Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's been awhile.

I haven't posted in forever. I have been busy-ish with school and life. Lots of pictures to be added tonight. Facebook friends have seen some of them, so I do apologize to them for having to see the same pics. Work has been kind of slow, hopefully it will pick up again soon. We're in cakes right now at school. For the most part it has been enjoyable, but it has its moment. The school setting is difficult for me because I'm used to be in charge at home, i'm not an 18 year old kid who hasnt been on their own. I am making good grades though and that's really what matters. Still on the search for an externship, it starts in August so I really need to get into gear. I'm also looking to get some practice in,so if anyone local would like to help me out, get in touch with me.

Friday I am participating in my school's version of 'Chopped'. I'm nervous, but it should be fun. I am not aiming to win, I just want the experience. It'll be an early morning, and I'll definitely be taking a nap at some point. I don't get near as much sleep as I probably should. Anywho, on to some pics of the goodies I have done recently. Up first: Carrot cake: Iced with cream cheese icing

Up next: German Chocolate cake
Coconut Pecan icing, pecan and chocolate shavings for garnish

Orange Chiffon: There should be orange suprems on top, but I'm allergic...Cutting them=Hives
Iced with Cream Chantilly and some chocolate shavings.

Here we have a Sacher Torte
Last but not least the Bouche De Noel. I have pics of the start and the end. I have wanted to make one since watching Julia Child make it.

I didn't realize until I had gotten home that I forgot leaves on part of the vine. Hah! Chocolate spongecake with raspberry filling, coffee french buttercream and meringue mushrooms. We had this as dessert tonight and it was delicious. I delivered the Sacher Torte to a friend and she said it was really good. Carrot cake went to my stepdad and he loved it, and the German chocolate went to my stepsister. She said her boyfriend devoured it. No one ever got to eat the Orange chiffon, but I bet it would have been yummy. Oh and I almost forgot, the pics of the cake my daughter and I made.

Chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and cream chantilly.

I guess that's all for now. I'll try and work on keeping up with this regularly, instead of slacking. Thanks for looking. <3

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Eclairs, Swans & a Competition?

Today we made eclairs, swans and cream puffs filled with diplomat cream. I of course have some pictures to share, the eclairs look kind of 'eh' but I swear to you they taste delicious. I had to make-up a class last night for the last course (artisnal breads), it had been pushed a few times due to snow. I made bagels and croissant dough. It didn't surprise me at all that I was a tad frustrated with the bagels. I have yet to find myself comfortable with bread. I hope that in time it will feel a bit more natural and I wont feel so stressed out. Eclairs and swans today were fun. It's obvious I'm new to it though. Good thing I have school and great Chefs to help me out. People baking on TV make it look SO easy. Ha! Anywho, through all my frustration in  the breads course I still pulled an A for the course. I averaged 108 on quizzes, got a 91 on the final practical and a 97.something on the final exam. It feels awesome to finally be doing well at something. I have spent too many years feeling down and out.
Here are the pics of the goodies I made today. Reminder: My cell takes crappy pics.


I was supposed to work 7-4 this coming Sunday, but I was informed when I called Chef this am to confirm my hours that I am not working there until 4. He said I will be there until 10am and then I am going with him to the Worcester's Best Chef competition. Originally I was supposed to go there at 4 after my brunch shift to help out. Now I am going to do the whole thing with him! How exciting is that? I am super nervous and totally excited for this oppurtunity. Everyone please wish me luck that my panic attacks stay at bay. It is going to be very crowded and probably pretty overwhelming. Hopefully we'll get some pics while we're there. worcestersbestchef.com  for those who might be interested in details. Ok, I went on and on about myself enough for one day. <3

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Practice makes perfect.

One day I will be the person everyone thinks about first when they need cookies, and cakes.  I know it will take years, a lot of practice and even some failure. My lack of patience will get in the way a lot I'm sure, but as long as I overcome the problem all is good right? I'm going to do it until I get it right even if it breaks me down.  Often, it seems as if people think 'It's only cooking.'  If it isn't done with all your heart poured into it, then I guess yes it is 'only cooking'.  A cake I make when I'm upset and don't really want bake isnt going to be the best cake. On the flipside of that,  sometimes baking is how I cheer myself. Why? Because I love it. Well, maybe not bread so much. Whatever you do, if you LOVE it will just be better. Let me pause right here and apologize for being a rambler and often not making any sense. You've now been warned.

So anyways, let's move on to the samples I was supposed to have made. Come to find out the client midweek found a bakery elsewhere, a high-end bakery I believe. Probably not a bad idea given I'm fairly new to a piping bag. So I purchased the items for these samples because I did not hear from anyone to know about the clients decision.  Get to work Friday and find out, then agree to make some cookies up for the little bakeshop at work. I so kindly took step by step pics, hopefully they will work. I'm so computer stupid, unless of course it's facebook.  The pictures are crap quality because they were taken with my cell, sorry. I can definitely see that I need a lot of practice.  I am my own worst critic. Chef and the GM both said they liked them and they came out beautiful, but I still continue to critique them and see all the flaws. Confidence. I lack it. But again, I'm rambling. Here are some pictures.

Step 1: Big Sugar cookies

Step2: Fondant ( I did not take a pic of the icing that holds the fondant on lol)

Step 3: Painted cookie.

Step 4: Lettering. I decided not to stay with the yellow for the lettering though.
Finished product.

That's it for tonight. I just realized how sleepy I really am! We are making lot's of goodies in school tomorrow and I need some Zzz's.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow day...again

I wish I could be those one of those happy go lucky people who vomit rainbows when it snows. I hate winter. I find it very hard to be positive Nov-March every year. Cold makes my body hurt, my brain work overtime and everyone around me would rather run the other way and I can't blame them. I just turn into this big whiney mess. Maybe I should invest in a sun lamp. Anywho.

I tried making some fondant at home... Yeah. It tasted like fondant, I guess. I couldnt get it stiff enough and it just kept tearing. Needless to say the kids ended up playing with it. They had a blast with it and I swallowed my pride and bought a container of premade. I am going to put the cookie samples together in a little while. I would have taken and shared a picture of the fondant disaster, but I don't yet know how to add pictures here. Maybe someone can (hint, hint) help me out?

My weekend is going to consist of work. I'm hoping to be able to get out and have an hour or so myself though. Maybe later tonight since I don't have to be in until 2 tomorrow instead of the usual 9. Sundays are always 7am which means Saturday nights are for sleep. August 29th will start my externship. I'm looking forward to not having to commute an hour to school and an hour back 5 days a week. I hope to start at work fulltime though. Kiddos will be in school all day and with my not going to school everyday I can work. I guess I'll see when the time comes. 

Ok, ok. I need to get off of here and get things done.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The first...

Blogging seems to be the 'it' thing to do now, so here I am. I guess this makes me a follower, eh? So, my page tells (somewhere I think) you a little about me. 3 kids, a job and school. I don't think I told you my name though. Hi, I'm Jana, pronounced Jan-UH for those who aren't sure. The kiddies are 2 boys and a girl. Boys are 6 and 10, the girl is 8. Amongst our chaos there are 2 cats and a dog. Oldest boy has high functioning autism, he is ridiculously smart but his people skills stink. He's way cooler than your 'perfect' child, I assure you that. Youngest boy is also really smart, we believe he will some day be an engineer of some kind. He is forever building things and is a great problem solver but he can be super stubborn. The girl is the smart kid who is really stubborn . Hmm, I wonder where these kids get all that stubborness? She doesn't want us to know she's smart though. She isn't fooling anyone. I can see right through the hair tossing, foot stomping and homework crumpling. Me.. What about me?  I'm not a fan of people,I have no patience...Well, over time you will see who I am, or at least form an opinion on who you think I am. I have no intentions to use perfect grammar on this blog. I just plan to be me and use this as my platform to ramble on about my life. I currently attend Culinary school for International baking and pastry. For some this may sound super easy. I mean it's 'just cooking' right?  You see, some people are born with a natural talent. I was not. I have to pay a lot of  money to learn the talent. I only started in September of 2010, so everything is still new. I'm not sure if I have a natural talent for anything, because if I do, I have yet to find it.  I am a prep cook for a restaurant at a popular-ish New England tourist spot. That job sorta inspired this blog. I was given the task of making samples for a wedding and decided why not blog about it. I am just an average joe trying to learn this art of baking, I'm not a skilled, been doing this for years, fancy schmancy baker. I can relate to those who have burnt their cookies (or bread!), collapsed their cake or forgot that important ingredient.  So that's that. Now I must return to the land of motherhood and convince the children it would be a great idea if they went to bed early. Hopefully sooner rather than later I'll return with a blog about the samples and my attempt at homemade fondant.