Friday, May 09, 2008

I Can't Live Without It....

This was the theme of our final chocolate project. It didn't take long for me to decide on what I can't live without. But I held off, trying to come up with something serious and meaningful, like how to display faith through chocolate. Too complicated, so I went to something silly instead, and something a little more concrete. Like chicken enchiladas with chips and salsa. Obviously.

One gal did manage to portray her faith through chocolate, though it was no easy task, as can be seen by this picture:

Or, something meaningful:

Most people chose something light and funny though, like the following:
Vacation - the hammock was made by piping chocolate around half of a banana peel. Pretty cool!(high heels)

We are all so thankful that we have no more chocolate units ever. I tried hard to challenge myself with this cake, which I painstakingly painted every single music note on, plus as many details of the violin as I could. I think it turned out quite well, and a guy in the hallway even complimented it. I love how everyone in the school gets so excited for each other's work, instead of constantly competing against each other (though there is a fair amount of competition).

Last week I also attended a demo given by the famous Jacques Pepin. This man is a culinary genius and a legend - when he and the other deans of the school (Alain Salhaic, Andre Soltner) are no longer around, it will truly be the end of an era. They are extremely kind and giving men who love to share their wealth of information with everyone around them.

And - we have moved back to (and finished today) plated desserts, which completes two of three units devoted to this subject. It always makes for a fun week, because we get to eat everything as soon as it is plated, but it also makes me realize more and more how much I do not want to work in a restaurant. We had an afternoon of desserts yesterday, which went well, but it's stressful trying to get all of the orders plated up carefully yet quickly. My partner and I were in charge of tiramisu, which is such a pain to wiggle out of the molds nicely and then get it on the plates without it toppling over. But it was a hit with the crowd because of the cute little chocolate cup and tuile spoon. So precious!
White Chocolate Citrus Parfait

Chocolate Mint Dome with Orange Mint Salad

Mendiant with Sour Cherry Compote (essentially it is chocolate mousse on top of a chocolate-hazelnut cake round)

White Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo with Raspberry Compote

Plum Soup

Another version of plum soup, but pureed with creme fraiche added to the light pink side of it

Exotic Fruit Soup with a Sesame Tuile

Pineapple Cilantro Soup

Another version of pineapple cilantro soup

a sabayon

Pannetone and zabaglioni with earl grey sorbet on top of peach-ginger-raisin compote

Kataifi napolean - phyllo dough nests with cream between, with a balsamic reduction drizzled on, surrounded by roasted nectarines

Phyllo dough surrounding a square of chocolate genoise, raspberries, and chocolate ganache. I don't usually eat the entire dessert of anything we plate up, just because we eat so much of it. But I licked my plate clean on this one.

The butterfly up close from the previous dessert.

We have our largest project of the program coming up - we have to start working on it now, but it's not due for another few weeks. We have to create a business and develop the dessert menu for it, and then we have a 3 day practical recreating two of the desserts from the menu, chosen by the chef. I am utterly excited about this project and have my main idea down, but I need a name, a logo, colors, etc. Not to mention the menu, which must have eight desserts on it. I'll keep you posted on the progress and might request suggestions in the near future.

Also, can I say how much I love spring, again? Look at these peonies! I was walking into my little corner market that I love so much and was overcome by their sweet smell. We don't get peonies down in Texas because the weather is too warm for them, so I think I'll be buying them every week until they are out of season. I had them in my wedding bouquet, and I just LOVE them.

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