Monday, August 08, 2005

This Just In

Meringues: Still Evil, or Not So Much?

Still evil, I say. Even more evil, really, than they were on Friday, but you'll have to wait 'til the bottom of the post to find out why.

Meanwhile, Ann, channeling Pandagon comments, gives us the quote of the day, about the "intelligent" design crap:
Next, on CNN, "Clouds: Atmospheric Moisture, or Fluffy Angel Farts?"
In other news, the major downside to this whole pastry chef thing is that, so far as I can tell, I'm going to make diddly-squat. I'll mind that less if/when I can open my own place, but it's unclear how one gets together enough money to do that if one is only making the aforementioned diddly-squat. (After typing it both ways, I've decided that "diddly-squat" doesn't have an "e" in it. But I could be wrong.) I've decided not to worry about that at the moment, however, not least because I'm loving this so much that it's probably illegal.

I suspect part of it is that I like learning new things so very much. At the wedding, my uncle came up to me and told me that my (maternal) grandfather always said about me that I'd never get married and I'd never stop going to school. He was half-right, anyway, but it was an interesting insight. (And I am way off the charts in terms of age at first marriage--definitely more than two standard deviations from the mean.) And I do love learning new things. It's not school, per se, because one has to pay for schooling, usually, and put up with administrative bullshit, at least sometimes, but school is a pretty efficient way of communicating information if the instructor knows his/her subject and the students are motivated to learn. I've taught myself a number of things--how to knit, do rudimentary calligraphy, use most computer programs (I've rarely had classes in such things), do needlepoint, cook, write, play handball (though with some help on that one), teach, grow plants, and build a relational database, among other things--and I'm going to be teaching myself how to structure documents with DocBook if the company stays in business. So there's the "learning new things" part of the program, which is related closely to (if not identical with) the "hates being bored" part of the program.

This weekend was the Festival of Fermented Breads at the Goldman household. I made some fermented dough on Saturday (or, rather, I made some dough Saturday and let it ferment overnight in the refrigerator) (yes, I skipped handball AGAIN; I'm going to forget how to play at this rate), and I weighed it out for the recipes for French, farmer, wheat, and beer breads after it proofed. I also made a recipe of croissant dough, though I didn't put the wad of butter into it until Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon, after yoga, I made the wheat and farmer bread, but (a) I forgot just how much bread those recipes made, so (b) I put the fermented dough for the French and beer breads into the freezer. We'll see what happens to them. I also froze the croissant dough after two turns, and the chef told me today that one can, in fact, do that, so we'll see. I didn't want to waste it, and it was clear I wasn't going to get to it yesterday. I was so exhausted last night, though, and it was unclear why; I'm pretty tired today, too. I think I need an extra day somewhere, a day to sleep and hang out and not bake or exercise or anything. I don't see one of those coming any time soon, though.

In class today we made even more bits for the Opera Cake and we assembled it (upside down, so there's no difficulty getting a smooth top chocolate layer)--basically, it's a lot of sponge (or, in our case, cracker, because our sponge dried out some) soaked in coffee syrup, layered with various kinds of chocolate and buttercream. The buttercream is lightened with Italian meringue (whip egg whites, then add hot sugar syrup while it continues to whip, which cooks the egg whites and makes a shiny, sturdy meringue); were I to make this cake, I'd probably add even more meringue and less buttercream, because otherwise it's just a little to fatty for my taste. We also made macarons--italian meringue combined with grounds almonds and confectioner's sugar, piped, dried, and baked into little rounds, then some passionfruit creme sandwiched between two of the rounds. So, yes, there's the even more evil meringue. It's very easy to stick about eight in your mouth, because, hey, it's only egg whites and some sugar, so what could be bad?


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