Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate things for Valentine

I have to post about Valentine's day as it was the first time I had a class on that holiday and it was all about chocolate stuff. Another sold out class and the students were very attentive and asking good questions, who would not when it is all about chocolate. I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of interest and we had a waiting list just in case but everyone came. Could it be that the commercial side of Valentine's day is getting pricey , maybe so but it was great for me to spend the evening with people who really wanted to learn about making chocolatey things for their loved one. Over the years I never did get into the spirit as I always found it to be too business like. After all it is a big business for the cards makers/sellers, the chocolate companies, the flower world and also the jewelery business. But, to each its own !
Sea salt chocolate caramels, yum !  Almond chocolate truffles, more yum !   Orange chocolate tart, now that is a beautiful thing. Then  the chocolate pots de creme were a hit, easy to make and very affordable. Last but not least a chocolate molten cake . The picture on top is for the French as this confection is very popular over there and called "Orangettes".                

This was a great evening and I truly enjoyed it. It gave me also the opportunity to practice for my upcoming "Chocolate and more Chocolate class" on March 18th Noon to 4. We still have a few seats left so call the Milestone team at 214 217 2818.

Making your own bread, why not ?

This past Sunday I had scheduled a bread making class but wait, I am not a baker. True but then I called on one of the best in town: Michele Brown. She really knows her stuff and she teaches everyday at a local community college. If you are into bread she would be the one to listen to and trust on the subject.The class was sold out and as usual we overdid it meaning that we did a lot of different breads.
Here is the list: baguettes, boules, english muffins, bagels, pretzels, knott rolls, crackers, Naan, Hapanleipa (sour rye), Pajeon (Korean scallion cakes), Ohraleipa ( barley flat bread), old fashioned rye bread, Mexican conchas, Schnecken, focaccia,  and a few more that I already forgot.

Homemade  English muffins ? just pass the butter.

Multiple choices is a good thing with bread.

We spent some time on bread starters which most people have a hard time maintaining, you just have to "feed" them now and then. When I see how much good bread (if you can find it) cost nowaday it might be a good idea to start something at home and include the rest of the family for fun and a bit more of food education.
Making bread is no more difficult than any other form of cooking as long as you are disciplined enough to follow recipes and scale all ingredients as needed. So start making bread and if your first batch turns out like hockey pucks that's OK, think about the experience you get on how it is NOT supposed to look like and take it from there. Failure is the mother of opportunity so good luck in making bread but start with the simple recipes first and feed on your own success. Now that is an addiction that we all can handle.