Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Les Kouglofs et Brioches

Continuing with a passion, I was off to LeNotre yesterday. A rainy, cold day is perfect to be captive learning about dough! Safe in the warm kitchen, watching the rain and gazing at the Grand Palais, pencil in hand and camera at the ready. The Kouglof has been a guilty pleasure of mine for years. I do my grocery shopping at Monoprix, get my veggies and fruit at the special fruit stand and finish off my shopping trip with a mini-kouglof, from Le Notre, for the ride home.

Shifting into second gear while driving home and wiping sugary syrup from your chin is a challenge, but well worth it! I've been wanting to learn the secret of a LeNotre Kouglof for years and now is the time!

As you know, baking is all about chemistry. Well.......so is a cooking class! I've taught hands-on in my home for a few years now. I understand the 'chemistry' of a class. You've got shy ladies, new ladies, know-it-all's. It is up to the instructor to bring the class together, create a fun atmosphere for learning and when they leave, they feel like they've experienced something special. I always hope that they feel like they can tackle what I taught. I'm not complaining about this particular class I took, I learned the technique that was taught. The class was flat, if that makes any sense!

Armed with my recipes and yet another planned shopping trip to MORA for molds, I am still thrilled with the opportunity to learn the art of French Viennoiserie!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Les Macarons Monday

There are times when I have to pinch myself. How lucky can I get? Times when you just don't take things for granted!
I'm talking about last Monday, when I attended a class at LeNotre.
We learned so many tricks and techniques, I couldn't write fast enough! I had a fun group, a French woman who lived in Miami translated all the fine points that I would have lost. The chef was great and even passed on more recipes for us to take home. I couldn't wait to try my hand at home.
The last time I attended a class at LeNotre, I didn't come home and make the pastry and now, I've lost all the secrets and wouldn't want to attempt it till I go to another class. The class was Puff Pastry Inversee'. A tough technique.
After this class, I gathered the ingredients and made the Macarons and I was darned proud of the results.
Take a look at the single Macaron, that is mine!
Enjoy the photos!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Let Them Eat Cake!

I'm sure by now, any faithful reader, my mom and son included, have stopped checking my blog. If you have thought that I got lost, yes, in a way, I have. When I blog.....I share my 'joy'. That 'joyful' feeling has been way-laid of late. Explanations excluded, ok.

Lets talk about an idea I had last June, it came to fruition a week ago. And boy, was it fun to see it develop and execute! It was also received with excited feedback. It was called the Let Them Eat Cake Picnic!

I've been working with a gal out of Texas for a couple of years now. She runs a tour biz for ladies and it has been great watching her business grow! I got involved by teaching a cooking class for her clients. The successful format is a Hands-On Crepe class. This is a non-stop crepe fest with everybody flipping crepes and eating non-stop. I recently added a Professional Crepe machine and now they have a chance to test their skills on the Krampouz, just like the crepe makers on every street in Paris! The ladies seem to enjoy it and many times they are buying a crepe pan from Dehilleron.

The picnic idea grew out of the fact that the ladies take a tour of Versailles. They usually stop at the market and pick up some sandwiches and Cheryl would pull out a bottle of wine and a tablecloth out of her backpack.
I thought that it might be fun for them to have a real picnic. I would provide a boxed lunch, they would have the opportunity to sample a real quiche, chocolate mousse and my famous business-card sugar cookies!

Living about 10 minutes from the Petite Hamlet I thought I could drop off the lunches, let the ladies enjoy the food and wine and then they could continue on with the tour. I'd pick up the trash and meet them the next day for the Crepe Class. Yep, this was a great plan.

The Culinary gods were smiling down on me the morning of the picnic and the food came together without a hitch. We packed up the boxes and dropped them off in front of the Grand Trianon, I discovered that we could not set-up a picnic inside of the Hamlet or the grounds inside the Trianon. Not to worry, there were plenty of places to set up with ambiance. Friday, Saturday and Sundays there is Baroque Music piped in throughout the grounds and, even you, Can Eat Cake with the ghosts at Versailles!