A Food Experience

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For our final project, we both had ideas that involved something with science. We wanted to bring users back to their childhood and create science project. So the first couple ideas we had were:
-Make a volcano - using baking soda and vinegar/cream of tartar
-Use rum and light it on fire
-Make a meringue or use some type of flavoring and then add liquid nitrogen to make ice cream

We did some experimenting with cream of tartar and baking soda to see if a reaction happened. It did in fact fizzle when combining the 2 ingredients, but the taste was not good.
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We really liked all of these ideas but in reality, they would not be safe enough for people to consume them or they would not taste very good.

So we went back to the drawing board and started thinking about still including some type of 'science.' So we thought about playing with the states of matter and taking something that was a liquid and making it a solid or something along those lines. We also thought about tastes as well and wanted to include flavors that come with the holidays.

-Hot chocolate
-Apple cider
-Eggnog
-Peppermint
-Gingerbread
-Sugar cookie
-Maple

Then we though about different user experience ideas:
-Gingerbread house
-Tree with ornaments
-Put string into frozen or cookie
-Open presents - edible presents
-Make their own snowman
-Eggnog cheesecake or pudding

But we finally decided that we want to take classic holiday drinks and turn them into frozen treats. So we tried out a frozen white hot chocolate with peppermint garnish on top. This was very successful. But we had to tweak some of the proportions within the recipe to make it exactly to our liking. This includes white chocolate, milk, half and half, hot chocolate mix and then blended with ice to make it a smoothie texture.

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We then made an apple cider sorbet. The sorbet is made with apple cider, sugar and cinnamon all boiled together and then frozen.

We tried experimenting with the sorbet using applesauce and making it without. We liked the version without applesauce. After getting some feedback from everyone in class, we decided to stick with the sorbet and then add a cinnamon whip on top. We also want to try and make a caramel to drizzle on top of that to play with temperatures and add a warm element right before guests take their serving.

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We made sugar garnish for the top as well.

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These treats are typical holiday flavors but are in different forms that what guests aren't used to. We like this concept because it gives kind of a surprise element to those eating/drinking them but the flavors are still bold and recognizable enough that people will know what they are consuming.

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Wooden Vessel

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When first thinking about what I could possibly make for a wooden vessel geared around Thanksgiving dinner, many ideas popped in my head. But I had to be realistic with my time and my capability to actually execute this. After we had our brainstorming session in class, I felt that I came up with some very good ideas and that one could be built upon for the project.

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I then made a list of all of the dishes at Thanksgiving dinner to see if maybe I could make a vessel or utensil specific to one of those dishes.

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I also made a mind map once I kind of decided I wanted to make some sort of special plate. I was able to figure out different features to add to a plate to make it more useful. The idea that I really liked was to put grooves into the lip of the plate for your fork and knife when you set them down so that they do not slide off of the plate or table easily.

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I also really liked the idea of making a wishbone holder for when you are drying the wishbone out. But I did not know if this was feasible to make in such a short time with the limited experience I had working with wood. I also was debating on whether it would be marketable enough. I came up with some sketches of the ideas too in order to see if they would actually work.

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Finally I went and bought a 2 foot slab of soft Maple wood from Young Blood and took it into the wood shop to carve into a plate. With the help of Justin in the wood shop, I was able to start and finish my plate in one afternoon! I first drew out a plate that had an 8 inch diameter. Then I cut the circle out of the slab of wood with the band saw. We then mounted my circle on the lathe and smoothed it out to make it a perfect circle since the band saw hadn't made it completely circular. I then kept it on the lathe and used the carving tools to make the front of the plate dip down a bit and to give it its shape. This took a lot of time to get the shape exactly how I wanted it. I then carved the back to make it the shape I wanted too. Justin helped with some of this too, in order to show me exactly how to do it. Once I got the shape exactly how I wanted it, I took a hand tool, (I don't know what it's called) and made the 2 grooves in the lip of the plate for your fork and knife to rest while you are not using them. I did not take any pictures of the actual process of carving because it was too difficult to stop carving and snap pictures along the way and I was covered in wood shavings.

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The Plate as a Canvas

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I first started to think about what flavors I could use that would go with the spice cake. Many flavors from the last assignment came to mind: apples, squash, cinnamon, maple, something creamy, nuts, etc.

I then went back and looked at the different theories that make plates look eye appealing. The negative space, asymmetric balance, odds and evens and simplicity were the theories that stood out to me the most. So I started experimenting.

I used apples and glazed them with cinnamon & sugar and then baked them. I also cut the spice cake into various shapes, slices, cubes and rectangles.

I also made some garnishes/decor out of chocolate. I really liked how these turned out and the dimension that they gave to the dish.
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I played around with different shapes of apples as well as the cake. I used the principle of odd numbers by using three elements.
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I also tried using asymmetry in my design.
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So far, I liked using the asymmetry principle.

When experimenting with sugar in class, I made a sugar brittle. I want to use some type of sugar garnish that is abstract to add height to my dish. The color of the brittle is a caramel hue, which keeps with the analogous colors of browns and earth tones that I want to use.
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I also used different tools to cut the cake into different circular shapes. I want to use the theory of odd numbers and have three circle cakes and place them on one end of the dish.

I tried out different designs on the plate with caramel to fill the empty space a bit.

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After trying out various ideas, I went back to the drawing board and came up with some other ideas that I liked better.

I wanted to use some sort of rectangular wooden 'plate' to keep with the earth tones for my dish and use that to enhance a natural theme.

I want to incorporate a pop of color to use as a focal point. I tried shredding carrots and then almost dehydrating them just by baking them and putting them on top of one of the cakes which turned out good!

Finally I made a glaze to put over the cakes so the sides of the cake are not completely exposed. I liked the look of the glaze dripping down the sides of the cake.

I tried this dish out again to make sure I liked it.
-Cake (when practicing I didn't use the circular shapes because those tools are provided in class)
-I tried crumbling some of the cake and put the other cake shape on top. This gave a sand like image which I really liked; it kept with my natural theme I am going for
-Glaze over the top made out of powdered sugar, vanilla and milk
-Carrots on top for the pop of color
-Sugar brittle to add an abstract element as well as some height
-I am putting this all on a piece of wood on one end of the wood, utilizing the negative space element

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One Bite Challenge

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After having the lab where we got to play with gelatin, I started brainstorming about what type of ingredients I could manipulate in order to come up with an innovative 'one bite.' I liked the idea of having the small gel balls included in my dish so I took that and ran with it.

Next was searching for what fruit or vegetable was in season right now. The few things that came to mind were apples, (of course) pumpkin and squash. Those were the three things that appealed to me the most. I started making lists of things that went well with those ingredients as well as other things
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I then narrowed it down to apples and sweet potatoes. I wanted to make something along the lines of sweet potato pie, but with different textures of the things that are included in that pie.

I initially tried out a type of puree/mashed sweet potato blend with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg as the 'pie' portion of the dish but couldn't decide if I liked the texture of it.

So I tried out dicing the sweet potatoes and then glazing them with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and then baking them. I used both in the final stages of testing and had friends taste test to see what they liked better as far as texture and taste goes. They liked the texture of the diced potatoes and the taste of the puree, so I decided to add a little more sweetness to the diced potatoes because I enjoyed the various textures that came with that one.

I used a crust on the bottom using crushed graham cracker and butter and just pressed it together to form. I learned that cooling this for a bit made it more crust-like.

The 'pie' part was explained above. I also used candied walnuts in both mixtures of sweet potatoes to add some crunch and sweetness.

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I then created whipped cream using heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla. This is one of two texture manipulations - the heavy whipping cream (liquid) into a fluff or whipped cream.

Finally as part of the assignment, I transformed maple syrup into small gel balls. This was the most difficult part because the balls didn't seem to form very well like they did in class. But it definitely turned into a gel. Trying to get the maple syrup to form into actual balls will be a challenge tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it turns out!

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Innovative Orzo Dish

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Our task of creating an innovative dish using either rice or Orzo got me thinking of many different options of projects. My first ideas are as follows:
-A dessert of some sort using the rice as a bland ingredient paired with something sweet and/or fruity
-Use the Orzo 'instead of' rice so it is perceived as rice to the taster
-Rice dishes
-Stir fry
-Sushi
-Rice pudding
-Burrito/burrito bowl
-Sushi role using ingredients that you would use in a rice dish

So after strolling around the grocery store, I came up with a couple interesting ideas for my innovative dish. I wanted to for sure use Orzo, so I was thinking about what flavors and textures would work well with it. I thought of first using a pepper and stuffing it. The ingredients I then used to make a mixture including the Orzo were cream cheese, avocado, caramelized onions and cumin. I mixed that all together, stuffed it in half of a green pepper and then put it all in the oven on broil. After broiling it for about 15-20 minutes, I took it out and cut it up to taste test it! I really liked the different textures of the various ingredients but I realized that it needed more of a kick to it. So I plan to innovate more and add something like chili powder or something to my mixture. Then possibly sprinkle some type of cheese on top to get a crispy top layer. To be continued!

I also tried a dessert type dish using the peppers. I figured the mix between a crunchy vegetable and something sweet could work well together. So I cut up peppers and then spread a mixture of cream cheese, sugar and Orzo on. Then I melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzled it on top. Then I broiled them in the oven for a few minutes. This combination was really interesting together. I wasn't a huge fan of the pepper as the base, so something like a biscotti or even a fruit could be good with this!
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Although I liked the ideas that I had previously come up with, I didn't think they were innovative enough or were centered around Orzo enough. So it was back to the drawing board, or mind-mapping board in this case. I knew that I still wanted to work with Orzo so I started thinking of what you use pasta with. I came up with the 'Classic' spaghetti and meatballs. But I wanted to put my own spin on this dish. I took each ingredient that was used for this dish including meat for the meatballs, the pasta, some type of cheese (usually parmesan or mozzarella) and then the sauce, so tomatoes, onions and basil or some kind of seasoning.

I then started deconstructing this dish and thinking of how I could use all of the ingredients but as a different 'classic' dish. That's when a cheeseburger came to mind. I thought I could use each pasta ingredient for one of the aspects of the burger.
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I cooked the Orzo, then added mozzarella cheese to it, making it stickier. I then shaped it into the top and bottom of a burger bun and cooled them in the fridge.

I then made a beef patty just how I would make meatballs.

Finally I made my own pasta sauce using tomato paste, fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, green pepper, basil and olive oil.

I then assembled it to mimic a burger!

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I was brainstorming at work different ways to get the orzo to stick together besides the cheese. I got the idea of using an egg and mixing it in with the cooked orzo. Then cooling it so it takes some form and finally frying it! So I tried this and it actually worked and tasted decently. Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese over that and call it a day! (Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of this one before digging in and trying it)

After all of that I think I should have a finished product and hopefully somewhat successful dish tomorrow!

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