Posted March 21, 2009on:
Spring is synonymous with new beginnings and March was a month full of new beginnings! I haven’t blogged in a while because I’ve been working on some of those new things. School this week was focused on poultry and meat fabrication. Basically, taking the animal product in its most primal state and creating cuts that can be cooked in the kitchen. After poultry we worked on beef and then veal. I have to say this week, I can say that I’ve managed to do some complicated meat fabrications, including trussing, and I feel like I know what I’m doing. That’s always a good feeling in school!
At home, I was also beginning to try a few new things. While practicing my medium dice potatoes, (which is a LOT more difficult than it looks) I decided I should use up the scraps and make fries. I did double fry and heat up my oil. Unfortunately, my finished product was more greasy and clumpy than anything else. I did however, make a successful batch of onion rings for the first time ever! I had no idea how simple they were to prepare and it was great watching them puff up in the hot oil. I now want to try to make some beer battered onion rings since those are my favorite. These sides went with the barbecue meatloaf I made for dinner. It’s a simple enough recipe where I just take a pound and a half of ground beef and add some cumin, salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne pepper. I also add an egg to bind it all together and about a quarter cup of good barbecue sauce. The meatloaf is always really flavorful and moist every time I’ve made it. This more than made up for having soggy fries.
While waiting on my meatloaf, I was working on a chocolate cake. It was a simple chocolate cake, with a coffee flavored creme anglaise buttercream frosting. I got the recipe out of Bakewise, a great book that goes into the science behind baking. I really like how each recipe is broken down and explains different concepts. It’s a great way to learn about science and have some fabulous dessert!
Not only were these recipes new to me, I also tried to decorate them using fondant. I’ve NEVER EVER used fondant before and I’ve really only seen it on Ace of Cakes. Yes, I’m a fan of the show and I do secretly just want to make cakes and decorate them all the time. Alas, I’m in the culinary arts program, but I do think that’s the best way to get a well-rounded culinary education. Anway, my cake was very tasty–moist, yet very chocolatey. And the coffee creme anglaise was a nice complement in flavor and texture to the cake. The fondant was a different story. It was difficult to work with. I had trouble getting it even and it broke in a lot of spaces. I’m glad the cake tastes better than it looks. I did try to have the cake look like a spring cake with some bright colors and a nice flower that I made from a cut-out tool. Here’s some pics of my first ever fondant cake.
In this shot, you can really begin to see how uneven it really is and now I mangled the fondant at certain points.
This is probably the most uneven part. I couldn’t manage to cover the cake well. I did 1 layer of fondant for both layers of the cake so it was rather heavy after it was finished.
One I cut a slice, I also really realized I didn’t level the cakes before icing or putting on the fondant. Still, I’m glad it tasted MUCH better than it looked!