Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Would you eat here?

Our big project this quarter is to make our own dessert menu, cost and review the nutrition, design the menu and then for the final make the desserts and present them.

I feel a little like I'm competing in a figure skating contest because I have to fit in all these "required elements" but I finally put the puzzle together and came up with my top 5, most cohesive dessert choices, here they are:

Chocolate Truffle Cake
This dark truffle cake is glazed with an orange-chocolate ganache and served with orange scented whipped cream and a bacon maple crisp, our ode to having cake for breakfast.

Pear Bread Pudding
This warm bread pudding is filled with roasted pear and hints of cardamom all drizzled with blue ribbon pear honey and vanilla sauce.

Lemon Cloud 9
We’ve layered vanilla cake with tangy lemon curd, a touch of raspberry and encased the entire cake in a cloud of meringe toasted a light, golden brown.

Tropical Vacation
Layers of grilled pineapple, coconut rum cream and puff pastry are accented with a passion fruit sauce and a macadamia nut dust for a light, airy treat.

Peanut Butter & Jelly for Grownups
Light, whipped peanut butter mouse and a little chocolate ganache are sandwiched between peanut sponge cake and served with blackberry ice cream and chocolate covered potato chips, a grown-up version of cake for lunch.

Now it's time to test out my ideas and see if they really work, who would have thought hearing that cheer at all those hockey games would become this cake-eater's menu inspiration. Here's to becoming part of the million dollar bunch!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tuile really is a 4 letter word

Yes, I can count, I know it's 5 letters but if you ever had to make them you'd share my opinion that they are the most annoying little devil cookies whose name makes you want to swear up a storm. For those not in culinary school a Tuile (pronounced tweele) is a very thin, crispy cookie that is used on almost all plated desserts to bring texture and add height, design and interest. You know, that crunchy thing that always sits on top of your facy-schmancy dessert and tastes like an ice cream cone? That's a tuile.

Sometimes it's lacy with nuts, other times it's crepe-thin and crispy but almost always it's bent into an interesting curved shape. To make these treats you need to spread batter neatly and evenly into a template, remove the template (without smearing the batter), bake and within 30 seconds of removing them from the oven place them in their final shape. Roll, wrap, bend, or place on an dowel or rolling pin to create a perfectly fluid and interesting cookie. If you miss that 30 second window they just break. Time consuming, detail oriented, not able to be made in mass production and they burn quicker than anything. See why they are annoying?

During my vacation to Disney I was fortunate to go eat at a variety of great restaurants where I examined, picked apart and ultimately enjoyed a bevy of amazing desserts; and almost all of them had one of these little devil cookies. Crap. I guess I really have to learn to love these little beasts.

This quarter my class is all about creating plated desserts for restaurant presentation so you know I'll be making tuiles till they come out of my culinary you-know-what. But I promise, each and every one will be documented with their own unique name so you too can share the joy of the most evil cookie ever invented.

Hi, My Name is Stephanie and I'm a Tanorexic

It all started my sophomore year. The orchestra (yes I said orchestra) went on tour to Hawaii and I spent 7 days in paradise. It was the best tan I ever had since Grace wasn't there to tell me to get out of the sun and go weed or practice. I couldn't wait to show off the bronzed glow (with some burnt red areas) in my white maui yacht club t-shirt. Two weeks later it only got darker when I went on a week long canoe trip to the BWCA, the weather couldn't have been better. I was hooked. After 13 trips to Hawaii, 5 years living in California and trips to beaches from Capri to Hong Kong my search for a tan has only grown more desperate. This is why I haven't blogged in a month—it's been sunny and I have a pool.

At first it was just to get ready for Florida. Then I needed to maintain that tan. Then I had to get ready for the lake. Then I just wasn't tan. You see what happens... No matter how tan I am I only see white, pasty skin. You know it's bad when I check my pantone color before vacation and compare it after to make sure I advanced at least one shade (right now I'm in between 7510 and 7511). So here I am, admitting my addiction and promising to not ignore my duty to blog anymore.

My name is stephanie, I spent 2 hours by the pool today (after all it was our first day above 70 since wednesday) but I'm trying to quit and taking it one day at a time.