eat design::final project

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the project.

  • create a food experience for 80+ people
  • work with another team member to create dish

teammates.

tawana and i are teammates for this final project. we have worked as teammates before and know that we work well together. this blog post will show our ideas, adventures, and final result.

the beginning.

tawana and i started to form our ideas by searching for sweet treats on the web. once we found some ideas, we began to expand on them to make them unique.

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we decided to attempt to serve a hot beverage in a chocolate shot glass. chocolate is a food that many people love, so we thought we would pair it with a unique experience. because the beverage is hot, the person enjoying the shot would have to place the cup in his mouth before it melts in his hand. this idea is something we have to play around with to make sure it works, and is consistent.

we visited lynn's cake and candy supply to see if they had any shot glass molds. we were told that they were sold out, and the supplier that they used to buy from recently went out of business. that news sent us to the dollar store to look for shot glasses to use. the dollar store did not have any shot glasses, so we went to target next and found some in the dollar section.

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no. 1

we used the shot glasses from target and some almond bark to test our idea.

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we had seen on pinterest that we could dip the shot glass in almond bark and then pour a little hot water into the glass to get it off. the shot glass we used had a really thick bottom so the hot water did not get to the bottom and the almond bark would not come off of the glass.

no. 2

when no. 1 did not work, tawana went and bought a shot glass mold and tried making almond bark shot glasses with that. when she tried pouring hot liquid into it, it melted through the side. she made multiple sizes with different thicknesses, and found that it was difficult to have a consistent cup that held the liquid.

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no. 3

i attempted using the shot glass as a mold for try no. 3 with a couple of changes. i used saran wrap around the glass to see if it would allow the almond bark to come off easier. i also flipped the glass over to let the chocolate drip to give it an organic appearance.

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it did not work great. the saran wrap created a neat texture, but the almond bark broke when i removed it from the glass.

moving forward.

after trying many times and many ways to make the chocolate shot glasses, tawana and i decided that it was time to move on to a different idea. one that we could implement in the few days we had left. so we said goodbye to the chocolate shot glasses and hello to cookie bowls.

when we first began searching for ideas, tawana found a simple recipe for cookie bowls. we decided to try it out in lab. our first attempt resulted in thick doughy bowls that tasted floury. chef diane came over and gave us some tips, and showed us how to spread the batter very thin so that the dough, when finished, is paper thin and melts in your mouth.

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moving forward with the cookie bowls, we started to consider what we could serve in the bowl. after talking through a variety of things, we settled on an eggnog mousse. we chose eggnog because it is a classic holiday drink.

tawana and i found a recipe to go off of, and after lab on wednesday i tested it out to see how it would work.

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the mousse turned out well, and was the perfect consistency to be piped into the cookie bowls.

while considering what we could top off our mousse with, we thought why not try some bacon? that way our guests would get a sweet and salty flavor experience.

eat design prep.

on wednesday morning, the morning of eat design, tawana and i spent the lab time making the mousse and the batter for the cookie bowls. we had some trouble figuring out how to form the cookie bowls in the muffin tin before they cooled and started to crack. that afternoon, tawana and i spent time testing various ways to do it. we found that a very thin layer of batter, put in the oven until bubbly worked best. when the batter began to bubble, we took it out of the oven, used a cookie cutter to cut circles, and stuck it back in the oven for 1 more minute. after that we were able to take the circles directly off of the pan and press them into the muffin tin. it was a tedious process, but well worth it. we ended up topping our eggnog mousse with maple bacon cooked in pure maple syrup. the balance of sweet and salty that our dish offered was a hit.

eat design.

the final eat design event was a lot of fun. we had a great time talking with all of the guests and sharing our dish. it was rewarding to see the fruit of all of our hard work.

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product design::assignment 4

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the project.

  • design a wooden vessel or utensil to use at thanksgiving dinner
  • 2 weeks to design
  • no sets

ideas.

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my first idea for this project was a pie stand. countless times i have heard that your first idea is probably not your best idea. with that in mind, i challenged myself to come up with other ideas for my wooden utensil. i liked my other ideas, but kept coming back to the pie stand. i decided to move forward with the pie stand.

i started with paper prototypes.

no. 1

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no. 2

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no. 3

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i liked idea no. 3 the best because of its delicate lines and simplistic form. i made another prototype in google sketchup to play with the proportions. then i sketched how it would be built.

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as i was sketching i realized that i could make the pie stand out of four simple pieces, and it could be marketed as a versatile, flexible product.

build time.

after looking at different types of wood online, i decided to look for a 1/4 inch piece of maple to make my pie stand out of. my plan was to cut the pieces with the laser cutter so that i would have clean, precise lines. when i went to rockler to get wood, they did not have any 1/4 inch pieces of maple. i decided to go with a piece of birch plywood instead. i tested the laser cutter on a small section of my wood, and found that it left the edges charred black. the men at the wood shop suggested i used the cnc router instead. they helped me do a test cut and i was pleased with the result.

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we ran a few tests to see how wide the center cutouts needed to be, and had to redo the cuts once because we had made them too wide.

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i finished the edges with another router, and sandpaper, and used wood glue to attached the round base to the top scalloped piece.

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final details.

i hoped to finish the pie stand with a soft gray stain. i found a recipe online for homemade stain made with fine grade steel wool dissolved in apple cider vinegar. i made it two times. the first time i did not pay attention to the type of grade, and used the coarsest grade. the steel wool did not dissolve as it was supposed to so i tried again with the finest grade steel wool. it still did not dissolve.

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i ended up using the "try 2" stain even though the steel wool did not dissolve, and it did gray the wood in the way i hoped it would. if i had had more time, and more wood to practice on, i would have played with stain thickness and number of coats.

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final product.

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overall i am pleased with how my design came together. it is quirky, whimsical, and versatile. if i were to make it again i would make a few changes.

  • make more precise prototypes to get the proportions just right.
  • increase the size of the legs so they are more proportionate to the top.
  • add curves to the bottom of the legs so that it is sturdy when on a not flat surface.

final step.

bake a pie to display on my new pie stand...

the plate as a canvas::assignment 3

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the project.

  • use visual design principles to design a plating for a given cake base
  • the cake cannot be processed into another material
  • the cake component should be the main element of the dish
  • use other elements to add interest to the plate
  • present final design on plate of choice

inspiration.

i recently spent a few days up north at my parent's home. one of the days we went hiking to take advantage of the beautiful weather. i snapped some pictures while walking along the trail with the intention of maybe editing them later. i did not expect to find inspiration for my food and design project, but i did, from these lovely photos.

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after thinking about items that would pair well with spiced honey cake, i began to consider ways that i could put them together to create an aesthetically pleasing plating.

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the fall colors and variety of textures stood out most as i chose the above images for my concept. using the same pictures, but emphasizing different elements and colors i came up with three different concepts for my plate design.

no.1::the lumberjack

warm, dark hues
variety of textures
plaid pattern

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no.2::minneapolis fall

clean lines
vibrant greens
dynamic

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no.3::campfire

unique flavors
warm browns
texture

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creating.

one of the first things i tried making, before creating a full plate was caramel. for my first attempt i used water, sugar, and salt. the caramel looked fine, but tasted burnt. the second time i made the caramel, i tried a different method and used sugar and lemon juice. i did a better job keeping an eye on the sugar as it melted to prevent it from burning, and it turned out great. i was quite proud of myself.

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while implementing my ideas for each plate i made slight changes to my original sketches as i was able to see what worked well together and where i needed more height, variety or color. here are my ideas created on the plate...

no.1::the lumberjack

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no.2::minneapolis fall

the first time i melted white chocolate to make white chocolate swirls, i overheated it and it began to harden. my second try went a lot better and was a nice smooth texture.

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no.3::campfire

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final.

i found it challenging to decide which plating to use as my final, because i liked elements from all of them. from the lumberjack i liked the layered look and texture that the ice cream topped with sweet potatoes and oats provided. i liked the idea behind campfire with the marshmallow filling and graham cracker topping. and i liked the clean lines of minneapolis fall. out of the three, i liked minneapolis fall the best because of its simplicity and contrasting colors. i felt that it reflected my concept through geometric lines juxtaposed by organic forms and textures representative of nature.

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final
honey spice cake
cream cheese frosting
blanched green apple peels
caramelized almond
caramel swirl
spinach applesauce

i enjoyed this project, and the challenge that it presented. i have created many board layouts, and presentation designs and understand the value of white space and applying design principles. it was an entirely new experience to apply those concepts to a plate design, and it was great.

amuse-bouche :: assignment 2

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the project.

  • choose one specific fruit or vegetable that is currently in season in minnesota
  • find an interesting and novel flavor combination featuring chosen fruit or vegetable
  • transform at least one ingredient into a different texture
  • present finished product on a spoon

ideation.

before lecture a few weeks ago, i had not heard of amuse-bouche. i was fascinated and also a bit freaked out by the experience that one bite of food is expected to provide. the ideas took a while to form, but after experimenting with gel formation in lab the ideas started to flow.

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no. 1.

the first idea i decided to expand on was the apple cider gel. i cut up an apple, boiled it with brown sugar and cinnamon, strained it, added gelatin, and placed it in the fridge to cool. after it had cooled completely, i cut out two small circles, stacked them and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar.

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the final result was alright. i felt that the taste and texture of the gelatin took away from the flavor of the apple cider, making the overall experience not that great.

no. 2.

the second idea i decided to try started out as "not your typical lasagna," but turned into "not your typical chili." i chopped up a tomato, onion, and pepper, and boiled them on the stove. as they simmered i added chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and ground red pepper. after separating the solid from the liquid, i mixed 2 teaspoons of the tomato liquid with 1 tablespoon of plain greek yogurt in order to provide the calcium needed to form a gel ball. i struggled to find a successful ratio for the yogurt and tomato liquid. too little liquid and the yogurt flavor was overpowering. too much liquid and the consistency was too liquidy.

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i faced another dilemma when i mixed the alginate solution with the water. i used tap water because i did not have any distilled. this is what it looked like...clumpy...

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no. 2. is on hold for now as i let the alginate solution sit overnight and pray that it separates and can be used tomorrow.

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no. 2. is back on, and with good news! the alginate solution dissolved overnight. to drop the tomato yogurt mix into the solution, i used a camelback straw. it created the perfect size ball. if i were to recreate this dish, i would try to thicken the tomato solution so that the yogurt taste was less apparent.

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no. 3.

idea no. 3 starts with butternut squash. i love the flavor, and wanted to incorporate it somehow into my amuse-bouche. i started by making a simple butternut squash soup.

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once i had the soup, i tried to make small balls of it using the alginate solution.

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as soon as i tried to transfer them from the alginate to the water the exterior broke and the sphere form was lost. so, i added some vanilla yogurt in an attempt to thicken the soup and provide more calcium. the spheres formed a lot better, but still broke when i transferred them.

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and so continues the creating...

no. 3. continued.

after experimenting with making butternut squash alginate spheres, and them not working out super well, i was a bit discouraged. i wanted to use butternut squash, but did not know what my next step should be. i decided to go back and read the requirements for the assignment. that was really helpful. reading through them again helped me to expand my ideas, and reminded me that my final creation did not have to be created with gelatin or alginate. once i got past that rut, i was able to ideate some more. i was really pleased with the flavor of my butternut squash soup and felt that it left a nice after taste so i decided to keep that as it was and add something to the top. that something on the top ended up being frozen cinnamon whipped cream.

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the cool creaminess of the frozen whipped cream contrasts the heat and spiciness of the butternut squash soup. it creates a pleasant and unexpected experience in your mouth that lingers for a while.

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creating an amuse-bouche really challenged me to think critically and creatively. having to meet both criteria of pairing flavors and changing the texture of an ingredient stretched me and reminded me that there are times when you have to go back to the basics and start fresh, often with a different mindset.

rice truffles :: final result.

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rice truffles :: trial 2.

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After having a few friends taste test my first batch of rice truffles, and eating far too many of them myself, I had some alterations to make.

A challenge that I ran into when using the mint leaves was uneven flavor. Some truffles had a great amount of mint flavor, while others had very little. I also found that mint leaves are challenging to work with, and are better used as a garnish. That being said, my trial two of the rice truffles had me trying to more evenly disperse the mint flavor. I attempted this by finely chopping the mint and mixing it thoroughly throughout the rice and raspberries. Upon a quick taste test, I found that the flavor was still not as pleasant as I had hoped it to be. This lead me to get rid of the mint completely. I felt that there needed to be another ingredient to hold the rice and raspberries together so I added a teaspoon of honey and a spoonful of powdered sugar.

The result was a very sweet one. I liked the smooth, texture that was created after adding the powdered sugar and honey. After dipping them in chocolate they still offered a pleasant taste. Success.

My next step will be to figure out my exact proportions and solidify that I can complete these rice truffles in the time I have allotted. I am hopeful.

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inspiration.

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The other day in class we experimented with different methods of cooking rice. My task was to cook the short grain rice with just enough water. As I was taste testing it, after it was done cooking, I noticed how sticky and moldable it was. Within a matter of thirty seconds my mind was filled with ideas. Gotta love random spurts of inspiration...

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Overall I was quite satisfied with how the rice truffles turned out. I still need to experiment a bit more with how much mint and raspberry is experienced with each bite. During my next trial I plan to reduce the amount of mint I use, and increase the amount of raspberries. I may see how adding sugar or cream to the mix changes the flavor.

experimenting with orzo.

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After trying out a rice pie crust, I decided to go a completely different direction. I started thinking about some of my favorite summertime salads. I always love a fresh chicken salad with juicy grapes, chopped walnuts, and pasta, so I decided to take the idea and roll with it by substituting orzo in for the traditional shell noodles, and adding a few more ingredients. Instead of using a mayonnaise base dressing, I create a honey lemon dressing to add another flavor to the mix. For a savory flavor, I had the salad over a bed of fresh spinach with feta cheese on top. While I really enjoyed this salad, and will probably make it again, I did not think that it was innovative enough.

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the start of the journey.

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Project 1 :: Dish Innovation Challenge :: Use RICE or ORZO to create an innovative dish.

Phase 1 :: Ideate

White Rice

White Rice 2

1

I came across a recipe for rice pie. I was instantly intrigued and started to think about how I could play with a rice pie crust.

Recipe

Idea 1
:: Use it as a bowl to hold a rice salad.

Idea 2 :: Fill it with something sweet like fruit or chocolate.

Fruit Pie

After gathering ingredients, feta cheese, rice, and eggs, to make my pie crust I began to create.

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I had to bake the crust for about forty minutes, a lot longer than I thought I would. When it cooled it was a sticky, salty and dry crust that fell apart when taken out of the bowl.

Overall, I was not impressed with the result of my crust. Its crumbliness eliminated the salad bowl idea, and its dry, rubbery texture turned me off from wanting to experiment with a sweet pie filling.

Time to go back to the drawing board...