Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chef of the Day (COD)

Chef of the Day or as the kids like to call it COD is our final project at school. We have to make 6 items and present them to our 3 chefs who then judge each item as well as our table set up. The items we have to make are:
A tart
A cake
A bread
A breakfast pastry
A chocolate
A plated dessert

It was a tough call - but a fun project. I think like any obsessive person I began thinking about this project the first quarter I started at school. I wanted something
simple and clean, using good local products if possible (although as it is winter quarter - there isn't a whole lot of produce available... and I don't know how a cabbage cake would work out...)
So my menu was:

Cake - A Honey Yoghurt Baklava Cake. Last quarter I tried making this cake that had this really tart, zesty mousse on top of a muesli base. It was pretty gross actually - so savory it was basically plain yoghurt on top of muesli. So I jazzed up the mousse a bit, added fireweed honey as my invert sugar used this amazing honey flavored greek yoghurt and added more milk chocolate to the mousse, and it worked really well.
Underneath that mousse I have a praline layer (basically
hazelnut, sugar and a smidge of salt), this layer melts, creating a type of syrup, rather than a crunch to the cake. It's the layer of caramel color that you see beside the cake. Under this there is a toasted sesame bavarian layer.I simply toasted sesame seeds, roughly ground them and then steeped them in hot milk for half an hour.Then there is the final layer, a roasted walnut sponge cake with a ed honey sponge.

I was really happy with this cake - it had the tang that I wanted from the yoghurt, the richness of the honey and the warmth of the sesame seeds and walnut.

Tart - An onion tart. This is a savory tart
made with a red wine onion confit (local syrah used), with a strong and seriously ripe muenster cheese, a creme fraiche custard, thyme and potatoes. It's a pretty pungent tart, made for small slices and best eaten when slightly warm.

Bread - the miche. This was such a beautiful bread - how could I not make it?

A breakfast pastry - Simple whole wheat croissants with a preferment. I love these croissants, so buttery, slightly sweet and slightly nutty. They are also slightly larger than your normal croissant (3oz as opposed to 2.5oz) which I have to say appeals to me as well. Just what I want for breakfast.

Chocolate - This is my beehive. It's a buckwheat honey ganache filling (the honey is from a local apiary) and a liquid honey center (which is simply
buckwheat honey). It has a milk chocolate covering. For those who don't really know buckwheat honey the descriptions I get when people smell/taste it are: horse, hay, farm. It's an incredibly earthy, natural taste which pairs brilliantly well with the warmth of milk chocolate.

Plated Dessert - This is a goat cheese cheesecake made with creme fraiche. It is covered in hazelnut toffee - so it has this earthy, nutty, crunchy texture/flavor. The sauce is a caramel blood orange sauce. The sorbet is a grapefruit and Gewurtztraminer (from a local winery) sorbet and it sits atop a rosemary sucree.

So that's it.

It's been so very draining, I didn't do a whole lot of baking outside of school because I was so intent on figuring out the baked goods for school.

Sorry once again!