Wednesday, May 21, 2014

protein and veg

Bean-less chili (thank you Jimmy Fallon) and roasted vegetables to last a week. Prep for the cleanse.. bring it on!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Baking 4

Pies, crisps, cobblers and tarts! Oh my!!

One of the best days in baking class! What is not to love about these? I haven't tasted my apple pie yet, but it looks like perfection. I also made a lemon tart which I gave away to the neighbors, save for a piece for myself. It was so tart and delicious!
It's funny, every week in class we get a handful of recipes and because of time constraints, we don't make them all. This week, our teacher demonstrated Berry Crisp, which we got to taste, but did not make ourselves. I have made apple crisps aplenty, but have never even thought to make a berry one. I think it's a good thing to branch out, and this class has given me the confidence (as well as the suggestion and recipe) to try something new - and especially to pay attention to what is fresh in the market now.
I've made pumpkin pies, cream pies and berry pies before, but never apple, so it was cool to have that be our assignment this week. I brought the pie to work, and everyone was raving about how perfect it was- the crust, the level of sweetness, etc. I am proud to have done right by this American Classic!
Next weekend is starting to get busy, but because it is a holiday, and there will be no class, I will have some free time, and it would be smart to keep up my baking. Perhaps make one of the recipes that we merely were shown, but did not make in class. Cobbler? Ice cream? Not sure yet...


I put together a succulent pot for a friend the other day and really liked the way it turned out. See the shells? I might have to add a few items like this to some of my already potted plants. I just love it!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Baking 3

Soufflés, pate a choux, and pastry cream. This class was fun, and different -- because I could not try anything that I made. I have been put on a cleanse (by my nutritionist) and I knew that meant I would not be able to taste anything this week. It was fun, just cooking, without the anticipation (or anxiety) of the outcome going into my belly. The cleanse is only for 7 days, and knowing that it would present a problem over the course of this once a week baking class, I chose accordingly which week would be OK for me to skip tasting. It's strange because I pretty much like all sweets, but I'm not a huge fan of puff pastry, eclairs, etc. So I knew it wouldn't kill me to pass this time.
This week, I felt more confident, more at ease, just sort of playing in the kitchen. Often I try so hard to do well, make everything perfect, with the outcome in mind, that I don't put the energy into the process, which would ensure a good outcome (right?). It seems that sometimes, when you ease back a little and just let things flow, it all works out (even better) in the end. And so it was.
I made eclairs, filled with pastry cream, topped with chocolate ganache, and chocolate soufflé with a melted chocolate center. I understand both were excellent! Hooray.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Baking 2

This week was custards, bread pudding and ice cream. I made creme brulée, chocolate pudding and bread pudding. It's funny, I have made all of these desserts before, which sort of made me wonder if taking a class on these is really worth it. But then I realized, it is because I have made these before, that I'm going to get so much more out of this. I always question what I'm doing during preparation, or during cooking (how fast should this be coming to a boil? when is it ready for the next step? what is the best technique? what are some of the tricks?). So, being in class, I was able to ask those questions in real time. Super helpful.

The creme brulée and bread pudding were great. But the big surprise was the chocolate pudding. Oh my! I would never have chosen to make it on my own, nor would I be likely to order it on a menu, but WOW! Done right, it is so decadent and delicious. Forget that Jello stuff. It had a depth of flavor that made me think there was liquor in it, even though I knew there wasn't. I know we used good chocolate, but I don't think it was anything terribly extravagant. It must have been the technique! The pudding was so dense with flavor, a little went a long way. Thankfully, there were leftovers to take home. Every night, a heaping spoonful was a great sweet treat after dinner.

A couple days later, I was sifting through my recipe cutouts, and I found the recipe for Butterscotch Budino from Mozza. One of the best things I've ever eaten in my life!! I remember reading over the recipe a year or so ago, thinking it sounded so difficult. After Baking 2 Class though, I reread this recipe and the technique was the same as what I had just done. Easy, really. I can't wait to make Budino at home!