Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I made it through Mother's Day

and perfected the use of agar for a chocolate panna cotta.

One of the major challenges I face it to make desserts that are animal product free that taste good. Okay, not just good. Good. Capital GEE is a must here. It's not as complex as gluten free, or wheat free and should be easy. Until you start to really read recipes are realize how many use gelatin.

Does anyone not know what gelatin is? How do you make molded desserts without it? Like, oh say, the above panna cotta.

The ingredient to use is Agar. A seaweed derivative that gels things up just fine.
But but but it's a pain to work with if you don't know what you're doing. And I haven't. I've been experimenting.
I borrowed some inspiration from Clotilde, spent some time studying Rilettes in Art Culinaire and bought some agar from a local Korean market.
Once I got the agar in powder form from a local health food store, heated it before adding and let it sit for about 90 minutes after infusing the chocolate base with fresh lavender -- well, let's just say it all went amazingly well.
Though the brioche bread pudding with housemade marmalade sauce was definitely the winner of the day.
And, phew. It's over.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Finally Better

With Mom's Day looming down my neck (please don't groan TOO loudly at the mixed metaphors) I am up and making desserts and pastries for brunch.

Today was pecan tartlets, tomorrow beignets. More when I can muster energy to both work and play.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I am so sick

Fever over 100. The restaurants is making desserts daily and I just can't get out of bed long enough to stand, let alone do brulees. Life hurts today...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Good desserts!

We went to Bix for the notsoyoungone's birthday. nsyo used to want whole cracked crab every year, but has grown out of that a tad and now wants other things (Yay!)
So I pick each year and off we go to a new adventure. Bix was chosen as fancy enough for her to dress up for with a menu that we could all eat from (one mod adventurous omni, one ovolactoveg, one nottoospicyplease) and I can say the drinks are what you gotta go for.
The appetizers are yummy, the first courses fun -- the tartare a must do if you haven't before, and the main courses and sides are just not worth it. Stick with more apps and move on to dessert....

You see, I now developing a bit of a rep for going to restaurants and ordering all the desserts (or at least MOST of the desserts) on the menu. Not to eat every drop, but to be able to see, experience and TASTE all of them.
And Bix had an impressively fun selection with just the names! (and I get the impression the menu doesn't change often): Warm Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding, Organic Strawberry Napoleon with Bellwether Farms Ricotta and Toasted Filo Layers, Bananas Foster with Dark Rum and Vanilla Ice Cream, Little Ice Cream Sandwiches, and House Spun Lemon Ice Cream with Wild Huckleberries. Okay, so we skipped to Sorbet of the day... and they were all at least okay. The Pudding was the least fav, Handsome went for the Napoleon and Ice Cream Sandwiches, the NYSA went for the bananas so shucks, I was left with the lemon ice cream. Tangy, bright, fresh, and creamy. Everything lemon ice cream should be. I think there are some extras in the walkin I could play with...

Gotta love the inspiration wherever it comes from!