Sunday, January 31, 2010

Butterfly Birthday Cake

I actually welcome orders for cakes as it allows me a little bit of "play" time and breaks up my routine a little bit.

This one simply read "butterfly theme". I piped out the butterflies wings on a gold fleck acetate sheet then made forms so that they would dry in a "V" to look more 3D.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Menu Changes = STRESSED

I know desserts is "stressed" backwards and I know I work better under stress but geez...

Today I went out to lunch with the exec chef and the Bqt Chef to sorta check out the competition and to see how the desserts were plated. The pastry chef of this resteraunt has won several awards in Southern AZ and the resteraunt has a similar price range and rating as ours. After a stingy little cheese plate -which included port salut and sauteed Marcona Almonds so they are nearly forgiven - we ordered lunch. I ordered roasted chicken parm pasta with tomato, baby spinach and pine nuts in butter sauce. FREAKIN' FABULOUS!!! The pasta was just the right amount of done and most likely housemade, spinach was wilty but not gross, pine nuts still crisp, chicken was tasty. YUM!!! One of the guys ordered pulled pork which I was nearly drooling over til I got the first taste of mine.

For dessert we got: Creme Brulee - nearly buttery it was so rich but so sweet it hurt the teeth, also took him several minutes to scrape the mound of berries off the top to actually get to the custard, which was ginger so why a pile of blackberries? A Praline Bar thingy with ice cream that looked nice but didn't eat well. Warm flourless cake with banana gelato - didn't taste the gelato but the cake was divine. I ordered the banana trio: banana cake with banana mousse, frozen bananas, banana malted milk shake... dissappointment followed. The cake was banana-y and good textured but MUCH, MUCH too sweet, the milkshake wasn't thick at all and really I was expecting chocolate with the malt flavor (oh and the cup was stuck to the plate with caramel sauce - -looked icky). The frozen bananas came out dipped in chocolate, then rolled in various toppings, they looked cool but wouldn't cut with a fork and the one I popped in my mouth whole was too frozen to actually chew. 3 of the plates had the same chocolate strip as the only plate design, 2 had fanned strawberries and 3 had cheap chocolate cigarettes. Also on the menu was an "apple pop tart" and "spiced pumkin custard".

I left the resteraunt thinking to myself "this is what they want me to aspire to?" . Currently our desserts each have flavor appropriate sauces that are different on each plate, one does have a chocolate cigarette (but we pay for the nicer ones), one has a butter tuile with pistachios, housemade biscotti on another... each is its own seperate entitiy. I am working on changing out 2 desserts and switching all 5 to plate-to-order. I have a small amount of pride in what we do have, it's not the 4 diamond desserts that we are working towards but they are all nice. I view what we saw today as a mere step sideways (homestyle and routine), not looking foward or moving up. Sooo, how to reconcile what the exec chef and F & B director want with what I consider an upscale desssert?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Could be sorta considered pastry

On the search for a better pizza...
BUT FIRST: "regular" Mountain Dew soooo much better than diet

I LOVE pizza so the little unfair fact that so many place put corn meal on the bottom of their pizzas still has me really irked. I can eat Pizza Hut for take-out but sometimes I'm looking for something a little different. I can make pizza from scratch but sometimes it's just too much work for only me.
I'm in the freezer section of Whole Foods the other day looking for a gluten free dessert (but that's another story) and I decided I had nothing to lose by looking. I found Pesto pizza made by Amy's organics that is topped with mozzerella, pesto, fresh tomato and broccoli. I baked the first one and ate all of it in one sitting. YUMMM!!!!! Happy taste buds and happy tummy! I went back the same day and bought 2 more. Frickin' AWESOME!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Still makes me smile

Individual Opera Cakes
Hazelnut Jaconde, Coffee Buttercream and Ganache
made for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra's New Years Eve Dinner

This was supposed to be a team effort and then somebody flaked out on me. In 2 days (26 hours on the time clock); I baked 20 sheets of cake, made 50 lbs of coffee buttercream, 35lbs of ganache and assembled 204 of these little monsters. I went home sticky & cranky but feeling like I had won a major war. The day of the BQT I ganached them, piped on the treble clef signs and pretty much plopped down for a nap. I did have help plating them during which Cook Flaky tried to take credit for making them. Before I could hiss, bare my teeth or pounce 2 people loudly and forcefully declared this false. I just love it when your people got your back, dont you?


I am going to try this. Sort of more an online journal than to be informative or crafty or anything like that.