thanksgiving

hooray! another thanksgiving. i think thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday now. this year i made yams, ham, and stuffing. yum yum yum.

first up, yams roasted at 400F for about an hour, then mashed up with a little butter and brown sugar, topped with marshmallows.

brown in the oven for 10-15 minutes. this is what my mom always made at thanksgiving, so i missed it the past few years. it was nice to have it again! nice toasty marshmallows.

next up, mr. ham. seems like the ham came out extra good this year. the mango pineapple glaze was nice and thick and flavored the ham nicely.

even the pineapples tasted good this year.

finally, the stuffing. i really like this stuffing recipe (see below). it has bacon, caramelized onions, apples, and sage.

i also am now the official turkey carver. cameron’s dad made the turkey in the hibachi. it was really flavorful and not dry at all.

a delicious thanksgiving feast:

my first plate:

anyway, hope everyone had a great thanksgiving!

bread stuffing with bacon, apples, sage, and caramelized onions
from the new best recipe by america’s test kitchen

1 pound bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4″ strips
4 medium onions, sliced thin (7 cups)
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2″ cubes (2 cups)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
3 tbsp fresh sage leaves, cut into thin strips
12 cups dried french or other white bread cubes
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
3 large eggs
some butter

1. cook the bacon in a large skillet or dutch oven until “breakfast brown” and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels. discard all but 3 tbsp of the bacon fat.

2. increase the heat to medium-high and add the onions and 1/4 tsp salt. cook the onions until golden in color, making sure to stir occansionally and scrape the sides and bottom of the pan, about 20 minutes. reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring more often to prevent burning, until the onions are deep golden brown, another 5 minutes. add the apples and cook 5 minutes. transfer the contents to a large bowl.

3. add the reserved bacon, 3/4 tsp salt, the pepper, parsley, and sage to the bowl and mix to combine. add the bread crumbs.

4. whisk 1 cup of the stock with the eggs. pour the mixture over the bread cubes. gently toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. transfer to a casserole dish. when ready to bake, drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup stock over the stuffing. dot with pats of butter and cover with a piece of foil that has been smeared with butter. bake in 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, remove the ofil, then continue to bake until a golden brown crust forms on top of the stuffing, about 15 minutes longer.

fontina and fubini

we adopted fontina and fubini from the bunny bunch in august. it was quite an adventure traveling from california to hawaii. we met a few bonded pairs at “the burrow” and had some play time with fubini and fontina. they seemed to be pretty comfortable with us and our personalities were a good match. here’s cameron assembling the carrier to take them home:

they love to eat their pellets, veggies, and hay. mmm delicious greens.

fontina is named after the cheese. fontina munches on some timothy hay.

hanging out in her box.

fubini is named after the mathematician. we learned fubini’s theorem in ma1c at caltech. fubini explores the living room:

zzzzzzzz

the buns relaxing in their room.

they are great buns, and we have a lot of fun together :)

baking week 3

week 3 was a day shorter because of labor day. it was the first week of service. our class makes the breads and desserts for ka’ikena, the school’s fine dining restaurant. chef did a lot of demos and showed us to how to plate the desserts for the cart. the week started with demos of choux paste (for cream puffs), pastry cream, and the apple filling for the apple pie. christine and i made our yellow chiffon cake. they rose nicely in the oven.

chef demoed covering the brownies with chocolate ganache.

then going over it with an icing comb to give it a simple design. later it gets topped with a ganache rosette and chocolate shavings.

he also demoed making filigrees, which were for the fruit tarts.

he’s making some chocolate shavings on the marble table.

he iced two of the strawberry chiffon cakes.

on the day of service, they’re finished with some fresh strawberries dipped in glaze and toasted almonds.

we also worked on making the chocolate cream pie filling with the pre-baked flaky pie shells brushed with chocolate.

after chilling, they are topped with whipped cream. we used an icing comb to create that texture on the top.

pipe a nice border.

finish with some chocolate shavings on the sides and in the middle. a sprig of mint gives it some nice color.

apple pies are baked and topped with some powdered sugar.

the tarts and cream puffs are filled with diplomat (pastry cream mixed with an equal amount of whipped cream) and topped with fruits.

here they are ready for the dessert cart.

this week chef also demoed sweet dough and three ways to use it. here’s some sweet bread twists filled with a chocolate cake filling.

here are some cinnamon rolls ready to go in the oven.

sticky buns!

topping the cinnamon rolls with icing after they come out of the oven. delicious.

baking week 2

week 2 was another fun week. we learned to roll out pie shells and sugar dough. the sugar dough later got put into small tart pans, to be used for the fruit tarts for service.

here are some scones christine and i made. YUM i love scones.

we baked off some our biscuits from last week. i like to add a lot of cheese. nice flaky layers.

we also tried some popovers. pretty neat how they kick up just from the high heat and steam.

this week we spent a while working on our puff pastry folds. we let the dough rest after each fold to keep it cool and let the gluten relax. i’m looking forward to using the dough and seeing how it tastes.

afterward we ran it through the dough sheeter.

pineapple upside down cake demo.

on friday chef made some hawaiian sweet bread for us to buy and take home. here it is after proofing.

look how much it puffs up in the oven!

deliciously light and fluffy. would make an excellent bread pillow. smells really nice too.

baking week 1

last week was the first week of fundamentals of baking with chef wetter. week 1 of baking was more lecture heavy. we learned about the different roles of ingredients and how they influence the final product. it was quite interesting. besides that, we worked on quick breads (biscuits, banana muffins, scones) and we learned to roll baguettes. next week i should take more pictures…

here’s the french bread dough proofing. they look like nice little pillows.

after shaping them, they get to go in little beds to proof some more.

here’s the one i shaped and got to take home (later on when we make them we gotta pay for them).

chef demonstrates the biscuit method. the dough is quite rough and wet initially.

then he folds it 3-4 times to develop the gluten a little bit. it’s pretty fun folding that giant piece of dough

we rolled the dough into a sheet pan, then froze it. later we took it out to cut it. ours had some cheese in the dough. yum. looking forward to trying those when we bake them later.

banana muffins that christine and i made. chef said it tastes best with fermented bananas.

chef wetter’s fruit and cream cheese scones. they were delicious. some lemon glaze and powdered sugar on top.