Thursday, April 22, 2010

Career as a Pastry Chef? Mayhaps...

So yesterday I got voted "Best Presentation" again for my dish... :-D The 2 women across the counter from me just stopped and watched me, and they were like "Wow..I'm just SO impressed with Karen today...I just see all this energy exploding from within her, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!" lol It was pretty exciting.

My dish was a Citrus and Green Tea Kanten with Ginger Cream. Our class was on sea vegetables, so all the dishes had seaweed in them. Kanten is basically just healthy jello. You make the gelatin out of agar agar, which I spent my whole undergrad plating bacteria on in labs......who woulda thunk I'd be cooking with it now! Haha so bizarre...

Anyway, I made the kanten and gelled it in small glass teacups with grapefruit supremes at the bottom. Once it hardened, I put the Ginger Cream into a pastry bag with a star tip, and did small dollops in the middle of each cup, and then placed orange peel shavings on top of the cream. I served all the cups on a white platter with an orange slice with a mint sprig in the middle, on the corner of the platter. :-) I didn't get a picture this time...but I think it's pretty self-explanatory.

This was DELICIOUS. The Ginger Cream was to DIE for. I ended up just eating it by itself! Then I went to the store to buy cashews and make it for myself...I'm thinking of something....perhaps a pecan/date crust, banana slices, cashew cream...we'll see what comes of that tomorrow evening when I have a bit of time to spend in the kitchen ;-)

Here is the recipe for this LOVELY kanten! Be sure to dissolve the agar agar completely, and use the exact amount it calls for - if you use too much agar to water, you will get a very hard, rubberlike the stuff you plate bacteria on ;-)

  • 1/4 cup agar agar flakes
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 large pink grapefruits (or some other fruit you think sounds lovely, but apparently pineapple doesn't work)
  • 3 Tbs loose leaf green tea
  • 1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice (from supremed grapefruit)
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or raw honey
  1. In saucepan, combine agar flakes and water - let stand for 15 mins. Supreme (slice the grapefruit w/o the membrane on the slices) grapefruit over bowl, reserving juice. Cut into chunks and set aside.
  2. Put saucepan on high heat - bring to a boil, stirring often. Boil for approx 1 min, then reduce heat to medium and stir until agar is completely dissolved.
  3. Turn off heat and stir in green tea. Cover and allow to steep for 5 mins.
  4. Strain mixture through fine mesh strainer into large measuring cup with pouring spout. Stir in maple syrup or honey, 1/2 cup reserved grapefruit juice, and orange juice.
  5. You can arrange grapefruit at bottom of glasses, but they all float to the top when you pour in the liquid
  6. Pour agar mixture into glasses and put in fridge to set.
Ginger Cream
  • 1.5 cups cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1.5 tsp ginger juice (to get this, you have to grate ginger on a microplane, place the pulp in a nut milk bag/fine mesh strainer, and squeeze the juice out. A pain, YES - worth it, ABSOLUTELY!)
  • 1 maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 Tbs water (ok, this was a bold-faced lie. I used at LEAST 1/4 cup I'd say...the freakin Vitamix would NOT blend and I was getting soooo frustrated...just put in water until it will whip into a cream-like consistency)
  1. Drain cashews and place in blender w/other ingredients and blend until smooth, adding water as needed.
  2. Spoon or pipe onto kanten with pastry bag.
  3. ENJOY!!!

Also, I had to share what I had for dinner tonight, b/c I was in HEAVENNN!!! It was SO easy to make, but SO good....I made a chicken parm with a cheese sauce, and it was sooo ridiculously flavorful...OH my gosh! A guy in my class apparently received this like 20 lb cheese wheel as a so he gave out huge wedges of it, and I needed to use it up, soooo this was born!

Basically, I took a chicken breast, stuck it in a pan with some homemade spaghetti sauce under and on top of it, sprinkled some grated cheese on top, stuck it in the oven at 375 for about 20 mins, and BOOM, that was done!

For the cheese sauce, I melted about 1 Tbs butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, added 1 Tbs buckwheat flour (yeahhhhh gluten free!), stirred that until it was incorporated, added, probably ended up being like 1 cup of almond milk....maybe a little less...I would add 1/2 cup and add more as needed. Anyway, I let that simmer and stir for a minute or 2, then added the cheese and stirred. I added a dash of garlic powder, some salt and pepper aaaaaaaand there you have an amaaaazing cheese sauce!

I served the chicken over spaghetti squash (WHICH, by the way, does NOT freeze and reconstitute well when case you were wondering *cough*) and drizzled the cheese sauce on top.


Enjoy :-)

1 comment:

  1. sounds amazing!! next time you're in town to visit...we should have a cook off! I'll bring T-Bell, and we'll see how it compares! ;-) hehe

    So glad you're having fun and doing well. Keep up the awesome posts!!! -Cheers