French Pastry Feelings And Recipe Writing (Again)

Just last night, for whatever the reason, I started thinking about French pastry and how I told myself that that was one of those things in cooking that I was never going to attempt because it was too hard.  Meanwhile, Sophie’s Fourth Of July Napoleons With Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream And Lemon Berries are the complete opposite of that statement!  To me, when it comes to baking or even savory cooking, you can make your own recipes if you’ve seen the techniques done enough times.  For example, for the napoleons, I’ve seen people make crème anglaise on Food Network a lot, so I knew how to make it.  Pastry cream is very similar to that, except for a few tiny tweaks that I found out about by simply looking on the internet, so I knew how to make that component, which is essential for napoleons.  The berries I just added for a nice summery touch, and there was no technique that I needed to know how to do to create that.  For the puff pastry, all I needed to know was docking it, which I’ve seen people do in the past, so I was all set, and that’s my techniques philosophy about making your own recipes!  Back to France, I would make patê à choux and all that, but I hate the shells for cream puffs and eclairs!  As you knew from before, though, pastry cream is my life nowadays.  I eat it as pudding all the time, even if it’s just only a spoonful or two!  Anyway, I always thought it was too scary to attempt, but I could probably do it if I wanted to.  Same with macarons:  I know how to sift, make meringue, and fold ingredients together, but my problem is that I can’t make my own recipe right away with pastries as delicate and elegant as these.  I have to focus on precise measurements, and I should use another valued recipe as a guide, even though being that I create my own, it’s not something I’d like to do.  Not only that, if I want to make these, I have to practice my piping skills.  Okay, so I’m currently at camp, but I’m going to practice my baking skills ASAP; there are still some things on that My Current Cake Crush blog post that I want to make, so I better get moving when I can!

By the way, I know the picture is mostly is French, and I don’t understand it just as much as you do, but I found this picture, and I liked it, so…

My Latest Dessert Craze

20-something year old Dani Beckerman has taken the dessert world by storm with her simple, delicious layered cakes, brownies, and more, better known as jars.  Sold in Mason jars, these yummy confections have consumed the streets of Manhattan, and ever since my mom discovered these through Instagram, I’ve grabbed a jar or two whenever I went into NYC.  So far, the only flavors I’ve tried are white chocolate and cake batter (I was going to have a cookie dough jar, but I left it at my cousin’s apartment), and I’m hoping to try more soon because they’re sooooo good!!!!!  Jars by Dani ships nationally, so if you’d like to try one, just go to to order one (or six) now.

Confident Cooking For Teens: Day 5: Sur La Table Restaurant Skills

Today, we made corn soup, which was really more of a corn bisque, with basil foam, which was really just basil (whipped) cream as opposed to the kind of cooking foam made with chemicals, farmers market risotto, seared chicken with bistro pan sauce, which was just velouté, which is essentially a fancy gravy, and deconstructed summer berry mousse, which was just a regular mousse made without raw egg yolks.  For the mousse, we attempted to make chocolate cups to serve it in and eat it out of by using a pastry brush to paint melted chocolate all around the inside of paper cupcake liners and putting them in the freezer to set, but they didn’t work out; the chocolate broke off from the sides when we peeled away the liners, but it created cool little chocolate shards, so we just sprinkled the pieces over the mousse for decoration.  All the food was sooooo good!!!!!  This has been such a fun one-week class, and I can’t wait to do another either at the end of August (when I’m finished with camp) or next summer!!!!!

Confident Cooking For Teens: Day 4: Pasta!

Today, we made fresh pasta dough that we used to make fettuccine with two sauces (summer basil pesto and tomato marinara).  We also make Caesar salad with croutons, and it was all sooooo good!!!!!  I can’t wait for tomorrow; it might be the last day, but I couldn’t be more excited!!!!!

Confident Cooking For Teens: Day 3: Sweet & Savory Sauces

Today, we made zucchini fritters with smoked tomato sauce, sweet corn and bacon soufflé, and chocolate ice cream with torched homemade marshmallow crème.  For the ice cream, we couldn’t make it in the 2-hour time frame we had, so we ate some that was already made, but we made the chocolate crème anglaise just to learn how to make it.  I already knew how to make it, but I didn’t mind.  It all tasted amazing, and now, I’m definitely going to make a soufflé at home one day, but I’m going to make a sweet one as opposed to savory!!!!!  Today was so much fun, and I can’t wait for tomorrow!!!!!

Confident Cooking For Teens: Day 2: Measuring & Baking

Today, we made perfect pizza dough.  There was also pizza dough that was made in advance for us to use as well.  We used the pizza dough that was already made to make pizza margherita with fresh mozzarella and basil, and we used the pizza dough that we made to make barbecue chicken pizza.  They were both really good!!!!!  I mean, who doesn’t love pizza, right?  Veronica came back today, and I was glad to see her again.  I can’t wait for tomorrow!!!!!

Confident Cooking For Teens: Day 1: Knife Skills

Today, we made summer rolls with sweet chili dipping sauce, grilled ginger chicken skewers, veggie yakisoba, and pineapple and lime sorbet with fresh mint.  I actually tried the sorbet, and it was pretty good, just like everything else!!!!!  Veronica wasn’t feeling well, so that was unfortunate, but I’m hoping that she’ll be able to come tomorrow.  Even though she wasn’t there, I still had a lot of fun, and I can’t wait for tomorrow!!!!!

Confident Cooking For Teens

I’m taking another one-week Sur La Table cooking class series this summer, and it starts today.  Gabby can’t do it this time, which is unfortunate, but we met a girl named Veronica at last year’s class who we’ve been keeping in touch, and she told me that she’s doing this one, so I’m glad that I’m still going to have a friend there.  I’m really excited, and just like last summer, I’ll be posting about what I made after each class, so keep a look out; you know exactly where to go!!!!!

Blue Apron: Week 23: Day 2

Today was beef teriyaki stir-fry with sugar snap peas and lime rice.  I’m sooooo excited to try some later!!!!!  I can’t wait for more Blue Apron meals!!!!!

Blue Apron: Week 23: Day 1

Today was roasted chicken with fingerling potatoes and Italian-style dressing.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to make our second Blue Apron meal that we ordered last week, which was shiitake and red cabbage fried rice with sunny side-up eggs and cashews, but I didn’t mind, and right now, I’m focusing on this week.  I didn’t get to contribute a lot because I had to go do my homework, but I still got to participate a little bit.  I might try some when it’s done cooking, but I also bought a quiche for dinner because I didn’t have time to make mine (Sophie’s Vegetable And Cheese Quiche, in case your forgot what I named it), and I’m really excited to eat that!!!!!  I can’t wait for more Blue Apron dishes!!!!!