If I were ever on death row (as a result of my murder conviction of strangling a lame student) and had to order my last meal, I believe it would be a quart of Pistachio Mousse. I’ve never seen pistachio paste but I had a taste on Friday and I’ve seen the lord! I can’t wait for that to surface in some cake next week. Stay tuned.
On another note, I was so excited on Friday to discover that a blog that I wrote a few weeks ago was featured on WordPress as “Freshly Pressed.” I don’t know how one gets chosen and I always dreamed of being featured. So, on Friday (after blogging as tinfoilduck for over a year, I opened my tinfoilduck email account to see 31 emails (I never get more than 1 or 2 a month). I saw a bunch of emails from WordPress so I immediately thought I was hacked. I opened one and someone had congratulated me for being featured as Freshly Pressed. If you are not familiar with WordPress, there is a feature that lets you know how many “reads” a blog has had. Well, to my surprise, by 11:00am Hawaii time, over 250 had read my blog. I almost peed my pants. On a good, really good day, I may have 30 reads if that. Then I thought I’d be featured for the day. Well, it’s Sunday and my blog is still featured. As of publish time, I’ve had a total of 2300 reads, many “likes”, several “follows” and many kind words or encouragement and acknowledgment that I’m doing a good job. Thanks all, I really appreciate it.
We are still in the land of forcemeat in our Garde Manger class. Last week we prepared a Duck with Dried Cherry & Pistachio Terrine. We experimented a little by baking one off the traditional way (in traditional oven in water bath) and we also cryo-vacked (I still don’t know how to spell that word) and sous-vide the other. The final verdict was that the sous-vide terrine looked fresher and didn’t crack as much. Either way, it looked pretty cool but I’m not a fan of the texture or taste. It screams “cat food.”
It looks pretty cool and I’m glad I learned how to prepare one but I’m not sure how many of these I’ll be making. Now I’d try a fish and seafood terrine in a minute.
We also made a Chicken Gallentine stuffed with a highly garnished chicken and spinach forcemeat. Check out the steps to make a gallentine.
Over in the bake shop, we continued working on our cakes. These cakes were many layers with ganache and creams. My group worked on the Notre Dame. Another group did an Opera Cake and we also did a basic chocolate multi-layered cake.
The Notre Dame consists of a Praline Crunch Base, a Chocolate Ganache layer, chocolate biscuit, a Vanilla Bavaroise and finally a layer of Pate a Bombe. If this is Greek to you, it was to me. The praline base is a crunchy chocolaty layer, chocolate ganache is heated cream and tremoline (invert sugar, long story here) and tempered chocolate. Vanilla Bavaroise is a Barvarian Cream made by adding gelatine sheets to Creme Anglaise and adding whipped cream to it all.
I’ve had house guests all week (Brian & Gregg) and other friends visiting (Steve & Joe) so I’ve been quite busy in the kitchen. Here are a few things that I worked on.
I wanted to make a Hollandaise sauce so I decided to serve it with Cumin & Coriander Crusted Salmon, Dried Fruit Couscous and Pahole Fern and Cherry Tomato Salad with Li Hing Dressing. This was one of the many meals I treated my guests to.
As a perk to having house guests, I usually get taken out to dinner. This dinner was pretty amazing. We went to the Four Seasons Resort in beautiful Wailea, Maui, where Wolfgang Puck has opened another Spago. The setting was amazing, the view was awesome and the food was fantastic. I forgot to bring my camera and only had my cellphone. I only got the pic of the dessert to save so sorry for the poor planning.
As an appetizer, I had the Upcountry tomatoes with Surfing Goat Cheese and 12 year Balsamic Vinegar. It was wonderful. The goat cheese was very mild for goat cheese. One of the problems in living on Maui is that our tomatoes that get shipped here sucks. These local tomatoes were the best tasting tomatoes that I’ve had in a long time. It all sat on a pesto base, topped with 12 year old balsamic vinegar, pea shoots and cilantro.
I had the Crab Stuffed Mahi as my main course. The mahi was breaded and sauteed and served on a base of whipped potatoes and a yuzu sauce. Wow, it was pretty good. The crab meat was so flavorful and the combination of the whipped potatoes and yuzu sauce was awesome. Yuzu is a type of Japanese citrus.
I don’t remember what my dessert was called but it was a Warm Chocolate Lava Cake served with Kona Coffee Ice Cream & Chocolate Ganache. The cake was just warm enough to accentuate the gooey center without burning your mouth.