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Level 2: Day 14

Thursday, December 15, 2011

LEVEL 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine

Week 3

Day 14: Homemade Vanilla Extract, Basic Solid Chocolate & Warm Pecan Tart

Today we learned how to make:

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I was amazed to learn that the process of making vanilla extract from scratch is really easy.  Following is the process:

  • Sterilize a glass container (mason jar is perfect)
  • Using a knife, slice 3 medium vanilla beans lengthwise to expose the seeds but do not scrape the seeds out
  • Place sliced vanilla beans in mason jar
  • Pour 1 cup of high quality organic vodka over the beans and seal jar tightly
  • Store the jar in a cool, dark place for 2-6 months and extract will be ready to use in a minimum of 2 months

Following is a picture of the one we made today:

Basic Solid Chocolate
Today we learned how to make chocolate from scratch and we then learned how to temper this chocolate.  The process of tempering chocolate helps the chocolate to set up firmly so it will snap when bit into or broken.  Tempering chocolate also helps give chocolate a glossy sheen and brings out the depth of flavor.
The first thing we were introduced to was solid raw cacao butter.  Following is a picture:
Solid Raw Cacao Butter
We then melted this raw cacao butter to get it ready for making chocolate from scratch:
Look at that gorgeous color!
We were then introduced to Raw Cacao Paste.  Following is a picture:
We then set up a sort of double broiler with hot water in one metal bowl and then placed the other metal bowl with the melted cacao butter on top of the hot water bowl. We then added the cacao paste chunks and began to whisk.
Tempering is quite a process and you must be mindful of the temperature targets that you need to reach, namely 115°F first, then down to 84°F then finally up to 88°F.  During the process of heating and cooling, you add your flavor agents namely, maple syrup or agave, vanilla extract and salt.
Following is a picture of the final glorious chocolate sauce we made in class:
Chef Sean Murray’s reflection is an example of how glossy your chocolate sauce should be
Here it is again but this time my focus is on the chocolate sauce
Our final recipe for the day was:
Warm Pecan Tart
Following are pictures of this recipe:
Both are ready for the dehydrator…
Following is my plating design interpretation for this recipe:
 
Well, that’s all for today.  Have a wonderful evening and thank you for visiting my blog.
Blessings to you and yours!

Level 2: Day 13

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

LEVEL 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine

Week 3

Day 13: Braided Bread, Mozzarella “Cheese”, Gingerbread Cookies, Herb Crackers & Italian Chia Chips

First thing I did today was check on the braided Italian inspired bread I made yesterday (sundried tomato, kalamata olive, onion/garlic).  It was ready to be removed from the dehydrator and tastes wonderful!  Following is a picture of the finished product:

When I’m ready to serve it, I’ll brush a little olive oil on top of each strand and voila!

Our next recipe was:

Mozzarella “Cheese”

For this exercise we used small ring molds because we want to make small rounds of soft Mozzarella “Cheese.”  Following is a picture:

Hand model Chef Megan Massoth

For our next recipe we made:

Herb Crackers
The herbs we used for these crackers are oregano, thyme and rosemary.  The dough smells delicious and I can’t wait to try them with the “cheese” we are currently aging.  Following is a picture of the crackers before going into the dehydrator:

I scored the dough into triangles because I thought the crackers would be nice in that shape

Our next recipe was:

Italian Chia Chips
This dough tastes so good and again we used lots of fresh herbs and chia seeds as a binder and lots of other yummy ingredients.  Following is a picture of the scored dough:
Our final recipe for today was:

Gingerbread Cookies

YAY – This was a fun and festive recipe to make as we listened to Christmas music in the background.  Following are some pictures:

Rolling out the dough

Cutting out the cookie shapes

Decorating the cookies

Into the dehydrator they go…

Well, that’s all for today.  Thank you for visiting my blog and I look forward to sharing what tomorrow brings.
Blessings to you and yours.

Level 2: Day 12

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

LEVEL 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine

Week 3

Day 12: Cinnamon Rolls, Basic Bread, Mexican Corn Bread & Oat Flour

Cinnamon Rolls

Today we started out the day by making Cashew Vanilla Cream Frosting for our Cinnamon Rolls.  Following is a picture:

I sprinkled a little cinnamon on top…

For our next recipe we made:

Basic Bread

This recipe was fun to make because we started by making a basic bread recipe and then we were given lots of different ingredients with which to create variations from the basic bread recipe.  I chose to make an Italian inspired bread and made three different breads and braided them into one bread (sundried tomato bread, kalamata olive bread, onion/garlic bread).  Following is the picture:

Into the dehydrator it goes…

Mexican Corn Bread

For this recipe, it asked that we blend half of the cilantro with the batter and it turned the batter green.  So, that’s why there’s a bit of a green tint to the dough.  Following are the different shapes I made my breads:

Our final project for the day was to make our own Oat Flour from Oat Groats.  There’s several ways to make oat flour, the quick way is to soak the Oat Groats overnight, rinse them really well after soaking them and then place them into the dehydrator to dry (typically a few hours).  If you have a bit more time, the ideal way is to sprout the Oat Groats for 3 or 4 days, rinse them really well after sprouting and then place them into the dehydrator to dry (typically a few hours).  The Oat Groats we were given had been soaked overnight and then dried in the dehydrator.  Following is a picture:

Oat Groats

When making oat flour, it is really important that not only your Oat Groats are completely dry but also your blender .  Just pour your Oat Groats into a dry blender and blend:

After blending, it’s time to sift – BE SURE TO SIFT! Oat Groats are hard & the flour needs to be sifted.

After sifting, here’s a picture of the flour from the Oat Groats pictured above:

Ready for more baking this week…

Well, that’s all for today.  Have a wonderful evening and thank you for visiting my blog.

Blessings to you and yours!

Level 2: Day 11

Monday, December 12, 2011

LEVEL 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine

Week 3

Day 11: Exam, Flavor Cheeses, Cinnamon Rolls (prep) & Jam-Filled Linzer Cookies

Today we started the day by taking a test of the material we covered over the last two weeks. It took 1.5 hours to complete the test because the majority of the questions involved a lot of writing.

After the test, our week 3 recipes were passed out and we noticed that this week is all about baking.  So, it looks like I’ll be eating lots of alkaline foods this week because we won’t be getting any in class 😦  Dark leafy greens here I come!

Flavor Cheeses

Last week, we each made two different types of cheeses.  Following are pictures of what my Brazil/macadamia nut cheese looked like after fermenting for two days (over the weekend):

The tan-colored discoloration on the sides is normal

NOTE: If your cheese turns purple or black after two days of fermenting, it is bad – throw it away!

Next, it was time to add the basic flavor to this cheese i.e., 1/2 tsp of nutritional yeast & 1/4 tsp salt.  Following is a picture of the cheese after mixing these flavor ingredients into the cheese really well:

Once that was complete, we covered it and placed it in the refrigerator to “age” a bit longer

Our next recipe was:

Cinnamon Rolls

For this recipe we used Almond Flour, Oat Flour and Flax Meal for the dough and for the filling, we used dates, maple syrup, raisins and pecans.  Following are some pictures of the process:

Hand model Brittany Johnson

Into the freezer it goes for 24 hours to make it easier to cut tomorrow

Our final project for the day was to assemble our Linzer Cookies:

Jam-Filled Linzer Cookies

For this recipe, we took the Blueberry Jam we made last week and spread it on one cookie and took another to create a Jam-Filled sandwich.  Following is a picture:

Well, that’s all for today.  Have a wonderful evening and thank you for visiting my blog.

Blessings to you and yours 🙂

Level 2: Day 10

Friday, December 9, 2011

LEVEL 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine

Week 2

Day 10: Kombucha, Linzer Cookies (prep), “Cheese” Making and Oyster Mushroom “Ceviche”

Today began with an introduction to Kombucha.  For those of you that don’t know, Kombucha is a fermented tea and an ancient beverage known as the “Godly Tsche (tee-chee) [i.e. tea].  During the Chinese Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE), it was considered a beverage with magical powers enabling people to live forever.”

Kombucha is alive and contains multiple species of yeast and beneficial bacteria, as well as the organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols produced by those microbes.  Kombucha has many potential health benefits, some of which are the following:

  • Restores Hair Color
  • Thickens Hair
  • Increases Skin Health
  • Dissolves Gallstones & Cleanses Gallbladder
  • Increases Energy
  • Lengthens Lifespan
  • Speeds Healing
  • Arterioscrosis/softens veins
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Improves Digestion/Nervous Stomach/Colitis
  • Increases Blood Circulation
  • Levels Glucose
  • Protects Teeth from Cavities
  • Eliminates Wrinkles/Skin Humectant
  • and others

Following are pictures of the Kombucha making process:

Hand model Chef Sean Murray

We began by brewing organic plain tea (you can use black, white, green or oolong teas) & set the hot tea aside to cool

Hand model Chef Megan Massoth

We then learned that the tea is then fermented with the use of a Mother (see above pic),

also referred to as a mushroom or a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast)

Each of us then received some tea (now cool) to put into our mason jars and then added 1/4 cup of organic cane sugar, 2Tbsp of the fermented juice that the Mother lives in and a piece of the SCOBY (see pic above).

We then placed a clean towel over our jars so the live SCOBY can breathe and we will now allow the Kombucha to ferment at room temp, in a dark place, for the next week.  Once another SCOBY is formed and the Kombucha tastes like vinegar, it’s finished fermenting.  With this small size, it should take about a week.  The larger the batch, the longer it takes to ferment.

After making Kombucha, we had a fun experiment in class.  Someone in class heard that if you light a brazil nut, it will stay lit.  So, we thought we would become myth busters and we learned that indeed the myth is true.  Following is a picture to prove it:

Our next recipe for the day was:

Linzer Cookies (prep)

Today we made the cookie dough, cut out the cookie shapes and placed them in the dehydrator.  On Monday, we will complete these cookies by spreading Blueberry Jam in between two cookies to form a cookie sandwich.  Following is a picture of the cookies just before going into the dehydrator:

YUM!

 Our next recipe was:

“Cheese” Making

For this recipe we were given the option to choose whatever “Cheese” combinations we wanted to create from various nuts.  I chose to make two cheeses:

1) Pumpkin Seeds & Walnut Cheese

2) Macadamia Nut and Brazil Nut Cheese

Following is a picture of the Macadamia Nut & Brazil Nut Cheese:

To aid in the fermentation process I used probiotics and Coconut Kefir.  Following is a picture of the Coconut Kefir:

Our final recipe for the day was:

Oyster Mushroom “Ceviche” in an Orange & Lime Sauce

Following are pictures of two varieties of Oyster Mushroom:

Common Oyster Mushroom

Yellow Oyster Mushroom

For this recipe we diced onion, tomatoes and habanero pepper (1/4) and tossed it all in lime and orange juice and then added the mushrooms for everything to marinate together for a few hours:

Once the mixture was done marinating, I diced avocado & minced some cilantro & tossed it all together.

Following is my plating interpretation for this recipe:

The taste of this dish is wonderful and you won’t believe how closely the oyster mushrooms resemble the taste & texture of white fish.

Well, that’s all for today – wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Blessings to you and yours.


Level 2: Day 9

Thursday, December 8, 2011

LEVEL 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine

Week 2

Day 9: Anti-Griddle Creations, Portabello Mushroom w/Rosemary Mashed “Potatoes” & Avocado Tartare w/Tamarind Glazed Cherry Tomatoes, Curry Sauce & Black Sesame Pappadam 

Anti-Griddle

Today we started the day by being introduced to a piece of equipment called an Anti-Griddle.  An Anti-Griddle is a device that quickly freezes sauces, purees, creams and foams allowing for a variety of unique cold textures and creative assembly options.  It’s yet another wonderfully inventive way to engage the eater by introducing an unexpected cool sensation in their dining experience.  Following are pictures of some sauces that we experimented with on the Anti-Griddle:

Almond/Chocolate & Mint/Chocolate Lollipops-YUM!

Mint/Strawberry Lollipop

Basil Herb Oil

Strawberry/Mint Lollipop & Chocolate/Cream/Mint Brownie

After some fun on the Anti-Griddle, it was time for the first recipe:

Portabello Mushroom w/Rosemary Mashed “Potatoes”

This recipe begins with a 5″ portabello mushroom:

This recipe requires me to remove all the dark brown gills & stem shown above

After removing the gills & stem, I marinated the mushroom in olive oil, rosemary, salt & pepper & then prepared it for the Sous-Vide:


Into the Sous-Vide it goes for 2-3 hours

Following is my plating interpretation of this recipe:

Looks like Steak & Potatoes doesn’t it?

Our final recipe for the day was:

Avocado Tartare w/Tamarind Glazed Cherry Tomatoes, Curry Sauce & Black Sesame Pappadam 

Following is my plating interpretation for this recipe:

Well, that’s all for today.  Have a wonderful evening!

Blessings to you and yours.

Level 2: Day 8

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

LEVEL 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine

Week 2

Day 8: Brazil Nut “Eggnog” Smoothie, Almond Milk “Eggnog”, Vietnamese Pho Broth with Tofu, Pappadam (prep) & Apple Pear Crumble with Star Anise Syrup and Almond Gelato

Today’s walk to school was C~O~L~D – Burrrrrrr!  Weather.com said the temp was 18° degrees F but due to the wind, they said it felt like 12° degrees F – they weren’t kidding! Let me just say…it was a LONG 1.5 mile walk to school!  I could see my breath with every step BUT along the way, there was beauty everywhere. Following are some beautiful moments I was able to capture:

The last of the yellow autumn leaves hanging on…

Winter is approaching…

Our first recipe for the day got us all in a festive holiday mood, along with the lovely Christmas music we listened to in the background:

Brazil Nut “Eggnog” Smoothie:

For this recipe we used dates to sweeten and we ground our own cinnamon.  Following are some pictures of the preparation process:

Grinding cinnamon sticks

All the ingredients are in the blender & ready to blend

Brazil Nut “Eggnog” & the flour/pulp that was removed (now ready for the dehydrator)

Brazil Nut “Eggnog” Smoothie ready to enjoy 🙂

Our next recipe was:

 Almond Milk “Eggnog”

For this recipe we started with a base recipe and then experimented by adding other ingredients such as nutritional yeast, rum extract, avocado, cashews and chia powder to create not only a thicker/creamier consistency but also provide deeper flavor.  Honestly, adding both the nutritional yeast and rum extract really made a difference in the flavor.  In my opinion, adding the nutritional yeast gave it that dairy & egg flavor.  The rum extract provided a nice alternative to alcohol and adding the other ingredients really made a difference in creating a thicker texture.  Following is a picture that hopefully shows you how thick this “eggnog” recipe is in comparison to the first:

Thick, creamy and delicious Almond Milk “Eggnog”!

Our next recipe for the day was:

Vietnamese Pho Broth with Tofu

For this recipe, we made our own raw tofu!  Following are some pictures of the process:

After blending the ingredients, I placed it into the refrigerator to set in order to be ready to cut into cubes

After cutting into cubes, it was time to experiment with the flavor…

To experiment with the flavor, we were introduced to a really cool piece of equipment called a “Smoking Gun.” The Smoking Gun is a handheld food smoker with cool temperature, natural smoke that is used to finish foods such as butters, chocolates,  mushrooms, cheese, tofu, etc.  The wood chips used in the Smoking Gun are hickory, applewood, mesquite and cherry.  These different wood varieties impart different aromatics into the food.  It is an excellent piece of equipment to use for finishing food that has been “cooked” in the Sous-Vide.  Following are some pictures of the smoking process:

Hand models: Chef Sean Murray (left) & Gabriele Danek (right)

Notice Gabriele holding the plastic wrap tightly around the hose so that the smoke does not escape the bowl

Once there’s enough smoke, it’s time to pull the hose out & seal it in quickly

All the smoke is trapped inside & infusing the tofu with a lovely smoke flavor

Time to set the tofu aside and prep the rest of the ingredients for the Vietnamese Pho Broth.  Following is a picture of the veggies needed for this soup:

We made delicious zucchini & coconut noodles – YUM!

Now it’s time to assemble all the ingredients in this soup, starting with the broth:

I made a little design in the broth…

Following is my plating interpretation for this recipe:

Our next recipe was:

Pappadam (prep)

For those that don’t know, Pappadam is a thin, crisp Indian cracker typically served as an accompaniment to a meal.  Following are photos of the preparation process for this recipe:

Sprinkling the black sesame seeds on top

Ready to dehydrate until crisp

Our final recipe for the day was:

Apple Pear Crumble with Star Anise Syrup and Almond Gelato 

For this recipe, we used the Sous-Vide to soften the apples and pears.  Following is my plating interpretation of this recipe:

YUM!

Well, that’s all for today.  Have a wonderful evening.

Blessings to you and yours.

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