Friday, January 29, 2010

Fresh Fruit Tart (from class)

As some of you might know, I'm currently attending Le Cordon Bleu, in hopes to specialize in vegan pastries and desserts.

Yesterday in class we made a Fresh Fruit Tart (with Pate Sucre pastry dough). I love fruit tarts because they are so colorful and happy looking.
I didn't scramble my egg yolks as I added them to the scalded milk, whew! I was so afraid that the mixture would quickly turn into SCRAMBLED EGGS, pas bon!

My french instructor said that "ze dough on ze tart is a little bit thick...and on thiz part..." but I don't care, I'm so proud of how it turned out! :)

Grilled Tofu and Kale

The family I nanny for has the most beautiful garden, and it's huge! You can find anything you're looking for by simply walking around the property. Lunch yesterday was Grilled Tofu with a side of sauteed kale and other mixed veggies. I washed my healthy lunch down with a large glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. Lemons you pick yourself taste better, you know :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Coconut Cake

For the longest time, even before becoming vegan, I've had the hugest craving for coconut cake. Coconut cake is very sweet and high calorie, so I tried to avoid it. I tried and tried to ignore it, I really did, but some cravings need to be indulged before they can be put to rest!
Sometimes, a girl just wants cake. So the other day, I set off to create a yummy, moist, deliciously vegan, oh so sweet coconut cake.

Recipe For The Coconut Cake:

***Dry Ingredients:***
1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
***Wet Ingredients:***
1 cup coconut milk (canned, every grocery store sells it, usually in the asian foods section)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 or 9 inch baking dish. In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a fork whisk until well combined. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 30 minutes (or until a fork poked in the center comes out clean. Keep an eye on this, I checked it often, and mine only took about 25 mins to bake).
You can double the recipe to make a beautiful layer cake. I didn't this time, but if you feel up to the task, go for it! Nothing is more enticing than a giant layer cake covered in fluffy coconut.

For The Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup margarine
1/4 cup coconut milk

Also, set aside 1 c. coconut, flaked or shreds, whatever your preference is.

Whisk or blend together all ingredients until icing is smooth and creamy, adding more powdered sugar or liquid as needed.

After the cake has COMPLETELY cooled (don't jump the gun and attempt to ice it before it's cooled, I've done this before and it turns into a mushy mess, trust me...) frost it with the coconut frosting, followed by sprinkling the coconut shreds on tops and pressing it against the sides of the cake. I took little handfuls and "threw" it against the sides, making it stick. You want the entire cake covered.

And then the best part, enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vegan Cookie Dough?!

Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I don't have a lot to say about this product other than... OMG Foodgasm. The. Best. Ever. I no longer how to deprive myself of my long lost love: cookie dough ice cream. The coconut milk is creamy, sweet, and delicious. If you haven't tried this brand of vegan ice creams yet (many are gluten free as well), you simply must asap.

Now, if you don't mind, I me and my cookie dough need to be alone.

A hot meal, finally!

I've been so busy all week, finished up my first official week at Le Cordon Bleu. I wasn't expecting so many academic courses to be honest, I thought 'culinary', 'kitchen'. But it's great, I'm a happy girl.

I also got a job earlier, which pleases me beyond words. I'll be nannying for twin 18 month old girls. It will be a challenge, with their energetic age, and keeping them occupied with constructive activities, but they are seriously the most adorable and sweet little girls you'll ever meet. Plus, it's 5 mins from my school, which couldn't be more convenient.

So, point being, between job hunting, school, boyfriend/family and social obligations, I haven't had time to really cook, at all, lately. So tonight, I made the time for a yummy meal of sweet potatoes, BBQ "chicken" and mixed veg. I always stopped by Barnes and Nobles and rewarded myself with Tal Ronnen's "The Conscious Cook" cookbook. It will come in handy when I go to his cooking demo and book signing this Tuesday *cough ahem* Yay!
I'm feeling stressed and tired, but very blessed. Have a good night all.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Culinary Orientation & More Muse

All morning and afternoon today was spent at my orientation at Le Cordon Bleu. It was both exciting and overwhelming! So much information, so many rules and guidelines to remember. I felt like I was joining the army. Wrinkled uniform? Kicked out of class. Forget your name tag? Don't bother coming. But I understand, they have to have order and professionalism, and I don't mind at all, I just hope I don't forget some crucial item.

Then we were hearded in groups all over the building, picked up info, schedules, maps (there are several locations in the area we will be taking classes from) listened to someone speak (explaining how the student counsel worked, where you can get parking permits, etc) then we were marched to the next room, financial aid. Any questions? Of course hands shot up, including mine.
Then it was the library. The largest library of food references and cookbooks (this includes tons of how to DVD's), aside from the one in Congress. I'm very excited to go wild there, but you can only check out 5 at a time :(

Then it was time to pick up our uniforms and all supplies. By the time I exited the building I could no longer carry everything on my own, thankfully a very nice man helped me to my car. I think he is one of my instructors, actually. He was very nice, answered several questions (of which I have a million more!). So let's see, 5 sets of uniforms, shoes, caps, kneckerchiefs, huge HEAVY knife set, 2 bags of books, huge bag of utensils, papers flying everywhere. Sweating like a pig. It's a good thing they went all out impressing parents and family/friends. First thing when we arrived in the AM they greeted us with coffee, several kinds of muffins, cookies, and every fruit known to man. Obviously they knew that we needed the energy, even if we didn't. I had some grapes. I'm just never hungry in them morning, it's bad I know. I've been told it's the most important meal of the day...
As soon as one tray started looking a little stark, magically a chef would somehow sense this, quickly arrive, swooping in with a fresh overflowing tray. I could get used to this.

I'm sure a job will come if I keep looking, gotta stay positive.

I'm very, very, very exciting about the internship next January. It wouldn't be easy, but it's quiete possible I could do mine in Paris. Several people went last year, and I already heard several people in my class talking about it. How amazing would that be? And what a great experience! I worked in the kitchen of a language school near Paris a couple years ago, loved it, and vowed to go back someday.

Also, a small number of students will be chosen to help cater the academy awards this year, on March 3rd. Hello, me please? That would be awesome.

After my 5 hour orientation (yes 5 hours) I needed some serious re-fueling, and I knew just the cafe that would hit the spot: Cafe Muse.

If possible, the food was even better than before. I had a soy BBQ chicken wrap with mixed greens and sun dried tomatoes. And look at that heaping pile of sweet potato fries. These are a must. I don't care if you're on a diet, get them. Eat them, and enjoy them. They make awesome leftovers, I'm sitting here right now eating the leftovers.
My sister had the olive pizza, and as you can see from her picture, she's pretty damn happy :)

It's time to go pass out now, and SLEEP!