Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Cirque Du Bebe Dessert Bar on Hostess With The Mostess - so honored to be featured on site where I go for my own creative inspiration: http://www.hostessblog.com/2010/10/a-cirque-du-bebe-dessert-buffet
Los Angeles Business Journal - the interview with Alexa was so much fun...thanks for sharing our story! Sorry Bohra for the crazy brunch!
Review on Macaroni Kid, Pasedena - we made some custom birthday Brown Butter Sea Salt favors for Laura, read about what she had to say about our treats!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Ever since I started my pursuit of baking the most perfect (when it comes to cookies, there are various types of perfection…so yes, most perfect) chocolate chip cookies, I have asked my friends, co-workers, family members about places they like to go for cookies. To much frustration, some of them go like this:
So with a mental catalog of all the places I had to visit, I arrived in New York on cookie tour mission. Due to time restrictions and my general tangent behavior, the cookie tour morphed into a sweet tour including cakes, waffles and donuts…!!
Thursday night was one of those rare weatherless nights in New York City so we opted for some al fresco street food at The Madison Square Mrk’t. After a round of deliscious pizza, lasagne and too many sandwiches to name (or remember)...we moved on to business: DESSERTS!
Friday - Sunday was filled with festival activities...so I continued my sweet tour first thing Monday morning with brunch at Prune where I had the Dutch Style Pancake with pears. The dutch pancakes I was familiar with were puffy Yorkshire pudding-like pancakes, but the one below was basically a cake baked in a pan (rather than fried)…which I guess technically still qualifies as a pancake. =)
It was fluffy goodness with a touch of cornmeal (we think!)…but also time to move on to cookies. We only had time for one cookie to visit so we had to choose among a long list of places, including Momofuku Milk Bar, Levain, City Bakery, Fat Witch Bakery, Max Brenner, Ruby et Violette, Insomnia, Jacques Torres...being in the East Village already we chose Momofuku Milk Bar.
Momofuku Milk Bar offered six different types of cookies: compost, chocolate-chocolate, blueberry & cream, peanut butter, corn, corn-flake-marshmallow-chocolate chip. Looking at the interesting variety of cookies that Momofuku offered, I just wanted to go home a write and research new flavor combinations for Batch From Scratch. We ended up with the blueberry & creme and the corn-flake-marshmallow-chocolate chip cookie...oh, and cereal milk flavored soft serve ice cream.
They were delicious. Good texture, flavor, crumb...all around yummy. The blueberry & cream one was not as sweet as I expected, which is good but dangerous because you can inhale the entire cookie without even noticing. Do you see how the cookie breaks, you can just tell its moist! Can you see those little pockets of dense buttery goodness, those little mountains of decadence that form on top of the cream chips... now that's what I call beautiful! Note that those little mountains are the parts you want to pick off first...!!
We weren't able to try all the cookies that we wanted to, but there's always next time (hopefully before next year's NYC Wine & Food Festival).
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
We arrived in New York last Thursday for the New York City Wine & Food Festival as a part of the Culinary Demo Production Staff. What is a culinary demo production staff…? Have you ever watched a cooking show where the host goes to the fridge/cabinets for ingredients, pops something into the oven, starts chopping on the cutting board and like magic everything is there where it needs to be? That magic is produced by the Culinary Demo Production Staff.
The words “no detail is too small” was written on top of every recipe we prepped for each of the twenty personalities including Rachel Ray, Giada, Paula Deen, Adam Richman, Andrew Zimmern, Tyler Florence, Guy Fieri, Morimoto, The Neely’s…and many many more.
With about twenty minutes turn times between each demo and up to four recipes per demo, the stage needed to be perfect...and quickly! I was able to sneak in a picture after the last demo on Saturday. =)
I snagged a picture of Andrew Zimmern in his pre-demo interview.
After Saturday night demo, we went to the festival’s Godiva SWEET event hosted by Sandra Lee and Duff Goldman. The event was featured desserts from top restaurants and chefs from the New York area including Le Bernadin, Jean Georges, Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant, Fat Witch Bakery, and ‘wichcraft. It was sensory overload-- I think we consumed enough sugar for the entire year. Below is just a picture of the outside patio. This event had over three rooms of desserts!!!
One of the many dessert participants:
We also met Johnny Iuzzini, the head judge of Top Chef: Just Desserts. He was absolutely awesome and wonderful to talk to and his dessert was of course delicious! He even taught me how to use my iPhone camera so I now know how to turn the flash on my iPhone. No more dark pictures! yey! (I just got the iPhone, so I'm still learning - this is why all the photos above are dark, sorry!).
After Johnny's iPhone tutorial:
Johnny's incredible chocolate dessert display:
This is Eunice on stage with Rocco DiSpirito. He demo'ed some low cal recipes for chocolate chip cookies and fried chicken, yeap its possible. Rocco was very kind and sweet. The best part of the whole demo though was when he told Eunice not to talk back (of course, all in good fun)! =)
Adam Richman of Man vs. Food closed out the festival's demos on Sunday, and we were happy to report that all the demos went off without a hitch. We were even able to squeeze in a picture...but literally five minutes later, we hear that Morimoto cracked the induction stove top with his Iron Chef hot stone demo and we had to improvise a cooking demo...well without the cooking. We rushed to triage the whole snafu and all was well. Adam was absolutely so gracious and flexible about the whole thing. He was just plain awesome.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
We don't discriminate, there are many perfect cookies out there. To each cookie, its own - whether you are talking about a crumbly, dense, chewy, soft, crunchy or delicate cookie, each has its own merits. That said, when we make our cranberry white chocolate chip cookies, these are some of the qualities we hope to achieve:
Friday, September 3, 2010
How to get a good workout while eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies: Our BFS Cookie Photo Shoot
First, Erik (our photographer) had to prepare the lighting to make our sweet treats look their very best – hey, everyone benefits from good lighting.
Then, everything was wiped down. We couldn't shoot with dirty glasses, they are...disgusting and the camera catches every little smudge and speck. If you thought the camera adds 10 pounds, it also also adds like 10 fingerprints.
Then, about an hour of adjusting to get our Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookies looking as good as they taste!
Here's the progression of one of our product shots, described by why each frame was changed:
The set-up: Alexx (our de facto art director), carefully staging for the perfect shot
Take 2: Nope, not the zoom
Take 3: An all-white background...better, but something was missing
Take 4: Add a brownie..still not there.
Take 5: We should have known-- everything is better is more brownies! Almost there.
The final take: Adjust logo of Brown Butter Sea Salt Package, fix ribbon, and lighting..and our final shot:
My one regret - I wish we had more photos so we could share the whole experience, but we were too busy holding lighting materials and getting Butterscotch Blondies and Sweet Potato Whoopee Pies to balance on top of each other...ack, well lesson learned!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Exhibit A: My beloved All-Clad kitchen mitts.
For all those who wondered why flame retardant oven mitts were created, please view Exhibit A above. I swear it was spontaneous combustion – one minute I was browning butter and the next I smell something burning and the baking crew in tears of laughter. Lesson learned—as much as they make you happy, nice oven mitts do NOT belong in a commercial kitchen. Although, good job All-Clad for making them flame retardant!
Exhibit B: My burned arm
Being in a new kitchen, we weren’t yet used to where everything is. I can also be a little clumsy, so I wasn’t surprised that accidentally bumped into a hot pan. Although it looks painful, it was nothing compared to waking up bright and early that Monday.
Thankfully, we were able to produce our 1300+ cookies for the Style Network and Dress for Success’ 2nd Annual Give & Get Fete Event. Special thanks to Jeannie Mai, Wendy Schellinger, and Jeffrey Chen for helping us be part of such a great cause!