Sunday, December 26, 2010

EGGS: Their value to baking!

EGGS can come from many different female birds/reptiles/fish. They are filled with protein and choline, thus classifing eggs as a "meat" in the Food Pyramid.
The most common egg is the chicken egg, which you use in baking. Read more to find out the importance of egg in the baking world!

THE STRUCTURE OF AN EGG:-
-Shell :
Soft, fragile, and smooth! The color of the shell (be it white or brown) depends on the chicken. Make sure your egg shells are free from cracks or tears.
-Yolk: The yellow center. It should be round, firm, and bright orange-yellow color. The more rich the yolk color is, the better diet the chicken had!
-White: (also called Albumen) It's mainly focus is to protect the egg yolk while in the shell. It has very little protein, and many culinary uses.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE:
Eggs have all essential amino acids for humans. They bring protein to vegeterian diets, along with Vitamin A, E, AND D. An egg is one of the few natural ingredients that contain Vitamin D. When consumed, eggs are very easy for your body to digest.
There is some debate about the medium-high cholesterol value in an egg due to the yolk. Medical professionals just want you to monitor your egg-intake closely.

BAKING VALUE:Eggs are the structure behind the baked good. Eggs are filled with protein, and protein "builds walls." They also add flavor, richness, and color to any baked good. Egg wash some cranberry-orange scones and they come out golden brown! Brioche depends on eggs to give it a nice glossy shine.
Egg yolks, along with eggs, can be used as a emulsifier and thickener. Think: hollandaise sauce, chocolate mousse, and lemon curd. All the protein makes your mixture thick and structured.
Egg whites are used to lighten food. Think: chocolate mousse (or any type of mousse), angel food cake, and lemon merigune. Just make sure your bowl and tools are clean when whipping egg whites. Any types of yolk or "dirt" with cause the egg whites not to whip properly.

Egg white coagulate between 144-149 degrees F. Egg yolks coagulate between 149-158 degrees F. When eggs get over cooked, they get dry, a bit green (due to the iron and sulfur), and firm. Thus, when baking any type of custard, make sure you do not over cook the mixture or it will look like scrambled eggs.

Overall, eggs give a nutrional value to our bodies and richness to foods. Cooking eggs is an art and takes time and practice to perfect. When cooking/baking with eggs, make sure your equipment is clean and spotless!

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Be Sweet, Act Sweet.

What is sweeter than pie? Acting sweet! Carolann is a young, creative, and exciting hair stylist in downtown Redmond. Carolann Joy Salon is holding a coat drive for the Friend of Youth, from Dec. 16-Jan.22nd 2011. Can you imagine going without a coat in this rain and snow? Please donate and Carolann Joy Salon will give you 5% off their services.

Check out their website for more info:
http://carolannjoysalon.com/2010/12/give-warmth-coat-drive-2010/

For more info about Carolann Joy Salon, find and "Like" on Facebook.
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/CarolannJoySalon

Saturday, December 11, 2010

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FOR YOUR FRIENDLY FOODIE!


Happy Holidays to all! With the rush of shopping, planning special events, and baking lots of cookies and goodies, even I wait until the last minute to gift shop. I know everyone has a foodie friend in their life because everyone LOVES and ENJOYS good food! The gift of food and food-related items are warming, welcoming, and useful.
Read more to learn about a food-related gift giving guide!

FOR THE AMATEUR FOODIE: Beginner; Just learning tricks and tips around the kitchen; Has a thirst for food knowledge!

-Joy of Cooking cookbook; Any "learn how to" cook books.
-Nice matching untensils, like thongs, slotted spoons, and spatulas.
-Set of cooking pots and pans
-A good chefs knife and cutting board
-Oven mits

FOR THE MEDIUM-FOODIE: Better than a beginner; Can follow a recipe, but likes to add zest to it; Knows the basic kitchen tips and techniques.
-Cookbook from their favorite restaurant.
-New apron
-More specific gadgets (like microplane, zester, cheese knife, etc)
-Nice serving dishes for entertaining

FOR THE PRO FOODIE: Top Chef wannabe; creates new and exciting recipes; knife skills are solid; lives for food!
-Autograph copy of their favorite chef's cookbook
-Gift card for their knives to be sharpened
-Cooking classes at a local cooking school
-Attachments to their kitchen aid mixer or any other kitchen appliance

All and all, people love getting food-related gift items. It is a sweet way to say "Happy Holidays!" And who does not like getting homemade cookies? Baking something sweet is a great way to show love during the holiday season. Happy baking!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why it is important to "know" your oven!

The oven is a key tool when it come to successful baking. The oven came make, or break, your great baked goods. So, why it is important to "know your oven" and adjust when needed? Read more to find out why!

First off, describe your oven: Is it 20 years old? Or 2 years new? Are you stuck in a small studio apartment with a beat up and abused oven? Or in a six-figure condo with brand new stainless steel appliances? Older oven tend to be "weaker" and not was "hot" as current or new ovens. I tend to set older ovens 20-40 degrees F MORE than what a recipe may call for. When I am working with new and shiny ovens, I set the temperature 20-40 degrees LESS than what a recipe calls for.

Conduction versus convection ovens: Convection ovens (also called "turbo ovens") has a rotating fan in it, so the hot air moves freely, thus making the food cook more evenly and at a lower temp. Convection ovens also may include proofing abilities for bread making. Many bakers love convection ovens because the heat is more even versus a conduction oven. They tend to be easier to clean, too!
Conduction ovens (also called "conventional ovens") are most popular in domestic homes. The heat depends on the radiation of the walls and tends to be uneven. That is why it is important to "rotate" food in conduction ovens. Many newer conduction ovens come with self-cleaning, which is plus versus older models.

What are you cooking in that oven?! Do not overcrowd your oven with many food dishes! One or two items in your oven is enough (unless you're in a professional kitchen and have many racks in your oven)! Too many items in your oven will cause not enough even heat to cook your items properly.
When cooking large items (like Thanksgiving Turkey, pot roast, Prime rib, etc): Think slow and low. A large piece of meat will need a long time in the oven without burning it. 300-325 degrees F is hot enough.
When cooking small items (like chocolate chip cookies, scones, small veggies, etc): think high and fast. Items that not require a long cooking time can be baked at a higher temp, like 350-375 degrees F.
Of course, adjust your ovens accordingly!

This will take time and practice. KNOW YOUR OVEN! Is it naturally too hot...or too cold? Slow to heat up? Take notes and write them in your recipe. Your oven will be different than your neighbor's oven. Once you know your oven, you know baking!