Saturday, January 30, 2010

Butterfly Kisses

Today was one of my friend's bridal shower. I was asked to make some butterfly sugar cookies in theme of the party which was "Butterfly Kisses". My Red Velvet cupcakes were requested as well.

I took all these pictures of food at the part but not of any people!! Shows what my priorities are! Haha but here's one of the lovely bride, Hanna, and one of her bride's maids, Eileena.


All of the decorations and planning were headed up by the maid on honor, one of my very good friends, April. The other bride's maids made it all possible. These girls are pretty awesome. If you guys are reading this... you guys did an amazing job! Thank you for all your hard work!







Another friend, Jeni, made these super cute water bottle labels.
Even the nutrition facts were edited!

Fun times with some beautiful ladies.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Playing with Food

During the first two weeks of January I got to play around with some dessert ideas for work. I was put in charge of creating some dishes that were a fresh and new take on something old and retro. These were for certain clients so I can't post all of them (though I REALLY want to) I'll just pick a few that I was playing around with.

Lemon Mousse with Candied Meyer Lemon Zest

Apricot and Cherry Cobbler with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches

Dark Chocolate Molten Cake

Baked Alaska made with Sweet White Cake, Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream and Swiss Meringue

They were pretty yummy. You can never go wrong with ice cream, chocolate, fruit, and lemons. YUM! My New Year's resolution to lose weight officially starts in February!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

San Fransisco Treat

I don't know about you guys but I had an awesome weekend. A friend of mine is getting married and we surprised her with a trip to San Fransisco for her bachelorette party.

Lots of great talks, walking, and oh my.. GREAT FOOD.

Most of this great food I'm referring to was provided by one of the bride's maids' mom. Seriously... the highlight of the trip. It was hearty... delicious.. comforting... and Korean.


We were on a tight budget so we couldn't go anywhere too fancy. I was kicking myself in the butt after we came back for not doing enough research on local cheap places to eat. But we did find a good Thai place right across from the Hilton, where we stayed. I forgot the name of it.

There were also chains of diners called Lori's Diner all over the city. Our hotel was a few blocks from Union Square. It was typical diner food but we were so hungry (we hadn't eaten in over 18 hours!) that it was absolutely delicious.

While we were walking around there was a man selling churros on the side of the street. After some pondering I decided to buy it. It was cold... haha I should have known! He had them underneath a newspaper sitting out in the cold windy and slightly raining weather. But.. it was still delicious. I could tell it would have been superb had it been fresh and hot.


I was looking on my Google map application on my Blackberry and saw that Fleur de Lys was within walking distance to where we were! For those that don't know, the chef of Fleur de Lys is a French chef Hubert Keller.
I'm ashamed to admit that the only reason I know of him is because he was on Top Chef Masters. His restaurant is pretty legendary.

Anyway, so I dragged one of my friends so I could see this famous restaurant. I knew it would be waaaay too expensive for my wallet so I just wanted a picture. It was closed... but I wasn't surprised since lots of upscale places only open for dinner.


It was really fun. Unfortunately, I don't get to travel much but next time... more research.. and more photos.

I almost forgot...

There was one place that I DO NOT RECOMMEND. We were looking for an Italian restaurant because the bride-to-be loves Italian food. One we stumbled upon was called Puccini & Pinetti on Ellis Street by Union Square. Not only was the service horrible (the waiter checked on our table maybe 3 times in the span of 2 hours, one of which we spent waiting for the food) but the food was NOT worth the price. One dish that was pretty delicious was the Mushroom Ravioli. My friend's weren't too happy with there only being 5 but at least it tasted good.


(Photo taken from Yelp by Kevin Y.)

I had the Prosciutto Pizza that had olives and preserved lemons. It was really salty. For me, the flavors just didn't work.

So if you're ever in San Fransisco #1. DON'T EAT THERE, #2. Do some research and search out some good, cheap places because I'm sure they have more than the small I've sampled.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Raspberry Tart


I meant to post this sooner but I got sick over the weekend. Needless to say I've been wanting to do nothing but watch TV and eat. New years resolution to lose weight is NOT off to a good start.

Here's another quick idea for puff pastry.

Cut out into a rectangle and bake off at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and spread on a generous dose of your favorite pastry cream (my favorite recipe as follows) and top with raspberries or whatever fruit you like!

I didn't bother with a glaze because I knew I'd eat it right away but if you're not going to eat it right away then you can make your own quick glaze by getting a jar or APRICOT PRESERVES and melting it either in the microwave or in a pot thinned out just a tad with some water. But watch it carefully!

Here's my favorite pastry cream recipe by Dorie Greenspan from her AWESOME book - Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Pastry Cream

2 Cups Whole Milk
6 Large Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Cornstarch
1 1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
3 1/2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Cut into bits at room temp.

(This is the way I do pastry cream.)
Put the milk and a couple of tablespoons of the sugar into a medium sized pot (the sugar prevents the milk from burning on the bottom of the pot) and bring to a boil... BUT KEEP AND EYE ON IT!!
In the meantime, in a small bowl mix the rest of the sugar and the cornstarch together with your fingers ensuring there are no lumps. In another larger bowl put the yolks in and slowly mix in the sugar/cornstarch mixture until it's all incorporated together with NO LUMPS.

When the milk comes to a boil (make sure it doesn't get to a point where it spills over the top) slowly whisk in the milk into the yolk mixture.
TIP: Get a wet rag and make it into a circle. Place the bowl in the center so that when you're doing this by yourself you'll have one hand to pour and one hand to whisk.

Once all the milk is mixed in, pour it back into the pot and cook on medium heat until it thickens like pudding, about 2 minutes. WHISK NON-STOP.

Strain into a new clean bowl and mix in the vanilla. Let it cool for a few minutes then add the butter little at a time.

Transfer to a container and press a piece of plastic right on top of the cream and refrigerate until cold.

When you're ready to use it make sure to give it a good mix with a rubber spatula to get it smooth. It'll look like Jell-O if you don't!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Palmiers


As mentioned in my previous post this is one way in which puff pastry can be used.

These delightful treats only require sugar and they're ready to be baked.

Take your puff pastry and roll it out with some flour to about 1/16" or otherwise known as.. as thin as you can possibly get it!

Try to get the shape of it to be in somewhat of a rectangle.

Take the right and left side and fold in about 1" or so
(if you want bigger palmiers then make this fold larger).

Keep folding...

...and folding...

...and folding...

Until you get something that looks like this:

If the dough is soft at this point, go ahead and refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes. This will make cutting a lot easier.

Cut slices that are about 1/4" thick.

Place them on a silpat or parchment paper about 2" apart. Take an egg and mix it well with about 1 teaspoon of water. Brush each palmier FRONT AND BACK and sprinkle well with cinnamon sugar (mix sugar with ground cinnamon depending on how much cinnamon you want) or a sugar mixture in Pierre's cookbook that he uses for Caramelized Puff Pastry (1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar and 2 Tablespoons powdered Sugar).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes then flip each palmier over so it can get nicely caramelized on both sides. Bake for 15 more minutes.

If you have left over scraps you can always cut them up into equal sized pieces and follow the same finishing as above.
Yum!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Puff Pastry.. I Love You

Happy new year everyone!!! Hope you all had a wonderful time ringing in the new year!

I had a delicious meal with a dear friend and watched Julie and Julia (finally). We made some delicious s'mores.

Back to the subject...

Genius. Absolutely genius! Who knew that some flour and butter with some sugar would be so delicious??

The thing with making puff pastry isn't so much that it's hard, it's just amazingly time consuming. The two components are a butter mixture and a dough. They are extremely easy to make. I used the Puff Pastry recipe from Pierre Herme's cookbook called Chocolate Desserts.

Inside-Out Puff Pastry

Butter Mixture
3 1/2 Sticks (14 ounces) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups AP Flour

Put the butter in a bowl of the standing mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until smooth.
Add the flour and mix just until it just comes together. There will be some flour at the bottom of the bowl, just mix it in with a rubber spatula.

Dump the mixture onto some plastic wrap and form it into a 1/2 inch square.

Dough Mixture
3/4 Cup Water
2 Teaspoons Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Vinegar
3 Cups AP Flour
1 Stick (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled

Mix the water, salt, and vinegar together and set aside.
Put the flour into the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment and turn it on medium-low. Add the butter. It will look lumpy.
Slowly add the water. You may not use all of the water. Keep adding until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.

Dump the dough onto some plastic wrap and form it into a square that's about 1/2 inch smaller than the butter mixture.
Refrigerate both doughs for about 1 1/2 hours.


First Turn
Roll the dough mixture roughly twice the size of the butter mixture with some flour.
(I rolled out the dough a little too big)

Fold over the other side so that the butter is encased in the dough.

Pinch the edges together and seal the butter inside.
Let this rest in the refrigerator for an hour.


After chilling, roll it out with some flour into a rectangle where the length is at least 3 times the width.
Brush off the excess flour with a brush and fold the left and right into the center.
Try to make it as even as possible.

Brush off excess flour and fold it closed like a book.

Let this rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
After its rested repeat the process again and let it rest again in the fridge for three hours (I left it overnight).

Last Turn
Roll the dough out as before.

This time fold it into thirds like a letter.

Let this rest for about 30 minutes.

Roll it out one more time. You can portion sections out at this point if you don't plan on using all of it at once.

Chill this one more time in the fridge the longer the better but at least 30 minutes.

Now you can cut shapes according to what you want to make.


I cut out circles that were about 1/4" thick. I knew it was way too thick but I went with it anyway. This is what it looked like after I brushed it with some egg wash (one egg beaten with about 1 teaspoon of water) and baked it at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
They looked like biscuits!! So NOTE: Roll the dough out to as thin as you can get it! 1/16" if you can!

If it's too thick the center doesn't get cooked well.
I was able to salvage it by cutting it in half horizontally and scooping out the raw dough in the center.


Some things you can make with the puff pastry to come.