last month - even elevating to 75°F , with plenty of sun.

....The mists were dense on the mountains and made the coastal forest appear ghostly and mysterious. Water littering the concrete spilled out into the cracks and red clay that made up the forest floor.
Clatsop Forest
Water was streaming up my passenger side window - pushed outward from the sheer force of wind, intensified by the speed at which we were traveling.

lecrab 008

We traveled onward, ever nearing the small coastal towns that lined the hilly forest scape, with names like "Mist" and "Veronia".

Once we did arrive in Seaside, the streets were sparsely inhabited. Locals & a few gutsy tourists braved the Gail force winds, plummeted by rain. We arrived at the house - a big beautiful craftsman, with a river stone facade and stereotypical low lying porch with columns. The inside was light and airy, it had a 1930's cabin feel. The kitchen was my favorite - large and tiled from floor to ceiling. There was a large island with range top, overhead a pan rack hung strung peppers, garlic & herbs. Every appliance you would want in a modern kitchen was there. Then you could walk into the dining room - a long heavy rectangular table & comfortable wicker lined captains chairs lined the room. Over head a rustic candelabra hung low, making for an intimate dining experience.

The house was full of windows. Full of big overstuffed Italian leather chairs - inviting you to lounge, while the waves could be heard crashing outside. The View from the Eastside of the house provided a look out onto the sand dunes, beyond was a view of the ocean. Nothing else to inhibit the view.

We settled in to the guest bedroom - complete with it's own living space & bathroom. Everything was going fine. The weather however had made up it's mind to send out the banshees - to howl their mournful, threatening cries. To thrash the waves about, making them swell into a woeful threatening mess. Sand was now a weapon furled at unsheltered victims - stinging flesh.

As the night wore on we made stir fry, unfortunately someone had purchased sweet potatoes & Thai peanut sauce for the dish. Now I have nothing against either ingredient, but when paired together - they do not complement each other, especially if added to a host of other ingredients: broccoli, onions , garlic, red peppers, Tofu, hot pepper. What happened is the sweet potato broke up & the starch encased all the other ingredients. The peanut sauce dampened by the sweet potato was not good at all. It had a bitter after taste.

If I had had my way I would've used teriaki sauce, omitted the sweet potato all together.

My daughter was screaming at the dining table, and I got up to take her to our room. She starting having stomach cramps and intestinal troubles. I couldn't get her to sleep. Finally after 2 hrs of trying,she layed down on the bed and fell asleep. Once she was secured I went upstairs to have some espresso and Baily's Irish Cream. As the night wore down, we realized that the weather wasn't improving, and there was a scramble to get the DVD player connection working. Unfortunately the surround ect. Was much more complicated & we didn't have the correct cables.

My daughter woke up, 2 hours later, screaming and the events that followed were quite scary indeed. She was writhing at times in pain. And her diapers were horrible. I was up with her, trying to settle her until 6 a.m. She would not lay down & would scream violently. We decided to wait it out until the morning - then if she wasn't better we'd go to urgent care. She had no fever, which told me it was something viral.

Sure enough by morning she was more herself - I let her sleep until noon. But even so she still wasn't doing well. I wasn't much for company - I couldn't stop fretting over my daughter's health. Plus I hadn't that much sleep and I was emotionally drained. I told my husband we should leave. We packed and said our goodbyes, I felt frustrated that we couldn't stay. I didn't want such "mommy" duties to get in the way.

coming home
Coming home....

21 March 2005

Well A new face for new interests.. 0

So I have changed my code. I like it. Much better than that drab template. I have been working on a much more complicated template design, but it is on the clipboard - so to speak.

I will be adding more culinary related entries soon.

"Happy Baking"


20 March 2005

Photography : Rolling Pins 0

Rolling Pins
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

Tip : Never put your rolling pins through any type of dishwashing. Always hand wash without submerging them. Otherwise the bearings will corrode, and the pin will lose it's smooth rolling action.

To choose a good pin, run it along your table with a swift "U" shaped motion, lifting up after a few seconds.

A good working pin will be left spinning (even though it is off the table surface)

If it stops suddenly -- the bearings are too corroded. Don't use. Use can result in many problems, especially if working with laminated doughs.

19 March 2005

Photography : Wussel bread I made 0

Wussel bread I made
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

Here are some of the loaves I have made. Beautiful!

18 March 2005

Wire whip depth of field 0

Wire wipe depth of field
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

My experiments with Depth of Field.

Click on either link to learn more.

My little girl is very sick and needs her mom! Posting will have to wait, sorry.

Please read some of the archives, if you haven't already : March / February / January /December.

Some of my better writing is included there anyway, also formulas & baking theory notes.

17 March 2005

Photography : 40 Qt. Paddles 0

40 Qt. Paddles
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

Here are some paddles, we use on a daily basis.

16 March 2005

Celebrate Spring ! Savory : Sexy Wasabi Spring Rolls 8

Sexy little things these are. You will sigh, in shear culinary delight. Makes 8 spring rolls

Ingredients :

  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 1/2 table spoon rice wine
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus spears, trim ends.
  • 2 Tbsp walnut oil {{One of my favorite cooking oils, wonderful flavor}}
  • 2 cups fresh Shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thin.
  • 1/4 Cup wasabi paste
  • 8 [ 8 inch] round dried rice - paper wrappers.

Dissolve the miso in 2 Tbsp of warm water. Mix in the rice wine, set aside.

For the filling : Cut Asparagus spears in half. Heat walnut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, swirl to coat pan. Add shiitake mushrooms; saute until softened (1 minute or so). Add asparagus spears;saute until heated through. Stir in miso mixture. Remove from heat; cool.

Assembling the Roll : Fill a medium sized bowl with warm water. Dip one of the wrappers in the water for 15 seconds or until softened. Carefully transfer to a dry work space. Spread about 1 Tbsp wasabi paste lengthwise just below the center of the wrapper. Top the wasabi with 2 Tbsp of the filling in an even horizontal mound. Roll up the rice paper to form a tight cylinder , folding in the sides about half way.

Serve whole or in half with a favorite dipping sauce.

Lime & soy Dipping Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 Cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp thinly shredded ginger
  • 1 green onion, green part, minced.
  • 2 tsp black sesame oil

Combine in a bowl. Cover & chill . Lasts 1 week.

15 March 2005

Culinary survivalists, money means big business... 0

Hard times. Industries are suffering - layoffs are abounding. Poverty is increasing, people are losing the comfortable lives they so took for granted. But not everyone is feeling the strain.

Like everything else there is a facet to this story that stays constant. Big business, and the women & men who parade these lucrative waters. The sharks are mere transactions, and the billions or trillions of dollars traded and cycled through hands & bank rolls remains in abundance.

For the industries which feed on these illusive corporations & individuals - Hospitality in the forms of 5 star hotels ; Private resorts & spas; Seams to be thriving. Hotels are springing up so rapidly that the urban sprawl is no longer, it is a wide expanse. But where would these meccas of amenities be with out wineries, caviar suppliers, & personal chefs etc - These industries seem to be tailing a never ending cash bonanza. A feeding frenzy - we are all apart of the existential monetary food chain. From the doorman to the Head chef or the organic produce peddler. There is no end to the cycle. Or is there?

Along with the able bodied men and women, comes advances in technology. If technology advances, will the links in this chain diminish? Many of the most luxurious and modern hotels are already turning to computer automated systems. Although technology in the past has proved to be costly & with it's bugs and failures - the switch from man power to machine seems almost natural. Why stick to old methods? When computer capabilities far more exemplify the image of the future.

Where does the human element fit in ? We as a society sift through the pieces of news, radio, magazines - in search of an element, which seems all too lacking. Filling the void has become a dangerous pursuit. We hide in our work, in our vices - connections are skewed. The promise of an honest human effort only appear when the sky is falling or some kind of peril is in our lives. We look to strangers for minute glimpses - of pain, of joy. Hoping to relate or feel a connection.

Maybe that is why people are the driving force in The Culinary & Hospitality industries. The most successful establishments are built on solid business knowledge, granted, but didn't these places start as an idea - a fantasy, built up in the minds or hearts of their owners and patrons? Did their sweat and toil burn off, a vain attempt at greatness? No. Because of individuals who savored foods; the sounds, sights of the kitchen; The anticipation of pleasing a crowd.

Yes, the crowd. People from all walks of life; cultures. Each searching for the perfect atmosphere, palate, and service. What do you expect from an establishment? It varies. There are many levels - fast food to gourmet. But the underlying , main expectation is service. How the customer is treated is of utmost concern.

Amber © 2005. All rights Reserved.

14 March 2005

The things that shape us - Grade school incidents 1

When I was 8 yrs old,my class was assigned to write about the seasons - mainly Fall. I set out my large ruled paper & newly sharpened pencil & set to work. I finished and came up with this:

When Autumn's curse comes alive,

And spreads it's
loneliness throughout the land ,

Leaves crack and crows caw for they are
all creatures of Fall.

squirrels quarrel with the mice and leaves fall
because they have lost their lives.

--- Amber © 1989. All rights Reserved.

I was truly excited to show the teacher. When she took the paper from my hands, I couldn't help but grin. But a frown slowly moved across her face. She looked at me squarely, and shrilly asked:

"where did you get this? What book did you copy this from ?"

I was taken aback. I had written this, like many of my other poems - the words seem to fall right onto the paper, with little editing. I couldn't understand the disgust she showed toward me.

Her voice grew louder & shriller - she was making an example of me.

"If you don't own up to this lie, and tell me what book you got this poem from,
you will go out into the hall - to think about what you've done!" she remarked. Her face flushed.

I stuck to my story, for it was the truth. She grabbed my arm, pulling me out into the hallway. I was alone, left to internalize this chain of events.

I know now that she had probably figured that a girl from a poor background and divorced, single parent home could never have parents who educated her, better yet encouraged her artistic side.

But that was the opposite. I led a happy existence. My mother was always full of creative ideas to keep little kids occupied. She had encouraged my creativity, more than that she had awakened my thirst for original thought.

13 March 2005

Photography : Angel Food Cakes 0

Angel Food Cakes
Originally uploaded by Amber *.

Pictured here are 6 inch & 8 inch angle food cakes. The batter is so light and airy, as are the baked cakes.

12 March 2005

Photography : liquid measures 0

liquid measures
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

Rarely used in the laminated pastry station [we scale liquids], we are more likely to use these liquid measures for bread formulations. We don't scale any liquids in the bread station ---we measure by volume. Probably becuase danish & puff dough formulas are very unflexable. If ingredients are mis-scaled the dough will be unworkable.

Bread dough formulas are more flexable - most need more water than called for.

10 March 2005

Skimming off the film - bakery deep cleaning 0

My god. The quarter is over. The smell of doughs - bleached & scrubbed clean, gone from the bakery.

Today was "Deep Cleaning" - Imagine 80 culinary students - no white uniforms or chef hats, dressed down in p.j's and old clothes/tennis shoes. It was an eerie thing. We are so used to seeing each other in chef garb, there were many double takes. I being the stylish backpacking girl I am (insert sarcasm here), wore khaki carpenter skate capris, a Seagram "7" black t-shirt & my favorite hoody with all the acrylic paint up & down the sleeves. Oh I had in pig tails.

I started the day off pulling racks, & anything else on wheels out to the dock to be steam cleaned & washed. My "chore" was to climb onto a ladder , disassemble the fryer/gas range hood, clean all the intake panels, scrub the whole inside of the hood [it's about 5 Ft wide , 15ft long] & clean the outside. Well the range was in the way, also the open kettle fryer. SO I ended up balancing one foot on the range (which had been disassembled too for cleaning) & stretching as far as I could to get the spots that I could reach. Then my bucket crashed to the floor -- water splashed everywhere, I spent half an hour chasing down a mop & bucket. Once that was wiped down & the hood reassembled - I started doing other stuff. We all pretty much kicked ass , cleaning everything - all the products in both walk-ins, the rack oven, the triple stack, the benches, freezers, scales.

We were all itching for the great weather & the 2 week break.

09 March 2005

Photography : Macro of a Docker 0

Macro of A Docker
Originally uploaded by Amber *.

Dockers can be plastic or metal, in varying sizes.

They are used to perforate doughs to allow for steam to escape while baking --- allowing control over the oven spring (rise) of the baked product. Products most often requiring dockers are pizza crusts, focaccia or cracker like wafers. Products you want to bake off flatter.

08 March 2005

Photography : ghost 015 0

ghost 015
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

eerie? I Took this at night. The photo is very ethreal

06 March 2005

What Make this Foodie Tick? Interview Brazilian Style.. 0

"I love cooking
and love food in general. I also have a food blog that's rather
successful here in Brazil:
Cantina da Laura . I usually like to write about ways of dealing with the kitchen when
you're totally unskilled (and don't want to order pizza!), because I
think the world has enough gourmet writers (even though I fancy myself as one, sometimes!) :) "
---Laura Prado


Laura has a great spirit.She is a fellow Foodie & Food blogger. And a Flickr Member - That's how our two worlds collided, hers' in Brazil, mine in the Pacific Northwest. There are several food related groups on Flicker and I wanted to hear first hand from other food lovers, regardless if they were food professionals or novice. "Tell me your stories " - I asked. And people responded. This is the first in a series of food interviews.

Here she explains her love affair with food, In her Own Words :

" I'm not sure if people believe me when I say I love slicing, dicing and
cutting up vegetables in general. For sure they don't take me
seriously. But I mean it.

I think it must be a common feeling between people who know
how wonderful it is to cook. You just grab something completely and
utterly raw as a cucumber and turn that thing into something that even
cucumber-haters would love (especially if they don't know it's
cucumber). It can become anything you want.

I wanted to become a chef, but I lack the money to go through cooking
school. I also lack the contacts to work in the field without a degree. For a while it made me really sad to think I'd never achieve it. But then I realized I didn't have to be able to cook the perfect pheasant dish to be able to cook.
I could just make things up and serve it to my friends.

So that's my cooking verve: everyday cooking. I try to gather easily
available ingredients and make all sorts of new dishes. And that's
what I write about. I found out many of my friends were tired of
ordering pizza and cooking ramen every single day. Most lived alone
and never had time or patience to do stuff in the kitchen. Still, they
wanted to taste new stuff.

So I started teaching them this little things that you could do,
flavors you could combine. It's no big deal, but I feel it's a whole
new world in the kitchen when instead of having ramen with artificial
flavoring, you can have it with cream cheese, olives and nuts. It's
fancy and easy at the same time.

Of course, in my own kitchen, I keep trying harder stuff: souffles,
risottos and other things that require a bit more skill, but I like to
help people realize that the kitchen is a good place to be and that
cooking is not always just an everyday chore. I think I'm just hoping
that people can love food and cooking as much as I do.

I think sometimes I take my food too serious, but that's just because
I love doing it and I pour myself in the preparation.

My husband says my relationship with food is stronger than ours. I hope he's just kidding, but I guess he's on to something... "

05 March 2005

Formula : Black Forest Cherry Gateau 12

morello cherries by Jeppestown

Serves about 8 but if you are dessert challenged you may slice thin & get about 10 - 11 pieces.
Recipe adapted from Desserts: Mouthwatering Recipes for Delectable Dishes

(fyi - these are UK measurements - need to be converted to US standard)

For The Cake:
  • 6 eggs
  • 7 oz. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla essence
  • 2 oz. All purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Cup unsalted butter, melted
For The Filling/Topping :
  • 4 Tbsp. Kirsch
  • 2 1/2 Cups whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1 1/2 jars of stoned Morello Cherries, drained & patted w/ paper towel
For Finishing :
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • grated chocolate curls
  • fresh drained canned Morello Cherries {there are some great cherries packed in Kirsch , just follow the link}
  • grated chocolate
  • chocolate curls

Preheat oven to 350° F. Prep 3, 7 1/2 inch sandwich cake pans & line each with parchment paper.
Whisk the eggs with sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until pale and very thick - the batter should hold it's shape once the whisk is lifted.

Sift the flour and cocoa over the mixture and fold in evenly (don't over mix). Stir in the melted butter. Divide the batter into the 3 cake pans, with an offset spatula smooth the batter evenly.

Bake for 15 - 18 minutes, until cakes have risen & spring back when touched lightly. Leave to cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire wrack & let cool completely.

Prick each layer all over with a skewer or fork, then sprinkle with kirsch. Whip the cream in a bowl until it starts to thicken, then beat in the icing sugar & vanilla until the mixture begins to hold it's shape.

To assemble :

spread one cake layer with a thick layer of flavored cream & top with a quarter of the cherries. Spread the second layer as above, position it onto the first layer you made, then position the last, top layer.

Spread the remaining cream all over the cake. Dust a plate with icing sugar; center the cake onto the plate.

Press grated chocolate all over the sides. Add chocolate curls & cherries to the top.

For more cakes & desserts like this one check out Desserts & Pastry books.

04 March 2005

I have been Flickr Blogged, YO! 0

Very cooly I checked my Technorati watchlist , for my Flickr Photo Stream and low and behold there were new links. It seems that Jan is a blogger from Hong Kong , who searches flicker for interesting photos which would be perfect for desktop wall paper, then posts them. Here is the Flickr Wallpaper home page. You can find my danish pastry photo here.

Other Blogs which have featured my photos include:

Joaobambu's Weblogic - a 24 yr old living in Decantor, Gorgia . He has many stories to tell & a head full of photographs which seem to materialize from some ethereal existance. .

A Family Of Breath - A blog by russel Higgs - From the U.K , Philosophy isn't dead nor are the inner workings of man . Browse through commentaries from every subject imagionable.

Pastry Life - J.T bloggs his exsperiences & mouth watering photos from The French Pastry School in Chicago. Is it just pastry for him? Find out what makes him tick.

03 March 2005

New blog look... 0

Well It is about time. I am going to be exsperimenting with different things. I will be coding in the archives etc , so the blog will be fully functional by the weekend - but this will not be the final draft. Feel free to leave any comments about the new template. More culinary/baking things to come. Thanks !

02 March 2005

Better days ... lauphter in the bakery. 0

Well in my  previous post about lines being drawn, I was quite agitated. These lines between the culinary students and pastry students is quite real. Though ridiculous, I wanted to set light on this.

Day 10 - Continental Divide by Eelke de Blouw

On Thursday I decided to sit at a table in the cafe - I was 1 hour early.

I was drinking my Carmel Frappuccino. Looking at my notes because mid- terms are coming up. Dale comes over and starts talking to me, then sooner or later others come too.

It was kind of weird, because here we are all talking - away from the "table" and the others who didn't come over - they were sitting there, would walk by and not say a word. And Dale would make comments about him or her "hating" him for coming over to my table.

Well as the day progressed the last day of breads, we were tested individually on : formulations, mixing, forming and end products. I made Multi Grain Bread. A half formula of Foccachia.

I am new , But I am becoming more comfortable. I am growing accustomed to the inner workings of the bakery. The production setting is no longer a mystery to me. And I have found myself absorbing everything - just like a sponge.

 I realize this is, indeed, a real passion!

01 March 2005

Baking Theory: Eggs 0

Basic Baking Ingredients - Joyofbaking.com

Types of Eggs used in Bakery:

+Fresh eggs

  1. (in shell)

+Whole eggs

  1. (liquids)

+Frozen Egg products

  1. whites
  2. yolks
  3. whole eggs
  • Fortified whole eggs

+Powdered eggs

  1. cake mixes
  2. meringue powder
  • widely used during 2nd WW

Baker's Tools.com - Meringue Powder

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