Better day indeed

 Today was a lot more relaxing than yesterday. First thing in the morning, during theory class, we went over the issues of the oven and cooler so now we are a lot more organized; not once during lab time did I hear the cooler warning beep :)
 I managed to make twenty-six apple turnovers, fifteen cheese straws and nineteen eccles cakes. Only the eccles had the oven because there was so many items going into the oven. Tomorrow my turnovers and cheese straws should make it in.


Puff, the magic pastry

Madonna Mia! What a friggin' day today. I'd say it was the most busy and somewhat stressful class we had so far.

We had to make another full batch of french puff pastry on top of making two products. Making the pastry isn't so bad, it's actually kinda fun, but when everyone is in and out of the cooler trying to find where they placed their stuff, that is when it's frustrating. Oh I can only count the number of times the cooler beeped; a warning it has reached above it's cooling temperature. This on top of limited space and general disregard for others made it a crappy day indeed.

You see, every time you fold and roll your pastry it needs to chill for a good 20 min, to set the butter to a degree, so you can roll it out again without having it be too soft. Well, when the cooler is warm as heck this becomes impossible. So I had no choice but to throw it in the freezer and keep tabs on it every other minute to make sure the thing wouldn't freeze. As for making products, I managed to make fifteen wind mills that have not had the chance to bake as well as two logs of blueberry strudel. I dropped the ball on the strudel by adding the filling that wasn't chilled enough causing my pastry to melt which limited the amount of layers to rise. It still turned out fine, just not perfect. Oh and not to mention rolling out dough for exact dimensions is a huge pain in the-.

Hopefully things will go down well tomorrow...



Today was a review of cookies. It was a well planned day considering my partner Tomoko and I managed to make around four dozen coconut macaroons, cut and bake four dozen peanut butter cookies, six and a half dozen coconut raisin cookies and roll out the logs for our birds nest cookies!


L.D. dump and choco chunks

 Yesterday was all about cookies. We had to cut out the bars we made the day before so time was essential. We managed to drop our chocolate chunk pecan cookies and make our peanut butter cookie dough. We got to use the rotating convection oven to bake the cookies which is very useful since you can get a good amount of trays on a rack and since it rotates there is no need to manually do so.

I haven't been to life drawing for a while, nor have I looked at a pencil, so I decided to go to Cap. It was a burlesque night but unfortunately I couldn't get any great ones down except for this one on the left. The others are from some weeks ago that I haven't had the chance of scanning....I "borrowed" the animation labs scanner :)



We had a shortened day because there was a group meeting with a student counselor discussing how we are to cope with each other for the next ten months...BOOOORIIIIING! So we only had time to make one sheet of muesli squares and some chocolate chunk cookie dough that will be dropped and baked tomorrow.



So today was much like yesterday; just a whole lot of pies, tarts and quiche. The oven station was a little more hectic just because we had four different temperatures going on but more tarts than pies.

When I came home I saw some dough fermenting so I knew it was a pizza night :) We had some arugula in the fridge and my father just bought some fiore di latte and prosciutto di San Danielle. So I made one of the pizze; prosciutto con fiore di latte e rucula, finito sopra con parmigiano reggiano. :)


The french call them quiche; the british call them tarts

We made lots of tarts today and since we are watching the oven we were only required to knock out some quiche.We were able to make 120 tart shells but only able to bake 28 of them because of time constraint. Tomorrow morning all we have to do is pipe out the rest and bake. When those guys came out of the oven it was a dangerous aroma.
 Much like pies, a quiche uses a mealy bottom dough because of the amount of moisture in the filling. Fluting pies is fun and easy plus it is necessary for this formula since there is quite the amount of filling for each tart.

Overall I'd say it was a very relaxed, organized and efficient day!


I like pie

Today was pie day! It went really well considering I am now on a station where the oven is to be watched over. I still managed to kick out two pies, one being a fresh apple and the other pecan.

All of our pie dough ended up getting soft too quick, making it difficult to work with, because of the extra amount of water we had to add. Other than this everyone made awesome pies and some were creative.

We finished the class making a mise en place, pate sucree...well I tried my best to help but the oven kept buzzing me.


Muffins, bread and...Pancakes?

SO yesterday we learned the creaming and muffin method of mixing and applied it to both a blueberry and a carrot zucchini muffin. Needless to say it all went very well except for the fact I sifted the sugar in with the flour; thinking I was using the muffin method for the blueberry mix when in fact I was to use the creaming method.
I had to rescale the dry again and throw out the the other :( Then of course when I got it right I ended up using the wrong flour LOL! They still turned out really well, actually I think better than the ones using pastry flour because they didn't have the pool of butter on the bottom. The carrot zucchini ones were really good!

Today we applied different creaming methods to different formulas. We also made dutch oven bread; I didn't enjoy it's taste or texture though. After yesterdays problems my partner Sita and I really nailed down the scaling and ingredients and double checked. This was for Fruit scones using oats and blueberries. Needless to say the end product was nothing like a scone but more so a pancake ;p We know we scaled everything right since we got the right amount of portions for the formula so I am thinking I didn't cook the oatmeal long enough to get it stiffer. The recipe doesn't call for the length of cooking time but I should have thought about the fact that the ratio of wet to dry was almost 2:1! Damn oatmeal...


And so it begins

Well two days in now and I already feel like this is gonna be up my alley. Granted there is a whole lot of math and calculations involved but once I call upon my non existent inner Asian, this will become second nature. Being a perfectionist is a great asset as everything needs to be scaled down to a few grams, placed evenly with equal sizes, and your area kept neat and clean.

Yesterday there was not a whole lot going on in the kitchen but everywhere else in the campus; way too much information to process all at once. The campus is pretty amazing, and the people are friendly as well. We ended the day with learning how to use those old balance scales using sugar to counter balance.

Today was our first day getting our hands dirty and it was fun as usual. We made a dry biscuit mix and used this to make two batches; one of cheese biscuits and the other raisin scones. We had to work with partners and mine is a woman named Sita. We rocked out the scaling and had everything ready to mix pretty quickly; however, probably because of how fast we were moving, we neglected our cheese biscuit dough by over working it causing way too much gluten fibers resulting in a flaky-less biscuit. They still rose and browned nicely. Our Raisin scone dough was perfect but our chef suggested we all bake them tomorrow as we were short for time.


Something new

So class starts in over a week from today. I am excited and nervous, as anyone would be going into something they never thought they would do, but I'm sure it will be fun...and tasty.

I come from a very traditional Italian family so food is in my blood, "Mangiare per vivere e non vivere per mangiare: Eat to live and not live to eat, " and since a very young age I would watch my parents cook a lot of meals. Since then I have experimented with food and learned a lot about flavours; from inedible rock hard cookies, smoothies made from strawberries and coffee to over-spiced rag├╣, I learned from my mistakes.

It wasn't until a few years back when a trip to Italy and France has opened my eyes to the culture of food. Food is the one thing to truly bring people together. We sit together and talk about our day through a good meal. We catch up with an old friend with a coffee in one hand and a mouth stuffed with an ├ęclair. I love the feeling of making a killer meal for my family or a dessert for some friends; their smiles and compliments are the product of my concoction, what an awesome reward!

I always thought art would be my career while cucina/ cuisine was just my hobby. I think this advanced baking programme at VCC might take me for a fool, something I really hope happens. Plus to have a sense of art and what looks pleasing to ones eyes is half of what makes food look mouth-watering. It would be a dream of mine to be able to work in Italy to build my skills and tastes with a future possibility of opening my own tiny place in the core of the best city in the world we live in, VANCOUVER!

Chi mangia bene viva bene!