Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ReCap of last week - I hope i got it...

So here is the latest. My little running buddies (aka. social marathoners) just had a X-mas Soup Party- in which most of us are involved in some on-the-spot soup making and cheese nibbling. It has sort of been a tradition that i make some some kind of candy goodies for them to take home.

I have been pretty stressed out and super tired from back-to-back cooking marathons between thanksgiving, x-mas party, various gatherings where there are reasons to bring baked goodies... Last year, when i made my dearest running buddies candy, people thought it was fantastic and later blamed me for their holiday flabs. I made a few jasmine and earl grey infused ganaches in truffles, honeycomb brittle enrobed in chocolates and Madagascar dark chocolate with coconib topping- half ofwhich i used tempered chocolates to enrobe the ganaches. Cut to the chase, a few days after the big event, i noticed that some of the chocolates streaked and went out of temper.

"oh nooo!!" I said to myself- then follows several days and probably weeks of relenting on how i might have messed up such an happy event. nonetheless, people ate everything so fast they didn't get to see my "failure."

I didn't have a chance to revisit chocolate tempering and candy making until last month, exactly one year later. The horror and nightmares i've endured for the past 12 months ramped up to sheer madness (only in my head though, i try not to show it *_* ) A month and weeks before the event, i annouced that i will do it again! And this time, i'm going to be neat, try to use some poly-molds and even contact sheets. I even ran out and got myself some gold flakes.

I think it came out fairly well. I enlisted as much help as possible. What can i say, internet rules!! I like to thank everyone the helped me: people in Chowhound, staff and production managers in Recchiuti, the staff of Valrhona Chocolates, the staff at Chocosphere, the nice ladies in Surlatable who picked out a new thermometer with me, Jon who read instructions and fed me water, and my friends and co-workers who don't really know what the heck i'm so stressed out about and ate everything in sight.

I used Recchiuti's book. He is one of my favorite chocolatiers. I recommend getting this book, it is important to be informed before you dive in.


Above is Kona coffee ganache enrobed dark chocolate in teardrop mold and Cardamom ganache with cardamom and coco nib pralines on green print contact sheets. The other is hazelnut and hazelnut butter in milk chocolate in diamond mold.

I am not sure if anyone who read this post are interested in replicating this. if so, i can post details, suggestions etc. Please feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you think.

About me...

Hi People- Welcome to Jeni's kitchen, *ALL* ~25 sq ft of it! This is all the space i have, for now, i suppose (I hope out next place will have a real place for my baking pans, bottles of vinegar, my stock of chocolates and ice cream maker). But this obviously did not deter me from cooking and eating.

We currently live in a cozy little condo in Oceanside, CA with Jon and Lefty (the cat). Jon is the dishwasher, recipe filer, nods his head if things tastes good, and recycles all the paper, bottles and cans involved in the process. Lefty is usually sprawled under the dining table and wonders why we are always so busy.

I am the usual inspired baker and cook that has been dreaming about food ever since my Grandma showed me how to cook noodles. My sister think I'm a little nutty but this is all i can think about, it makes me dizzy... but even still, we all stay with our day jobs.

If you are anything like me, you may even understand why i started to bake in the first place. My parents were not a big fan of spending money on processed foods (cookies). So, i had to bake my own. I tasted my first scone, muffins, cheesecake, pie... all from my mom's semi functioning oven... luckily my firsts did not fumble, so the party continues...