man vs. food VS. Us

My uncle was telling me about some television show where a man goes around to different restaurants and enters challenges that the restaurant is known for. An example would be that he had to eat 6 of these atomic wings in order to have his picture placed on the 'wall of flame.'

While in Los Angeles he visited Orochon Ramen in Little Tokyo (downtown LA). They have a dish there that (on the show) claim thousands of people of tried to finish, but only a few have succeeded. It's called the "Special #2." Their ramen dishes set up like this:
1. Choose a broth (salt, miso or soy sauce)
2. Choose a heat level (1-7; 7 being the mildest and 1 is "Extreme)
3. Choose extra fillings (i.e. egg, extra noodles, green onions, etc.)

In addition to the 7 heat levels there are 2 SPECIAL heat levels. Both are compared to 'the surface of the sun,' #2 being the hotest of the two.

So last night we to see what the place was all about, and if it lived up to it's hype.
I got a #2 (not the special)

Kristen got a #4 (punk)

Lil Chris got teriyaki chicken.....

and my husband... he attempted the Special #1 (yowwwzaaaa!)

We started off with some beers (yum) and then it was on to the dumplings (yum x2).
Finally the main dishes....

Let's just say that our noses were sweating, it got REALLY hot in that place, and most of us paid for that experience later.

Great place.... you should check it out.

"The Amber"

Another fine, elegant Geneva creation is The Amber. The cake itself is composed of (from the top to bottom) carmel glaze, carmel mousse, chocolate decoration, sponge cake, pears in syrup wiht hazelnut nougatine and lastly pear mousse. YUM!

Making the cake was fun, decorating it was even better. Enjoy.... be prepared to wait AT LEAST 24 hours before you can enjoy this masterpiece. (Sorry for the pictures, but all I have is my iphone during class)

Pain de Gene Sponge (sponge cake from Geneva):
(yield 2 disks 14-16cm of diameter - we cut the recipe in 1/2 yielded 1 ring)

400g almond paste
3g salt
400g eggs, room temp
75g a/p flour
5g baking powder
125g butter, melted

Directions: Beat almond paste and salt with paddle attachment until creamy. Slowly add eggs, 1 at a time, scrap in between each addition. Sift flour and baking powder together first, then add to mixture. Add in melted butter, do not over mix. Pour mixter into a lined ring, filled (no more than) 2/3 full; bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Pears and pear syrup
500g pears, drained with syrup reserved.

Set aside.

Hazelnut Nougatine (we made 1/3 of recipe)
140g butter
60g glucose
175g sugar
2g pectine NH
250g hazelnut, chopped
3g cinnamon powder

Directions: Bring butter and glucose to a boil in saucepan. Add sugar and pectine, reboil. Keep mixture in a warm place until just about to use. When ready, add chopped nuts to mixture. Spread mixture on a baking sheet and cook until hardened and browned, approximately 8-12 minutes. Cool then break apart into small pieces.

Carmel Mousse (we made 1/3 of recipe)
100g pear syrup (reserved from above)
20g milk powder 0% fat
100g egg yolk
20g glucose
10g gelatin 180 bloom
50g water
100g sugar
70g glucose
1 vanilla bean
300g warmed heavy cream
350g whipped cream

Direction: cook pear syrup, milk powder, yolks and glucose in a saucepan. Meanwhile bloom gelatin sheets in water. In another pan cook sugar, glucose and vanilla bean to a amber/carmel color. Add in warmed cream and bring back to a boil. Add gelatin sheet to egg mixture and then combine egg mixture with carmel mixture. Fold in whipped cream, set aside.

Pear Mousse (we made 1/3 recipe):
90g pear syrup (reserved from above)
20g milk powder 0% fat
100g egg yolk
20g glucose
50g trimoline
16g gelatine 180 bloom
80g water
450g pear puree
40g pear alcohol
165g whipped cream

Directions: Repeat exact instruction from carmel mousse, except ADD TRIMOLINE to egg mixture. Set aside.

Carmel Glaze:
(Note: this makes almost 4 gallons of liquid - we made an entire recipe for the class)
400g apricot glaze
1qt water
80g gelatine
150g sugar

Directions: In a LARGE and WIDE pan, cook sugar until it is a dark amber color (this will take a while and the sugar will clump together - be patient and create a liquid); it should boil roughly. Add water to stop the boiling process. The water will again make the sugar clump together.... just keep stirring. Add apricot glaze to mixture, stirring constantly. Lastly add gelatine bloom. Mixture will be extremely hot and need to cool down considerably. The mixture should be hotter than warm when using, but not this hot.

Assembling the cake:

Once the cake is cooled, cut in half. Working from the bottom up, and using the same sized ring used for cooking the cake, place ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Fill bottom of ring with carmel mousse, paying attention to allow some mousse to come up the sides (we want the exterior of the cake to have this mouse around it). Sprinkle some chocolate decoration on the mousse now (optional - we did not do this step). Place 1 layer of cake on top of the mouse. Fill the top of the cake with pear mousse (careful to all the 'carmel' mouse to still occupy the outside area). Chop and sprinkle the reserved pears on top of the mousse followed by sprinkles of the nougatine. Cover the top of the pears and nougatine with more pear mousse followed by the last layer of cake.

Cover and freeze the cake for at least 8 hours so that it's completely frozen.

Unmold the cake and place on a cooling rack (placed inside of a plastic wrapped lined baking sheet). Laddle the syrup over the cake completely making sure to work from the top of the cake to the sides. Shock the pan to make sure the syrup coats the cake, return to the freezer until ready to decorate (3-5 minutes). Keep cold until ready to serve.



"The Divine"

So this quarter I'm taking a European Cakes and Tortes class. Our first assignment was to make a chocolate mousse cake (basically). The problem is, there's nothing "basic" about this torte. It's 4 layers of the best of the best... CHOCOLATE.
Top layer = Milk Chocolate Glacage (glaze)
2nd layer = Milk Chocolate Cream (mousse)
3rd layer = Hazelnut Feuilletine (wafer crumbs)
4th layer = Almond Dacquoise (softer than sponge, cake)
The French really named this torte correctly... it's tastes DIVINE.

(the recipe is in order of how it should be made and assembled)

Milk Chocolate Cream
70g water
15g milk powder
75g egg yolks
15g glucose
4g gelatine 180 bloom (silver sheets)
20g water
450g milk chocolate
50g hazelnut paste
350g whipped cream

Directions: Combine water (1st listed) milk powder, egg yolks and glucose in saucepan and heat to 86 degrees celsius - do not boil (*if you do not have milk powder, use the combo of the 2 in liquid milk form - meaning 85g milk).
Bloom gelatin sheet in 20g water (roughly 2 sheets). Combine bloomed sheet to egg yolk mixture, whisk until fluffy.
Melt chocolate and hazelnut paste over double boiler (bain marie) until melted. Add egg mixture to chocolate. Set aside.
Whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold in cream 1/2 at a time into milk mixture. Place mixture inside of a small ring line with plastic strips that are higher than the height of the ring and place in freezer. Do not touch.

Almond Dacquoise (cake)
150g almond powder
200g powdered sugar
50g flour
215g egg whites
3g dry egg whites
125g sugar
2g salt

Directions: Sift together almond powder, sugar and flour. Whisk egg whites with dry whites. Sprinkle in sugar and salt with mixure becomes foamy and comes away from bowl. Pour in 1/2 flour. Fold slowly and carefully, do not overmix. Pour in remaining flour... repeat. Pipe this mixture into a medium sized ring (buttered and lined with parchment paper) creating edges around the outside first then filling in the middle. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Milk Chocolate Glacage
750g milk chocolate
70g cacao butter
200g clarified butter
100g roasted sliced almond

Directions: Melt chocolate, and butters together. Roast almonds and keep separate.

Hazelnut Feuilletine (wafer crumbs)
150g milk chocolate
300g hazelnut praline paste
300g feuilletine

Melt milk chocolat and paste together. Keep mixutre warm until right before using.
Crumble feuilletine, by hand and place in large bowl. Pour warmed melted chocolate over top and coat feuilletine completely. Should make a large paste-like mixture.


Unmold almond dacquoise (cake) and place on plate, cake ring, etc. Using same size ring as with chocolate cream (in freezer), center the ring on top of the dacquoise. Fill ring with hazelnut feuilletine, pat down to level off mixture. Place ring of chocolate cream on top of feuilletine. Using the glacage, laddle the melted chocolate on top of the cream and sprinkle the almonds on top of the melted chocolate.

Place everything back into the freezer until ready to serve. Cake should be out of the freezer for 20 minutes prior to serving (unless your house is hot as hell). :)

Petits Four Glace

So... have you ever been out to one of those "fancy-smancy" restaurants and they gave you a mini-dessert to "have" along with the bill? Not the after-dinner mints.
These small pastries, cookies and mini-desserts are known as "Petit Four" or miniature pastries. They are meant to be consumed in 1-2 bites.

Honestly you can turn amost any recipe into a 'petit four' just pay close attention to detail, and make them ALL LOOK SAME!

*2 part recipe - 1 for the joconde (dough layer) and 1 for the in between filling*

5oz almond flour
6oz sugar
1.5oz cake flour
4 eggs
3 1/2 egg whites
1.5oz unsalted butter, melted

Directions: Combine almond flour, 5oz of sugar, cake flour and 1/2 of eggs. Whip the mixture for 2 minutes. Stop, scrap the bowl then mix for another 3 minutes. Slowly add remaining eggs. In another clean bowl, whip egg whites and remaining sugar until medium peaks. Fold in melted butter to the almond mixture. Fold in 1/3 of egg whites to lighten the batter, fold in remaining 2/3. Spread mixture over silpat. Level off mixture and bake at 450 for 6-8 minutes. Cut joconde into uniform strips

4oz simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar)
2oz raspberry liquor/puree
raspberry jam, as needed
tempered chocolate, as needed

Combine simple syrup and raspberry liquor/puree together, set aside.


Directions: Place a strip of the joconde. Brush the simple syrup/ liquor mixture on top of the strip. Spoon/brush raspberry jam on top of liquor mixture, and repeat the steps. Finish product should be 2" tall. Cut the strips 2" wide and you'll end up with a 2x2 petit four. Shapes include squares, rectangles, diamond, rounds, etc.
Decorate the tops of the desserts with tempered chocolate (or if you're lazy, more of the raspberry puree - which is what I did)


*Please do not attempt this recipe UNLESS you have a madeleine molded tray/pan.

Nothing tooooooooo fancy about these cookies. They're ok. Easy to make and decorate.

RECIPE: (yield 12 cookies)
4oz unsalted butter
2 eggs
3oz sugar
1tsp lemon zest
1/4tsp vanilla extract
1/4tsp baking powder
3oz cake flour

Directions: Brown the butter (place butter in pan and cook slowly until it turns brown - do not burn). Set aside to cool. Whisk eggs and sugar over double boiler until warm. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice, zest and vanilla. Sift baking powder and flour together and stir into egg mixture. Stir in melted butter. Cover bowl and allow to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
Butter and flour madeleine pan, spoon or pipe in batter to pan. Fill 3/4 the way.
Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, until light brown. After baking, invert pan over wire rack, cool completely.

Spritz Cookies w/Raspberry Preserves

So these cookies are sold everywhere. I know that I pick them up all the time. Peperidge Farm (sp?) sells them in raspberry, blueberry, etc. The trick in making them is just using a star tip during the piping process.

RECIPE: (yield 12 cookies)
4oz butter, softened
2oz sugar
1/4tsp salt
1tsp vanilla
1 egg
5oz cake flour
4oz raspberry preserves
powdered sugar, as needed

Directions: Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add salt, vanilla and egg. Combine well. Slowly add flour, until just combined - dough should not be sticky or stiff. Pipe dough unto ungreased sheet using large star tip.
Wet your index finger and create a "well" in the middle of the cookied. Place 1tsp of preserves in the middle of each cookie.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes (until edges are lightly browned). Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired

Chocolate Souffle

So, we had to make these as a group, so it's hard to determine exactly which one is mine, out of a group of 20. I made 5 though, so THERE!

1pt orange juice
8 egg yolks
4oz sugar
3oz A/P flour
8oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
2oz orange liquor
Butter, melted - as needed
Sugar, as needed
16 egg whites
Powdered sugar, as needed

Directions: Heat OJ to lukewarm in saucepan. Whisk egg yolks with 3oz of sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in flour and warm OJ, return mixture to saucepan. Cook on med-low heat until thick - do not boil, remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until completely melted. Add liquor. Cover mixture with plastic wrap (touching the mixture) keep at room temperature.

Prepare ramekins by brushing with melted butter and dust with sugar, coat completely.
Preheat oven to 425.

Whip egg whites to stiff peaks with 1oz of sugar (remaining). Fold whites into chocolate base and spoon mixture into ramekins (filled to within 1/4" of rim. Bake immediately, for approximately 12 minutes.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over the tops.