Thursday, December 29, 2011

Warm Chocolate Souffle

One of my chefs at school taught us an amazing warm chocolate souffle recipe. It actually made my fall in love with souffle! Who wouldn't want to eat something that jumps up out of the bowl like this. When I served them I poked a hole in the top and inserted fresh whipped cream! They were delicious!

It is kind of hard to describe how our classes are at the Culinary Institute of America. So I ran into this video of my current teacher that was done three years ago. His name is Chef Schorner and he has been one of the best teachers I have had here at the Culinary. When I was watching this video I felt like I was in class making the Sachertorte with him.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Good Morning!

These we a gift from a very special MM. They were edible nondairy chocolate cups that came with a packet of mousse that you had to add heavy cream to. They were so much fun to make because they took a second to put together! And then it took two seconds for everyone to eat them! Thanks MM for the delicious Mousse Cups!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Together Cooking! We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Charlotte Russe

This cake is called a Charlotte Russe Cake. It has two layers of vanilla sponge and two layers of Bavarian cream. On top we piped whipped cream and made chocolate shavings. On the sides we layered fresh lady fingers. At first I didn't think that I would like this cake, but my rule is that I have to try everything. And oh boy! This cake was delicious! It sort of tasted like an ice cream sundae! I could have eaten two pieces it was so nice and light!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Coconut Granita

This frozen treat is something that I stumbled across on my refrigerator at home. DD had conveniently posted an entire recipe guide from a magazine about granita. There were four variations and I tried two. My favorite one was the one with coconut milk and the other one I made was with green tea and honey. It was a little strong on the honey side even after I adjusted it. So I made the coconut one again! It was delicious, healthy and vegan! Three things that didn't make it last long, hence the empty cup above and neglected tray of coconut macaroons. It is quite easy, put the three ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. If you are going to add a flavor such as lime juice or mango puree add this after you take it off the stove. Then put in a shallow container into the freezer uncovered. Every hour or so stir the mixture with a whisk or fork and place it back in the freezer.

16oz coconut milk
8oz sugar
4oz water

and since 1 can of coconut milk is usually 13.5oz here is the conversion:
13.5oz coconut milk
6.6oz sugar
3.3oz water

+a little mango puree or lime juice for flavor

Sunday, December 18, 2011


This is a puff pastry cut into a flower shape filled with frangipane. It is called a Pithivier. It is a french specialty from the town of Pithivier. It was delicious and I ate half of it! The frangipane filling was the best part because of the strong flavor from the almond paste. I could eat this for breakfast everyday! 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Right now I am taking a class called Basic & Classical Cakes...and over the past week and a half I have had my share of cake! I've resorted to splitting a piece with my partner during class just to "test the product." This being said, I brought home three pieces of Black Forest Cake last night. I still have two pieces left!

This cake is a traditional carrot cake topped with handmade marzipan carrots with lots of walnuts inside! Maybe too many. I prefer I much moister carrot cake. I would recommend finding a recipe that includes pineapple. This seems to help keep the cake moist. However I would use the same cream cheese icing. It has orange and lemon rind inside and lots of cream cheese! Absolutely delicious!

Cream Cheese Frosting, yields 2 cakes

1# 8oz Cream Cheese
.5 each Lemon Zest
.5 each Orange Zest
1.5 tsp Vanilla
12oz Butter, soft
12oz Powdered Sugar

Cream the cream cheese in a mixer with a paddle until smooth. There can be NO LUMPS. Then add the zest, vanilla and softened butter. Once this is completely combined add the sugar until incorporated. DO NOT OVER WHIP. This will cause the sugar to start to melt and you will have a mess on your hands!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting for Snow

Above: Marzipan Snowman...edible.

We're waiting for snow. Patiently. But waiting. Please snow come to Poughkeepsie!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Early Night!

 And I just finished up this piping homework! Whew! No more piping until the New Year! Now it's time to study hard for the written exam on Monday and two day practical starting Tuesday! Wish me luck!
-cream puff

Life @ the CIA

My daily schedule starts with either work or working out. Then around 11:30am I eat lunch. Recently I have found a new kitchen that I is called "Fun with Food." It is always fun, and interesting...mostly fun. Then I review for class, then I go to class at 1:30pm. Around 6pm I eat dinner. Hopefully at "Fun with Food" and then I go back to class until 8:30pm. Then I go back to my room and do piping homework. My life has been filled with lots of piping homework at late hours. The patterns usually look like this (above) and I study them and recreate them with chocolate piping gel on a sheet of cardboard wrapped in plastic wrap. Then I go to bed around 11:00pm.

I really like my days! And I hope to be posting more about school and what I've been learning! I have another plan and that is to turn my current graphic design website into a food portfolio! Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Everyone is talking about it...

On the last day of Thanksgiving break...there was one thing that really caught everyones attention. It was this cup of coffee. As each person slowly emerged from their bedrooms and entered the kitchen. Everyone oood and ahhhhd at this beautiful cup of coffee sitting on the kitchen table. DD had woken up a little before everyone else and made this irresistible cup of coffee. I think her and Portman both have futures in the coffee business! I will let her share her coffee making secrets with you. Until another post!
-Cream Puff

Friday, December 9, 2011

Oreo Cupcakes

Meet buttery sticks. Meet buttery sticks meet oreo cupcakes. I made these as the nondairy option at then end of our dinner over Thanksgiving break. While buttery stick and carrot chopper ate these delicious cupcakes the rest of us enjoyed warm chocolate souffle! The recipe for that will be coming soon!

Buttery stick asked me to make these cupcakes after finding a recipe on the internet. They were so simple and fun! What a great surprise to find a whole oreo on the bottom! You'll definitely need a glass of milk with these little guys! I used my vegan chocolate cake recipe to make these and then a vanilla frosting on top. But any chocolate cake and frosting mixture would work. The composition is quite easy. In a cupcake pan, place liners first and then an oreo like the picture above. I used doublestuff! And then pour batter on top and bake normally!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Almond Crescents

These cookies were apart of my cookie practical last week. They are quite simple to make and delicious! I would recommend making these this year for the holidays!

16oz almond paste
8oz sugar
3.5oz egg whites
to taste lemon zest

sliced, crushed almonds
chocolate coating

1. With paddle in a kitchenaid mixer add almond paste, sugar and lemon zest until the mixture resembles small peas.
2. Add the whites slowly and scrape often.
3. Once the mixture is homogenous, scoop even portions (or use a no.100 scoop) into a bowl of sliced, crushed almonds.
4. Roll balls into logs an inch and a half long and shape into crescents.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F until light brown. Dip in chocolate when they are cool.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lemon Meringue Tart

Unfortunately school has been quite demanding and I haven't been able to post as much as I'd like to. I wanted to share a piece of my practical from last week. This was my lemon meringue tart that I made for my Tart Practical last week. The components of this dessert are a sugar cookie dough, lemon filling, and shell border done with swiss meringue that I torched! I think I have changed from a pie lover to a tart lover!

Friday, November 18, 2011


The best part of Cream Puff honing her baking skills is that she teaches the Red Queen many new techniques and keeps EVERYONE pleasantly plump, thoroughly enjoying delectable treats! OO La La!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cooked Greens over Brown Rice

I can't think of anything tastier than fresh organic greens lightly sauteed with a hint of garlic, red pepper flakes, & just a touch of salt. The greens are served with black eyed peas and slices of mushrooms, sauteed with onions, garlic, and ginger. What truly makes this dish appealing are the hidden flavors of garlic and ginger. In addition, fresh or dried thyme is a wonderful earthy spice which can be added to the sauteed onion mixture. This dish comes together quickly for a hearty and healthy meal any day of the week. Simply get the rice cooking and by the time its finished, the remaining ingredients are prepared and cooked. I had a few beets on hand so roasted them up while my rice was cooking. Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chicken & Hash-Variation on a Theme

A lovely surprise for this meal was the finishing gravy prepared from the roasted chicken juices, butter, and fresh rosemary! The lemon juice in which the breasts were marinated added a nice tang to the gravy. Most of the cooking is done stovetop. Before cooking, the chicken breasts have marinated for about an hour in grape seed oil, lemon juice, diced garlic, jalepeno pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning.

While the breasts are marinating, begin chopping a simple mix of root vegetables, such as turnips, yams, and russet potatoes, into bite sized pieces. Toss the vegetables with grape seed oil and Penzeys Herbes de Provence, a blend of spices that includes lavender, thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, chervil. Add vegetables to a slightly preheated skillet and toss frequently cooking on medium-medium-low. Once vegetables begin to soften add coarsely chopped red and green peppers. A few minutes before serving add chopped garlic and green onions, salt and pepper.

While Hash is cooking, sear the chicken breasts in an oven safe skillet on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes each side. Deglaze the skillet with about half a cup of dry white wine. Once wine is reduced by half add a cup of simmering low-sodium chicken broth and finish cooking the chicken in the oven at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes or till the breast centers reach 160 degrees.

A special thanks to Kent Rathbun for his Cajun Roasted Chicken Breasts with ‘Shrimp Jambalaya Hash’ recipes. And Nick Stellino for hosting him on his show!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Healthful & Bountiful Eating

This post is for Carrot Chopper, and ALL vegan supporters! This lovely salad is organic and FULL of nutrients. And the Red Queen thoroughly enjoyed it with a few turns of the pepper mill, some grassy olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, yummy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rachel's Chili Chocolate Almond Cookies

If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen! These cookies are HOT! The heat from the red hot chillies adds just enough spice to these decadent chocolate treats. Enjoy with a little vanilla ice cream or glass of cold milk. The recipe is compliments of Rachel....a fellow student of AM's at the Culinary Institute of America.

Chile Chocolate Almond Cookies

1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter/margarine, softened slightly
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unbleached flour (all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons crushed dried red chillies
1/2 cup almond slivers

Place 1 cup of the chocolate chips in a 1-quart microwave safe glass bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on medium for 2-3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes until chocolate is smooth and mixed. Do NOT burn (can also melt on stove in double boiler) let cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Slightly beat egg and add to utter mixture with vanilla extract. Stir in melted chocolate.

Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, & baking powder in a bowl. Gradually add butter mixture, mixing well after each addition. Stir in mixing well after each addition. Stir in chile pepper, almonds, & remaining chocolate chips.

Drop batter in clumps of about 1 Tblsp. each onto lightly greased baking sheets, leaving about 2-inches between cookies.

Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack. ENJOY!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Filet Mignon in a Port Cherry Reduction Sauce

Another Cook's Illustrated Classic, preparing this Pepper-Crusted Filet is easy and well worth the steps. Poor a glass of sparkling water or red wine and enjoy the process. To accompany each 7-oz center-cut filet is a lovely Port Wine Sour Cherry Reduction Sauce. For Port-less' birthday celebration, The Red Queen paired the 1-1/2" thick filets with Sweet Potato Gnocchi in a mushroom sauce, topped with chopped goat cheese tossed with parmesan, fresh cracked black pepper, and toasted pine nuts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

French Toast

Port Man, you've outdone yourself! A touch of almond extract and freshly milled nutmeg added to the milk and eggs is crucial. Topping the toast with a healthy serving of local yogurt Finger Lakes Farms and a drizzle of local syrup Trout Brook Sugar House is the ultimate finish. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Basic Cheese Souffle

Port-less, Cream Puff, and The Red Queen were staying at a wonderful B&B in Vermont, just east of Montpilier, Pie-in-the-Sky. The lovely couple that own and run the B&B are gracious hosts and take great care to make their guests feel at home. In our mid-forties, Port-less and The Red Queen agree that this has been their most pleasant and relaxing experiences away from home. Included in the experience is a carefully prepared gourmet breakfast. Port-less was so impressed, he referenced Julia's recipe. I must say, I can hardly wait for the next souffle!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Seared Scallops & Autumn Beets

Autumn is filled with freshly picked apples and root vegetables. A favorite season all around for Cream Puff and the Red Queen How to Make the Face. Dry Sea scallops are a delicious treat quickly seared in butter on the stovetop. Just a dash of cayenne and paprika, yum! Golden and red beets roasted in the oven, some garden fresh tomatoes grown by Carrot Chopper, and a side of cous cous tossed with homemade pesto make a light autumn meal.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cake Pops

This weekend was spent conquering the cake balls! Cake balls are such a big fad and I have been dying to make them! I have never worked with candy melts before so this was my first try. A tip to all bakers who are working with candy melts....if you need to thin it out use a little bit of shortening. The cake pops are chocolate chocolate on this inside and white chocolate on the inside. They are delicious and I am really excited to finish eating them after dinner! Dinner which is being graciously prepared by a few of my Culinary friends! I left them in the kitchen with them so we'll see if they're still there when I head down to help them! What is most exciting about the cake balls is that they can be vanilla, carrot, chocolate, red velvet. These are actually a vegan chocolate cake covered in white chocolate.
*a thank you goes out to everyone who was consulted and faithfully stood by my to conquer the cake balls! Thank you thank you!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Eggs Benedict

The CIA student's culinary basic skills for bakers must include a recipe for eggs benedict in her repertoire. For readers who have been wondering what the writers for this blog have been up to, one is working on a degree in baking at the CIA
after completing a degree in graphic design, the other has just completed a master's degree in counseling. Yes, a happy chef creates delicious sweets and savories! For us baking and cooking always bring joy, in the doing and in the sharing! We're glad to be back!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Grapefruit French Macarons with a White Chocolate Buttercream and Grapefruit Curd Filling

Santa brought me a glorious new silpat for Christmas...just so I could learn how to make macarons! This was my first attempt. They tasted absolutely delicious, however my macarons have no feet! Back to the delicious part, check out the recipe for yourself!

The last few days I have spent researching the feet that need to appear at the bottom of the cookie! This evening I am going to try again and hopefully achieve feet! If you don't know what feet are please check them out here. The most useful information that I have found was here, check it out. Wish me luck!

Lemon "Mile High Meringue" Pie

When I was younger my mom, DD used to make mini lemon meringue pies. I loved them for their taste but also their precious appearance. The recipe below makes mini pies if you follow the same directions but just use a mini muffin pan. However the big pie is just as delicious as the smaller ones.

Two summers ago I went through a lemon meringue pie phase. I must have made this recipe once a week. I love the sweet of the meringue and the tart of the curd. This curd recipe is the best I've ever made! This is definitely a crowd pleaser. It only lasted one hour after I cut the first piece!

Lemon Meringue Pie
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Pie Dough
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup butter
4 Tablespoons Cold Water
Lemon Curd
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
5 large eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the flour, butter and water in a mixer. Stir until the mixture resembles dough. If the mixture is not coming together, add more water. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to an 1/8-inch thickness. Crimp edges, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator, and prick bottoms of shells with a fork. Line pie crust with parchment paper. Transfer to oven; bake until edges begin to turn brown, about 10 minutes. Remove paper and continue baking until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Combine 1 1/4 cups sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Stir in 2 cups water, and mix until smooth; set aside.

In a saucepan, combine lemon juice, 5 egg yolks, and pinch of salt. Set over medium heat, and stir in cornstarch mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil, about 14 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the lemon zest and butter. Pour filling into a bowl, and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.

Pour lemon curd into the pie crust. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Heat broiler. Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer. Combine 5 egg whites (I used 7 egg whites and achieved the mile high meringue) the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl of an electric mixer. Hold bowl over simmering water; whisk until the mixture is warm and the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes.

Return bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, spread the meringue so the filling is covered and the meringue touches the edges of the piecrusts. Transfer to broiler, and lightly brown the meringue, watching constantly, 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from broiler, and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Geodesic Balls

An additional element to the Surprise party for GD was the creation of these Geodesic Balls. I thought that these fun black and gold balls would be perfect for new years! I ended up making about 15 of them and strung them around the house and from the light fixtures. I will say that they do take a little bit of time. But the result was worth the time that I put into it. Happy New Years!

Hot Chocolate & Marshmallows!

Nothing can beat a homemade marshmallow. A plump fluffy ball of sugar and gelatin! Delicious! Recently I made these for a Surprise New Years Party-that was put together for Portman aka GD. This photo was taken after the party. I decided not to make hot chocolate for the party due to the 50 degree temperatures that we were experiencing outside. Instead we made a marshmallow tower and presented the display on the dessert table. I regret not taking pictures of the party because the appetizers and desserts were delicious!

Our cherished guests at the party were not disappointed that there was no hot chocolate. Everyone was more than happy to devour these as if they were the most decadent truffle every created. I have made these before-but the recipe is not difficult! I would recommend making these at your next party asap!