Sunday, September 28, 2008

My first weekend on the "Job"

I am so happy to have finally started my internship! After the drama of last weekend, I met w/ the owner and we worked it all out. So I started decorating cakes right away 6am Sat morning. I didn't take any pics, but if you go to Pierre's website, you can see what they look like and i basically did that until 11am. Manny (the baker) and I started working with fondant right after. I was so super excited b/c I have NEVER used the stuff before. I thought it was just for practice until after I did the bottom tier of the Styrofoam mold. Then he told me it was for the bridal show they were going to the next day! I kinda freaked out cuz I knew that people would be looking at it, judging it to decide it they wanted to go to Pierre's for their cake. Well, it obviously came out great, as you can see from the pics below. We made a basic icing and piped it onto the cake in a random pretty design. Manny did the design. I dotted it though! You should have seen the practice designs I did. Whew, they were horrible! I spelled my name and Manny's nice and pretty though! :)

So I left at 4. I was wiped out. So tired and when I went home to shower and get ready for my cousin's party, I fell out the of tub b/c I was so tired. Yeah, my ankle swelled nice and softball-ish, but it went back to normal by the time I woke up. So I go in at 6am and true to his word, Manny was already there. Bright eyed and bushy-tailed to my sleepy droopy eyed self.
We started working on some of the display cake and pastries, just going over them to make sure they were presentable for the day.
Then we started on the pastries for the event, which I was serving at. Manny made mousse and cake desserts (you can see them below). So we made the toppings b/c Manny likes them big and tall! We melted down white chocolate and took some plastic sheets and covered them w/ gold dust and candy paints, all swirled around. Then I took the white chocolate and spread out a thin layer on top. We let it harden a bit and cut it up for decorations. You can see them below. We did some different designs, all at the direction of Manny, who btw is only 26, but has been doing this since he was 12! I joked w/ him that he is only a year older than me, but I still have 14 yrs to get to his caliber of artistry... I don't know I'll ever be that good! Maybe he'll level out and I'll finally catch up to him one day....
Anyways, so we had strawberry mousse, strawberry mocha mousse, vanilla and mocha mousse, pistachio and mocha mousse, mango mousse and chocolate mousse. Gorgeous desserts and the brides en haled them!!!

And I learned that there really is a Pierre! He is Manoli's (the owner) son. He is 20 yrs old and apparently, perpetually late. But he helped me out as we tried to figure out how to cut the cake he brought from the Blue Island location w/out it falling apart and making a huge mess (Believe me, there was a mess. It just wasn't as big as it would have been if it was only one of us...) I wish my camera didn't die before I got a picture of the cake he brought that the Blue Island chef made.... It was nice and basic mint green four-tiered yellow cake. And it was very good!
So I am home now, crazy tired, but I am still staying up to make some apple crisp before our apples go bad.
This day is never ending!!!!

And Go Bears!!!!

Our display
My fake cake :)
This was the strawberry mousse
Pistachio and mango mousses
Vanilla mocha mousse

My first week in class!

Okay, so one week down, 9 more to go! I am so anxious to be baking more and I cannot wait until we start getting really into it, learning about things I know nothing about!
This week, we met Chef on Monday and he brought us some treats form Swirls Cupcakes in the city. My personal fav was the chocolate chip cookie cupcake... mmmm.... my two fav things, choco chip cookies and cupcakes!
Anyways, lab on Wed was interesting..... We all worked on one side, crowded together, but it seemed to work. No one was really "on top" of the other and it flowed well. And of course, I am ALL for only having to clean one side instead of two. Things kinda of lagged at the end when we were all waiting to be graded and for everyone else to be graded before we left, but all was good. We still left around 9:10, so that is a success to me! We made "quick breads" this week. We started w/ a Lemon Tea bread, which I added lavender to. It really brightened up the lemon flavor. The loaf itself didn't look like a bread that someone just wants to dig into, you can see from the pic above. I'm not 100% sure what I did to make it less fluffy and pretty looking, but I will def try to again. Maybe I'll add more sugar like Becky did (I think it was more sugar, maybe she'll mention it in her blog...) But despite the fact that it wasn't gorgeous, it still tasted great! My co-workers really liked it, and no one could tell how ugly it was when I cut it into slices.

Lemon Tea Bread
3 ounces Unsalted butter, softened
10 ounces Granulated sugar
2 Eggs
4 fluid ounces Milk
6 ounces All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Lemon zest
4 fluid ounces Lemon juice

1. Cream the butter with 7 ounces (210 grams) of the sugar. Add the eggs and milk. Mix well.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the butter mixture. Fold in the lemon zest. Portion into lightly greased pans.
3. Bake at 350°F (170°C) until a tester comes out clean, approximately 35 to 40 minutes for a large loaf or 12 to 15 minutes for muffins. Remove the bread from the pan(s) and place on a cooling rack.
4. Combine the remaining 3 ounces (90 grams) of sugar with the lemon juice. Heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot. Slowly pour or brush the glaze over the hot bread.

***One of my classmates added a tablespoon of poppyseed into hers, but I'm not a big fan of poppy seeds. So,
I added a tablespoon of lavender into the mix at the end to brighten up the flavor.

We also made biscuits, which were light and flaky and sooo buttery (I brushed melted butter on them and I think that made a dif, butter makes everything yummy!). I really liked the recipe we did. We had a recipes for biscuits in one of our other classes that was really good, but these were def flakier. The other ones were more of the stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth variety. But def still good.
Finally, we made blueberry muffins. Very good, and I brought them to my mom b/c they are a personal fav of hers. Yeah, she didn't like them. I was sooo mad. She said that they didn't taste the same. Yeah, that's b/c they were out of a wrapped, filled w/ preservatives and fattiness. And they weren't fake Betty Crocker muffins from a box. So she didn't like them. What ever! They were good, moist and full of plump blueberries.
I guess I overmixed them though b/c there was some tunneling, but honestly, I didn't mix them as much as I normally do, so I'm not sure what happened there. I know you are supposed to stop once they are just mixed, and I did just that. I'll try it again when I have more time and we'll see if it works out better.

Blueberry Muffins
8 ounces All-purpose flour
5 ounces Granulated sugar
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
5 ounces Blueberries
1 tablespoon Lemon zest

1. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt).
2. Stir together the liquid ingredients (eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla).
3. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. Do not overmix. The batter should be lumpy.
4. Gently fold in the blueberries and lemon zest.
5. Portion into greased or paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350°F (180°C) until light brown and set in the center, approximately 18 minutes.

Next week, we're working on "yeast breads" like focaccia and rye bread. I love focaccia, so I'm excited about that. I'll let you all know how it worked out next week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Apparently, I'm spam

I am putting up this blog to make sure this works. I just got an email from Blogger telling me I am spam. I'm not sure why.... But okay. I sent a request to have that reviewed, so if anyone is reading this, don't be a spammer!