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Everything posted by chefpeon

  1. First off, I'll say that I most heartily agree, a cold cake works best for torting. Room temp is the ideal EATING temperature. If I tried torting most of my cakes at room temp, I'd have gone crazy by now.....oh wait....I already am....too late. Now, I must rant. You poor thing......I really hate to say it but, god bless the woman, she sounds like a royal pain in the ass. You're really jumping through hoops.......hope you're having fun.....that's all I can say. She's getting a free cake, so she should be happy with what she gets as far as I'm concerned. Sheesh. I am able to talk 99% of brides out of making bad decisions with this reasoning: "Unless you plan on eating the entire cake yourself, I would advise that you choose your cakes with the thought that you are feeding a multitude of guests with varying tastes. As far as etiquette goes, it is wise to choose cakes that will please the majority. If you have your heart set on having a particular type of cake that you like personally, why not make it the top tier? Then have the rest of the tiers made of cakes that are more crowd-friendly". The response I get from the brides when I make that suggestion is always positive. They are always concerned about the impression they make and when I point out that they can make a good impression AND have their cake (and eat it too), they always go for it. In my experience, brides are horrifically self-centered at wedding time, and they sort of forget to think about other people. Have you ever stopped to think how much weddings are completely centered around the bride? If I were you, I'd say: "Mom, I know you like cake mix cake, so how about we make the top tier a cake mix cake. Then perhaps most of your guests would appreciate having the "sophisticated" scratch cake, and we can make the rest of the tiers out of the scratch cakes. I am having trouble with the cake mix cakes crumbling on me, and I don't want your cake to fall apart at the reception.... how does that sound?" That sounds like a much easier solution than fighting with cakes that obviously aren't working for you. Anyway, it does sound like perhaps you aren't mixing your cakes long enough. I've make cake mix cakes before, and they were always moist, but never crumbly. Perhaps doing that pudding thing that Sinclair mentioned will help. Also, I will say again, mix and bake them one day, refrigerate overnight, then split and fill the next day. Cold cakes are so much easier to handle.....truly!
  2. chefpeon


    Thanks Rickster! For the correct spelling too! No wonder I couldn't find it at first. Hmmmmm. Rose and Lychee. Think I better go to the "Making things you Hate" thread. Lychees.....yuk! And believe it or not, I have no idea what "rose" tastes like...... It sounds interesting, for sure....and really pretty. But I still ain't eatin' it.
  3. Laws are funny, aren't they? She can prepare food in her clients kitchen (a home kitchen), and if she does any pre-prep it must be done in a certified commercial kitchen. But she can't use HER home kitchen. Bizarre I say.....and man, what a hassle. When you really think about it, it makes no sense.....her kitchen, their kitchen......not much of a difference there....especially since neither one has been approved the the health bureaucrats. But it's ok to use theirs....but not hers. Like I say.....bizarre!
  4. I agree.....once you try steel cut oatmeal, you don't want the regular stuff ever again! It's great. I have always wondered what kind of a cookie it would make....if at all. Anyone ever tried it?
  5. chefpeon


    Ok, first off...... what the heck is an Istaphan? I tried doing a Google search and couldn't come up with anything...... Secondly......this whole macaroon adventure I am having (woo hoo!) made me realize that there's yet another thing that fits into what I call the "Mexican Food Phenomenon". The theory: Mexican food seems to consist of some very basic components: rice beans tortillas guacamole sour cream chicken beef lettuce cheese If you have some beans, beef, cheese and lettuce on a flat corn tortilla, it's a tostada. If you have the same components rolled up in a flour tortilla, it's a burrito If they're in a flour tortilla shell, it's a Taco Salad If they're in a corn tortilla shell it's a Taco and on and on and on...... same components......it's just the varying shapes and presentations that make them different. So it seems for a lot of things in the pastry shop. Like I don't see much difference in a macaroon vs. japonaise other than the japonaise is baked off in sheets or rounds, whereas the macaroon is piped out to be a cookie. And then there's the title of this here thread.....Macarres.....a square macaroon.... A similar item made with almond flour and egg whites: Financiers.....if they are brick shaped.... but if they're baked in cylindrical molds or muffin tins, they're called Friands...... yipes. Just hope I can keep it all straight!
  6. I didn't hear about frying, but I did hear about toasting the oats in the oven for a bit. Seems it kind of brings out a nutty flavor in the oatmeal when you do that. I want to try it also, for home baking. At work, I'd have to toast a heck of a lot of oatmeal when I do a batch, and it's not worth the hassle, so I probably won't do it there. Besides, my customers like Sesame Flax Oat Cake Cookies. They have no taste anyway.
  7. Hey, great thread topic! I HATE making things I HATE! For some reason, if I don't like it, making whatever it is I hate seems like a real chore. Again, I will mention (if y'all aren't sick enough of me complaining about it) that stupid Sesame Flax Oat Cake cookie thing I have to make zillions of every week. They're not much better than a dog biscuit as far as I'm concerned, and I'm always making them.......a nightmarish thought: I have the recipe MEMORIZED!! AAAAAHHHHHHH!!! I also hate (detest) rhubarb. I never make strawberry rhubarb pies if I have the choice, but if I have to, then I always have someone else taste test for me....because with something I hate that much, I wouldn't know bad from good. Cherries too......don't like 'em. Or peaches. Yuk. Same goes for walnuts.....they always seem acidic and bitter to me. If I'm going to use nuts in something (and it's my choice) I will do anything to avoid using walnuts. ANYTHING. I think one of the perks of being a PC is enjoying what you make (no trusta da skinny cook!), so if I can't enjoy the fruits of my labor, it ain't fun at all! But, ya take the bad with the good..... And what's up with Rugelach? I hate it! And Stollen..... and anything with anise in it....... Oh shoot.....I could go on and on.........
  8. chefpeon


    I have this, uh, FRIEND, yeah, that's it, and my friend can't make joconde, and my friend was wondering if I could ask you guys what his problem is. And you guys think it's ME! Ha ha! It's really not my problem....this guy posted on a Yahoo group asking for help, so I thought I'd stick his question out there for y'all to ponder. BUT......since I am always looking to try everything under the sun and I haven't tried joconde yet, I might as well try. Amazingly I do not possess any recipes for it, even with all my books, so if someone could generously post a recipe it would be much appreciated! Wendy I've had the same exact problem you mention with parchment wrinkling when I do thin sponge sheets......good idea on the silpat....I have to get some full sheet ones though....I only have the half sheet size. And what is cigarette paste? Is that the same as tuile paste?
  9. Well, if they started with the recipe from the Quaker Oatmeal Box, then I would say it's a great recipe. It's kind of amazing, but I've baked a lot of different kinds of Oatmeal Cookies in a lot of different establishments, and I still think the best Oatmeal Cookie is the recipe in the Quaker box. Hands down.
  10. I definitely understand the job of a personal chef is to go to clients homes and prepare their meals in their kitchen.......but.....what is it that prohibits you from doing anything except the day of the event? I mean, if I were hosting a party in my home, I certainly wouldn't leave all the prep and cooking til the last minute.....why should you? Especially when it comes to dessert.....the wonderful thing about desserts is that a lot (or maybe even most) can be made the day before. Or prepped the day before......you aren't able to do this? You couldn't bake up a cheesecake and slice it and have it all ready for your clients? It certainly would be easier for you....that's for sure.
  11. This question was posted on the YahooGroups Pastry Chef list.... I've never done Joconde myself......anyone care to take a stab at what his problem is?
  12. Ha ha ha! Keith, I must say...... Touche!
  13. BWA-HA-HA-HA!!!! Damn that's funny!!! Shall we turn this into the "Best of Stupid Co-Workers" thread????
  14. Oh Lord! A graduate of a 2 year pastry program has to be told to use a whip to mix meringue?? Have I underestimated the general stupidity of the public yet again???? I have always held out hope that most people are smarter than they look, myself included. Sheeeeeeeeeeesh. What next. I've always gotten myself in trouble by giving people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I should stop doing that........ No wonder you're all paranoid about being out with your surgery!!! Wish I could come give you a hand! Uh, er, pardon the pun......
  15. The only reason I haven't tried it is that I don't have the book. I don't discount it's "yummability" at all! Sounds great to me too! Do what I do when I want to try something new.....do a test run. Decide for yourself about it's ease and yummability (that's a cool word!), and in doing so, you'll find out where the "bugs" are and you'll know how to do it perfectly the second time. I may have years of experience as a PC, but I NEVER put a dessert out for service or for an order til I do a trial run first. In fact, I have my "little black box". It's my box of tried and trues, and no recipe goes in there til it's been kitchen tested by me. It's a great system. I'd be lost without my box. My box is ever expanding and so is my repertoire.......
  16. You know, one wonders how "real" reality TV is anyway.........I mean, can you imagine if this girl just breezed through it all? It wouldn't have been half as entertaining.....I think TV producers KNOW that people just love to watch other people fail.....it makes us feel better about ourselves.....and our lives. I'm willing to bet that part of it was staged and they encouraged to her be a little inept for the sake of watchability. I have a hard time believing people on reality TV can really be so annoying and stupid naturally. It could very well be true, but I think producers egg people on and push some buttons to get a little action and conflict going. I wish I could watch it....... Unfortunately, I don't get Fine Dining OR the Food Network up here in li'l ol Tinytown!!!!
  17. Hi Abra..... I just got my Albert Uster Imports catalog in the mail the other day. They carry a lot of beautiful ready made dessert decorations.....a lot of them are made from chocolate. The also carry some pretty classy looking sugar flowers. Marzipan fruits.... really cool looking chocolate spheres.... rolled gaufrettes.... nougatine shells... nougatine triangles.... fan gaufrettes.... beautiful stuff really. If you go to the Albert Uster Homepage you can request a catalog. Unfortunately, they don't show their products online! I actually want/need to order some stuff. If you like, maybe we can go halfsies on some stuff, since I'm not high volume and neither are you and some of it's pricey. If you want to sometime, just PM me!
  18. With my buttercream piping method, the tread goes inward also. Examine my brain, above. The piping sticks out and the spaces in between the piping go inward. So if I were to do tread, I would pipe a zigzaggy line, leave a space, pipe another zigzaggy line, and so on. Then when the fondant goes over it, you gently press it into those spaces, and voila! Inward tread. Especially with a cake that large, I would avoid embossing, because as the fondant dries, it starts to crack.....I'm afraid it would start to become unworkable as you worked your way around the cake. There's also the risk of embossing too hard and poking holes in it. Not good. I had forgotten about the existence of chocolate fondant. Yes, I agree, go with that. It will take much less additional black coloring to get it dark, and of course, there's the option that you can airbrush the black on.......this will help greatly with taste issues.
  19. I really should show some restraint....but....... BWA-HA-HA-HA!!!! We PC's know how special we are. More PC's can cook than savory guys can bake. I might get flamed for this, but in my experience, it's the truth. I understand it though. I went to culinary school for two years. My first year I did pastry and baking because that's my passion. After I completed that, I figured, why stop there? I should know all there is to know about the kitchen....not just dessert. So I enrolled in the hospitality and culinary arts program. It was that program that made me realize that working on the hot line and slamming out multiple covers as fast as you could while sweating like a pig was NOT my cup 'o tea. I learned a lot in culinary arts, and it made me more valuable as a kitchen employee, because I can step into any aspect of food prep. But I couldn't be a full time savory person, no way. I think it takes two distinct personalities to excel at either savory or pastry. So as much as my hearty laugh above pokes fun at savory people, I have just as much respect for them! If they thrive on high-pressure, high volume, hot as hell, stressful, chef-knife wielding, hot saute pan, kind of environment and do it well......then my toque is off to them. I couldn't do it, and I admit it. I am deliberate, artistic, methodical, anal-retentive and a perfectionist. These traits are well suited for a PC, but not for the savory side. The constant "chaos" on the savory side really messes with my brains' need for perfect order. So the tragedy of that person's experience doesn't surprise me in the least, because I've seen it....a lot. On the rare days I've been ill, there have been phone calls to me at home from the savory guy saying, "help! How do you do this?" One time, during the holiday season, I came down with the flu. I was working at a busy bakery/deli at the time, and we were doing holiday deli and dessert platters out our butts. A lot of these dessert platters included, yes, decorated holiday sugar cookies. Before I got sick, I had decorated dozens of cookies, so I wasn't too worried they'd run out. But, lo and behold, we got a HUGE order from a large company who wanted a lot of platters for their in-house Xmas party. Of course, they ran short on cookies and I wasn't there. So I get this phone call at home. They knew I used a bucket of meringue powder to create my icing for the cookies, and there were a couple of recipes on the side of it for icings and such. They figured they'd use the recipe for meringue. So they pipe out the MERINGUE on the cookies and wondered why it didn't set. They decorated (or tried to) 200 cookies with MERINGUE. Unbelievable. I was both amazed and amused and their bone-headedness, and laughed when I told them it was the ROYAL ICING recipe they needed to follow. Then they had the balls to ask if I could come in and get them off the hook. I almost did it.......but I was too sick even to become a martyr, so I delined and they had to run over to Safeway and buy some of their cookies......... so again I say....... BWA-HA-HA-HA!
  20. Man, LV sounds like one of THE places to be if you want to expand your horizons, learn from the best, be on the cutting edge, and actually make a living while you're at it. I'd probably do it in a hot second, except for the fact that I'd actually have to live there. I don't think I could stand it. I grew up next to the ocean, and I actually start to get panicky when I move inland and can't see a coastline. People always recognize me....I'm the PC with the seaweed stuck to her shoes. Hey Neil, I was wondering...... I saw your wonderful page on your adventures in Pastry School. Did you go there on your own, then apply to work at Bellagio? Or did you get a position at Bellagio and they sent you to pastry school? I noticed that Chef Maury is the exec at Bellagio and also the one who headed up the school you went to.....coincidence?
  21. Luck's also sells those things.....they call them "Dec-Ons" and they have a HUGE variety of them. Basically all they are are shaped sugar cubes. I wouldn't eat one....too sweet for me....but kids love 'em. I've used them in some bakeries I've worked in. Mostly for holiday cupcakes and such. Grocery store bakeries use them a lot.....take a look in your grocery store bakery next time you're there. Bet you'll see some. They are flat on one side like you said, and they lay down flat. I wouldn't call them "tacky", they have their place in high volume establishments where decorators have no time to do any kind of custom or fine detail work. For most of us PC's, I would liken using them to reading a great novel and then discovering it has a crappy ending. If we go to the trouble of making this great dessert, then plate it and stick a Dec-On on it, it would be like, "what the hell?"
  22. Love your Michelin Man, TP!!! I actually had this wacked out thought of suggesting that Karen put that Michelin Man partially under the tire.....as if he'd been run over...... Hee hee. They probably wouldn't like that. But it's fun to think about.
  23. When I do REALLY large cakes, I place the fondant on in sections. It is easy to make the seams invisible with water, the edge of a knife blade and fingertips. Sure, you could do it that way, but wow, that's a lot of work. It is so quick and easy to pipe your buttercream on the cake in a zigzaggy tread pattern, then refrigerate it, then quickly run an offset spatula over the top of the buttercream to give it that flat edge. Believe me, my specialty is labor-intensive cakes. Anything I can do to make it less so (without sacrificing quality, mind you) is more money in my (and my employers' pocket)!
  24. chefpeon


    I assume all the numbers above are gram weights?
  25. chefpeon


    Whew... :blush:I was embarrassed to admit that I too, have never made them, but tan beat me to it.....so I don't feel.......so ALONE But that's going to change today. My day off, and I usually have nothing to do with baking on my day off, but my beloved cat just got killed by coyotes, and I need to do something to drown my sorrow and get my mind off it. So. The macaroon recipe I found, seems that it's so thick you can't even pipe it. I suspected as much when the recipe said you form the paste into balls with your hands. If that's the case, then I figure I could form a square pretty easily. Is that the wrong consistency? The consistency you guys talk about seems to be much thinner than that. Also, confirming the recent "rage" that macaroons seem to be having....the new Uster catalog featured them on a couple of pages. They are pictured as being sandwiched together with a filling. What would this filling typically be.......some sort of buttercream?
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