Friday, October 25, 2013

Learning about Puff Pastry- Palmiers & Croissants!

Have you ever made Puff Pastry? I hadn't until this week and I can now say I love it! Now let's just say though, it was not love at first sight! As you know, I am attending Le Cordon Bleu and have a brilliant Chef Instructor in the Baking & Pastry class- Holly Pugliese. She is an extremely accomplished baker and has the patience- and the humor
Chef Holly Pugliese
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to coach our group of non-baking culinary students. I get it. I can't be a Chef without knowing the funadamentals of making various doughs, breads, pastry etc. It is challenging but turns out it's fantastic. I have a new-found love for puff pastry. Now let's just say though, it was not love at first sight. You start with lumps of butter and a crumbling, falling apart mess of flour. And it's an enormous pile of flour. But then you start shaping and rolling it; folding and rolling some more. And you end up with this puffy masterpiece that you can turn into many different things. Magic. We concentrated this week on making Palmiers and a Galette. We also made apple turnovers and Croissant dough leading to Croissants! Making Palmiers was a revelation and it truly changed my view of what it means to bake and create sweet desserts. Here's the picture story- you'll see Chef Holly making the Croissant dough and incorporting the butter block above. The series of pictures above Chef Holly are of my palmier making process, as well as the final product- beautiful Palmiers. Altogether and very challenging but satisfying week!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cooking Pastry- Learning New Pastry Techniques!

Linzer Cookies, Profiteroles and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream!  Learning so much at Le Cordon Bleu and loving it.  The Linzer Cookies were made with Pate Sucre and home made jams from a close friend using seasonal fruits.  The Profiteroles are made from scratch with vanilla bean ice cream and a gorgeous chocolate sauce.  Decadent and delicious...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumn Squash Blossoms

Fall is here and the Farmers Market has beautiful produce right now!  Found these squash blossoms and made an herb/cheese mixture to stuff them.  Ran them through a batter and fried them for a delicate, savory treat!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Diary of a Wannabe Chef- The beginning

So, I have wanted to go to cooking school for about 20 years. Some people want to be doctors, some people want to be lawyers, and some dream of being a chef. That was me. I worked in a completely unrelated field for 20 years and did quite well. But on the side in my free time, I was obsessively taking cooking classes and building a well-outfitted kitchen! Dreaming is a good way to get yourself going on the path you want to be on, but in my case, it took quite a bit of time. How do you take, "the plunge" and do a complete career change? Sometimes things work in your favor and also to get you moving- take a rambling path. So, let me explain. I have wanted to go to cooking school for years, have researched many locations and schools but knew for myself that Le Cordon Bleu was the right place for me. The caliber of the instructors, the Executive Chef and all the staff are fantastic. But there I was, working in my other career. How do I do it? How do I take the leap, take the plunge to a new profession? This is my Diary of a Wannabe Chef and how I did it. It all started in earnest a couple years ago without realizing it when I decided I wanted to write a cook book to commemorate my mother's 80th birthday. Giving myself a couple years to get it done before her big day was a good start with a deadline of 4/2013. My mother's family had a Pilgrim in our lineage so we have recipes going back a couple hundred years- what better way to preserve these and pass them on to other family members than to write them down? Well, that was the orginal plan but as I started writing the book, I realized there were many more recipes that needed to be included in the book as well; family favorites, recipes from friends, holiday favorites etc. Before I knew it my book had mushroomed to 100 pages with 100 photos! I finished it this year and it is now published. The deadline of April 2013 was fast approaching it somehow served as a catlyst to my finally making the plunge, and signing up for cooking school! What's funny, is the minute I made that decision, doors starting opening up and opportunities came in. A friend sent me an application for a cooking show on NBC in March. I sent in my photos and an essay and heard from them that same day! Wow, I realized I might be on to something. Nothing came of this after sending in more information but it showed me people were taking notice! I just sent in an application and essay to the The Food Network 2 weeks ago and they replied the same day as well! Again, very exciting. They have asked for photos of my cooking and I am waiting to see what happens with that. My book started selling through word of mouth and I began cooking school at Le Cordon Bleu at the end of May, yeah! I have had several parties, corporate and friends approach me about conducting cooking classes for them and hope to work as a personal chef as I progress. This Blog will relay my journey through cooking school and my path in creating a new career as a private chef, writer and cooking instructor.