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Dessert Sushi

dessert sushiBy far this is my favorite thing I have made at school, plus it looks so realistic! This kind of thing is what I want to do after graduation. Eventually I would like to have my own business doing specialty desserts, cakes and pastries.

There are several components and may take a few hours to make, but it is well worth the effort. You will need the rice, fruit, marzipan, chocolate sauce, fruit leather and black sesame seeds. Tools-wise, you will need a sushi roll mat and some practice and patience. This recipe will yield about 24 maki and 12 nigiri.

Coconut Rice Pudding:

3 – 14oz cans of coconut milk
5 oz heavy cream
12 oz jasmine rice (preferred, but long grain will work as well) Rinse VERY well.
9 oz sugar

Put all ingredients into pan and cook until rice is done and all liquid has reduced. Spread onto a parchment lined sheet tray and allow to cool completely.

Fondant

3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp hot water
2 tpsp corn syrup

Blend all ingredients thoroughly until sugar is completely dissolved and there are no lumps.

Marzipan

3/4 cup almond paste
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp fondant
1 tbsp + 1 tsp corn syrup
green food coloring

Mix almond paste and 1/2 the sugar. Add the fondant and corn syrup. Add the rest of the sugar, a little at a time until the marzipan is moldable and not sticky. Color marzipan with green food coloring until it resembles the color of wasabi. Roll into small balls.

Chocolate Sauce

1 cup water
5 oz sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 oz cocoa powder
8 oz dark chocolate

Combine water, sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil to make syrup. Slowly whisk in cocoa powder so that no lumps form. Add the chocolate to the syrup and stir until melted. Pour cooled chocolate sauce into small cups to represent soy sauce.

Fruit

Using about 4 kiwi and 8-10 strawberries, you will need to cut some into strips for the maki and some squared off slices for the nigiri.

Fruit Leather

Slice thin strips of fruit leather to wrap around the nigiri.

Black Sesame Seeds

Sprinkle the sesame seeds onto your working surface and roll the maki in them.

Assembly

By looking at the picture, you can get an idea on how everything fits together. If you ever rolled sushi before, this will be easy, just do it the way you do regular sushi! For beginners, smash the rice pudding evenly onto the sushi roll mat, about 1/2 inch thick, spread almost to the the sides and maybe 6 inches tall. Lay a continuous strip of both kiwis and strawberries across, on top of each other, some where around two inches from the bottom or top. Using the roll mat as a guide, roll the rice (from the fruit side to the other) so that the fruit is wrapped up completely into a roundish tube. Using a knife, slice sections from the roll about one inch thick. Wipe the mat between rolls.

For the nigiri, form a base for the fruit. The top and bottom should be flat so that it can both stand up and leave a surface for the fruit. It should be in an oval-ish shape. Place the squared off kiwi and strawberry on the top, overlapping and secure with a strip of fruit leather.

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Yummy Turtle Bars!

I’ve been really busy with school, and it has been draining my energy so I haven’t been on the computer much more than checking email the last week. But, for Superbowl Sunday, I made a dessert to share. I made Turtle Bars that turned out great, even though the picture didn’t.

turtlebarsIngredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1-3/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cup softened butter
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350F

Spread out pecans on a baking sheet and toast in oven for a few minutes, be sure they don’t burn. It can happen very easily.

Mix the flour, 1 cup of brown sugar, and 3/4 cup butter together until crumbly. Press into 13×9 pan and bake until golden.

Bring remaining brown sugar and butter with cream to boil. Boil for 1 minute, stir and remove from heat.

Sprinkle pecans over cooked crust and pour the caramel over that. Bake for 20 minutes or so until the caramel is bubbly and has darkened.

Remove from oven, sprinkle on chocolate chips. When they are mostly melted, smooth over the entire surface.

Chill at least 30 minutes until the chocolate has set.

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My Cost Control Project

I am taking a class regarding cost control and 60% of our grade is a huge project. We come up with a menu and cost out every ingredient, making everything from scratch, keeping track of everything, down to the last pinch of salt. From there, we do a bunch of calculations, eventually figuring out how much one portion costs, what to charge for the menu items and how much profit we are making. I decided to do an Italian themed menu, and here are the items I chose to do.

Starters:

Mozzarella al a Caprese
Mozzarella Fritta
Bruschetta
Pasta Salad

Entrees:

Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta
Mushroom Fettuccini
Spaghetti and Meatballs in Bolognese Sauce
Scallops in Roasted Garlic Sauce

Desserts:

Tiramisu
Chocolate Mousse
Lemon Sorbet
Peach Gelato

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Chicken Ginger Noodle Stirfry

On the last day of working in the “pantry”, it was up to our team to come up with a pasta special to make to order, one serving at a time. We chose to do a noodle stirfry I found on the internet, and made a few additions. I have made some general proportions for making a family size dish, use your best judgement.

Ginger Chicken Noodles Ingredients:

2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
cooking oil
1 1/2 cups chicken, julienne
3-4 eggs, passed through a strainer
2 cups blanched broccoli
2 cups blanched carrots
1 cup onion, julienne
1 cup green onion, chopped
cilantro leaves for garnish
chopped peanuts for garnish

1-2 cups pasta for each serving

For the sauce, combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar, chili paste as desired, 2 tsp rice vinegar and a few drops of sesame oil. Heat in saucepan and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool.

In a hot pan, coated in cooking oil, start by making egg ribbons by adding a very, very slow stream of the now liquid eggs. Using desired utensil, break up and stir the egg around so that it is in strips/ribbons. Add chicken and desired ginger, allow the chicken to cook most of the way through.

Add garlic, then the broccoli and carrots, allowing to soften a bit. Add onions as well, allowing them to become soft. Then add the desired amount of sauce at this time too, make sure the chicken is cooked through and add noodles.Mix until noodles are coated and heat thoroughly, serve.

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Blue Cheese Chicken and Smoked Walnut Pasta

Wednesday I got to stand out on the serving line and make pasta to order. But of course I forgot to take a photo of what it was I made. Think chicken with smoked walnuts, red flame grapes in a blue cheese cream sauce.

Here are the ingredients for the pasta:

  • Cooking oil
  • Minced Garlic
  • Smoked Walnuts
  • Chicken
  • Red Flame Grapes, sliced lengthwise
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles
  • White Wine
  • Heavy Cream
  • Penne Noodles, al dente

Coat a large fry pan with cooking oil (when hot) and add chicken, garlic and walnuts. When chicken is almost  cooked through, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine to deglaze the pan.

When it is almost evaporated, add cream and grapes and allow chicken to fully cook. Be sure to coat everything with the cream. At this point add the cheese and cooked pasta, again coat with cream and heat thoroughly.

To smoke the walnuts, we placed a small amount off wood in a 4″ deep pan and lit it on fire, and blew out the flame so it smoldered. In a 2″ perforated pan of the same size, line with walnuts, and fit it into the 4″ deep pan. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil and let sit for 5-10 minutes. You can also do this with cheese, allowing you to get that nice smoky flavor without cooking it.

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Starting the New Semester

It’s been too long since my last post, but I haven’t really made anything special since school started. The class rotates the different positions in the kitchen, and I started out in the pantry, mostly doing salads. Tasks include stocking the salad bar and sandwich bar, preparing al a carte salads.  After the first few days of getting oriented, Chef Sartain added making fresh pasta and creating some sort of pasta dish as a special each day to our list. It was going well the one day we had all four team members there, but one has missed more days than he has been there. He missed three out of the first five days of this semester. After all the prep work is done, with a goal of 4:30, one person runs the sandwich bar, one cooks up the pasta special and the other one makes the al a carte salads and is sort of a runner.

The two al a carte salads we have are a Caesar and Sesame Chicken. The sesame chicken salad consists of some mixed greens with a ginger/sesame vinaigrette, topped with grilled chicken, mandarin oranges and fried wonton strips.

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Storing and Freezing Tips

I have added a new page, Storing and Freezing Tips. Check it out!

It will tell you how long you can store some common items from your  pantry, facts about freezing, and lengths of time you can freeze certain items. It will also tell you how to store fresh herbs.

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KitchenAid Classic Plus

It has been very quiet in my kitchen, I have made just 2-3 things, including bread today, but there is a new addition. For Christmas, I got a KitchenAid stand mixer! I made brownies last week, and bread today, and it works awesome! It is just like the mixers at school, and I just want to use it all the time, but there is no reason to make anything. I don’t really need a reason I guess, but I’m not going to start baking every possible thing from my cupboards.

I start back to school on Monday and can’t decide if I am excited or anxious. My stomach drops and my mind goes racing when I think about it. I think it is mostly because of the new teacher. I feel so stupid when I am around him, it’s like my brain falls out and I forget how to cook, but am too embarrassed to ask any questions of him.

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Totally Bamboo

I have been pointed to this site: www.totallybamboo.com

If I had the opportunity, I would change a lot of my kitchen over to bamboo. Not only is it easier on the environment, it is very attractive and can be used in many kitchen applications. I can go from cutting boards to flat wear to sink basins. I already have some bamboo cooking utensils and I love them. Bamboo don’t absorb moisture, a very strong “wood” and easy to maintain.

This site has a lovely assortment of cutting boards, with reasonable prices.

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Roasted Pear Tarte Tatin

I had big plans for making Christmas dinner at my mom’s house, but it didn’t happen. There was so much food left from Christmas Eve, that we didn’t bother making a big meal. We just snacked on what was there. So, I thought I could do some of it, but the mother-in-law had her own plans for dinner. I made risotto anyways, and a dessert, Roasted Pear Tarte Tatin.

The dessert was relatively easy to make, I would make some changes to the recipe though.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp light corn syrup
4 large Bosc pears (2.25 to 2.5 lbs), peeled, halved, cored
1 pie crust, pre-baked
1.5 tbsp pear nectar

Sprinkle sugar evenly into bottom of a 9″ round cake pan with at least 2″ high sides. Scatter butter cubes over sugar and drizzle corn syrup over that.

Arrange pear halves, cut side up and narrow end pointing toward center, snugly in cake pan (pears may not lie flat, but will shrink during cooking)

Bake at 375F until pears are tender and dark brown in spots, this could take up to 2 hours or more. When the pears are sufficiently soft, remove pears and place cut-side down onto pre-baked pie crust.

Place pan with syrup over medium-high heat (I moved it to a sauce pan). Boil until syrup turns dark amber color, whisking occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add pear nectar (mixture will bubble up). Whisk until caramel is smooth, then spoon over pears.

The pears and crust can be made up to 4 hours beforehand, keep at room temp.

Serve with ice cream!