Saturday, October 29, 2011

Olive Oil and Dessert

Sorry for the time gap between this post and the last, but things have been a bit crazy here at The CIA. Where to begin...
This past weekend Justin and I went to a lovely wedding in Bethlehem. There was good dancing, good food, and of course good company.

While in Pennsylvania, we explored downtown again, this time during the annual Halloween Dog Parade -- probably the most adorable thing I've ever seen!
Bethlehem is full of little surprises, like a specialty olive oil store. Seasons Olive Oil and Vinegar Tap Room, is just what it sounds, casks and casks of oils and vinegars straight from Italy. After perusing the store on our own for awhile, the owner introduced himself and began giving us a tour around the shop.

There were so many bottles to choose from,picking just one was so hard! But after tasting them all, Justin and I decided on a bottle of peach white balsamic aged 6 years. The owner told us it pairs well with chicken and makes a beautiful vinaigrette, so it looks like another trip to the farmers market is in order this weekend.

Something I love about Bethlehem, PA is that there is always something going on. Monday, after being treated to a lovely breakfast by Justin's grandparents at Diner 248, we went to another Oktoberfest celebration, this time indoors. This celebration was geared more towards traditional Oktoberfest celebrators, not the ones that were just in it to get hammered. There was polka music performed by a live band and a buffet of food. Another weekend well spent.

As if that wasn't enough, I have started my baking and pastry class with Chef Engliski. day one started off with the typical lecture about rules and dress code and blah blah blah. Then it was dessert making time. All of the desserts in the lower level of Roth Hall are produced by my class, so they have to be wonderful! The catch to all this: I hate baking.

On the first day, Chris and I made Pot de Creme and Ice Cream Base. The Pot de Creme turned out beautifully creamy and delicious and the Ice Cream was so much better than anything in the stores. 

Pot de Creme. Ready for Service.

On day two we made caramel sugar swirls to garnish the Pot de Creme, Jack Daniels Chocolate Truffles and Pomegranate Mousse. The truffles are more of a pain in the butt than I ever thought they would be. After melting and mixing them, they have to be worked on the marble and then piped into tiny mounds and allowed to rest over night. 

Jack Daniels Truffles and Pomegranate Mousse in Chocolate Cups.

The mousse was probably the most traumatizing thing I've ever had to do at the CIA. I have a pretty good sense of when things are right and when things aren't, but peering into the bowl of pomegranate puree dotted with bits of floating Italian meringue, I wasn't so sure what was about to happen. After having a minor freak out -- I really didn't want to destroy all of the meringue, whipped cream and gelatin enriched pomegranate, not to mention my grade--it finally came together. 

My Cute Little Chocolate Cups of Mousse all Tucked Away in the Dessert Cart for Service.

The good news, today is a new day; the bad, I'm still in pastry class. More chocolate work and mousse making for me.

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