Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Meyer Lemon Macarons: Another Season, Another New Rotation

Yep! It's time for another internship rotation! I'm kinda excited to rotate ^_^. The next rotation will be the bread production for Thorough Bread & Pastry. I have not fallen in love with bread just yet, but I'm excited to learn more about laminated dough. I'm also excited to say goodbye to preparing lunch. I have to admit, I learned a lot about making savory stuff. But, I can pass on that any day. I like eating good food. Just not preparing it. ^_^

Anyway, last week, I believe, was officially the first week of spring. Soon, all the citrusy fruits will be gone and replaced by the summer berries. I got some Meyer lemons from work and haven't had a chance to make anything out of them (except from making lemonade. but that doesn't count! ;-)). I also haven't had a chance to test the oven in my new apartment ever since I moved in. So, over the weekend, I decided to kill two birds with one stone with some Meyer Lemon Macs!

My oven temp is totally screwy. I think it must've been off by about 100F :-(. Sad! I put in two pans at a time (stupid me!), and the pan on the bottom rack totally got overheated. But at the same time, it created an insulation for the pan above it that came out perfect. The second batch I did came out so much better. I had to toss some of the macs that exploded, but I had enuf to fill with some yummy meyer lemon ganache. Then on Sunday, hubby & I made time for a little photo shoot for this tiny little divas (hence the awesome pics compare to the pics from the previous posts that were taking with my iphone).

The next eight weeks is gonna be busy, busy, busy! I'll have to get used to waking up AND going to sleep early! I wonder which one is harder, waking up or going to sleep early.... all the good TV shows start at 9pm~! ^_^

Monday, March 22, 2010

Living the Sweet Life

The past few weeks have been so sweeeeeeet! ^_^ I ate so much sugar, I think I gained back all the weight I've lost! BUT it's ALL GOOD! heheh

Last Friday was a graduation day at SFBI for their part time professional program. I was very lucky to be a part of the event. I had always liked helping/catering for events, so this was a chance for me to be a part of a pretty large scale event. I know it's just a graduation, but it's not like any graduation I've ever attended before. Even bigger than the final day of my schooling at PCI. The students worked for a whole week to prepare all the bread and pastries for the graduation. I managed to help with some of the bread production and the making of the animal shaped breads. I have to say, it was quite fun! We had breads, pastries, mousse cakes, confections, pizza, savory pastries, booze, and even ice cream! hahaha

It was a long day, but very fun nonetheless!

On the weekend, I went to the annual SF Chocolate Salon with hubby and T2. After all the sugar I consumed on Friday, I wasn't able to devour that much chocolate at the Salon. I was so looking forward to finally attend the SF Chocolate Salon since I've always missed the event on prior years, but unfortunately it wasn't at all what I had envisioned in my head. The Salon was more like a wedding fair, but for chocolate and only chocolate. I was hoping to see more variety of vendors... like more tools, books, wholesale chocolate vendors, etc. But the vendors that participate were mostly local chocolatiers trying to promote their products. There were good ones.... but there were too many for me to try them all!

And the past couple of days, we had a visit from a group of pastry chefs from Las Vegas who came to attend a class from Valrhona that was held at SFBI. Man! I'm so lucky to be able to see and taste some of the stuff they made!

Everything was very stimulating to my palate. It's not just the flavors, but also the texture, the mouthfeel, and of course.. the visual appeal. They talked about different cocoa butter vs cocoa content/fiber vs. sugar content and the affect on the final product. I'm just so blown away! (Maybe this is still the sugar talking). But nonetheless, I feel very lucky to experience this kind of exposure ^_^.

Most importantly... I feel H A P P Y. I'm living the sweet life. And it is quite awesome.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Rum Raisins Bread Pudding

I can't believe it took me this long to finally update this blog again. My internship has been going well and I've been very much busy. Adjusting to the first few weeks was quite difficult, but eventually I got used to my new routine and now I'm thoroughly enjoying it :-). I've tried on several occasion to update this blog, but for whatever reasons I've always ended up not finishing the post and then completely abandoned it... hahah.

Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, and before I realized it, it's already the first week of March! It feels like Spring is almost here. The days are getting longer, but occasionally we get cold and windy days, such as today. I can't believe how fast time flies. I'm currently on the second rotations on my internship. My current duties is to make lunch and bread for the students and staff. Imagine the horror! Two things I don't usually do combined together! :-P It's a great learning experience tho. Cuz if I can manage to do things I don't really like, surely I can manage doing things that I do like. But despite that, I gotta say, I can't wait for this rotation to be over!! hahahaha It's only been two weeks, but I'm feeling pastry deprived. I take any chance I get to help my coworkers doing pastry related jobs, and making pastry at home whenever I get a chance to. Unfortunately, I don't usually have much time left by the time I get home, and weekends seem to always be filled with chores or fun times with family and friends.

However, this weekend, I managed to squeeze in some bread pudding. Before I went to SFBI, I've only made bread pudding once and it didn't impress me at all. I never realized how easy it was to make bread pudding until I had to make one at SFBI when I was in the pastry rotation. It was quite yummy, but the best bread pudding I've tasted was from Tartine. It was so simple, yet so scrumptiously delicious. I had some bread that I took home from work last week, and I was planning to make some bread pudding for my father-in-law's birthday. I was so busy last week that I only had a chance to make it on Thursday night (his bday dinner was on Friday). I didn't even get a chance to go groceries shopping. So I had to use whatever I had in my refrigerator. As I was about to make it, I realize that I didn't even have a recipe handy. Thanks to the www, I was able to find a recipe of Tartine's bread pudding on this blog. Unfortunately, I have not done a lot of baking in my new apartment so the supplies in my refrigerator was very limited. I ended up having to modify the recipe slightly... but the result was surprisingly finger-licking-good!!!

As it turned out, I didn't have enuf time to bake it for Friday night's dinner. So I had to go with plan B instead. I ended up whipping up a real simple cake at work, and kept the bread pudding for myself hahahaha. The cake consists of layers of golden chiffon cake, lemon mousse and fresh raspberries. Didn't get a pic of the cake since hubby and I were running late and forgot to bring our camera. That just means that I have to remake it again, since it was also quite yummy.

One thing I can conclude from my first two months of internship is that I love pastry. I love entremets, macarons, tarts, cakes, pate a choux, puff pastry, and everything pastry. I haven't developed any affection to bread, but I'm okay making it. We'll see if I'll fall in love with it too eventually ;-).

Rum Raisins Bread Pudding
Modified from Tartine's Recipe

6 slices of bread, cut 1" thick (I used challah)
6 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups heavy cream + 1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
raisins + rum, enough to macerate the raisins

* Butter a 8x8 glass dish.

* Macerate the raisins.

* Place all ingredients in a bowl and use an immersion blender to mix them thoroughly. Take the rum used to macerate the raisins and mix it with the custard.

* Arrange the bread in the glass dish and pour the custard till the bread is completely covered with the custard. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes so that the bread and absorbs the liquid. I let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.

* Pour remaining custard and sprinkle raisins over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Bake at 350F for about 1 hour. Use a knife to test the doneness. If the custard is still very liquid-y, bake it for a few more minutes.

* Let cool. Serve it warm or chilled depending on your liking.