Saturday, November 28, 2009

Victoria is Bad

So, I'm completely aware of the fact that I dropped off the face of the Earth after Stocks, Sauces, and Soups. I promise, Chef Robotham didn't kill me. After S, S, & S, I began and completed Intro to Baking and Pastry and even got my final grades for the term already (4 A+'s and 2 A's... you can't win 'em all, I guess, haha). In my baking class we prepared everything from biscuits, muffins, angel food cakes, pies, croissants, danishes, cookies, sticky buns, cinnamon buns, eclairs, baguettes, soft dinner rolls, and challah. I have a bit of experience with amateur baking, so the cookies, muffins, etc were a bit less exciting to me, but what I really enjoyed the most was laminating dough for the croissants and danishes as well as shaping the breads, everything from the baguettes to the lovely braided challah! Here are a few pics...

Angel Food Cake

Biscuits, Baguette, and Muffins

Braiding Challah

My Gorgeous Challah!

Laminating Dough for Croissants and Danishes

Cross-Section of Laminated Dough... Check Out the Layers of Butter and Dough!



Making Sticky Buns
Sticky Buns, Mmmm!

Moving on to cooking in my non-school life... Thanksgiving was a couple days ago. We celebrated it at my sister's house this year, and I definitely helped out with several dishes. I made two desserts, some mini angel food cakes drizzled with chocolate ganache and a pumpkin banana mousse tart. I also made the garlic mashed potatoes, worked on some cranberry sauce, sauteed green beans with garlic, and whipped up some homemade turkey gravy from the pan drippings (using the oh so wonderful calculation for making a medium viscosity sauce, 11.5% roux to liquid, and equal parts fat to flour for the roux).

Also, for the first time ever believe it or not, last night I made eggplant parmesan. I've made chicken parm about a billion times, but never eggplant and considering that it's one of my favorites, I think it was about time! There isn't much of a recipe, but I will share what I did... I peeled and sliced up two large eggplants, salted them to release some of the bitter water, then dried them off, used the standard breading procedure of seasoned flour, seasoned eggs, and then some Italian bread crumbs. I lightly fried them up in olive oil to get them nice and browned and cooked through. Meanwhile I used a couple large cans of crushed tomatoes to make the sauce. Next time I'd do three cans to make sure I have enough for the pasta too (we ended up using jarred sauce to serve the pasta). I started the sauce with some chopped garlic in olive oil, added the tomatoes, salt, pepper, dried oregano, and basil and just let it simmer while I worked on the eggplant. Finally, I layered an 11X13" pan with sauce, eggplant, more sauce, shredded mozzarella, and so on for three total layers. On the very top I also added some parmesan to the mozzarella and then baked it at 350 for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese was nice and bubbly! Here are some photos from Thanksgiving as well as last night's dinner :)

Mini Angel Food Cakes

My Brother-in-Law's Amazing Turkey!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, and Stuffing

My Plate of Yummies :)

Eggplant Parmesan with Whole-Wheat Linguine


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