Final Project: Make it an Experience!

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Evelina Knodel & Derek Krouch

Initial ideas from brainstorming sessions from first class session and out of class:
Set something on fire and let it drop into a cup to heat a soup
Dropping something onto a stretchy material
Pressing a gel through a thing with holes
Hanging something from the ceiling and have people eat it
Croquette is flung into a bowl/cup of sauce
Lollipop dipping station with series of sauces (with diff. colors?)
Ball or pastry with outer shell that is thin and breaks open like an egg
Meatballs filled with spicy cheese
Play on loaded baked potato
Squish baked potato through a ricer
Sauce/puree in a bowl with a cracker layer on top and a ball of cheese is dropped through to break the cracker
White soup and use eye dropper to drop in something red (cranberry, beet juice)
Volcano mechanism--press down on a liquid which overflows
Large yogurt gel ball that breaks before eating
Ball on stick with different layers of flavors. As you eat, you get diff. flavors

We had two main ideas in class. These were:
1. Pancake sandwich. People would use the pancake as a canvas to decorate using a variety of different colored sauces. They would then put the other layer on and eat after potentially warming it up.
2. Fondue bar. People would be given a lollipop of bread or dough of some sort that they could dip in different flavored fondues (cheese, chocolates, other flavors, etc).

In the end, we decided to go with a combination of the two. Instead of a pancake, we want to make gougeres, or cheese puffs, which people can fill with different flavored sauces, each with a different color. Here are the gougeres:

Gougeres baking.jpg src=" baking-thumb-244x325-181154.jpg" width="244" height="325" class="mt-image-none" style="" />

Some issues we had were that they didn't puff up as much as we had wanted. Also, they're a bit hard to fill with sauce. We are going to try adding some extra egg to hopefully give them height and puff after speaking with Diane. She had stated that it was due to the dry air of the winter was the reason they were not puffing up as much. We are also going to add a tad of sugar.

For the sauces, we want to make the following five:
"Orange Oasis": squash, carrots, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, *balsamic vinegar

"Blissful Beige": cauliflower, salt, pepper, sour cream, *mushrooms

"Green Goodness": basil, spinach, green onions, olive oil, parmesan, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt, garlic, *avocado

"Red Rendezvous": tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, basil, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne, chili powder, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, honey *cocoa powder

"Pink Paradise": beets, vanilla, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, half and half, sour cream, *nutella

*: secret ingredient

Here are some process photos:

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Tomato Sauce:
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Test run:
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We put all the sauces in squeeze bottles thinking people could just punch a hole in the gougeres and fill them, but in the end, we decided it's easier if we just cut off the tops and allow them to fill the cavity that way. We tried it out in class, and it worked pretty well. We need to puree our sauces more so they are smoother and thicken the red sauce. We also want to tweak the flavors a bit so they are stronger.

Originally, we wanted to allow people to just choose however many and whichever flavors they wanted, but we weren't going to show them what was in each one. However, we decided that to make it more of an experience, we are going to have them roll two dice to decide which two flavors they get to try. If they roll a six, they get to choose anything to their liking. Also, we are going to have them guess what the "secret ingredient" in the flavors they chose was once they have eaten it to force them to concentrate on the flavors. If they guessed right, they win a prize. They will get to look at a card with all the ingredients except the secret one so it is easier to determine. Not sure what the prize will be yet.

To tweak the flavors of the sauces, we decided to add nutella to the beet sauce, balsamic vinegar to the orange sauce, and cocoa powder to the red sauce. We also elevated each of the flavors as well as blending them well in the Vitamix to make them smoother and creamier. They taste a lot better now!

We are going to name our event: "A Little Piece of Heaven: the Ultimate Flavor Pairing Experience" (The first time we ate one, we thought we was in heaven, so...). We are planning to splatter paint the table cloth because we're going for a playful and exploratory atmosphere. That evening, we got a black tablecloth and painted the cloth with various bright colors and shapes.

For the event, we ended up not using the paint splattered table cloth. It just looked to young, but we did have colorful lights and music! The gougeres turned out great with the addition of an extra egg white, some sugar, and a little tweaking of the temperature settings on the oven. We baked them at 425 for 15 minutes and then at 375 for about 20 more minutes, and that worked perfect! After baking them, we individually cut a slit into each of the gougeres so that it was easy to fill for the audience. They puffed up and were hollow on the inside so people could fill them with sauce.

Here they are being piped out:

Here they are out of the oven:

Here what our table looked like:

Everyone seemed to enjoy the experience. It was fun getting to guess the flavors (but difficult). The gougeres were warmed up throughout the event with a microwave oven.
All in all, a fantastic experience for them and for us!

Final recipes:

1 cup water
7 tbsp. butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs + 1 egg white
3/4 cup gruyere cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425F.
Bring the water, butter, salt, and sugar to a simmer over med. high heat and cook until the butter has melted. Add the flour all at once, reduce the heat to med. low and continue to stir over heat until mass has formed a clump and pulled away from the sides of the sauce pan. Continue to stir for another minute, then remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Once cooled, add in the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is incorporated before adding the next. Add the egg white last. Dough should be smooth and form soft peaks. Add the cheese and mix until incorporated.
Either using two spoons or a piping bag, form the dough into little balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. They should be about 2 inches wide and a few inches apart. Pat them down with wet fingers to make them smooth and brush them with some egg wash (1 egg yolk+water). Bake them for 15 minutes at 425, reduce the temp to 375 and bake for another 20 minutes until puffed and golden.

For the sauces, see above.

Project 4: Create a utensil

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I had a bunch of initial ideas for this, most of which came up in class when we did the brainstorming exercise. Here's a quick view of them:
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Unfortunately, most of these ideas were too extravagant to be done in a week, but I ended up narrowing it down to three ideas by the time we had our wood shop demo. Here are some of my slightly more developed sketches:
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These are my three most developed ideas:
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The first one is an asymmetrical bowl with one side higher than the other so that is has room for a handle.
The second is a stove side rest for cooking utensils.
The third is a cake/pie stand.
I eventually decided to do the stove-side utensil tray. However, the design changed from what I originally drew, a tray with a raised piece for the tool to sit on, to a tray carved out somewhat more like a bowl and no raised piece since the utensils will likely drip and there is no reason to have it raised off the tray. Here is the new design:
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I also decided to add feet to the tray so that the bottom won't get wet or dirty sitting on the counter:
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Here's a look at the first stage of the process: carving out the bowl of the tray:
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Here is the tray after it is all cut out and ready to have the feet added:
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Here is the finished product!
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Project 3: The plate as a canvas

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Create a beautiful and interesting plate using a cake base: honey spice.

Initial ideas:
raspberry and white chocolate
almonds and caramel
beets and white chocolate and caramel
beets, walnuts, caramel
carrots, walnuts
cinnamon ice cream
white chocolate mousse
raspberry coulis
apple mousse
beet sauce
caramel nest
chocolate swirls, nest, curls
cranberry and white chocolate
lace butter cookie
caramel, nut brittle
carrot/apple/beet crisps

cut cake in rectangle, line with glazed raspberries, lace cookie, white chocolate mousse canille, white chocolate curl

Half-circle dome with center carved out and filled with cinnamon cream, different sized triangles of caramel nut brittle stuck into a caramel sauce, canille of beet mousse sprinkled with chopped nuts

Alternating dots of beet sauce and white chocolate sauce in a diagonal gradually getting smaller with a line dragged through them. On one side semicircle cake with white chocolate walnut layer, white chocolate beet ganache and beet chip on top. On other side white chocolate mousse swirled with beet sauce.

caramel walnut sauce in between layers, beet sauce on plate in three swirls, canille of cinnamon ice cream, caramel nest, beet chip or beet strands

White citrus glaze, raspberry filling for layers, lemon mousse, raspberries on top and raspberry coulis for decoration

Cake roll with white chocolate mousse in between, apple caramel ice cream,

Molasses ginger ice cream?
Lemon buttermilk sorbet?

Apple mousse with beet caramel sauce: beet juice, sugar, butter

For the canelle:
white chocolate mousse
cinnamon ice cream
apple cinnamon ice cream
honey walnut ice cream
coconut squash mousse
beet white chocolate mousse

For filling:
vanilla praline
beet caramel sauce (layers)
beet whipped cream
beet puree

beet chip
beet strands
caramel nest
caramel shard
butter lace cookie
caramel nut brittle

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Here I tried cutting a spiral into the cake and filling it with some whipped cream:
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Here I tried filling a muffin-shaped cake with beet tinted whipped cream and decorating it with some shredded beats poached in a vanilla syrup:
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Here I layered the cake. The filling is an almond praline vanilla crème:
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Next I tried fanning the cake to form a sort of flower-like shape, but with geometrical shapes:
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I added some beet puree sauce:
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I actually really like this look, but as far as how I cut the cake, I think I like this one best:
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Of course, It will look a lot better when the cream is piped in.

Component-wise, I think I want to use the beet puree, praline crème, a homemade honey-walnut ice cream and beat chips. I might end up using caramel shards, though.

I experimented a little further today. I really like this gold-colored plate I found. It's a bit small, but I think it could work. I also tried making the cake into a hexagon to mimic honeycomb :)
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I used a beet chip as garnish and the praline cream as frosting. The white streak is a simple whipped cream, and then I made some homemade cinnamon almond ice cream to go on the side. The ice cream was still a little too hard to work with, but I will perfect that.

I tried putting the half-moon shaped cake on a white plate with a different size and shape of beet chip. This looked alright, but I think I like the gold better. I also sort of like the organic waviness of the other beet chip.
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I'm also considering doing a regular colored beet chip instead of the yellow.

Here is what my sauce is going to be:
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It's a caramel cream sauce which will form a streak across the plate something like this:
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I tried sprinkling some caramel shards across it. I think they were too big. I'm going to grind them up better next time.

My last few sketches:
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When I got to class, I realized the ice cream wasn't going to work. It started melting almost the instant it hit the plate, so I decided to change directions and go with the long white plate. I ended up putting beet chips all around the cake to make it more organic, then I tinged the caramel sauce with some beet juice for color:

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A Spoonfull of Fall

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Today we got our new project! Here are the guidelines:
1. It should be centered around one fruit or veggie in season
2. It should include an interesting or novel flavor combo (at least 2-5 flavors)
3. We should transform at least one ingredient into a different texture
4. We will probably be using a gel technique

Flavors that suppress each other: sweet/bitter, salty/bitter, sweet/sour,
Thicker products taste and smell less intense
Appearance matters!
Sound matters!

Sweet ideas: berries, apples, raisins, honey, sweet potatoes, beets, sweet peppers, peas, carrots, caramelized onions, beans, tomatoes,
Salty ideas: capers, olives, prosciutto, cheese, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce,
Spicy: cayenne, chilis, peppers, siracha, paprika, chili paste

Idea generation:
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Early ideas:
beet and gruyere bechamele sauce (butter, flour, milk, gruyere, fresh squeezed beet juice) with battered fried or wrapped in prosciutto tofu balls (tofu, olive oil, almond butter, paprika, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, beet pulp, cinnamon) and a beet green relish with balsamic and dried cranberries...
beet gougeres
beet gruyere bechamele with fresh cod and a crispy honey mustard almond crust
beet potato pancake (grated sweet potato, beet, onion, dill) with steak and bleu cheese dressing
beet meat balls with pear glaze
beet truffles
rosemary, beet, lemon, cashew cheesecake

cashew and beet cheesecake (soaked cashews, milk, lemon juice, honey, coconut butter, roasted beets,) with apricot glaze

red pepper coulis with olives stuffed with feta and basil and a pesto oil/gel

caramelized ham with pear and white bean puree with kale
pear gel/jam with Asian turkey meatballs
thinly sliced pears filled with spinach bechamele
sweet pear bean paste in a pastry with sesame seeds

Brussel sprouts:
honey balsamic glazed brussel sprouts with crispy bacon and citrus tarragon aioli
brussel sprout ravioli stuffed with squash carrot cinnamon spice puree with a beet, gruyere cream sauce

squash ketchup on toasted bread or with fried potatoes
creamy squash with spinach rolled in crispy pastry (phyllo) with soy sauce glaze
squash sweet buns filled with Asian glazed pork
squash balls: pureed squash with cinnamon, whole wheat flour, almond milk, served with chocolate sauce, nuts
squash omelet roll: omelet spread with a squash avocado paste topped with a spicy tomato salsa or Asian sauce: soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, honey, green onions, corn starch

apple sausage bread with toasted walnuts and parsley topped with guac/egg/bbq sauce?

burnt eggplant sauce with tahini

Aronia berries:
Aronia berry zabaglione

Today I made brussel sprout ravioli with acorn squash and carrot filling, topped with chevre and walnuts.
For the ravioli: I boiled some brussel sprouts, let them cool a bit, blended them in the food processor, then mixed them with some egg, whole wheat flour, and salt until it formed a dough. I let the dough sit covered for a bit before rolling it out into ravioli squares and filling them.
For the filling: I baked the squash and boiled the carrots until soft, then I blended them together into a thick paste.
Here's how they turned out:
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It was good! I didn't have a rolling pin, so the dough was a bit thick, but when I thinned it out, it was really good. I didn't even have to add any sweetener and the filling was deliciously sweet. Next time, I might add some more spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) for flavor. The chevre and walnuts went really well on top. I would toast the walnuts, I just didn't have time. Also, I'm thinking it would taste great with some sort of tart/tangy sauce on top. Maybe a cranberry relish of some sort...

Today, I made an omelet with squash carrot filling, paprika, and cilantro. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. I think the sweetness of the filling overpowered everything else, and I didn't have enough salt. It was interesting, though.
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I also tried making a beet cheesecake: soaked cashews, boiled beets, almond milk, coconut butter, lemon juice, rosemary, honey, vanilla, chilled:
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I also made a beet juice, honey, balsamic and rosemary glaze with aronia berries. It was actually delicious:
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Together, I actually thought they tasted pretty great:
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My roommate didn't like this one, but I think it's because she doesn't like beets. You can't please everyone. I'm debating whether or not to take this one further, because I think it's delicious...

I redid the cheesecake and made them into beet balls sort of like truffles, but not. They were a lot better received this way. Even my friend who doesn't like beets said she liked it (I didn't tell her it was beets, though :)
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I added some flour to make them thicker.
I dipped them in chocolate, chocolate and coconut, and just coconut. Strangely, beets and coconut and chocolate seem to go great together...
Beet balls.jpg

I also made bbq Portobello for dinner with an apple bbq sauce and cauliflower puree. It was fantastic! I made the bbq sauce a little too spicy, but that can easily be fixed.
Here's the bbq apple sauce:
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I made it with tomato paste, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, mustard, homemade apple sauce, paprika, chipotle powder, cayenne, and pepper.
Here is the apple sauce:
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For this, I simply boiled the apples down with some brown sugar and some rose water (I don't know why, I just wanted to see how it would taste). I didn't add any spices because I was adding it to the bbq sauce. It still tastes good on its own though.
Here is the sautéed kale with apple bbq sauce:
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Here is my Portobello mushroom marinated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, pepper, and some more apple sauce for sweetness:
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And here is the final dish with the cauliflower puree on top (cauliflower with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and some cayenne) to balance the spice and sweet of the bbq.
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Next idea: onion, carrot, mushrooms, hickory root, tempeh stir-fried in a soy glaze (soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey, corn starch). Make into meatballs with egg and flour mix. Fry, and serve with a sweet aronia berry and pear jam: lemon juice, pears, aronia berries, sugar, and possibly ginger.

Foods high in calcium for possible gels: kale, turnips, yogurt

Tomorrow, I'm going to use up my brussel sprout ravioli, filled with squash, carrot, and chevre. This time, the chevre will be in the filling, I think I might fry the ravioli to give them a crispy skin, and then I'm making a few sauces: cilantro pesto (cilantro, lemon, salt, pepper, garlic, tofu pureed),
Roasted root veggies: beets, turnip, carrots with a mustard tarragon sauce (yogurt, mustard, tarragon, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar) and kale
tempeh meatballs with dill yogurt sauce
dill hummus
apples + dill?

Today, I made Asian tempeh balls: onions, carrots, mushrooms, hickory root, tempeh stir-fried with soy sauce, ginger, honey, mustard and garlic sauce thickened with corn starch. I added egg and flour to this mixture to make them into balls and fried them.
Here are the tempeh balls (and a tempeh burger):
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To go with it, I made a homemade pear and aronia berry jam. I tried to use the peel and core of the pear to make my own pectin, but the jam didn't get as thick as I wanted, so I'm not quite sure if that worked. It tastes great, though--it didn't even need any added sugar.
Here is the jam early on as the pear and aronia berries are cooking down:
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Here is the jam after it has cooked down and thickened a bit:
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In the jar:
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I also did the brussel sprout ravioli again. This time, I added chevre to the squash, carrot filling. I tried them both boiled and fried to a crisp.
Here they are after being boiled:
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Here they are after being fried:
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Here's what the inside looks like:
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The fried ones definitely tasted better, but then, what doesn't taste better fried?

For a sauce to go with, I tried a few options. First, I made a cilantro tofu sauce: tofu, fresh cilantro, lemon, garlic, salt, and pepper blended to a thick cream:
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Here they are together on a spoon:
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It tasted good, but I don't think the sauce had enough flavor. When you only get one spoonful, I feel like you should pack as much flavor into that spoon as possible, and this sauce just wasn't doing it for me. I liked the creamy texture, though.
Here, I added a toasted walnut, which helped with the flavor and added some crunch:
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Then I decided to try a tempeh ball with the tofu sauce:
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Again, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great.

Here is the tempeh ball with the pear aronia jam:
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Now this was good. The Asian flavors and the sweetness and tartness of the jam went well together.

Here, I tried the ravioli with some yogurt and dill:
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This was better than the tofu sauce because the yogurt gave it a nice tang.

Next, I tried it with mustard and tarragon:
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The mustard was too overpowering.

Finally, I tried yogurt and tarragon, just so I'd covered all the bases:
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Bleh. This one was a definite NO WAY.

New idea: kale chip, bbq marinated mushroom (thyme, rosemary, garlic, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, green onion, worsteshire sauce), pear/aronia sweet bean paste (pear aronia jam, cannellini beans, ginger)

Tonight I figured out what I'm going to make!
First, I made kale chips: olive oil and salt baked at 350 for about 10 mins until crispy:
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Then, I roasted some eggplant with my bbq sauce from before: tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, paprika, chipotle powder, cayenne, apple sauce until very tender:
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I tried making a cannellini bean and pear jam sauce:
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And I tried them all together:
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The sauce was good on its own, but it didn't go with the bbq. So, I marinated some tofu in soy sauce, worsteshire, mustard, and rosemary and fried them to crispy. Then, I turned the roasted eggplant into a pasty sauce and tried these together:
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Bingo! It's fantastic. I couldn't stop eating, so this is my final dish.

Project 1: Innovation with Rice or Orzo

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Day 1 9/9:
I originally thought I was going to use Orzo pasta for this challenge because I've had a lot of great orzo dishes, but today all I had was rice to work with, and I'm discovering that there are a lot of interesting ways one can use rice!
Here were some of my initial ideas:
Pudding w/ caramelized nuts
Stuffed red peppers with sauce
Play on curry--tofu
Something with nut butters (truffles?)
Shrimp with peanut dipping sauce reconstructed
caramel balls/brittle
Pancakes: savory or sweet, sandwich, eggs benedict, greek flavors, filled with fruit compote, filled with cheese, filled with meat ball mix. Possible sauces: cheese, tomato, pesto, hummus, soy sauce, sweet balsamic molasses/honey
Apple boat
Black beans--cakes
coconut milk
Mousse/gelato with rice crisps
Play on sushi?
Apple upside-down cake
Zabaglione with lime, mint and rice crisps

Fried rice=rice crisps!
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Rice Pudding: milk, cinnamon, sugar. Not creamy enough. I think I cooked it too long.
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Rice pancake: used egg and flour to hold it together. Too bland--needs seasoning and sauce, either in the cake, on top, or both
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Apple upside down cake: similar to bread pudding but with rice and smaller. Baking the rice made it too tough and dry. I don't think there was enough liquid when it went in. Caramel stuck to the bottom. Either bake it longer or make the caramel thinner. Flavors were good, though. Maybe a bit too sweet. Possible garnishes/sauces: rice crisps...
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Day 2: 9/11
More experimentation with rice today. I wanted to make some sort of meatball or pancake. Ideas thereof include:
Fried rice balls: some sort of ground meat (turkey) mixed with cooked rice, peas, corn, scallions, onions, salt, pepper, garlic then coated with flour and egg wash (egg with milk) and fried. Serve with soy sauce.
Shrimp and peanut butter balls: shrimp is blended in a food processor with peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, lemon juice to a paste. Made into balls and rolled in cooked or uncooked rice.
Because I didn't have any meat to experiment with, I decided to use nuts as my protein. First, I made rice pancakes by blending cashews, zucchini, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, and almond butter coated with cooked rice. The flavors were great, but the texture wasn't great. It was in between too mushy and too crunchy because the rice was cooked and not crispy enough, and the cashews weren't totally blended:
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Next, I tried making a rice custard: rice immersed in milk, sugar, egg, vanilla, and cinnamon, which didn't turn out great--way too mushy. I made it in a glass because I don't really have custard baking dishes, but it stuck and came out in a huge lump instead of a pretty tower like I'd wanted. I think the flavors were good, but the texture wasn't pleasant, and it didn't look good, either:
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Finally, I made basically a rice smoothie. Since the rice was so mushy in the custard, I decided to try blending it together with milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, and raisins. It turned into a nice tasting smoothie, so I'm thinking I'm going to try and use it to make a mousse. We'll see how it turns out. I could also try using it as a tart filling...:
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Today, I experimented with mousse, and it turned out pretty well! I cooked down the milk a bit with the sugar, vanilla, and spices, then heated it over a double boiler with an egg yolk, then blended it together with the cooked rice, then folded in the egg whites to make a mousse. It wasn't quite as stiff as I wanted, so I can work on that, but texture and taste were good. I also need to concentrate the flavors a bit more. The egg whites washed out the flavor:
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I also tried making shrimp peanut butter balls coated with rice and fried, but it didn't work out. They fell apart and the rice came off, so I don't have a picture of it. Needless to say, it didn't work.

Today I tried making some granola with Orzo. I cooked the orzo and let it dry off overnight, then I mixed it with chopped nuts, honey, cinnamon, some oil, and some brown sugar and baked it off. It actually turned out pretty well, but the orzo became too hard and it was too sticky. I think I may have overcooked it, but I also think I need to tweak the coating I used:

Today, I redid the granola with more success, I redid the mousse with orzo instead of rice, I made a soufflé with orzo, and I made a cream of tomato soup with rice as the thickening agent.
For the granola I used less honey mixture so it wasn't so wet and sticky, and I didn't cook it quite as long (only about 30 mins) because I didn't do a very big batch, but the consistency turned out much better:
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For the mousse, I did the same thing as last time except with orzo instead of rice, and I actually liked it better. This could be because I flavored it better this time--last time the flavor became diluted from the whites--but in general the two create pretty similar results:
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For the soufflé:
Cook 1/8 cup orzo and let cool
Blend with raisins and about 1/4 cup milk
Boil down mixture with brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and lemon juice until thickened
While hot, pour over egg yolk and mix together
Beat egg white to stiff peaks
Fold into the thickened mixture
Put in baking dish and bake in a water bath at 350 for about 15 mins or until golden and puffy.
Garnishes, TBD
This time it didn't work out because I accidentally got egg yolk in my egg white and I added some brown sugar, which kept it from getting stiff enough. Even though it didn't rise, though, it was delicious! I think the nice crust on the top added that extra element I was missing from the mousse. I think the orzo works better because it has a bit more protein:
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Finally, I tried using rice as a thickener in a cream soup, and it turned out well. The soup is nice and creamy and healthier too!
Can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup brown rice, cooked
salt, pepper, oregano, basil, parsley, garlic
sautéed onions and mushrooms
1/2 cup milk
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This soup is delicious! I like the texture that the brown rice adds. It's almost like eating spaghetti in soup form...

New idea: I fried the rice so that it was crispy and crumbled it up to make bread crumbs! I might try and mix the bread crumbs with tofu to make veggie/tofu balls to go with the tomato soup: quinoa, onions, garlic, mushrooms, tofu blend, rice crumbs, egg, or variations thereof.
I also had the idea of making a creamy risotto to replace the filling in deviled eggs... not sure about that one though. The rice isn't so innovative.
I redid my soufflé tonight!
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On the left is one with egg yolk, and on the right is without. The one without puffed up a lot more but stayed pretty wet in the center. The one with hardened/cooked more but didn't puff up as much. Could use some more flavor, but for the most part really good! I want to try putting an apple caramel at the bottom so that there's a surprise when you dig in :) I might try it with the egg yolk again and cook it down with the yolk more before adding the whites.

Today, I made veggie balls using ground up toasted rice. It worked! The balls stuck together, but I'm not really sure if I want to use this as part of my final dish. Here's the powder I made from grinding the rice:
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I forgot to take a picture of the balls. I liked the nutty flavor they had, though.

I also experimented with making orzo cookies. Weird, I know. Here's what to do:
Cook the orzo and let cool a bit. Blend with some milk and raisins to make a paste. Combine with a bit more milk, brown sugar, and vanilla over heat and bring to a boil. Reduce down until sugar is thoroughly incorporated and mixture is somewhat thickened. Whip in one egg. Add some flour and salt. Bake at 375 for about 10 mins. This is what they looked like:
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Here were the issues: 1. They didn't crisp up like I wanted, probably because I didn't use butter. 2. I didn't add enough sugar, so they tasted more like pancakes than cookies. They didn't taste bad though.
My new idea is to try making crepes from a similar batter with less flour so they are a bit thinner. Then, I will make an apple orzo compote to stuff them with and an orzo mousse for the top. Hopefully it works.

Today, I decided to experiment more with the cookies, just to see if I could get them right. I added more sugar, no egg, and less flour so that they would flatten out more and maybe turn out like lace cookies. They flattened out nicely, but again, they weren't crispy like I wanted. They tasted great, though.
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I've pretty much decided that I'm going to go with the crepe idea, which I'll try out with my roommates on Sunday for brunch :)

I made the crepes for my roommates and I and they were a hit! Everything tasted great! So, I've decided to make it again for the assignment on Wednesday. The only problem was that the presentation wasn't that lively. I think I'm going to use some red apple pieces as garnish to give it a pop of color and a bit of crunch:
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Here's the final product! I think it went well:
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The mousse could have been thicker. I think I had too much paste and not enough egg white, but I think the flavors were there, and I was one of the only people to do a breakfast.

Funky Tacos

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Tonight I experimented with tacos, if you can even call them that. I absolutely love my blender. It's my new obsession in the kitchen, so I decided to use it to make a salsa. It turned out really well, although it was more of a enchilada sauce than a salsa. I used fresh cucumber, cilantro, oregano, lime juice, jalapeno, tomatillos, onion, green onions, garlic, cumin, all spice, salt, some veggie broth, and then for added flavor and texture, I also blended in some toasted nuts (almonds and cashews). I wanted to eat it by itself, honestly, because it tasted a lot like a gazpacho (probably because of the cucumber). The garlic and the nuts added a lot of flavor. Next time, I think I want to try roasting the garlic first. Anyways, I cooked up some ground turkey (fresh from a local Minnesota farm free range and happy! :) with some of the sauce to thicken. Then, I just put it together with some fresh heirloom peppers, tomatoes, and some extra sauce with a corn tortilla...yum! I wanted some fresh cilantro for garnish, but I used it all in the sauce (which I have a bit too much of). Maybe I will just end up eating it as a soup with some bread.

Guten Appetit!
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