Saturday, May 29, 2010

The End

Today I made some lemon coconut bars and blondies. Both required sugar and eggs. If you mix sugar and eggs together for too long, the sugar burns the eggs and then you get lumps of egg in the batter (which is not good), so you try not to mix it too much. You mix it until everything is mixed together. I also boxed four types of brownies: plain, ganache-covered, raspberry jam-covered, and mocha buttercream-covered. I was able to taste some, and they were pretty good.

This is a picture of the kitchen at Jorg's. There's two fridges, but only one is on at the moment to conserve energy. There's a freezer in the back of the picture (which is actually the front of the store since I took it as I was leaving out the back). There are two little sections of the kitchen, the cake section and pastry section. The sections are just areas where most of the cakes or pastries are done. There's a store room in the back as well as Jorg's office. Out front, there's the retail portion of the store. There's also a room full of pictures of cakes and desserts and giant checks Jorg has won doing Food Network Challenges.

I am officially done with all of my internships. I still have to do the final reflection and presentation, but that shouldn't take too long. Everything went by so quickly and I'll miss it all since I had so much fun this month.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Final Day at BU; 1 More Day

My grandmother wants me to post some pictures of the places I'm working at so people can get a better image of what i'm describing and stuff like that. These three pictures are of the kitchen at BU. This first one is of the store-room where they keep all of the utensils, knifes, spices, pots, and anything else you might need (that's not refrigerated).

These next pictures are of 2 of the 3 bays in the kitchen. There is a lot of counter space. There are counters, sinks, fridges, and stoves in each bay. The dishwashing station is along the side of the whole kitchen. You can see it along the edge (under the window) in the last picture. Everything is very shiny and it's usually nicely air conditioned.

Today was my last day at BU for my project. I'm planning on going back for during the summer a bit. Rebecca was extremely nice and let me take home a couple of cookbooks, which I'm very excited about using and reading. I took home a book about baking, a book about dumplings (seasonal ones), and Jacques Pepin's autobiography which contains some recipes as well. But today was a Cooking Up Cultures: Spain class. They made this really good tortilla which wasn't really a tortilla (at least not the kind I usually think of). It was made out of potatoes and egg. It was really good, especially with this Asian hot sauce. I cut those into 8ths and plated them. There was also some paella which I did not have made with sea food (mussels and something else I believe). For dessert there was flan which I tasted for the first time today. It's a yummy food. First I took the flans out of the pans and strained some of the extra caramel sauce into a pitcher. I cut the flan into 12ths and plated those. I poured the strained sauce over the plated flan.

Tomorrow is my last day at Jorg's. The month has gone by so quickly it seems. I've had a lot of fun, and I'm glad that I was invited back to BU since it's a really nice place with really friendly people.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Almost Over

Today was my penultimate day at Jorg's. It didn't seem totally busy. When I arrived, Jorg and Jess were making a delivery (so they were not around) at Harvard since they got to make desserts for Harvard graduation. As for what I did once I arrived, I got to help make cake batter and sugar dough and some savory tart shells. They keep most of their recipes in a book called the "Bible". They keep other recipes on index cards. Because they usually make large quantities of product, the recipes usually call for something like, 5+ lbs butter or some large amount like that.

When making the cake batter, they add the wet ingredients bit by bit so that the dough/batter whips up more and becomes fluffier and lighter. Unlike the cake batter, sugar dough should not be fluffy, so you try not to over mix it.

Another intern made lunch today. It was alfredo pasta with shrimp and bruchetta. It was very tasty. I even tried a shrimp, and I realized I still don't really like shrimp that much. Usually everybody eats lunch around noon. If there's a phone call or somebody enters the store, somebody will leave the lunch table (we usually all eat around one table) and deal with the call or customer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Strawberries and Carbonara

One of the little things Jorg makes the interns do is make lunch. I decided to make pasta carbonara since it's easy and fast to make and one of the few things I can make without much assistance/without a recipe. I was satisfied with the results because people ate it and didn't complain.

Besides making and eating lunch, I got to help sort and dip strawberries for an order of 100 dozen (1200) chocolate dipped strawberries. You don't want the strawberries that are too small because people get sad when they get small strawberries (who wants small chocolate dipped strawberries?) and you don't want rotten or weird or unripe strawberries either. I started dipping strawberries in white chocolate and one of the other interns dipped strawberries into dark chocolate. I got to taste one, and it was really good.

I couldn't stay as long as I wanted to today because of the CBI races (not that much wind = not that much fun in Mercs). Though if I stayed, I would have probably just done more strawberries.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Today was a BU day. Another Cooking Up Cultures (I might have said "With" before, but the abbreviation is CUC so "Up" makes more sense than "With"), this time Peru. The desired menu: Ceviche on a salad with potatoes, hard boiled eggs and a sauce, and rice pudding for dessert. The actual menu: A salad with potatoes, hard boiled egg and a sauce, and rice pudding for dessert. Where is the ceviche?! There was a problem with the vendor, so the fish never came... Of course, the everybody was extremely upset since they had called on Friday confirming a delivery of fish on Monday morning at 9am and then at 9am when the fish had not been delivered they had been told that it was coming, and it didn't (at least not until after 12pm once the class was basically over).

Ceviche is basically pickled fish. Normally, the fish sits in the sauce (like lime juice) for an hour, but if you cut up the pieces small enough, they only have to sit for 15 minutes. So, instead of making ceviche today, I peeled a lot of hard boiled eggs and cut them into quarters for the salad. I then cut the potatoes into disks. Since we were making food for 50 people, there were a lot of eggs (I didn't count) and lots of potatoes.

For any of you who are wondering what BU looks like, the above picture shows the room in which most of the classes are held (where the kids and chef doing the demo are). There is a kitchen in the back of the room (usually where I am). This is also the room which the noodle class was in. As you can see, there is a mirror above the counter on which the chef works. The mirror is so that everybody can see what the chef is doing without crowding around the counter. It's a very cool setup.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Grandfather's Birthday

May 22 is my grandfather's birthday (I call him Baba). Jorg was, once again, a very nice man, and let me make a cake for the small gathering consisting of me, Grandma, and Baba to celebrate the special occasion. I chose a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling.

The first picture is of the cake in its unaltered state, after it's come out of the oven and cooled a bit. The top of the cake is cut off so we get a flat surface to decorate. Because there are so many cakes at Jorg's, the tops are usually thrown away. They do save some of the tops in the freezer and restock that supply when it's low. I don't quite remember what they use them for. The second picture shows a buttercream border with some chocolate ganache filling the inside. The cake is cut in half and buttercream is piped onto the sides of the bottom half to create a border. The ganache is poured into the center. The buttercream border is so the ganache filling doesn't leak out, since the ganache has to be melted to pour.

The top is then put back on the cake, as seen in the picture on the left. Then the cake is covered in buttercream, as seen in the picture on the right.

Next we rolled out some fondant and placed it over the cake, smoothing it out so that the cake was nicely covered in pretty white fondant (left). We also made some stones out of fondant. They were basically balls of dough flattened with some paper so that they had creases in them and looked more realistic. Because I wanted the cake to have a sailboat on it, we decided to decorate the cake like an ocean. We headed over to the spray station and Jorg air-brushed the cake blue so that it looked like an ocean. He also made the rocks more rock-colored (right).

And now you see the final product! I made a white chocolate sailboat using moulds earlier today. That was air-brushed and placed on the cake. We also took some of the seashells made out of fondant from the other day and sprayed them and placed them around the bottom of the cake. Jorg wrote "Happy Birthday Baba" on the cake, and I put barnacles or lots of bird poop on the rocks (my grandparents thought they were barnacles, Jorg thought it should be bird poop). My grandparents loved the cake and were very pleased. My grandmother got a big kick out of it and ate some of the shells and rocks because she likes fondant. I thought the cake was delicious, especially the middle with the ganache. We ate it with some vanilla ice cream from Gifford's.

My grandfather wasn't the only one getting a birthday cake. Kristen was as well. I got to air brush and glitterize the little silver projections that come out of the cake. I also got to put them on the cake. They're supposed to be like water spouts or something like that. This cake is such a busy cake. Lots of pretty sparkles on it.

This cake has Bono on it and it's for Jess's cousin's party. Sean painted the picture of Bono onto some fondant, and I think he did an amazing job on it. It looks really great.

Even though making my grandfather's birthday cake was a highlight of my day, I spent most of it making mini balls of cookie dough. The order was for 1000 mini cookies, and the dough they had was in balls that were too big. So one of the other interns and I had to use a smaller ice cream scoop and make 1000 mini cookie dough balls, which took such a long time. On the left side of the picture, you can see the bigger balls, and on the right side you can see the smaller balls. I also piped frosting onto some cupcakes (not pictured) for the first time today. People make it look so easy, and then you try it and it's hard. The first couple of times i tried it, there were weird spaces in the frosting and sometimes the frosting wouldn't come out of the bag. Jess gave me the tip to stay really close to the frosting you've already put down, which was a good tip because then I didn't get the weird spaces.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Under Pressure

For the first time in awhile, I went to BU today. There was another Cooking With Cultures class going on and today the focus was Argentina. In preparation for the class, we have to get together ingredients that the chef will use for the demo and then we have to multiply the recipe and make the dishes to serve to the hungry children once they watch the demo. You see some ingredients to make the dough for the empanadas set up for the demo in the picture. There are usually 50 or so people at the class. The dishes planned for the meal were empanadas with a kind of sauce and some cookies with creme de leche for dessert. The dough used for the empanadas was made from scratch in the demo, but since it would be a lot to make 100 doughs (everybody got 2 empanadas) we just used some from a package.

We were very time pressured during the preparation for this meal. First, Kevin left his keys at home, so he couldn't get into his office. He had to go home and get those. Then the cookie dough was way too dry, and we spent awhile trying to make it more moist so that we could work with it. It also took some time preparing the empanadas since we had to make 100 of those. We also had to cook everything around the same time in one oven. I'm not quite sure why, but they said the other oven smelled like goat (they had to cook a whole goat the other week for some other class). At one point, and only for a moment, Kevin and Robyn (another chef who was there to help prepare) were afraid that we would not finish on time.

Fortunately, we managed to finish everything on time and everything turned out well.