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Everything posted by chefpeon

  1. Heh heh! When you do a 60 qt mixer full of carrot cake batter, about the best thing you can do to waste time is to peel your carrots. I wash them well, cut off the tops and shred. There's nothing wrong with not peeling a carrot if you're going to bake with it. Just make sure they're clean.
  2. I think personality traits, and to some degree, gender, enter into the equation about which side of the kitchen you end up on. Personally I don't think I'm a pastry chef because I'm a woman, I'm a pastry chef because: *I don't do well in high pressure, fast paced, stressful, hot environments (the more I sweat, the less I am able to think clearly. It's true. I've never been athletic, I can tell you that!) *I'm an anal-retentive, artistic perfectionist. *I love the "science" of baking (born a nerd). *Sweet flavor profiles and combining them come easier to me than coming up with complementary flavors on the savory side. Ask my parents about the turkey soup I made them once. It had tarragon in it and it was AWFUL. ) *Slappin' dough around is FUN! *I'm a "linear" thinker. The precision, organizational and time management skills it takes to be a good pastry chef are in line with the way my mind works. The chaos of the hot side makes me crazy. I went to school both for pastry and for culinary arts. I took the culinary arts course after I finished the pastry course. It didn't take long for me to realize that although the culinary arts side rounded out my food knowledge, it was something I probably would never pursue in the work world. I always admire the "hot siders", because they can do something that is nearly impossible for me. My hat is off to them! I'm not worthy! I think that either gender possess the traits similar to mine that would make them better pastry chefs, but I think statistically perhaps more women share the traits that I referenced above.
  3. First, I don't think the water was needed, so on your next try leave that out. I'm not really sure if you overworked it on the mixer, but if you did, that is fixable by perhaps adding more powdered sugar or even cornstarch. I find that cornstarch does a pretty good job of absorbing excess goo. Also when I roll out marzipan, I use cornstarch as my dusting medium, not powdered sugar. Also remember that marzipan by nature IS somewhat sticky. You need to use a lot of dusting medium on your work surface.....more than you're probably using now.
  4. On that note, I always add my salt and leavening during the creaming stage of any recipe, including cookies and cakes. I started doing this when I was using a 60 qt. mixer and realized that there was no way the leavening would be distributed thoroughly if I added it at the end with the flour, as is typical with most recipe instructions. I started doing this at home on my KitchenAid also. It's quite handy as it saves you the step of sifting the leavening and salt with the flour before adding it to the recipe. If spices are involved, I include the spices in on the creaming stage too. After doing it this way for so long, it makes me wonder why recipes want you to add in the leavening, salt and spices at the end. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me now.
  5. chefpeon

    Chef Ethics

    A-ha! You work at Denny's! Dude, you can do better than that.
  6. chefpeon


    How does it compare to Instant Cleargel?
  7. chefpeon


    Ok you guys. Please tell the rest of the class about what the heck Ultra Tex is.
  8. I make lots of rice pudding. I hate rice pudding. Rice pudding hot, Rice pudding cold, Rice pudding in the pot, Annie'd rather eat mold. For some odd reason I don't take pleasure in creamy lumpy things.....like rice pudding or tapioca......bleah!!!!
  9. Freezers suck moisture right out of things. That's why they need to be well wrapped (contained) to maintain food quality if you're going to store for a relatively long period. Ice creams/sorbets shrink because of loss of moisture. Luckily, in my house, ice cream NEVER lasts long enough to shrink anyway.....
  10. I do agree that the writer clearly made himself out to be a horse's ass, no question. Could have been that waiter was in a no-win situation with Hitchens as a customer. Hitchens exaggerated the perceived faux pas by the waiter, but I do think the premise is right......the waiter shouldn't just refill all glasses without getting a nod or eye contact, a hand over the glass or a plain yes or no.......
  11. I ditto everything djyee100 said. I hate convections!!!! Hate them hate them hate them! However if everything everybody said about home convections is true (I know y'all wouldn't lie), and you can just turn the convection feature off, then there's no problem. I've never had a home convection, but if I did, I'd always turn it off, I can tell you that. For half of my professional baking life, I've been forced to deal with convection ovens......good ones and junk ones. The only decent ones are the ones that have a high/low fan feature. Even then I'd still rather bake in a conventional oven, given the choice. For the past 2 years I've been stuck with convections that only have the super-high-out-of-control fan feature. I can't tell you how much this sucks. I have to deal with severe hot spots, so I am constantly rotating my pans and switching shelves. The fan blows my muffin tops over to one side so I have lopsided muffins. It blows my parchment paper around if every corner isn't covered with product, so I'm always using forks or spoons to keep the parchment in place. It's SO annoying. And then tweaking the baking temps all the time is a hassle too. Home models seem more user friendly though. I side with your wife on being convection-phobic, but if it's something that she won't be forced to use, and can turn the feature off, then she shouldn't be freaking out.
  12. I do cry a little every day with no sprayer.....especially since we HAVE a sprayer (brand new), but Boss man just hasn't found the time to install it. We also have an automatic dishwasher. It's sitting out in the field next to the bakery, slowly deteriorating in the weather and becoming obscured by the grass. I've given up on the fact that that thing will ever be installed. The stories I could tell. Boss will spend over a half hour calling purveyors to get the best price on butter and flour, but he doesn't mind paying me to do dishes half the day. It makes no sense. I'm baking in the Twilight Zone. When I get to work every morning I see the ghost of Rod Serling standing in front of my dishwasher in the field.
  13. After more than a year of washing all my dishes by hand in a tiny sink with no sprayer hose and no automatic dishwasher........ I HATE CLEANING EVERYTHING!!!! Half of my workday is spent dishwashing and cleaning which leaves me very little time to produce anything and probably makes me the highest paid dishwasher in the county.
  14. I'm honestly not being sarcastic here.......but I test my items by sticking them on the shelf and watching them. I taste one every day to analyze changes in taste and texture and general deterioration. I test them in the environment they will spend the most time in, whether it's a dry temperature controlled case, or a fairly humid refrigerator case. The results I get help me determine the pull date for any item I make. It works and....best of all it's cheap!
  15. It's one thing to debate facts. In regard to food, beauty, art......it's all subjective; in the eye of the beholder. If something doesn't appeal to someone or taste good to someone, then there's no amount of explaining that is going to change their mind about it. If someone has a great dining experience, and wants to share it, that's great....nothing wrong with that. Do you really think movements like impressionism, surrealism, jazz, etc, gained momentum because people were out there explaining it? I doubt it. They survived and flourished on their own merits. Enough people were drawn to it, and these art forms are still practiced today. In regard to food trends/movements......all I can say is get it out there.....let people try it. They'll come up with their own conclusions based on their personal taste. When it comes to things subjective as this, it's undebatable.....there are no facts, just opinions. Molecular Gastronomy just might really take off if there's enough chefs interested in the concept to risk the investment and market it wisely. I know that I would LOVE to experience that kind of dining. I also know we live in a world where people gravitate toward the old and familiar, so it could be a hard sell. I believe that time, exposure, marketing, and the masses will determine the success/failure of any particular trend.
  16. I thought perhaps they may be fried also, but then the burnt end on the one on the right clued me in that at least that one was baked. The one on the left may have been fried. It's hard to tell. I do know that a nice flaky pie dough will look blistery like that when baked, and I think from the deep brown look of the pastry, it's probably rolled in a generous amount of sugar. I really doubt that it's a yeast dough though....it's not puffy enough.
  17. Whenever a waitperson has picked up the bottle on the table to refill, they have always asked if I wanted more before pouring. I've never had one just take it upon themselves to do that without asking. I think comparing refilling a wine glass to water glasses or coffee cups is sort of like apples to oranges. It's not like the customer is paying extra for the coffee and water top-offs. Once the wine bottle is empty, they don't get more til they buy another one. Alcohol, of course impairs judgement which I believe is another good reason that waitstaff shouldn't be so eager to empty the bottle. I think it's far better for one to pour their own wine out of the bottle, than to see someone's glass filled who didn't care for another glass in the first place. Edited to add: and you're right, as a waitperson, sometimes you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. I've been a server. You could stand on your head and sing the hokey pokey while you were pouring the wine and it wouldn't make some people happy. That's why although I complain about BOH plenty, you could never pay me to be FOH ever again! I deeply appreciate my comrades on the front lines.
  18. Did a little digging around since you didn't provide much of a description.....only a photo...... I'm guessing the cheese roll that was purchased was from Porto's Bakery? I found several mentions on Chowhound about how great they are, and from going to Porto's website, they listed it as one of their most popular items. I found this description on a blog: No, it wasn't Rachael Ray's....... From the description it seems that a flaky type pie dough is used, and filled with a cream cheese filling that may be similar to the cream cheese filling that you make to fill a danish pastry. They are probably baked, but they could be deep fried too.....for that extra fatty goodness.
  19. Here's the article. The difference between a good waiter and a bad waiter is toeing the fine line between being too intrusive and being almost absent. In the case of the waiter that Hitchens was speaking about......bad bad bad! Taking it upon himself to pour wine into everyone's glass without being asked.....I can't imagine the reason except for what Hitchens suggested, and that would be for the establishment to empty the bottle so they can perhaps sell you another one. Or.....it very well could have been a not-so-subtle hint for the group to get on with it, so they could turn the table over....especially if it was a busy night. Regardless......not good waiter behavior to be sure. As a diner, I would prefer my waiter/waitress to be more on the "too intrusive" side than on the "absent" side. It always seems to me that if I do need to request something, like a glass of water or an extra napkin, or some ketchup, etc, the waitstaff is never around. If I don't need a thing then the waitstaff is in my face every five minutes. Murphy's Law of Dining I guess. Then of course, it's like they wait til your mouth is full before they ask how everything is, and all you can do is say, "mblphmf" which they take to mean, "Everything's great!"
  20. This is one of those questions that will never be "answered", but can be debated forever. "Debated" may not even be the correct term. It's all a matter of mood and personal taste in regard to what gives one pleasure at any given moment. Sometimes you just want a hamburger. Sometimes you want something that tastes like meat, served in a shot glass with tomato "caviar" and lettuce "foam".
  21. Okay, NOW I get what you're saying. Yeah, I've worked with people that are "all hat no cowboy", you betcha. I can relate.
  22. Yeah, I don't recall ever seeing a coupler made for the larger tips, like say, the 124 rose tip. Now that I think about it, it WOULD be nice if there WERE couplers for those tips. I could use them. Maybe they actually do make them.....but I haven't seen them. I actually don't know the answer to that question. In fact I rarely know the "number" assigned to the tip I may be using. I just look at the tip, and say, "yep, that's about the size I need."
  23. ^Yep, everything they said.^ It really is best to squeeze everything out of your pastry bag when you're done with it for the day, and start fresh in the morning.
  24. I'm guessing by the look of it, that that was probably built upside down in a bowl, then flipped over and covered with marzipan. That's my best guess anyway.
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