Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Matthew Kenney Academy Level 1 - Week 3

Week 3 has been announced as the “heavy” week, full of pastry and sweets. And in some ways it lived up to the expectations. Monday started off right away with making chocolate chips, a pretty exciting recipe. I´ve been using raw cacao nibs for anything I needed chocolate chips so far, and frankly, I personally still prefer this due to health reasons, but from a culinary aspect, 

the chocolate chips that we piped on dehydrator sheets in order to let them dehydrate to get this chocolate chip consistency are much more refined and great for use in cookies, which we made later that week, as well as ice cream sundaes or as deco for many other desserts and cakes.

The chocolate chip cookies we made with them later that week are yummy, very gooey, chewy, soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, a little sweet for my taste, cause they have a lot of maple sirup in them, so if I made them again, I would replace some of that with water and/or alternative sweeteners such as Lucuma, Maca or Yacon syrup, but the consistency and look was great.

Other sweet treats, we made that week were chocolate truffles, basically made from raw cacao powder and butter, agave, vanilla and salt and then we got to get creative in rolling them in different coatings, so I chose pistachio black salt, cacao nib coffee bean, maca chocolate coffee powder and goji bee pollen cacao nib and chipotle coatings. All turned out really nicely and look great on the plate.

We also got to make sweet crepes, made on a base of mangoes, bananas and flax with a fruit lemon filling. At home I then tried another filling, which I actually liked much better: almond butter, bananas, cacao nibs and a little splash of lime juice.

More excitingly for me, in the same week, we got all down into using probiotics and fermentation and coconut yoghurt parfait, nut cheeses as well as Kefir was on the menu. The yoghurt parfait was a simple blend of coconut meat, a few cashews and probiotics, fermented overnight to create a thick, rich and tart yoghurt cream, which we got to taste at the end of the week with our buckwheat granola, made from sprouted buckwheat, seeds, dried fruit, cacao nibs and maple syrup. The nut cheeses were prepared blending a thick nut paste with probiotics, which was then fermented in a strainer at room temperature for 48 hours. I have already blogged about my own nut cheese production previously and you can read about this here.

Fortunately, in order to lighten up this sweet and nut intensive week, our instructors sneaked some light lunch recipes in, in order to provide us with some balancing nutrition. Monday´s lunch was a pleasantly light zucchini pesto noodle dish, Tuesday, we made a delicious zucchini avocado radish and mint salad and my winner of the week was Thursday´s heirloom tomato gazpacho with a basil lemon sorbet, light, crisp, slightly spicy, this was a real refreshing soup full of flavor despite a sparing use of spices. 

Our creative spirits were summoned when we finally got to flavor our nut cheeses. This was probably the most exciting exercise of the week. Everyone loves cheese and the lookout for soon being able to taste “real cheese” made from nuts lifted everyone’s creativity to new heights and all students dished out amazing flavor profiles. There was star anise, raisin and honey cheese, chipotle maple and nutmeg (which reminded Twilla of McDonalds... ?? :o), jalapeno lemon zest and “goat cheese log” with a lavender, lemon, pepper black lava salted crust besides many other exciting combinations. Friday was the big cheese tasting day, when we artfully arranged our handmade cheeses with an amazing garlic bread we had prepared earlier that week, as well as fruit and veggies. I also prepared a little relish from pomegranate, pistacchio, black molasses, black pepper and balsam vinegar. After our big tasting we all went home with pleasantly filled cheese bellies ;)

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