Passionate

Guest Post by Chef Amanda

As I chased a server down the hall this weekend, the Sous Chef witnessed the change from my mellow demeanor to panic state. What the oblivious server did not understand is that you mess with the house made bread you mess with the bread baker. As a pastry chef, I am passionate about the quality of products that are given to our guests. Whether be bread or pastry. But if you have ever met a true bread baker, they take it to the extreme. Bread bakers actually nurture there pre-ferments, caress the bread dough, and listen to the whispers of the crackling crust. One thing we do have in common, if there was a blinding snow storm that caused a state wide power outage, we will travel far to prevent our 50 year old starter from dying due to the extreme heat of 60 degrees and to forestall our French boules from over proofing. Even though this server was warned by the Executive Chef not to stack the trays of Parker House Rolls on top of each, he did it anyways. When I turned to view the situation, my adrenaline rushed. My bread was being crushed! Hours spent on proofing, energy consumed on shaping, and skillful precision for baking! Yes. I ran after him and started shouting. These rolls were only baked a few hours earlier. They were in a sensitive state. Luckily, the Executive Chef beat me to the punch and rescued my bread.

Jenny writes each week her enjoyment and passion for running. Only a special group of people can poetically describe her journeys. One of my passions is the quality of bread I create. Yet, I’m looked upon as crazy when it’s not treated properly. What are you passionate about, that other people may not understand?

parkerrolls

Christmas Season and your Chef

This season isn’t only busy for the retail or warehouse worker, but for the food service too. Companies book their Christmas parties, business men treat their best clients for dinner, spouses are too exhausted to cook, and the list goes on. Servers will have to work harder for the extra tables or shifts to accommodate the volume of guests. Cooks will receive 40 hours each week for the month of December, if not a little bit of overtime (its common for cooks to work an average of 35 hours per week the rest of the year). The kitchen managers will work 6 days a week, with 12-18 hour days. There will be limited bathroom or water breaks to prepare for service. Heads are down, knives are moving, and energy drinks are being chugged. Every night is going to be a busy night!

Be patient with your chef friend or family member during this season. They have limited time to shop for gifts and set-up decorations. No, they can’t attend your Christmas party that’s held on a Saturday. There’s not only a full house at the restaurant, but all the private dining rooms are filled to maximum capacity too. Most of all, do not request (or expect) a spectacular dish from them for your holiday dinner. They are exhausted and probably in a poor mood.

Swedish-chef

Guest Post: Food Snob

Today, we are lucky people, because right here is a recipe/guest post from a Chef, I think really highly of. She brings desserts to my Harvest Parties as well as family gatherings, and it is always the most sought after, talked about item. Once in a while she will post pictures of her decadent, lovely desserts on Facebook and I will swoon to myself, thinking: I wish I could do that. I’m looking forward not only to seeing what unfolds in her culinary career but to the gems she will offer this blog when she has free time.

Food snob is, “a person who cooks in a restaurant and doesn’t make that much money. But turns their nose up at any convenience foods. Likes to make up some fancy sauce to serve over ahi, and likes to name drop famous chefs’ names. Critical of other people’s food choices, thinks he can deem your social class by the temperature of your steak.” – Urban dictionary

Yup, this describes me quite well. I am a Pastry Chef at an upscale steak house in Manchester, New Hampshire. Even though I have lunch at Wendy’s twice a month with my Grandmother, I will “deem your social class by the temperature of your steak.” I’m sorry, but if you request ice cream to go with your already fattening crème brulee, I will question your social class status. Either trust the Chef who put effort into the menu development or request the addition of berries to perfectly balance the crème brulee.

My first memory of becoming a food snob was shortly after culinary school. I had a craving for Hostess Ring Dings. My first bite was disappointing. The chocolate coating was waxy and didn’t even taste like chocolate. The cake was very dry and the filling was limited. Not a perfect balance of cake to cream ratio. While attending culinary school, we were exposed to the creation of chocolate and the many couverture brands. So many different varieties and subtitle flavors, like coffee and berries.  Oh and the wonderful snap sound tempered chocolate makes! How is this not exciting when compared to dry cake?

As a Pastry Chef food snob, we all have our favorite crème brulee recipes. Here’s a vanilla bean crème brulee recipe.

VANILLA BEAN CREME BRULEE

INGREDIENTS

1 quart heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1 each vanilla bean, split
¾ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown Sugar
3 eggs
6 ounces egg yolks (about 9)

METHOD OF PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Boil heavy cream, half and half, vanilla bean, and sugar
Combine eggs, yolks, and brown sugar
Once the cream mixture has boiled, turn off the burner
Temper the hot cream with the egg mixture
Do this by warming the egg mixture up with a bit of hot cream and whisk the batter thoroughly
Then slowly whisk the egg batter into the hot cream mixture
Strain the custard batter, to remove the vanilla pod and any curdled eggs
Pour custard into a single or several shallow ramekins or pans (you can always save extra custard in the fridge for another time)
Place the dish(s) in a larger pan, like a sheet pan or casserole dish, to hold a water bath
Place the pan in the oven and fill it a quarter of the way with water
Cover the top of the pan with another pan to provide even cooking
Bake for a half hour and check on the custard
At this point tap the pan to see how much longer the custard needs before finishing
If it’s still liquid form, rotate pan and bake another 15 minutes
If the edges are baked, but the center jiggles like Jell-O, rotate and bake another 5 minutes
Custard is done when the center does not jiggle, the whole custard is thick and moves as one
Allow the custard to get cold and dust the top with a single layer of granulated sugar (or Sugar in the Raw for first timers)
Use a blow torch to “brulee” or burn or caramelize the sugar
You can also try the broiler on your oven if you do not have a blow torch

Serve with fruit and enjoy!

Want to add flare? Add fresh berries or herbs into the crème brulee batter before baking.