Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy All Hallow's Eve my fellow spirits of the evening

A little light music to set the tone I think...

Ahhhhhh, such delicious sounds.

Now, to continue...
Here are a few offerings to set the proper holiday spirit(s).

People should really consider having their weddings on Halloween,
just think of all of the ghouls and goblins that might arrive for the nuptials and the resulting photo album would be much more interesting.

"Mmmmmmmm, bats are soooo deliciously crunchy and surprisingly sweet."

One can not forget birthdays either...

"Eye'll be watching you"
mwah hahahahahahaha*cough...cough* hahahahahahahhaha

[evil laughter is hard on the throat]

Now on to the costume side of things.

Here's the real character in typical action mode...

and here are his Dopplegangers-with no damages to the bakery either.

Two, two Beakers for the price of one :)
They each got a free cookie for these outfits even though I didn't hear any "meeps"
Happy VikingTip for employers...
Vikings make excellent workers however...
curbing their desire to break into an operatic solo is not a simple task.

Usually, I think of fabulous outfits several days after All Hallow's Eve and then say to self...

"Self, start work on this right now so you will have it ready for next year"

and then I don't pay attention and end up doing something last minute but
not this year...

This year, I actually had an idea for a costume
before All Hallow's Eve
and I think it turned out nicely and now I can embellish further for next year...or next week...or next Spring...
maybe it will become the new work uniform ;)
Keep a wary eye out my fellow bakers...

I am especially fond of the hat. Steampunk Baker
is presented for your consideration

I need to track down and/or make some Holsters for the leg next year and possibly a larger many possibilites.

Yes, the pastry bags are lit from within, what kind of Steampunk Baker would I be without my pastry bags ready to frost at a moment's notice?

I have noticed that the rolling pin and staff could also be used for a
"Conana the Barbarian/Red Sonja" theme.


Nahhhhh, Steampunk offers so many style possibilities, it's impossible to consider other options.

and to close, one of my favourite All Hallow's Eve tunes.
[I know it's random but it's a rather jazzy & chipper horror tune]
Happy All Hallow's Eve everyone!

Mwah hahahha*cough...cough*hahahahah

Sunday, October 24, 2010

more IBIE things to see

Some of the food stuffs that were on display at the show.

Sir Galahad in the house hanging out.
Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere were also in attendance. I had no idea that King Arthur actually labeled any of its flour this way, makes sense
& I think it's rather brilliant.
Now someone needs to do something using Shakespeare plays & characters as a theme.

Think about it, a bakery that makes danish could call themselves "Sweet Hamlet".
Envision, if you will-

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern as pastries.

"I'll take two Rosencratz, 4 Guildenstern, and thrown in one Ophelia and a couple of Osric"
[yes, I know I am weird but it works doesn't it ;]

Anyhooooo, here are a few more items that I found to be of interest.

Fruit and vegetable gelato essentially.
You have No idea how good these were.
The Dragon fruit one was absolutely ambrosial.

All of this fig paste, I should stop back by the King Arthur booth for a loaf of bread and someone here must have some goat cheese...
Close up of Fig action...

I had no idea there were so many things you could do to apples and other fruits.
(and I'm kind of wondering why you would)

"Does anyone have a bowl of cereal and milk?"

Close up of my favorite find.
I am partly intrigued and amused. Kind of hard to carve a Jack O' Lantern out of that I must say.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's Cider season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The scent wafts past your nose as you bring it to your lips.

It's the essence of Fall; cool crisp mornings followed by the sun slowly warming up the day. The fog slowly caressing the trees as it dissipates back into clear air.
There is the faintest whisper of mustiness, you sense the leaves slowly cascading off the trees; decaying where they land, leaving a faint shadow etched into the stones underneath.

There is a dryness to it, the crisp, slightly bitter skin crunches and gives way to a tart, juicy interior. Tart enough to make your mouth pucker but with just a hint of sweetness to smooth out that first bite and make it pleasant rather than too bitter.
Yet this is not an apple that you hold in your hand, it is a glass of fresh pressed Cider from Lori Skurdahl's Heirloom apple orchard.

I will just state right now that there is no better Cider out there anywhere and I shall tell you why.

Each batch of cider Lori makes has a blend of several Heirloom Cider apple varieties in it and she changes the blend every time she presses depending on what apples are ready,therefore every batch is unique... and darn tasty.

She told me one time how many varieties of cider apples she had (let's just say a lot) and she always seems to be acquiring different ones every time I talk with her.

Aside from using multiple apple varieties for her cider, there is another thing which makes this Cider stand out from the pack.

Often, when Cider is pressed and sold commercially (at least in the USA) it has to be pasteurized and most often that is done by heating it up. There are a couple of things this does to the cider besides killing off unwanted and harmful bacteria:

1. The juice will loose some of the flavor and aroma which is the main reason you are getting it in the first place.

2. It sets the pectin in the juice so that it will remain cloudy, not that much of a problem if you are drinking it just as juice however it is most definitely not a good thing if you plan to make Hard Cider and want it to be clear and golden when you are all done.

There are various processes you can use to get the Hard Cider clear again but you strip out more of the flavor when you do that.

So, what does Lori do differently? Her Cider is pasteurized using Ultra Violet light, no heat involved and therefore, minimal loss of aroma and flavor and no setting of the pectin which makes for an extremely delicious fresh cider to drink and just about perfect for making a good batch of Hard Cider or dare I say it... Apple wine.

For this particular batch, the apples used were:
Skyrme's Kernel
Kingston Black
and Yarlington Mill.

Ohhh, sweet sweet nectar.

Keep up the good work Lori.

I'll be ordering a couple of more gallons very soon
: )

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Continuation of the IBIE conference...Touristy stuff

I'll post these by hotels or general things that relate to each other...maybe.

Now, we shall start our tour of the Strip with...

The Bellagio...
which must be said with the intonation of -"Borrrr rach chio"-
as pronounced by Michael Keaton in the movie "Much Ado About Nothing".
(A most excellent, slightly unhinged performance by the way.)

Very colourful Chihuly ceiling on the way to the Conservatory
-Connnnn serve a torrrrrrryyy-
that is just a fun word to say isn't it?
I certainly think so...
Connnnnn serve a torrrrrryyyyy.
Ethereal glass leaves slowly cascade down through the trees.
Now, I give you...
The Woods of the Connnnn Serve a torrrryyyyy!

They all look so realistic and yet so sculptural.

I appreciate how the artist captured the
essence of leaf; the variegation, the lightness, the transparent beauty within.
"I'm a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar"
Wash, Serenity(2005)

Where there are trees, there must be water.
Here is a continuous fountain archway that you can walk through. This grand specimen will make many, many pies.
Mmmmmmm, pie.
See what I mean about the sculptural part?
This could be sooooo in my room right now, mind you it wouldn't fit but it would be cool.
The Green Man watching over the bounty of the season.
A Riddle
I am born on May Morning - by sticks, bells, and ribbons

I am the sap - in the dark root
I am the dancer - with his six fools
I am the tump - behind the old church
I am the lost soul - under the misericord
I am the oak - against the stars

I am the face - that peers through the leaves
I am the fear - in a child' s mind
I am the demon - on the roof-boss

I am killed in October - and laid on church altars

I am the guiser - on the bright bonfire
I am the old grain - sown with the seed
I am the flame - in the pumpkin ' s grin
I am the spirit - in the kern-baby's bosom

Phill Lister 1982

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

All Hallow's Eve may begin now

Pumpkins...and could those be... Gravestones? Hmmmmmmm, maybe, just maybe.
This is a cake I just finished for display so here are more pictures of it...

but first another superfluous pumpkin picture.
(I'm a little proud of my pumpkins :)
Now, for a proper All Hallow's Eve cake, dead trees and gravestones are an absolute necessity I think...
check and check.
More deliciously decaying trees, one can never have enough of those.
Perfect for some birds and bats to roost in.
Now, here are all of the parts together.
Have a Spooktacular
All Hallow's Eve everyone.
Mwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

IBIE 2010

International Baking Industry Exposition.
Setting: Las Vegas Nevada.
Seminars, samples, demos, and tons and tons of really big toys for those of a baking persuasion to drool over.

Think of it as Dragon Con for the baking set except without the really cool costumes but with lots more bread fixings, various forms of fruit ranging from puree to dried, dough enhancers, decorating stuff, cutters, slicers, baggers, and most important of all-Chocolate...lots and lots of chocolate.

Let the games begin!

The mother ship has arrived and it's so shiny. I seriously expect it to light up and start spinning like a carousel or a disco ball...

hehehehehehe-you will now have that song in your head for the rest of the day-hehehehehe.

I couldn't even begin to tell you what most of this equipment can do, suffice it to say, I think pretty much anything it wants to.

This one reminds me a little of when you are standing on the edge of a cliff and you just get this urge to get just that extra inch closer to the edge-you'll be fine really...

Baker #1: "Hmmmm, I think we could use this in the bakery don't you?"

Baker #2: "Why yes, I do believe it would be just perfect over in the back corner and so multipurpose too."

"By day a Ginormous mixer for the bakery, by night we are talking Hot Tub central. Look, it can seat 4 easily. "

quick note-they had even larger mixers than this there.

"Ohhhhhh look, a personal sauna that doubles as an oven...How thoughtful and just perfect after a good soak in the mixer/Hot Tub."

Well, there will be more pictures to follow of the Expo (stop groaning, c'mon there are some nifty things to look at-seriously) and I will even get some video up in a few more days as well as some of the sights on the Strip and a few really excellent places for food and, of course, Chocolate!!!!!!!!!!

Random thought for the day.
You know...I always find it kind of interesting, all of these shows and movies that make places like Vegas seem sooooooooo massive and they truly are in some ways but when you are on the ground strolling about, you realize that in reality they aren't quite as large as they appear on film.

Actually, truth be told, the Las Vegas Strip kind of reminds me of a movie set with the action constantly flowing around you, from the street performers to the mid western tourists to the porn slappers, everyone is a part of the show.

You choose how much you want to watch or participate in the live performance of humanity that swirls around you.