LJ-Picturing Food, 7.13.06: class projects, my birthday potluck, and orange curd

Further adventures in plating: Another class project consisting of steak with scalloped potatoes and asparagus under bearneaise sauce. We weren't supposed to use more sides than meat, but I like asparagus better than steak ...

Fourth of July fallen chocolate souffle. I took it out of the oven too soon because I thought the top would burn. It had already started to. The first thump on the counter was, literally, its downfall. It tasted good, though, especially with the chocolate custard. On the better side, I put the leftover souffle in the fridge and heated it up the next day in the toaster oven and topped it with the last of the custard. In a lot of ways, I liked it even better. The hot and cold, soft and crispy texture combinations were nice, and the flavor was still there--good quality chocolate. Yey!

July's radiatore pantry cleaner dish. This had zukes, tomatoes, and rosemary.

The next day, I mixed the leftover radiatore with some cheese, sour cream, and some milk, then baked it. I also made some spareribs in Italian seasonings, topped off with the last couple sprigs of rosemary.

A test batch of toffee bars that didn't turn out quite the way I wanted. I sandwiched some ice cream between two pieces, and it was way better.

Mmmm. A friend saw this picture and said it reminded him of Kukla of Kukla, Fran, and Ollie. This made me laugh (though I had to research who Kukla was because it was a little before my time). I'm going to call them Kukla Bars!

I turn 30 this Tuesday!
This year was my third annual birthday potluck. I threw it a week early so certain friends could attend. It was the biggest an best potluck yet! Unfortunately, I was so absorbed in the people and the food that for the most part, I forgot to take photos. There were about 40 guests and almost as many dishes! It was heaven--good friends, family, and food. FFFantastic, I guess! =D
Here's the aftermath on the table ...

... and on the counter. Oh the carnage! The blue bag is one of the goodie bags I made.

And the purple thing is the cookbooklet I handed out that contained some of my rambling and recipes for some of the dishes at the potluck.

Goodie bag guts that included ...

... mini papaya bread (a gamble because I didn't get to taste any of the batch) ...

... and toffee bars (the fourth recipe was the one I ended up loving, and it's a Starbucks knock-off I found online--I tasted plenty of this batch) ...

... and peanut butter bon bons (I sucked the filling right out of the bag) ...

... covered with ganache (ditto the sucking of filling from the bag here). No decadence at all, right?

I found out that a couple of my guests were on a almost-no-carb diet, so I wilted some bok choy and finished it in balsamic vinegar with some carrot ribbons and a batch of brown rice. Unfortunately, it was all gone by the time those guests arrived. I have no idea how it tasted. =(

I also made citrus curry couscous salad.

My rad friend Tabor brought bunny cookies. Imagine this punkstar lookin' guy with full sleeve tattoos carrying in this tray of bunny cookies. It made me giggle. It was the first thing I ate that evening.

I asked my younger guests to do desserts, which surprised a lot of people because they know how much I like to make desserts. My 16-year-old artist/poet friend Sammie made my cake. She made my favorite without knowing--carrot cake! My 12-year-old niece made sushi rice krispie treats that I don't have photos of. =(

Jen's "chicken puprikash."

Class projects
Souffles. This was a tragic day. The other team's souffles kept falling. I was a hawk about my team's souffle. I was so proud when they came out like this. Then karma kicked me in the arse when I found out I hadn't fired the oven correctly for our creme brulees in another oven (you have to turn it on, set the temperature, then turn on the gas). Then I found out that the oven was actually broken and that there was no gas going to it, and I wondered if I should put less stock in karma. Then I decided I should share our souffles with the other team, just in case that karma thing was true. We made creme fraiche and raspberry coulis to go with it, and we all felt like rockstars. devil horns: .\m/

Eggplant terrine with marscapone and goat cheese--my first terrine! I sweated about a gallon of liquid while grilling the sliced eggplant for this dish. It was well worth the effort!

Today, we took a field trip to a local French restaurant called Sophie's Bistro. I orderd the Magret de Canard aux Framboises ... Duck! It was "Maple Leaf Farms duck breast sauteed with a fresh raspberry gastrique atop tender saffron Parmesan risotto cake and fresh vegetaables." Mmmm. It was the most beautiful carrot I'd ever seen. I just had to add that. The Chef at Sophie's is a friend of our Chef, and we got to meet and talk to him a lot before we sat down to eat. It was really inspiring, but he gave us the no-holds-barred version of cooking: beginning cooks often earn about $8/hour and work a lot lot lot. Even he came in seven days a week, and today when we talked to him, he was only partway through a 14-hour day. The duck was good. All the dishes were French-Asian fusion. My classmate next to me had pork with purple potatoes and something I identified as baby bok choy. My duck had a hoisin and Beaujolais sauce. Chef ordered pate and fries (frites a la Parisienne), which made me giddy. Another classmate had filet mignon and didn't say an entire word the whole meal because he was so engrossed in eating. One classmate had baked brie, and the last ordered the poule saute minute au buerre truffe, which only Chef could really pronounce correctly. Plbtbtbtbt. The rest of the class missed out because field trips where we pay our own bill are optional. Oh--the bill came with a plate of little truffles that were the best I'd ever had. It made getting the bill not so bad.

In closing
Orange curd, blueberries, and the tuille cup that didn't happen.

Orange curd, blueberries, and the tuille cup that did.


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