Friday, October 29, 2010

Tejal Visits Vermont

My beautiful sister-in-law came to visit me in Vermont last week. She travel 2,964 miles to see me. And Vermont. But mostly me. She's cool like that.

I tried to plan lots of Vermonty activities for us to do while she was visiting , but quickly found out there aren't a lot of things to do in rural Vermont. Mostly, we ate a lot of food, browsed many shops and gawked at nature.

Thursday we tooled around in White River Junction, Vt and found a Lampscapes shop. Oh yes, this man designs and paints lamps.

I took her to my place of employment and the retail store.

I ate Pumpkin Chocolate Chip pancakes at Lou's Diner in Hanover, NH. Tejal had an un-pictured omlet.

We tripped up a mountain to view the Von Trapp (As in The Sound Of Music Von Trapp) Family Lodge. It was quite beautiful but there wasn't much to do...

We hit up the Norwich Farmer's market Saturday.

In this picture we standing over the Connecticut River in-between Vermont & New Hampshire.

We went to the Ben & Jerry's Factory! It wasn't the awesome factory that I had built up in my mind, but we still got free ice cream.

We spent some time rummaging around the Vermont Salvage. This building was brimming with old doors, antique cupcoards, sinks and other random house items.

Most of the leaves are off the trees now. Foilage is ending! Thank-you for coming to visit me Tejal! Vermont (and I) miss you!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Last Saturday I had the opportunity to take a class at the KAF Baking Education Center. The class was Croquembouche taught by Roland Mesnier, who spent 25 years working as a pastry chef in the White House.

I had never heard of Croquembouche until the day before I took this class. After a little research I found that Croquembouche is a French cake often served at weddings, baptisms, and first communions. The product is a high cone of "cream puffs" sometimes dipped in chocolate bound with caramel, and usually decorated with threads of caramel, sugared almonds, chocolate, flowers, or ribbons.

The morning started with fresh pastries and coffee from the KAF bakery.

We dove immediately into making pate a choux - the dough for "cream puffs". I've never made this pastry before so I had a lot to learn.

Wall of mixers.

Wall of supplies.

Mr. Roland Mesnier himself.

Butter - the beginnings of delicious baked goods.

Checking for consistency.

Mine did not look so great.

Puff covered in caramel.

Beginnings of PB & Jelly goodness.

It's an acorn!

It's a mouse!

PB & Jelly filled eclairs. Probably my favorite.

Since we weren't all able to construct an elaborate Croquembouche, each student built a smaller version filled with raspberry mousse.

Roland built a much more extravagant tower of pastry puffs.

Was a very fun morning! I don't know that I will be making this dessert anytime too soon, but I'm satisfied to know I've expanded my baking horizons.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Test Bake II

Last Monday night I was gifted another opportunity to bake in the test-lab. I know that these baking affairs will eventually become a routine part of my work schedule, but for now I still relish them.

On the docket for Monday were Whole Grain Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies, Baked Chocolate Donuts, Whole Grain Pumpkin Scones, Molasses Cookies and Lemon Ginger Scones.

Some white chocolate chunks may have found their way into that batter. It just felt right.

Before I started mixing these, I tried to recall the last time I'd eaten a doughnut. Then I remembered the Saturday morning that a box of Dunkin' Donuts that showed up at work a couple of weeks ago. Those doughnuts were fried. These are baked! Yay for healthiness!

Special donut pans are required for this donut-makin' party.

I would eat these donuts everyday. Very chocolatey. Then I would pat myself on the back for being so health-conscience.

The pumpkin scones were very moist and harvesty.

Mid-baking another baker (P.J. Hamel) offered me a small slice of pie. It was divine. I can't remember exactly which type of apples she used, but they were mighty good.

Then came Molasses cookies! All covered in sugar!

Last, but not least, came the Lemon Ginger Scones. Also laden in crunchy sugar.

Tomorrow is a baking class in the Baking Education Center!