31 March 2009

gel fraise

gelfraise11the story of this cake. l’histoire de cet gâteaux.

gelfraise01i have a hard time resisting anything strawberry flavored. strawberry milk. strawberry cake. strawberry chocolate. strawberry shampoo. strawberry chapstick. etc. i love anything and everything that has the word “strawberry” in it even if it is real or artificial. in fact, i adore the artificial strawberry taste! so over the summer, I found this packet of goodness in france. gel fraise? hmm? strawberry gel? of course it had to be mine.

but then I didn’t use it because it was so precious. and then it, uh, expired on february 17th. but… it’s been sealed, and stored in a cool spot, and is dry, so no biggie, right?

right. because none of my friend have died or complained of food poisoning! yay! yet. and it does not count if they complain after reading this post.

gelfraise02 i baked a génoise, or in english, a sponge cake. courtesy of pierre hermé, of course.

gelfraise03 here is a tip: when you trace a circle on parchment paper to line your pan… remember to make sure the side with the pencil marks is on the outside! don’t worry, whichever part of the cake had pencil marks was not used in the final cake, they were trimmed off and thrown away.

gelfraise04 a mix of some peach liqueur, water, and sugar for some soaking goodness.

gelfraise05straight out of the packet, here’s what that gel fraise powder looked like. those tiny chunks are bits of dried strawberries.

gelfraise06then you mix it with some warm water.

gelfraise07and fold in the best ingredient, la crème chantilly, or whipped cream.

gelfraise08and you end up with a beautiful pale pink cream/mousse to make a fraisier with. it wasn’t the “gel” i was thinking of, but it still was beautiful and tasted great.

the frasier was simple to put together. place a disk of your cake soaked in the liqueur at the bottom of a cake ring. then cut strawberries in half and line it, with the exposed sides faced outside. then pipe some cream/mousse into it. throw in some more strawberries, pipe more cream/mousse, and top with your other piece of cake. brush on some liqueur for it to soak up so it won’t be so dry. spread some cream on top, put a couple of strawberries on top, and ta-da! you have a lovely cake.

gelfraise09this cake was made and photographed in haste (two hungry tummies awaited, not including mine) so it was sloppily put together and not presented very well.  but i plan on remaking it one day, avec soin! (with care)

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and half a packet yielded way too much cream for one cake, so I decided to make a charlotte to use up the rest. ladyfingers soak up not only peach liqueur but the sweet light flavor of the strawberry cream as well.

i still have half a packet of the powder left. it may be expired, but it still works and tastes fine. more cakes for sure!

edit: and here’s what I do to the pictures when I send them to friends:

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30 March 2009

4x5 monorail

what was I thinking?

 4x5 accidently borrowed this monster. i signed up for it, not realizing what it was, and felt too sheepish to say “uhh, i don’t want it anymore” the moment I saw it. and i figure, with just a few weeks left of school, why not jump at this last opportunity to play with a a new toy? it even comes with the black cloth to put over my head, how authentic!

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the film i’ll be using. black and white, 4x5, 25 sheets at 30 bucks, ouch! can’t wait to see what this baby pops out!

fresh and dried: grapefruit

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29 March 2009

une quiche lorraine

A few months ago, I made a batch of sweet and savory pie crusts from a Pierre Hermé recipe. They’ve been sitting in my freezer. Waiting. Waiting until I saw a super simple recipe in another book that I bought from France to make a quiche. And thus, a quiche was born and eaten. And boy was it much better than the frozen ones you can buy at Costco.

When my friend ate this, she asked, "no cheese?" That's correct. A traditional quiche lorraine has only cream, bacon, and eggs. But that doesn't mean I won't deviate from it in the future!

Ingredients

pâte brisée – pie crust

150g bacon

3 large eggs

300ml heavy cream or half and half

a pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper

Recipe from Mon Cours de Cuisine: Les Basiques, by Keda Black (and it looks as if an English translation is coming out!)

quichelorraine1 1. grease your tart pan and cover it with the dough

quichelorraine2 2. take off all those extra edges

quichelorraine3 3. cook your bacon… yum

quichelorraine4 4. poke holes in your crust and but the bacon in there

quichelorraine5 5. mix your eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper together, then pour it into your mold on top of the pie crust

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6. Put it into a 350F preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes. And, YUM!

27 March 2009

matcha & chocolate loaf cake… five ways

matchachocolateheader these are all from the exact same batters, it’s all about how you play with shape!

i saw this recipe at bakerella’s and had to try it. my mom had brought back a packet of matcha for me, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to use it! of course… my bundt did not come out very pretty. so I ended up playing with the cake until I got a form I liked, only it took me quite a few attempts.

matcha01 matcha and cocoa powder. don’t they look like mountains?

matcha02 fail #1: i didn’t dust my bundt pan correctly or grease it. so, VERY ugly mini bundts. and i can’t get away with how they look so much like dirt and grass. i think this recipe is perfect for earth day, arbor day, recycling day, etc.

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fail #2: I crumbled up those ugly bundts and I decided to try and make cake pops! after all, I was reading bakerella’s blog, which is known for her beautiful cake pops. except mine weren’t beautiful. They just looked too much like… well…. horse poop. or any animal that eats lots of grass. but they did taste good.

matcha03fail #3: decapitated cupcakes. I made cupcakes, but I wasn’t  happy with how they looked because I filled the cupcake pan with too much batter, so there was some major muffin tops happening. I decided to slice them up. and forgot to take a picture of them as cupcakes before I did it, oops.

matcha05after slicing the cupcakes, I used a cookie cutter to cut out mini squares. though, i would like to note, this cake is very “weak” and does not hold itself together very well. so be careful when trying to cut out pieces!

  matcha06 and… not a fail! success #1: a chantilly / whipped cream layered in between chocolate matcha cake, dusted with cocoa powder, then topped again with a tiny piece of matcha cake. yummy, and good looking!

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success #2: then I decided to make another cake, but this time I wasn’t going to touch it. sometimes, cakes can be pretty enough without any help from the baker! i am in love with how the green is peeking out underneath the crust.

conclusion: there is no limit for how a cake can look! just keep playing around until you find something you like. and also, no matter what I did, i can’t make the indoor shots look as good as the outdoor shots. can’t beat natural daylight!

Recipe from Bakerella

Ingredients:

Chocolate Dry Mixture
[1.5] cups all-purpose flour
[.5] cup cocoa powder
[1.5] tsp. baking powder
[.5] tsp. salt

Matcha dry mixture
[1.5] cups all-purpose flour
[3] tbsp matcha powder
[1.5] tsp. baking powder
[.5] tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
[1] cup unsalted butter, room temperature
[3] cups sugar
[3] eggs, room temperature
[1.75] cups milk, room temperature
[1] tsp vanilla

1. Combine the chocolate materials in one bowl, and the matcha materials in another.

2. For the wet ingredients, cream the butter with a mixer, then add the sugar.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing each one until completely incorporated.

4. Add the milk and vanilla.

5. Divide this batter evenly into two bowls (I just eyeballed it)

6. In one bowl, as you are mixing it, gradually mix in the chocolate mixture.

7. Then do the same in another bowl with the matcha mixture.

8. Now you should have a brown batter and a green better! Aren’t they pretty? Do what you like with the batters, my advice is to alternate them when adding them to your baking pan, and then swirl them with a chopstick.

9. Bake in a 325F oven. Baking time will vary depending on thickness of your cake. Cupcakes take a lot less time than a thick loaf, so just make sure to check the doneness with a skewer before you take it out for good!

26 March 2009

pain couture

if only I were in paris, at the fondation cartier where Jean-Paul Gaultier decided to exhibit some new dresses… out of flour and yeast, in 2004. but i can only look at these beautiful photos. bread and fashion, two of my absolute favorite things. plus french. how could it not be perfect?

by reading various articles online, i am able to take myself back 5 years ago, to a place that had dresses and accessories sculpted out of yeasted bread (when non rising bread is usually used), where there was a real live oven where bread was baked, and a mini boulangerie where bread was sold.

luckily, an exhibition book exists, and even luckier, i go to school with a library that has a huge purchasing funds, and the most lucky, they respond to purchase requests within a few hours!

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the following 3 sets were taken by Andréa Gameiro.

aren’t they gorgeous?

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and this one is by David F. Gallagher .

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25 March 2009

fresh and dried: granny smith

a granny smith apple, fresh, and then sliced and dried. no sugar. no preservatives. the fruit doesn’t need anything to make it taste or look good – it does it very well on its own!

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mom’s first cream puffs

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aren’t they cute? when i went back to dallas for spring break and made cream puffs, I taught my mom. and look, her first try! she doesn’t know about this blog. i don’t mind if she finds out about it, but i don’t feel ready to tell her about it yet. i think, i want to perhaps wait until I am farther away from home to share it with her. but i am so happy she got puffed up cream puffs!