Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How does our garden grow?

what's growing in our school organic garden? The oregano is looking mighty healthy, and who ever doubted that the 4 different kinds of mint will come back? Both the German and lemon thyme are vigorous, the sage is a surprise. In my home garden, I have a problem with the sage coming back, but at school, the flower buds on the sage is almost as plump as a pine cone. The chives have over a hundred flowers and does anybody want some arugula and rapini? The broccoli dropped seed a million places, and the tomatoes, too...what kind they are, you will have to wait until fruit time. I had about 12 different kinds last year, hopefully, it is the chocolate cherry, which was absolutely delicious....

The butterfly garden is happy to be back, last year the yellow finches were all over the purple coneflowers, perhaps this year, we will welcome the hummigbirds as well. Remember though, this is just our second year.  Students who helped us last year have sown their seeds elsewhere and we wish them well but sad they have not seen the fruits of their labor.  We miss them as well.  And as you see, it is not just a garden of flowers and greens, but friends as well...

Pictures to come......

Friday, May 07, 2010

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon)

Lemongrass: easiest thing to grow.....I buy lemon grass from the grocery store, choose the greenest one I can get, snip off most of the stem (use it) leave about 4-6 inches...soak it in water, in about 3 weeks, I will have enough roots to transplant them in a pot or the vegetable garden.

Lemon grass is not only useful as flavoring, tea, perfume, pesticide,  preservative, or relief of  respiratory illnesses, in 2006, a study conducted in Israel claimed it also has anti-cancer properties.

L'Atelier de Patissier: Purse Cakes

Every first Friday of the month, my club meets to work on a special project...this month, we decided to make purse cakes.  For a couple of hours today, we made fondant, and shaped yellow cakes to simple but cute purse cakes.  I pre-made some handles and  buckles from pastillage and there were also some leftover flowers  from my cake decorating demos that were used for decorations..The students were also allowed to take home the cakes to celebrate Mother's Day

These hands on workshops are open to both baking and pastry and cuisine students.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Omar Martinez

Friend of Le Cordon Bleu Chicago and  Food Netwoork Challenge star Omar Martines came to school to work with our students on chocolate and plated desserts.  Few things I learned from him today is adding tapioca pearls as texture on plated desserts.  Omar was also working on a chocolate showpiece for some VIPs featuring appliances.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Cake Decorating: Passion Shows

Avatar Cake Competition

Two students, one with less than a week prep,competed in the Pastry Chicago's annual cake competition.  Estelle Agena, and Amber Rose Valdez wanted to try their hand on competition and they won 4th and 5th place. I was not able to take pictures of Estelle's cakes atschool and the poor lighting at the venue did not do justice to her cake, but here, anyways,  are pictures of their cakes....

Amber Rose Valdez

some pictures of the other entries:

100 Years of Scouting

Ed Rundle,a colleague from our corporate offices had called the school about the possibility of donating some cakes for Pack #302's celebrate 100 years of scouting, the centennial year for the Boy Scouts of America.  I had committed to this event early on without really knowing what I was supposed to do.  In my head, I had decided on a theme and several tiers of dummy cakes.  I realized,a week before the event that Ed Rundle had wanted a sheet cake and some baked goods for an auction. So, additionally, we went ahead with the cake as practice for my students and baked a fresh chocolate and yellow cake, and wrapped Harlequin Roulades from my Cake Assembly class for the auctions.

When I walked into the gymnasium with the large tiered cake, the adorable boy scouts where oohing and aahing at the cake, and an email from Ed stated they were so happy with the cake they have passed it on to the district BSA for use in a May event.  The auction of the Harlequin roulades also generated about $200 for their troop.

Philippine Markets

A trip to Manila during spring break to reminisce smells, taste, sounds and feels.A side trip to Seoul to visit a former student who opened a bakery in a trendy downtown Seoul neighborhood, and a stop in Los Angeles to have dinner with a chilhood friend.  All these in a few days got me exhausted and a lingering cough to this day.

Buko:  fresh young coconut, refreshing, healthy
Kamias:  souring agents for many Filipino food, including sinigang and paksiw

Philippine Avocados, Mangosteens and mangoes

But of course, the Philippines will have their own version of the ever popular cupcakes

Duhat, very similar in appearance to a cherry, but totally different in taste and is a member of the Myrtaceae

Shopping For Flowers

Shopping for Fish and Meat

and finally, at last, the beaches.......

Sadly, I left my camera at  home in West Chicago and had to give my borrowed camera back to my I do not have pictures of Korea other than those in my Tracfone, and they are impossible to retrieve.