Final Project

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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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Wood Project

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For this wood shop project, I knew I wouldn't have much time to spend in the wood shop. Luckily, one of my friends had wood sculpture tools and I have taken several set building classes which involved using lots of power tools. Going into the project, I knew I wanted to create something that had a vintage look to it, especially since we were supposed to be creating something that one could use for Thanksgiving. I initially envisioned creating something like the photo below.

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So I went to Home Depot, went to the scrap wood pile section and found a nice sized piece of wood. After that, I purchased some stain as well as some "old school" handles for the tray. I then went to a wood shop to cut the piece of wood so that I could test out my ideas on some scrap wood that was the same material. As I played with my tools, I discovered that creating these grooves in the tray were going to be a lot harder than planned. I couldn't make them even and when I stained them, the stain was splotchy in the areas where I had carved into. I then had to play with another idea.

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These are the tools I used to carve!

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The photo above shows my attempt at carving the wood.

I then decided that I should make a wood tray that could be used as an appetizer plate or just a placemat in general. So I used the wood tools to carve down the edges of the wood because just sanding it, didn't make it smooth enough. After I did this, I still wasn't satisfied. I didn't want it to be just a plain tray. I wanted a way to make it more personalized so I thought of buying chalk board paint and putting it on designated areas of the wood. Then you could write your name on it, what food you're serving, or fun little messages. It would also be easy to wash as well! I also decided this was a good idea because I could see families using these trays on Thanksgiving to write cute little messages for fun. (I was sort of inspired of this idea by my mother. She has this little chef pig figure in our kitchen holding a chalk board and always writes fun holiday themed messages on it.) The chalk board paint also still gave the tray a vintage vibe which I liked as well. I topped it off by painting little dots around the chalk board just to clean it up.

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This is after I stained the tray in order to give it a more rich color

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This is me working hard carving the wood. It's a lot harder than it looks.

Food Architecture

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Going into the food architecture project, I knew right away I wanted to do something with chocolate. Whenever my family and I went to the bakery, we would always purchase the desserts that were decorated in chocolate with elaborate designs. They were the type of baked goods that always caught my eye and looked elegant to me. I also figured several people in class would stick to seasonal ingredients and I wanted to do something different/ After all, this project wasn't about taste, it was about design which is why I chose the direction I went.

When beginning the design process, I looked online at a bunch of different plating and food decor ideas. I then decided that I wanted to go for a sort of "expensive" look for my design. I love the way chocolate and gold look together. The contrasting colors give it a chic (I hate using the word chic) appearance. Right away, I knew I wanted to use a shiny outer layer of chocolate on the cake so I looked up how to make chocolate ganache. Using semi-sweet chocolate 60% cocoa and heavy whipping cream, I was able to make this layer.
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I wanted to maybe create a layer on top the cake using white frosting. Then by adding little dabs of chocolate and dragging a knife tip through the chocolate dabs, create a pretty swirl pattern. I experimented with this on the plate, but it was too difficult for me to make on the actual cake itself because it was so tiny.
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I wanted to use gold flake for the dessert, but I wasn't exactly sure where to find it so to imitate the look of gold, I decided to use the simple sugar syrup recipe. My mom and I actually used to use this recipe when making windows for our ginger bread houses. I also use this recipe when I want some sort of candy and am too lazy to go to the grocery store. I decided to play with this sugar and drip it in patterns on a plate and also just pour a big blob of it onto a plate. Then once it cooled, I broke the blob into pieces like glass shards. I thought it would be cool to somehow incorporate that into my plate. Then I used the funky decorated sugar pieces to decorate the cake and create some movement on my plate.
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I had some left over white chocolate from the previous assignment so I decided to do what Diane taught us in class and tube some white chocolate into a bucket of ice and water to create these funky, decorative pieces.
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While I was at the grocery store, I also picked out random ingredients I thought could add some cool texture to my plating. I picked out cocoa powder and powered sugar. I first tried putting cocoa powder on the dessert with a white plate, but it wasn't dramatic enough. I then used the powdered sugar on a darker plate, and that worked out perfectly. I designed the powder sugar in a way on the plate that brought your eye to the cake piece. Then on the cake, I put the sugar pieces and white chocolate pieces to add height. And DONE! (It's crazy to me how the simplest ingredients can make such elaborate pieces by just cooking them in different ways)dessertfinal.jpg

Cooking with Rice

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When we were first told that we had to pick between either rice or orzo for our main ingredient, I knew right away I wanted to pick rice; the reason being,

A. As half Japanese person, I naturally already had a giant bag of white rice stacked away in my kitchen that needed to be used and
B. I don't even know what orzo is- I mean I probably would know once I saw it and I've probably eaten it before, but truth be told, I'm not exactly the biggest "foodie." I love food and I'll try almost anything once, but I don't know a lot about it, which is why I joined the class.

Jumping right into it, I knew I wanted to do something that involved Japanese cooking. So I made a list of how people use rice in dishes in Japan. Then I made another list, as we did in class, of what ways I can cook rice. Following that, I made a web of food that complements white rice.
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I decided I wanted to deep fry the rice because it's not something one sees everyday. In Japan, they tend to deep fry meat and veggies, but never the rice so I thought that could be interesting. Then I remembered how one of my favorite foods is pakoras, which is deep fried curry and veggies (Indian dish). If I could somehow incorporate deep frying rice and curry together, I could make a unique dish.

1) For my first step towards experimenting I had to find a Japanese curry recipe online: http://norecipes.com/blog/karei-raisu-japanese-curry-rice/
2) After purchasing the necessary items, I began cooking.
3) The white rice was the first thing I took care of because it takes forever to prepare. You have to let it soak for around forty-five minutes (says my mom) then it cooks for another thirty minutes.
4) Then I began to make the curry by chopping up onions and letting them caramelize, while preparing the roux.

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5) After mixing the curry together, I rolled the rice into balls and dipped them in the curry. Then I stuck the balls in the panko to have a crunchy texture after you deep fry them.

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6) Then I deep fried the balls and once they cooled off, I added extra curry on top for flavor.

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My first idea was to put curry inside the rice then deep fry it, but that didn't work because the curry would drip out. It also kept falling apart. Then I decided I could round the rice into a ball, put some curry on the outside of the ball, and then stick the ball in some panko (Japanese bread crumbs), then finally deep fry it. It worked! When I first bit into it, the flavor was a little too boring so I decided to use the leftover curry and drizzle some on top as a sauce, which added a good amount of flavoring.

The overall process was entertaining to do. There were some "oopsy" moments that happened, such as when I let the heat get too high while deep frying and when I tried to mix the curry and rice together, then roll it into a ball (which it then just fell apart because the moisture). I enjoyed experimenting with the food because it allowed me to explore a more creative approach to cooking. I will continue to experiment with food!

Recent Assets

  • mewood.JPG
  • tools.jpg
  • stain.JPG
  • carve.JPG
  • puzzle-wooden-cheese-tray-design-materious-gessato-gblog-2.jpg
  • dessertfinal.jpg
  • dessertwhitec.jpg
  • dessertsugar.jpg
  • dessertglass.jpg
  • dessertexp.jpg

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