LJ-Picturing Food, 2.20.06: portion control

Now with 75% fewer photos, but twice the calories!

Radiatore with Cleaned-Out-the-Crisper Sauce. I don't eat a lot of pasta, but lately, I guess I've been making up for that. I bought some radiatore and chopped up everything that was left in the crisper and about to turn, then sauted it in olive oil and sage, and tossed it with parmigiano reggiano.

Fun with plating, Flourless Cake #3. This is the recipe I finally decided on. I had some papaya spears, so I sliced them up to make the cake look vicious and gave it cherry fudge truffle ice cream for brains. As a friend pointed out, my decorative papaya looks like bacon. Bacon is vicious. Grr ... *urp*

So there was a layer of flourless cake and a layer of flourful cake (long story--good texture and flavor), which all eventually becamse Violet's cake, on which I finally found the nerve to try out Cornelli lace. The icing was stiff. I had to use the jaws of life to pry the piping bag out of my hand afterward, but the result was worth it, and I'm pleased. The shaky small-shell border shows how rusty I am, though. =( All in all, everyone liked the cake, and the colors inevitably matched Violet's shirt and party place setting. Unfortunately, it was for her going-away party. Not only will my foodie friend be gone, but you'll have to deal with just my cruddy photos after she leaves next week. =( =(

Violet took photos of her cake.
http://pics.livejournal.com/razz/pic/000d72dc http://pics.livejournal.com/razz/pic/000d6xag

Picture Phone (the cruddy pictures start now)

Tonight's Class Project: Tornados de Bouef Pommerey with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and some random veggies I snagged out of Chef's saute pan. See this plate? It was like the "1-2-3-Not It" game. My team in culinary class dive-bombed our plates, and since I was the one slicing and plating the "beef," I didn't get the prettiest plate (yeah--just a little meat juice in my pommerey sauce). The only thing is we didn't cook bouef, we cooked pork, and I don't know what pork is in French. I'm pretty sure it's not Pouerk, although the Swedish Chef might disagree (pouerk pouerk pouerk). I don't think it's as simple as "porc," but I do tend to complicate things. Whatever it was, it was the best hunka oink I ever had. I didn't take pictures of anything else; I inhaled it before I could. I also didn't take a photo of our soup, even though I drowned our poor (yet expensive) commercial food processor while making it.

Remember the savory carrot muffin? Um, maybe not. Anyway, I left one on a co-worker/fellow foodie's desk with a little explanatory menu under it.

And from LJ-razz, 6.16.06
I'm seriously out of piping practice. Then again, the hybrid cream cheese frosting was a challenge. I looked at a handful of recipes for decorator icing using cream cheese and used the same general ratio, but nothing I could do could account for Phoenix's 100+-degree heat. A little shortening goes a long way, though--this could've been a melty cake. Instead, I just lost some of the shell border, which I repiped after I got to Violet's. I kept it super stiff so it would hold its form. The downside was the border and Cornelli lace didn't want to stick to the icing after it had crusted (There's no pretty technical term for this, is there. "It is what it is."). The cake itself is my regular favorite chocolate cake for the base, a thin layer of the flourless on top for a texture change and for a little sweetness because my regular favorite uses dark chocolate and isn't very sweet, some caramelized sugar in between (this was kind of a mistake--I used the caramel topping from a Dobos Torte recipe because I didn't have condensed milk for soft caramel and couldn't find a recipe for caramel using regular milk), and then the frosting. It worked out, over all. If I do this combo again, I'd make the flourless layer thinner, use a soft caramel or even a fruit filling, and maybe torte the regular favorite layer. As for the lace, it was so much fun. Except I had to pry my hand open to get the piping bag out of it and flatten my fingers out again (like I said--stiff icing).

A forgotten story: I had lunch with an old college friend, Christina, and roommate last Saturday. We met at Miracle Mile Deli on Camelback--good place--easy atmosphere and good deli/cafeteria food. Anyway, she was the first roommate I had after Ginny moved out to do the Army thing. Since Ginny was the cook, I didn't cook much while we lived together even though by then, I'd started cooking stuff I missed from home. I subjected Christina (and our other friend Cristina) to some of my horrible cooking experiments--stuff like combining a box of Kraft mac 'n' cheese with a can of chili with a box of Spanich Rice-a-roni ... what--it's like chili mac! With rice! Christina and Cristina gently told me that I didn't have to put everything Mexican-themed into one pot for one of my cupboard-clearing, one-pot casseroles. They ate it and said it was good. This dish was horrible, though, and they were awesome friends to eat what I dished out (literally). Then Christina brought up stuffed zucchini. I made this dish every two weeks, and was in fact always cooking with zucchini. She told me how much she missed that zucchini dish and missed watching me trying to figure out better ways to make it. I'd be mixing everything boxed in one pot one day, then making what is still, to this day, the most complicated recipe I've done the next. Steaming, scraping, chopping, mincing, baking, boiling, sauteing--this dish is crazy, and I still love it. The hardest part was wringing the liquid from the minced zucchini innards. I think I've tried a half-dozen ways to squeeze the liquid out of minced zucchini. We ran down the list: cheese cloth, paper towel, side towel, fine strainer, bare hands. Friggin' ridiculous. Then we laughed about how I had to expand my knowledge of herbs and spices beyond salt and pepper by about ten different bottles just for this recipe--marjoram, thyme, sage, oregano--and it was the first time I used parmesan that wasn't pregrated and didn't come out of a tall, green can. I'm going to have to keep my eyes open for some good-sized zukes so I can show you this madness. It's the most humble looking dish for all the trouble it takes, but the taste is worth the trouble.


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