Mod 2: Lessons 43-45

Before my experience with making puff pastry, I’ve only heard daunting stories of how time consuming and annoying it is to make the stuff, but also how essential it is to know how to make.  Personally, I love making puff pastry.  I don’t know if many, or any, of my classmates share that particular sentiment, but yes, I love it.  There is a lot of butter, folding, turning, and rolling involved, which is pretty much all there is to puff pastry.  Keeping a rectangular shape is also necessary and more difficult than it sounds, but I seem to have got that down.  So yes.  This past week has been devoted to puff pastry and delicious desserts made from the dough.

Out of my puff pastry, I made: mozzarella and prosciutto turnovers, parmesean and paprika palmiers, cheese straws, apple strips, and gateau pithiviers.  We also used phyllo dough and made spanikopita, baklava, and galaktoboureko.  I’ve also become the queen of making custards along the way.  Not a big deal.

So, that was my week in class.  Last Saturday was also the Food Network Wine and Food Festival and my trail at Hill Country.  I spent the entire day at Hill Country helping the crew make and pack 800 individual sized pies for the event, which was a lot of fun.  I missed being in a kitchen (outside of class), and it felt pretty good.  We made two flavors: s’mores and salted margarita, both delicious.

When all that was done, we made our way to the festival and set up our table in between The Sea Grill and Tribeca Grill.  There were a ton of stands and chefs there, including Dominique Ansel, Johnny Iuzzini, Duff Goldman, Nancy Olson, Ron Ben Israel, etc.  I didn’t get to bring my camera because it was kidnapped, which sucks, I know, but it’s okay.  Just imagine the most fabulous looking table with pies and me with my friend Melinda schmoozing the hell out of the crowd all night (we were awesome).  That was pretty much how it went down.  The place was crowded with people: fancy New Yorkers, out-of-towners, foodies, the octuplet Godiva male models (don’t worry about it), Food Network stars, esteemed pastry chefs, etc.  It was a crazy party, and it was so much fun.  There was a good half hour block of time where Melinda and I walked around and ate our weight in desserts and drank lots of wine before we went back to work.  People loved our pies and apparently we came in second place in the Best Dessert contest.  By the end of the night, we had something like 30 pies left.  Not bad for starting at 800.  It was a good time.  You can tell it was fun by this ridiculous picture below, which is the time Melinda and I made a pit stop at the photobooth.

Okay, so it was a giant photobooth with a tv screen with a "photographer" yelling poses at us, which is why we posed like this, not because we're crazy. There was also a wind machine.

So, next week, there will be more puff pastry.  Hooray!  I was also informed that the Wine Course at my school is basically mandatory and free, so that’s going to happen in the near future.  I am very excited for that.  Yesterday, I went to a wine tasting at the Grey Dog in Chelsea with my favorite Grey Dog employee, Amy.  It was lots of fun.  Wine is always fun.

I also decided that every Saturday, I am going on an adventure because it’s my only day off, and I get restless very easily.  I mention this, because they will more or less involve food, and this blog has to do with food… CONNECTION!  Anyway, today I’m going to the Hester Street Fair in the Lower East Side to eat a lot of food.  How exciting, right?!

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