Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Story of Four Little Bear Claws

It's amazing how time flies in pastry school, especially with only three week classes. By the time you are getting settled you are on your way out the door on a new adventure towards bigger and tastier things. It wasn't until I got home today, with four cake boxes full of pastries mind you, that I looked at the pastries I had made snapped on my camera.
The fact that many of these I had never tasted, as in the danishes which yes I admit....I had never had a danish, let alone thought I could make was quickly put aside by the picture of a brilliant pastry just waiting for a lucky person.
Out of everything the past few weeks I would have to say the bear claws are my favorite.
It's not necessarily the pastry itself, but the whimsical twist that I can put on it to truly make it look like a bear claw. Granted, the French just love to keep everything delicate and burnt to a crisp but I on the other hand tend to lean toward the American side more and more.
Why burn something that looks great at a golden yellow to brown?

And why can't I just make it bigger and better?
Finally, do the French ever NOT use butter in their food?
In this journey to find my pastry chef side I fight the urge to battle the "French ways" that are so often taught in the kitchen and put my twist on things but I must remind myself that my time will come......and then the gloves come off.
So in the interest of showing off some work as well as making you extremely hungry I now bring you a few pictures of the past few weeks in what is called Viennousierie and Laminated Dough class which is done this Friday then on to International Pastries (which includes Ice Cream!!!!).
Baked Vol A Vents with pastry cream and topped with strawberries and apricot glaze.

Apple turnovers stuffed with a cinnamon apple compote filling.

What is called a Fruit Band with pastry cream filling and mango, banana, orange, and blackberry topping.

Danishes made in a pinwheel shape with an cinnamon apple compote and apricot glaze on top.

So once the baking comes to a halt at the end of the week.... it's off to Seattle for an over nighter to see director Kevin Smith give one of his hilarious talks and poke around the city looking for trouble. Be scared citizens of Seattle. Be very scared! (lol)

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Hamster Ball Derby

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Poppy Bivens and I am the hamster that belongs to one Lindsey Bivens who writes on this website. Due to a recent event at a so called Hamster Ball Derby at a petstore named Petco located in Portland near a mall called Clackamas Town Center, I would like to clear the air on my actions that day. While I would let my owner attempt to describe the events of the day, I feel that she cannot accurately portray my feelings towards what occurred and therefore I have taken over to put this on the record.
Upon arriving at this Hamster Ball Derby, my owner and her friend Amie took me to a practice track where I quickly found myself showing off to my local competition being that many of them were atleast three times the size of me....possibly occurring from the over-induldgence of treats given to them by their little owners, many around the age of 10. So for around 15 minutes before the big race I trotted around the fairly large track before my owner decided to give me a quick break. The competition was fierce that day, nearly 10-12 others showed up that day in their shiny balls with their owners in tow. The funny thing was that my owner was the oldest owner out of all of them, since everyone else entered was 5-18 years old and my owner is 28 years old. A bit odd if you tell me.
So on to the race. My owner rested me for a few minutes when suddenly my name was called and I was wisked to the start line. In the middle lane I stood stairing down the competition on each side of me. On my right, a huge monster of a hamster that looked more like a guinea pig. It should have been tested for performance enhancing treats. On the other side a slim black and white hamster named Oreo that simply looked straight ahead to the finish line, never acknowledging the fact that I was standing there. My owner had trained me slightly the few nights before the race but this hamster next to me must of practiced for months. As I looked him down I heard the noise of the crowd roar in anticipation, then suddenly "Ready, Set, Go!".
The shock of the whole event raced through me as I stood there in my bright red ball. The little people were yelling all around me, and there was my owner telling me to I did. Little did I know it was the wrong way! So she turned me around just in time to see that hamster by the name of Oreo cruise pass the finish line. I froze okay! I admit it! I am used to my nice little home in my owners quiet little room. Not a race with crazy little people screaming and hamsters running every which way!
So after loosing the first race my owner took me aside and gave me a pep talk to get ready for the second chance race that would happen a little later. She told me no matter what she would loved me and that this time run as fast as I could towards her since she would be standing at the finish line. Simple enough I thought! And before I knew it my name was called again for the second chance race.
I stood at that startline with nothing but the look of rage in my face as I stared down my competition. I was going to take them down! Then I heard "Ready, Set, Go". Oh great.... not again.
I ran my little heart out when half way to the finish line I got an itch in my side. So I stopped quickly only to watch one of the other hamsters, I think named Lego but I can't remember for sure, sail by me and cross the finishline. Well, atleast we got farther this time!
So all in all the day was a bust. I crumbled in the face of the competition. But my owner says I still did a great job and I still got my favorite treats when I got home. There is always next year. And trust me I will be coming back with a vengence! Thank you so much for your time. Attached are videos showing the events of the day for you to witness and laugh your head off to.

Thank you,

Poppy the Hamster