Final Project

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For the final project, we were paired up, so instead of having 2 blogs, we have one.
Go to
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/muell829/food_blog/2013/12/final-project---katie-m-lee-t.html
to check out our final project.

Final Product

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Here's the final product. It's wooden spoon with a scoop or a wooden scoop with a long handle. Depends on how you would like to look at it. The scoop is there to hold more contents, longer handle to reach further and deeper. The handle is also thicker to provide a more comfortable grip to the user.

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Making The Product

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I decided to make the handle of the spoon with the lathe to get a uniform and smooth handle. Here are the photos of the progression.

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Once the handle was completed, the scoop was the next task.. I created the basic shape of the scoop with the band saw.

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The next step was to create the take out the excess wood to create the scoop. The idea was much easier that trying to execute. I began with trying to shave the area out, but it wasn't efficient enough and wouldn't have been able to get to the shape that I needed it to.

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I then tried to take the excess bulk of the wood by trying to drill into the area and then I would clean it up later with a sand paper. The problem with that was that it was too hard to control exactly the depth and position of the drill.

The last resort was to go to the Dremel too, using a bit to carve out the area and then using another bit to sand the area. This was the best option, since it allowed the most control, but the only problem was because of the shape of the scoop it did not allow the Dremel tool to be able to reach to be able to sand smoothly.

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I had to then resort to hand sanding the inside to get smoothness that I wanted it to be. Once that was completed I rubbed the spoon with mineral oil to retain the natural wood.

Assignment 4: Product and Space

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For assignment 4 we need to make a wooden vessel or utensil that relates to Thanksgiving. For idea generation, we began with thinking up as many ideas as possible in 20 minutes. Here is what I came up with.

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After looking through the ideas, I decided to go with something much more manageable, practical, innovative, but not too crazy. I decided to concentrate around a wooden spoon and seeing the things that I want to change about it.

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In the end I decided to go with a wooden spoon with a scoop to hold more contents, a longer handle than a regular scoop, and a thicker handle to fit the hand more comfortably.

Assignment 3: Final Product

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For my final product, I basically took little pieces that I liked from the rest of the ideas to create the final product. I used the long narrow dish. Brushed the sauce on the bottom. Used odd numbers to plate the dish. I created 2 layered cylinder cakes on each side and put a marscapone cheese quenelle in the middle. I sprinkled the quenelle with some shaved dark chocolate and added some raspberries.

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Assignment 3: Ideation

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After testing, I got a feel of what I liked visually as well as what techniques I was able to do successfully. Here are the ideas that I came up.

Idea 1: I thought about doing a radial design for this, but in the end I didn't like it and so didn't proceed any further.
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Idea 2: With this idea, I wanted to play with the height of the cake. The idea would be to have a filling between the layers. I felt that it needed more than just the height, so I added the spun sugar. I then added the sugar glass chunk to see if that would give it more interesting shape instead of just laying the spun sugar on top.
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Idea 3: This idea, I wanted to play with the length of the dish, so I put brushed the sauce along the length of the dish and placed the caked on one end. I was thinking about it as almost an ocean scene, so I tore the cake instead of cutting it to create a more organic shape. I used a blueberry sauce to represent the ocean water and I used a cream to mimic the foaming of the waves as it crashes into the shore.
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Idea 4: I wanted to play with the odd numbers that we learned about along with simplicity of the just having 3 items on the plate.
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Idea 5: With this idea, I brushed sauce along the bottom of the dish and put the cake on one end. This time I cut the cake and piped a chocolate squiggle line down the middle to try to create movement with the brushed sauce.
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Idea 6: This one was an experiment to try to put the sauce on the black dish, but the sauce was not apparent enough.
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Idea 7: This idea was a play off of henna tattoos. I tried piping the chocolate, but it did not create the lines and dots that I wanted.
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Idea 8: Again, I wanted to try to play with simplicity with this design. I wanted it to be asymmetrical with the cake on one side and the brushed chocolate to create movement toward the cake. I felt that it was a little too simple, so I added dots down the white chocolate strip. I looked at it and thought that it looked like a tuxedo, so I played a little more to see if I liked it.
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Assignment 3: Graphic Design and Food

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This assignment revolves around the graphic design of plating a dish. Our assignment is to plate a Honey Spice Cake creatively, so the main goal of the final end product is more about the appearance and not necessarily about the taste.
For this assignment, since the taste factor has been removed I felt that testing the different techniques used in plating would help me generate ideas of how to plate the cake. I tested various things, such as spun sugar, sauce manipulation with pushes and brushes, and chocolate garnishes. Here are the photos from my various tests.

Spun Sugar Testing:
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Sugar 5.JPG Sugar 6.JPG Sugar 7.JPG Sugar 8.JPG

Sauce Testing:
Sauce 1.JPG Sauce 2.JPG Sauce 3.JPG
Sauce 4.JPG Sauce 5.JPG

Chocolate Testing:
Chocolate 1.JPG Chocolate 2.JPG Chocolate 3.JPG Chocolate 4.JPG

Final Amuse Bouche

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In the end I decided on using just the lychee syrup that was created in the compote, instead of actually having the fruit as part of the amuse bouche. The flavor of the fruit and the syrup together overpowered the cucumber. I used the cucumber slush to give a different texture and because of the flavor of the cucumber was still prevalent in this form. I then created pearls and gel slivers from the raspberry mixture. I felt I didn't need a lot from the raspberry, since the flavor was pretty strong. Then in the end I added a little piece of mint to give it a refreshing lingering taste.

Here's my final Amuse Bouche!

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Testing Textures

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Now I needed to figure out what kind of textures to use and with what flavors. I really want to incorporate a foam and gel pearls. For the gels I got gelatin as well as agar. The foam was a little more difficult to think of how to make, since the equipment/ingredients usually used were not readily available to me. Also I had to find an alternative way to make the pearls. After doing some research, I decided to use the agar, as it sets firmer than gelatin and has a higher melting temperature. I also found that you can make pearls using agar, by dripping the agar mixture into cooled vegetable oil. The oil doesn't mix with the mixture and causes it to remain in a ball. The coolness of the vegetable oil then solidifies the pearls. Here's how the testing went.

First I gathered my ingredients
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I prepared the cucumber and raspberries to make them into purees with an immersion blender and sifted it through a strainer to remove the large particles and just retain the water.

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I then prepped the agar solution with the juices and divided them into different glasses to try the different texture transformations with each one to see which would work best.

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I set those in the fridge to firm up and set. While they were in the fridge, my next task was to work with the lychees and figure out how to incorporate it in the whole concoction. I started with the idea of doing a lychee compote.

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I let the compote cool and went back to the cucumber and raspberry agar mixtures to do the texture transformation tests.

I started with the pearl test with the vegetable oil. The cucumber and raspberry mixture started off well in the oil.

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Once I strained them, the cucumber pearls became more like blobs. The raspberry pearls turned out well.

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I then attempted to make foam with the immersion blender, to see the liquid would be strengthened enough with the agar to create a foam. The cucumber seamed to create bubbles and very wet foam that wouldn't have lasted long. The raspberry, completely failed. The raspberry mixture was too heave to become foam.

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Then my last texture to test was the plain gelatinized mixtures to text the firmness.

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They turned out fine and the texture was ok, but I wanted something firmer, so I remixed the agar mixtures playing with the agar ratios to find the right amount to get the right consistency.

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The gels turned out much firmer, but I found that the cucumber lost a lot of it's already light flavor. I then used the immersion blender to try to make a liquid gel from the cucumber. It became more of a slush, but the flavor of the cucumber was much present.

Now to decide what flavors and textures would go together.

Assignment 2 Amuse Bouche

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Our next assignment is the Amuse Bouche, which is a single, bite-sized hors d'oeuvre. We needed to feature center around one specific fruit or vegetable that is currently in season in Minnesota. We needed to find an interesting and novel flavor combination featuring our fruit or vegetable and present it in a spoon. On top of that we needed to transform at least one ingredient into a different texture, such as a foam or gel. My ideas immediately went to restructuring a current flavor combination or recipe into different textures. I started off with transforming cocktails into something solid instead of being liquid. The drinks that I was thinking of transforming were mojitos, mimosas, or maybe a cosmopolitan. I thought that I would gelatinize the drink and then using a foam to create the accent flavor in each drink, so a mint foam for the mojito, or a orange juice foam for the mimosa. Then I was quickly reminded of the limitation of using a seasonal fruit.

I'm not really up to date with what is seasonal or not so I had to look it up and make a list. I first began finding what is seasonal in Minnesota and then narrowed it down to the flavors that I wanted to use.

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I then tried to think of ideas of recipes utilizing the narrowed flavors that I chose. I still wanted to go with the main emphasis of transforming the textures of an already existing flavor combination or recipe. Some ideas I thought of was to transform an apple pie, pumpkin pie, or gelatinizing a squash soup. I wanted to do something sweet though, so I began a food pairing mind map to get ideas of flavor pairings.

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In the end I chose to pair cucumbers, raspberries, and lychee. I want to try to focus on the cucumber and raspberry for the seasonal fruit.