Food Forever



top chef photo set 

Top Chef Food Blog

Top Chef Food Blog:


Our class has been eagerly preparing for the Top Chef Competition over the last few weeks. The class was divided into small groups who would be competing against one another. My group was composed of Sarah, Lynn and myself and we found ourselves as exhilarated about the prospect of a friendly competition as the challenging teams. We viewed this as a unique way to determine our cooking knowledge and evaluate our improvement from the beginning of the semester.

Top Chef turned what could have been boring homework into a fun, interactive activity. Even the preparation portion was fun as we were able to use our personal creativity and had many choices available to choose from. I was elated to have been scheduled on the day where dish themes included cartoons, fusion, or the seven deadly sins. Seven deadly sins was ultimately our selected theme and in my opinion, the best one. It was also interesting having the opportunity to work with Sarah and Lynn, who are not normally found within my circle of friends, but who I realized by the day’s end were excellent group members and new friends. They were girls who had a strong work ethic and offered up fresh and exciting ideas. We were success as a group as we communicated our thoughts and found common ideas and agreed upon thoughts that we all loved.

The first step was to create dishes which we fit each of the themes as mentioned above. We were able to develop quite a list so we found it hard to imagine narrowing that down to only one. Once we created our dishes, we moved on to the second step, drawing sketches of our favourite dishes. We found this to be one of the most challenging aspects as we felt that artistic ability wasn’t a strength among our group. Some of our sketches were difficult to recognize, but we really did give it our best effort. The third step was the preparation and the memorization for the quick fire round. Mrs. K sent us a list of what to study through Google drive in an effort to make our job easier and trust me, it did! The quick fire round was a great experience and it wasn’t as hard as we had expected. We found memorization easy since we had learned all of this before and had blessedly paid attention during instruction as I knew that I’d use these skills in the future, possibly even later within the course. I was right! My favourite part of the quick fire round was the challenge against my competitors. I found it interesting to see what each group would bring to the table. There was a nervous energy which circulated the room and kept our apt attention. This challenge had numerous ups and downs. It was a great learning experience, finding out just what was expected of us and testing recipes upon our first attempt at making them. Sadly, my group had a fair number of downs when it came to flavor. Making the béchamel sauce was quite challenging, attempting to make the reduced vinegar taste appealing to ones taste buds. We didn’t achieve this most of the time, but did get bonus points for the not so tasty use of the juiced orange in the béchamel sauce. Obviously when you do not know a recipe well and you prepare it initially, it will not be your best work, but eventually I know I will be the master of béchamel sauce and reduced vinegar with some practice and hard work. The fourth step was the Top Chef Challenge. The day before my group got together and prepared, as I’m sure all the other competing groups did. We just wanted to make sure we knew what we were doing before we got to the actual competition, so the night before we prepared sushi. We found that it was surprisingly easy and even fast. That made us feel better regarding the time aspect of the competition as we felt that we would have no problems finishing on time, including plating our food and most importantly, making sure it was yummy.
On the day of the Challenge, we prepared our sushi just as we had practiced and once we finished, we provided a serving to each of the judges. This was done by each competing group and then we waited, in anticipation for the results. They really kept all of us on our toes! The judges then reported to each group what they liked and what they didn’t like about their dish. I found this to be very helpful since I really appreciate constructive criticism; sometimes it is good to hear what you did wrong in order to get it right the next time. They really gave us direction in areas of improvement to be made. Once the judges finished sharing their thoughts and ideas with us, it was time for them to announce winners. Sadly, my group did come in last place but I do not feel that this meant our dish was bad, just that the judges preferred other dishes. I feel that two very strong groups were chosen to compete against one another on the final day and that all is fair in the taste of food and more.

This was one of my favourite classes that I have taken at Thornhill Secondary School, and that is counting all three years of my attendance. This class taught me many useful kitchen skills that I will utilize throughout my life. It will make me a better cook since I actually know what I’m doing in the kitchen, from prep work to the final product. I would hope that my teacher and my classmates would remember me as a hard working girl who made mistakes but got back up and tried again. I want to be remembered as a girl whose food didn’t always taste the best but it did have a quality texture especially when it came to vinegar reductions, a girl who now knows the names of many herbs and makes use of them often when baking anything from a salad to bread, a girl who doesn’t cut her finger when slicing a cucumber because she mastered the knife skill techniques and can even be called a ninja in the kitchen! I want to be remembered as someone who makes baked good for every occasion or holiday and tweets photos of them for the class to see… I wouldn’t mind being Twitter and tumblr famous. When I was younger I had a dream of becoming a chef, but as I grew older that dream faded among many other ones. My dad often says, “Remember when you used to help me cook when you were younger and you even wanted to open a bakery?”… Well yes I do remember that and it is one of my best memories as a child. I really think my dad just wants me to become a chef so that he has an excuse to quit cooking for me! Although I may not go down the road of yummy goodness, choosing one less tasty, it does not mean I won’t cook as a pastime and make my home a chef’s kitchen. This class got me closer to achieving this goal and I am grateful to Mrs. K and my classmates for showing me cooking techniques I lacked upon my arrival in this course. I had a very enjoyable experience in this class. I mean, who wouldn’t want to cook and eat? It’s the best of both worlds. Next year I hope to be put in this class again so that I may gradually reach additional cooking goals and have foodie fun once again!

Reblogged from prettygirlfood
prettygirlfood:

Sticky Toffee Cake and Nut Brittle Ice Cream
Cake:
8 ounces dates
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Toffee sauce:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons rum or brandy
1 teaspoon molasses
pinch salt
Nut Brittle for Ice Cream:
3 cups raw nuts (chopped or whole depending on the size) – peanuts, slivered almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, or walnuts)
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornsyrup
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Toppings: 
Vanilla Ice Cream
To make the cake:
Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan (or 18 muffin cups) generously with butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a small pot bring the dates and water to a boil, turn the heat down, add the baking soda and simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour the dates into the bowl of a food processor, add the sugar and blend. Add the eggs and combine. Add the fresh ginger and vanilla and pulse to combine.
While the machine is running slowly add the melted butter.
Dump the date mixture into a large mixing bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients together and then add them to the date mixture, only mix until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes (muffin cup version should be checked after 20 minutes) or until tester comes out clean.
While the cake is baking make the Toffee Sauce: 
Heat the butter, sugar, cream, rum and salt in a medium sauce pan and simmer until the sugar is disolved.
Poke holes all over the cake with a skewer and pour half the hot syrup over the hot cake. Return to the oven for about 3 minutes.
To make the Brittle: 
Heat the sugar, water, and cornsyrup in a large sauce pan over high heat. Allow it to boil untouched until it starts to turn amber in color. At this point watch it carefully. Stir the caramel so it doesn’t burn, it tends to caramelize unevenly. Once it is a nice dark caramel color (it may even start to smoke slightly) add the nuts and baking soda and stir. The mixture will foam when the baking soda is added.
Pour the brittle onto a silpat and quickly spread it out.  Cool completely. Can be made days ahead and kept in an air tight container.
Once you are ready to make the ice cream break up some of the brittle in a mortar and pestle.
Fold the brittle into your vanilla ice cream.
Top the cake with ice cream and pour on a bit more of the sauce.

prettygirlfood:

Sticky Toffee Cake and Nut Brittle Ice Cream

Cake:

  • 8 ounces dates
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Toffee sauce:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons rum or brandy
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • pinch salt

Nut Brittle for Ice Cream:

  • 3 cups raw nuts (chopped or whole depending on the size) – peanuts, slivered almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, or walnuts)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornsyrup
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Toppings:

  • Vanilla Ice Cream

To make the cake:

Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan (or 18 muffin cups) generously with butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small pot bring the dates and water to a boil, turn the heat down, add the baking soda and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour the dates into the bowl of a food processor, add the sugar and blend. Add the eggs and combine. Add the fresh ginger and vanilla and pulse to combine.

While the machine is running slowly add the melted butter.

Dump the date mixture into a large mixing bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients together and then add them to the date mixture, only mix until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes (muffin cup version should be checked after 20 minutes) or until tester comes out clean.

While the cake is baking make the Toffee Sauce: 

Heat the butter, sugar, cream, rum and salt in a medium sauce pan and simmer until the sugar is disolved.

Poke holes all over the cake with a skewer and pour half the hot syrup over the hot cake. Return to the oven for about 3 minutes.

To make the Brittle: 

Heat the sugar, water, and cornsyrup in a large sauce pan over high heat. Allow it to boil untouched until it starts to turn amber in color. At this point watch it carefully. Stir the caramel so it doesn’t burn, it tends to caramelize unevenly. Once it is a nice dark caramel color (it may even start to smoke slightly) add the nuts and baking soda and stir. The mixture will foam when the baking soda is added.

Pour the brittle onto a silpat and quickly spread it out.  Cool completely. Can be made days ahead and kept in an air tight container.

Once you are ready to make the ice cream break up some of the brittle in a mortar and pestle.

Fold the brittle into your vanilla ice cream.

Top the cake with ice cream and pour on a bit more of the sauce.

Reblogged from gabriellaansh

gabriellaansh:

My response:

I really enjoyed the cream of broccoli soup and that’s why I am choosing to do my response on Gabby’s food blog. Gabby and I seemed to have a different experience when cooking our soups as she found it to be a challenge and I found it to be difficult but very doable. Both of our groups used a mirepoix to give the stock flavour. We both used the herb thyme, which seems to be a popular among soups as I have come to realize. Likewise, as I was eating it I was surprised to discover there was meat in it. I give gabby a tap on the back for being able to work with foods such as meat that she finds difficult to handle. She stuck to it and did her part even though it wasn’t pleasant (can’t say i did the same when it came to the onions). Gabby’s group took advantage of the herbs and it resulted in a great tasting soup with an amazing flavour that I wanted to continue to savour in my mouth. She and her group did a great job and when she makes this at home I hope she invites me. :) 
Reblogged from sarahshin951

Soup Lab

  • The most recent food lab my classmates and I participated in was the cooking of many different varieties of delectable soups. Of course all  the soups had magical herbs in them to add an extra unique flavour. This food lab gave us a chance to finally use our knowledge of soup making that we learnt earlier on in the year. Earlier on in the year Ms. K taught us soup making techniques such as skimming and preparing a mirepoix which consists celery, carrots and onions.  I was  definitely excited to be given a chance to put what I was taught to good use and give it a try (more like an attempt… kidding!!!).

  • My group made a flavourful  chicken soup with grounded meatballs a recipe found by one of my group members, Brandon.  The first thing we cooked was the chicken stock which was a long but very fun and interesting process. All group members participated in the gathering of the ingredients and the chopping of the ingredients; although  I stayed away from the chopping of the onions when we were preparing the mirepoix. Sadly, the onions made me cry so at one point I almost needed to stay away from the kitchen…  Possibly the classroom (I have sensitive eyes). The chicken stock along with having a lovely mirepoix in it also included herbs such as rosemary and thyme which were just lovely. As our stock cooked you could smell it’s fantastic aroma and even taste it on the tip of your tongue. Trust me once you smelled that delectable aroma you just wanted to slurp it down at then and there and I know I was not the only one who wanted to and would have….  Strangely enough once we tasted it, although the aroma was delicious, the soup still lacked in salt and herbs required to enhance the flavour. We added both and improved the flavour dramatically. but, the difference between herbs and salt is that herbs are good for you and salt isn’t. If  I had the chance to make the stock again i personally would not have added as much salt as we did but instead I would have added more pepper . Once the stock was fully cooked, skimmed, double checked, looked good and was ready to go it was time to move on to cooking the chicken meatballs. 

  • The second step was making the meatballs which I have to admit I bragged about a bit since they turned out so yummy. My group along with another group partook in making them so I can’t take the credit I would like to for how they turned out. I found that making meatballs was an interesting and surprisingly easy process, so it will definitely be something I will make at home for family and friends. Also, we attempted to use cooking techniques such as cooking the meatballs counter clockwise on the pan, but I use the word ‘attempt’ because they ended up rolling all over the place. The meatballs ended up tasting amazing and added another spectacular flavour to the soup. If I were to make this recipe again though, I would make more meatballs to make an even more prominent flavour in the soup.

  • Overall this food lab was really enjoyable and a great experience. There were many delicious soups made and I had the chance to try all of them. Sadly, I can’t say my soup was my favourite this time around because I found that the tomato soup and the cream of broccoli soup to be spectacular. I guess I prefer soups with a thicker creamier texture. I am excited to make soup again soon although it will probably be in the winter so I can come home to a scrumptious, warming, easy to eat meal that will heat me up in seconds. 
gotta love your fatty foods 

gotta love your fatty foods 

cupcake i made 

cupcake i made 

what what!

what what!