Culinary School Here I Come (61) Spirits, Sushi and Gum Paste Flowers


This week was an odd one. We have been working on our Wedding Cakes in Advanced Baking class so there wasn’t much excitement. Our Garde Manger class was canceled on Tuesday due to and emergency family matter of our instructor. However, I did learn something really interesting in our Beverage class. I’m a wine and beer drinker and I have occasionally indulged in a Blended Margarita or a Gin & Tonic. I know how wines are fermented and how beers are brewed but I guess I had no idea how Spirits (the hard stuff) was made. I knew they are distilled and kinda knew the process but I didn’t realize that Spirits have to start off as some kind of alcohol to begin with. It blew my mind to learn that Brandy (besides being such a fine girl) is distilled from wine and that Whiskey can be distilled from beer. Who knew! The maximum amount of alcohol that can be fermented in wine and beer is 12-15%. After alcohol levels reach that high, either all of the sugars that the yeast feed off of are used or the yeast just dies. So, to get a drink with a higher alcohol content, you have to distill it.

Some other useful facts: Cognac is a type of brandy and refers to the area in France where it is made. Whiskey can either be spelled like it is or like Whisky, depending on what it is distilled from. Whiskey includes Scotch (made in Scotland), Bourbon (named after the area it was first produced, Bourbon County Kentucky. Bourbon can be made only within the United States.), Tennessee Whiskey (is made in Tennessee and is charcoal filtered.), Canadian Whiskey & Rye Whiskey (must me made from rye.) I want to go out and taste all of these because they are made with different grains and different finishing methods.

Last tidbit, I thought Sloe Gin was a type of cocktail. Wrong! It is made from the tart sloe plum and in not really gin at all. Vodka can be produced from almost anything that can be fermented; corn, wheat, rye, barley, potatoes, beets, grapes and sugar cane.

Enough of that. No Garde Manger class on Tuesday but Thursday brought us Sushi Day!

Rolling demo.

With the demo done, we were on our own.

Not all seriousness in class. This is one of my favorite pics. This begins the journey of my Tempura Soft Shell Crab, Cucumber & Avocado Roll.

Not bad for my first attempt at a sushi roll.

This was the selection that our group presented. We used Tempura Shrimp, Spicy Tuna and Spicy Salmon. No need for dinner!

On the Advanced Baking front. I was able to cover my base layer with fondant. Most of our styrofoam is on backorder from the mainland so we worked with what we had and started to mold my gum paste flowers.

After 3 tries, I finally got it to look decent. It’s a little thick but no one will be eating it.

Using a mold for my Ilima flower.

Various components to my Hawaiian themed wedding cake. I’ll be using a bird of paradise, helaconya ginger, obake, pink and red antheriums, ilima flowers and shell ginger. Everything is looking okay and once I do some airbrushing, these flowers should look real…so I’ve been told. Lots more work to do but on the upside, I don’t have jury duty this week. Woohoo!

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About tinfoilduck

I had this wacky idea to go to culinary school, while maintaining another full time career. I will be blogging about the program and how it affects me as I try to manage my daily life and how I try to keep everything together.
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4 Responses to Culinary School Here I Come (61) Spirits, Sushi and Gum Paste Flowers

  1. This brings back memories. Everything looks great!

  2. tinfoilduck says:

    @ savory, thanks for reading again. I’m beginning to get why wedding cakes cost so much. It’s exciting and I’m learning things I though was impossible to do.

  3. steveaw says:

    sushi looks (& was) amazing! cake decorations look (& are) beautiful! & u look (& are) wonderful! love the ipad pic & u jst couldn’t help urself w/the brandy comment….could u?

    what about ray-jay? swap swap!

  4. tinfoilduck says:

    @steveaw, thanks for your kind words. Touche on the Brandy comment.

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