The Pass. The Judgement day of plates.

The Pass. The Judgement day of plates.
Bring the finished plates up to the pass for inspection.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Whole Wheat Tarts vs Plain Flour Tarts

Lately, I've been playing around with tarts made out of whole wheat flour instead of regular pastry flour or plain flour for the reasons that it will be healthier choice. As you may or may not know, whole wheat products will provide you with a source of proteins, fibers, vitamins and minerals which are always good for your body. My mom cannot consume too much white flour, so in house, we have mainly whole wheat products when it comes to baked goods such as whole wheat buns and breads. My parents are quite conscious when it comes to eating healthy, and I don't even want to get into the kind of drinks that they blend up every morning for my sister and I to drink. But that aside and back to the point, whole wheat tarts.

There are many doughs out there for tarts and pies and endless recipes to match with it. But as I have learned, the key to a strong tart/pie dough is allow to time for maturity of the dough. This means you must let your dough rest, best overnight, thus giving time for the flour in the dough to absorb any fat or moisture in the recipe. When flour is mixed in liquid, gluten is naturally developed and it helps strength the dough's ability to stretch when rolled. Same goes for tart doughs made with whole wheat flour, and it may take longer periods of resting time compared to pastry flour. This is due to the slower absorption of moisture from the whole wheat flour.
 
Then through a few trials, I found that whole wheat tarts tend to take a longer time to bake, and you couldn't use the same temperature used for regular tarts. The color of the tarts became too dark before it was fully baked. The whole wheat dough itself is much more dense compared to the regular flour tarts, and therefore, the release of moisture through baking took longer, and this cause the oven to steam up, and instead of baking you are now, steaming. So I had to open the oven doors to let out the steam and continue baking. Normally, the best oven for baking tarts are the convection ovens, the ovens with the built in fan to circulate the hot air better. And better this, you can buy yourself a convection oven with a vent function to let out steam when built up in the oven. It will provide your tarts with a nicer color on the crust and also giving you that crispy shell which is always desired.

I prefer to bake my tarts a little longer to evaporate more moisture. I do this because, although the tart shells will be a lot more dry, but when I add in the fillings it will soak up juice and balance out. Also, when living in humid climate, baking your shells a little longer than required will also help prevent your shells from becoming soft too fast due to the moisture in the air. Nobody likes a soggy tart shell.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Grilled peaches, Arugula Salad. Honey Grapefruit Vinaigrette.


Grilled Peaches. Had a craving to want to pan grill something, and so... Peaches it was.
Grilled peaches aren't exactly my favorite type of fruit to grill, but I enjoy the appearance of beautiful grill marks on my surface of my food. There weren't much ingredients to pan grill in the house, and I wasn't going to plan on pan grilling my bread without a fragrant cheese in between.

 When you grill anything, especially fruits or vegetables, some of it's moisture evaporates, thus concentrating it's flavors and natural sugars. This in case, with the peaches, they became much sweeter than prior and the feminine like scent of peaches become much more fragrant.

A few days ago, I had made using the last cup of the grapefruit juice with some EVOO, lemon juice, dijon mustard and honey.  A honey grapefruit vinaigrette was made. And I decided to dress that on my salad for lunch. I I thought the grapefruit juice and honey would nicely  balance out the peppery taste of the baby arugula, and the spiciness of the raw red onions.

But even so, I think I would have been just as happy with some lemon juice and olive oil whooshed together as my dressing. Sometimes I feel we tend to forget how beautifully tasting a great quality olive oil would be on the tongue, and we should be more enticed to explore these raw flavors.

Baby arugula salad
tomatoes. red onions.
and the beautifully grilled peaches
Honey grapefruit vinaigrette.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chocolate Gift Box. All CHOCOLATE!!

Okay readers, I am sorry I have abandoned you guys and this blog for more than a month. And I feel grateful that some of you still write to me and encourage me to keep on blogging about food. Especially, this one reader emailed me, screaming, " WHERE'S THE FOOOODDD PORNNN??? ". So I finally decided to get my ass off the lazy couch and put some effort back into my food blog. Hopefully, this type of motivation will last..

Well, I had taught a chocolate class a few days ago, and it was all about chocolate gift boxes. Using chocolate to make a real box with a lid and some decorations. You can use this box to fill it with more chocolate stuff, oh you know, like chocolate truffles and or chocolate bonbons. Whatever it is that you put into this box, it is going to look like it's the LV of chocolates.

I used CK luster dust to brush the colors on the chocolate once I had released it from the mold. Luster dust will give you a beautiful shiny look on your finished product. On the center of the flower pedal, I used a darker golden luster dust and on the ribbon tie, I picked a bronzed copper color. Overall, giving this chocolate gift box a beautiful antique look.

A smaller version of the chocolate gift box. Yup. It's all chocolate.
Doesn't look like it once bit, does it! Looks almost like metal !!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pear & Lavender Ice Cream : home style

When making the prefect ice cream, there are many factors to consider and some go very in-depth to prefect the recipe. There are 4 basic categories of ice cream and they are, ice Cream based, egg based, fruit based and then finally there is the sorbet. Each category has it's standard rules of measurements of certain ingredients, which if followed, will guarantee you a unique, pallet smoothing and flavor flowing ice cream that you want. Some of these rules of measurements concerns ingredients such as the percentages of fat contain, sugar contain, dairy contain and sometimes even the % of emulsifiers used to combine fats together. But, do we really need study all this rules of measurement to make a great tasting ice cream dessert? The answer is NO. You can still make ice cream with just a few simple ingredients such as milk, cream and some kind of flavoring. And it will still be quite delicious.

In this case I'm making a simple pear and lavender ice cream with an egg base ice cream.
The Ingredients are simple. You need:
Simple ingredients for home style ice cream.
500g whole milk
200g 35% cream
100g egg yolks
60g sugar
2-3 sprigs of lavender
150g pear puree.

If you can't find pear puree, you can also buy your own pear and cook it down with simple syrup and puree with a hand blender. Or you can also buy pear jams if you can find it in your local market. Just beware if you are using Jams, consider the sweetness level of your jam, you might have to reduce the 60g of sugar if your jam is already sweet.

Start by infusing the lavender with your cream and milk, so in a heavy bottomed pot, slowly bring your whole milk, 35% cream and sprigs of lavender to a quick simmer. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid to allow the lavender to further infuse. Steep for about 5 minutes or so, if you want a stronger lavender flavor, you can also steep it for 10 minutes.

Next, make a crème anglaise. So whisk your sugar and egg yolks together when your cream is finished infusing, and temper your egg yolk mixture with your cream. It' important that you keep whisking your crème anglaise while you cook and bring to a temperature of 80-82degree C. This will ensure that you pasteurize your egg yolks and leaving no trace of potential harmful bacteria.

Cooling the creme Anglaise

When your crème anglaise reaches 80-82C, take it off the heat and quickly cool it in an ice bath. Then add in your pear puree when the crème anglaise is at about 35C. Pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and follow the machine's instruction. Each ice cream machine is different, but usually it shouldn't take longer than an hour or so for your ice cream to be firm enough to scoop and eat.
After 40 minutes of spinning the ice cream. It's firm enough to scoop.
I really like to play with ice cream flavors, and the combination are endless. It's really just up to your imagination and testing to see what works, and what works better!~ I'm going to go enjoy my ice cream now!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The cure for crumble pound cakes! Why does my pound cake Crumble!

When we think pound cakes, we think rich, we think butter and we think of the dense cake-like texture that is the opposite of a sponge cake. But when my friend made her pound cake the texture was quite crumbly, as if it was falling apart when she sliced the cake. Why?

This crumbly texture of pound cakes is most likely a result of over mixing your cake batter for too long. This is an common mistake for most inexperienced bakers who is unsure when the cake batter is considered "well mixed". Especially, when trying out a new cake batter recipe, the result may not come out as planned.

Table top mixers, like kitchen aids are powerful beasts when used to mix cake batters. Often we forget how fast our pedal attachment is actually spinning per minute at certain speeds. My suggestion is to be patient, do not blast your mixer on high speed to start but instead, start on a moderate low speed. Besides from creaming your butter with sugar, the rest of the ingredients just need to be incorporated until smooth. Any more mixing after your batter is well incorporated will risk the creation of air bubbles, therefore crumbly cake.

And if you are cutting your cake while it's still hot, that's another faux pas. It will also cause your cake to crumble, crack or fall apart. The cake is always at its weakest when it's fresh out of the oven, although it's body structure has been baked set, but the inners with all the moisture is still too heavy for the outer layer to withstand. Allow your cake to cool before cutting and releasing from the mold.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I started a FB page for my Profession!!

So finally after long thoughts and weeks of wondering.. I finally decided I will create a fan page on facebook.
But do I really have any fans? Time will tell~

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jack-Lee/178032772237822?ref=sgm

For now! COME SUPPORT ME!! PLZ PLZ PLZ! haha

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cookies: Brown Sugar vs Granulated Sugar

Can you replace brown sugar with regular granulated sugar in a cookie recipe? I'm sure we have bumped into this kind of situation where the brown sugar is nowhere to be found in the kitchen, or simply just out of when we need it the most. Then we look towards our white granulated sugar and ponder, "Can I do that? Can I substitute brown sugar with granulated sugar?". And the answer is YES, however this kind of substitute comes with a mixed blessing.

When you replace the need of brown sugar in a cookie with granulated sugar, the end result of your cookie will be more crisp, because there is less moisture in granulated sugar than in brown sugar. The moisture content which comes the molasses in brown sugar will also give you a nice molasses flavor in your cookie. There's molasses in both light and dark brown sugar, and they can be both used interchangeably. The darker brown sugar will have more intense molasses flavor, which is especially complimentary when baking oat meal cookies.

At the same time, cookies baked with brown sugar will contain more moisture, which will also result in a more chewy cookie than cookies made with granulated sugar.