Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Experience in Baking & Pastry Arts and Culinary Class

It feels good to be back on blogging and here again. Winter break is here. The semester is over and I feel good.

As you may know I took Baking & Pastry Arts 2 and Culinary 2 this semester and I would like to share my experience with you.

For those of you who aren't familiar with what these classes encompass I shall tell you. Baking & Pastry Arts 2 is a five hour long class and 90% of the production is all pastries from apple products to French  pastries to layered cakes to chiffon pies and a lot more.

Culinary 2 is more hands-on, creativity-driven and as if your really in a kitchen. The bad thing about Culinary 2 is that it's a six hour long class and since I took it on a Saturday I had to get up every morning at 7AM and Will would drive me to school but the good thing is when we really got into cooking and prepping food, I was really into it, we got out early, and I took this class with my professor from Culinary 1.

Desserts from Baking & Pastry Arts
So there were some of the desserts we've made in my baking class and I must admit I was dreading this class almost every Wednesday night because baking isn't one of my strengths at all and baking a cake or the idea of baking a cake scares me a bit, but I did learn a few tools and tricks in baking class.
It was quite stressful at times because we made desserts for the dining room class that was taking place and for another class and the staff. However, in the end everything came together and I did learn a lot, but I also learned that I prefer cooking over baking a lot more.

Arugula, Citrus & Fennel Salad
I really liked my Culinary 2 class despite the fact I had to wake up early every Saturday. It was a struggle, but in return I was really into my class especially when it came time for production and of course eating the food. I was always excited about the days I knew I would actually get to make a dish from start to finish.

On the day I was the pantry chef, I made an arugula, citrus & fennel salad which I actually liked and made candied zest which tasted like a citrus candy literally. I really enjoyed making the salad and assisting my classmates in making other salads in previous classes.

Cream of corn soup
The week I was the Chef Potager (Soup Chef) I made a cream of corn soup. I haven't been a complete huge fan of most of the soups in class because well in French/American cuisine, there's a lot of dairy product and lots of heavy cream. I particularly don't like soups that are heavy and filled with lots of dairy because I feel like it takes away all the natural flavors of the vegetables, chicken, meat, and etc.

Classical Chicken Pot Pie

The week I was the Chef Saucier (Saute Cook), I made the entree which was the classical chicken pot pie, but we kind of deconstructed it. We cooked the vegetables and chicken different from the veloute sauce (chicken stock and blond roux) and the flaky pie crust is made separately. I liked this dish a lot, but would have preferred it in eating in a bowl.

Penne Arrabiata
The last week of production, I made penne arrabiata as an entree alternative and it basically is a hot and spicy pasta dish. I don't think I did a great job on this dish because I had a minor accident in class and wasn't able to make a great dish or one that I was satisfy with any way. 

All in all, I am grateful I enjoyed these classes for the most part and that I learned a lot about organization, food, ingredients, different techniques, and etc. I am glad I was able to create dishes all by myself from start to finish and put my creativity onto the plate. Hope to do that in my cooking from now on.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Finally, a successful attempt at Spot Dessert Bar!

Spot Dessert Bar
13 St. Marks Place New York, NY 10003

I recently had to visit a dessert place for a term paper I was working on for my Baking & Pastry Arts class. There were so many to choose from, but I ended up choosing Spot Dessert Bar, located in the heart of the East Village in the city.

Every time Will and I make an attempt to visit Spot Dessert Bar, it's always and I do mean always crowded. There's always a line out the door after 6PM. For our visit, we were smart to come on a Sunday afternoon and there was no line. We got seated.

I really enjoyed the rich and soothing scent of green tea lingering in the air. There was a nice, warm, cheerful, and cozy ambiance. So at Spot Dessert Bar, you can order the desserts a la carte, omakase also known as "The Ultimate Spot Experience"which costs $55.00 and it consists of six seasonal dessert tapas and one chef special, five tapas for $39.00, or three tapas for $23.00 which is a decent price.

Will and I opted for the three tapas special and this is what we ordered:

Tokyo Camembert
We started off with the Tokyo Camembert, a Japanese cheesecake that's light and fluffy served with fresh cranberry, poached pear and preserves. I didn't think this dessert was extraordinary. It was very plain and simple. The cheesecake felt very dense compared to the ones I've had before.

Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake
The second dessert we had was by far one of the best dessert I've had so far - Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake. It's a warm and moist, dark chocolate cake filled with green tea ganache and green tea ice cream on the side. I was really excited to try this because it's everyone's favorite and a bestseller. This dessert didn't disappoint at all.

The burst of the green tea ganache was warm, velvety, and had a slight bitterness as green tea should have. The green tea ice cream was light not as as thick as the green tea ganache. The presentation was stunning! I have absolutely no regrets with ordering this dessert.

Eggnog Creme Brulee
The last dessert we had was the Eggnog Creme Brulee, duo flavors of eggnog and Thai tea creme brulee. I ordered this because I was really interested in trying the Thai tea creme brulee. Unfortunately, I wasn't a huge fan of this dessert even though the presentation was unique and different. I didn't like this dessert because there was a lack of taste and flavor to it. It was very bland.

All in all, I really liked Spot Dessert Bar and so glad I finally got to try this place out! I am excited for my next trip here because I would love to try their other desserts and maybe even their beverages too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cheap Eats: May Wah Fast Food

May Wah Fast Food
190 Hester Street New York, NY 10013

Happy December everyone! I can't believe that 2015 is approaching near. Can you?

So it was a month ago that Will took me to a hole in the wall, food spot in Chinatown that he frequented before we started dating. I heard a lot of great things about this little food spot so Will and I finally got around to visiting it.

The restaurant is split into two stores, but one is take-out and one is dine-in. The dine-in section wasn't that big, but it's big enough. It looked very new, clean, and cozy. The waitress greeted us and took our orders and within 5 minutes our food comes out.

Pork Chop over Rice
Will ordered one of their most famous menu items - Pork Chop over Rice ($5.00). There's a 50 cent charge for an egg, so without the egg it would be $4.50. I tried a small piece of the pork chop and it wasn't dry or overcooked which I liked. It had a slight crisp and crunch to it.

Hot & Sour Soup
Will also ordered the hot and sour soup ($1.75).

Chicken Leg over Rice
I ordered one of the popular menu items too - Chicken Leg over Rice ($5.00). I really enjoyed the chicken leg because it was seasoned just right, moist, tender, and had a nice crunch to it.

There's a special sauce the chefs use too, but don't know what's in it or what it is, but all I know it was delicious! It was bomb! I'm not sure what vegetables were served either, but tastes like preserved cabbage. 

All in all, it was a fun and enjoyable experience. The food was cheap and yummy! I could really go for this again. Much thanks to my boyfriend for taking and introducing me to May Wah!