Caramel Corn!

HAPPY FALL, FRIENDS!

It’s officially my absolute favorite season!! It’s time for basic white girls squealing in delight over pumpkin flavored things and UGG boots. Thankfully, those are two things that I hate but EVERYTHING ELSE about fall makes me so excited. Boots, scarves, cozy sweaters, cute hats, crisp air, pretty leaves, pumpkin and apple picking,fall festivals, football games, a sense of community, etc etc etc. I could go on for days.

But the MOST exciting part revolves around food, of course. Who would I be if I didn’t relate everything to food??

I learned this caramel corn recipe from the Taj and it’s so freaking good and easy to make! Its the perfect match of sweet and crunchy for the fall and just in time for Halloween. Enjoy!!

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Yield: 5 quarts popcorn

1c butter
2 c brown sugar
1/2 c corn syrup
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 t vanilla extract
5 quarts popped popcorn

  1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Begin by popping your popcorn kernals on the stove in a large pot with a couple tablespoons of canola oil. Keep the pot covered with a lid or a large piece of aluminum foil. As the oil starts to get hot, begin shifting the pan back and forth to agitate the kernals and keep them from burning.
  3. In a sauce pot, melt the butter. Stir in both sugars, corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil
  4. Stop stirring once the mixture is boiling, and let it go for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Take the mixture off the heat and quickly stir in baking soda and vanilla extract.
  6. Immediately pour the mixture over the popcorn and quickly fold together coating all the kernals.
  7. Spread the popcorn on parchment and oiled sheet pans and bake for 60 minutes. Check and stir the popcorn every 20 minutes.
  8. Let cool, break into pieces and eat away!

679Let me know what you guys think! I’m definitely keeping this recipe in my back pocket. On Tuesday, I’m divulging some more of my secret Boston finds! I love this city! Thanks for reading- hope you all have a great weekend!

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Job Update #2- Taj Boston Pastry

In the past couple weeks at the Taj Hotel, I’ve been learning so many new things! I started training on the closing shift (2-10:30pm) which was a tough adjustment of my sleep schedule where I fell asleep at 8 or 9 to wake up at 3am. The closing shift is focused on night time banquets; this includes anything from holiday parties, award receptions or even weddings!

Since my day begins at 2pm, I try and wake up by 9:30 to go to the gym/eat breakfast/get stuff done before I take a 12:45 bus to work. Unfortunately, I never feel as productive on those days as when I open but it’s definitely given me more of a chance to go out at night and meet friends for a drink which is great! My schedule is ever-changing making my life totally refreshing- each day brings something new.

When focusing on banquets, we work at least two days in advance. On the day of an event, we typically only have to plate up the dessert and put their final touches on before pick up. What’s cool about banquets however is that the items we have to make is contingent on the guest! Some days it’s mini boston cream pies and another customer might was key lime tarts. I’ve also made tiramisu verrines, assortments of cookies, macaroons, cannolis, etc.

On the occasion that a wedding is happening in the hotel, the clients must buy their cake from us. They can get a dummy cake (fondant decorated Styrofoam) and sheet cakes (square cakes, plainly decorated to feed the masses) or they can just order a decorated cake. The most expensive cake I’ve seen ordered so far has totaled up to $3,000 for 100 guests! That’s $30 a plate per guest! If it’s a dummy cake, we often spend weeks in advance planning the decorations, shape, colors, execution, etc. of the design. Many hours of man-power go into making something spectacular which is why the cost is so high!

Check out some of my pictures below of some of the work I’ve been doing!
Hungry, yet?

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Caramel Whisky Verrine

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Lemon Meringue Tarts

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Midnight Torte

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Galaxy Chocolate

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Peach Cobbler

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Pecan Caramel Verrine with Candied Pecans

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Making Chocolate Cigarettes!

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Pile of finished cigarettes :]

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Apple Pie Macs: green apple gelee, caramel cinnamon ganache, brown butter crumble

Check back on Tuesday for a blog about some of my current book recommendations!

Twerkin’ at the Taj

So I landed a new job at the Taj Hotel in Boston! This is such a huge career move for me and I’m so happy that this landed in my lap. The Taj is a 4 star 4 diamond hotel so its SUUUUPER fancy. On my first day, a woman and her richy rich kids got off the elevator and I KID YOU NOT SAID, “Does anyone want to go to Tiffanys?” Wait wait, is that an option!? Those teeny bopper daughters just get to casually go to Tiffanys?! Oy, I grew up in a totally different world. They also have teeny tiny bottles of everything- Heinz ketchup, fancy jellies and honey’s, any type of condiments, you name it. I didn’t realize that they even made jars that small!

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces was founded in the 1800’s, the original being the Taj Mahal which almost everyone is familiar with! The Taj Boston used to be the original Ritz Carlton hotel so it’s swimming in history! The Taj only currently has three hotels in the United States (Boston, New York and San Francisco) but they have them all over the world! You could visit London, India, the Maldives, you name it! Of course, it’s at the cheap-o price of $350 a night for the cheapest room. But I get 10 days of free stay a year at the hotel! HOLLAAAA

But regardless, I’ve been having a blast at this new job. It’s a breath of fresh air and really creative. I feel like I’m actually trusted to make decisions about flavors, textures, recipes, etc. I’ve been trained thus far on the morning shift where I bake all the small pastries for continental breakfast, room service and any morning banquets or meetings. But then it’s followed by production work where I prepare the components of the plated desserts in the cafe! 458 459Every weekend, a high tea is served with a separate menu and on Sunday’s, brunch is served on the rooftop of the hotel where you can see the most beautiful view of the city I have ever seen! The Taj borders Arlington Street which overlooks the Boston Public Gardens and Boston Commons as well as Newbury Street which is like the Rodeo Drive of Boston! Such a great spot for people watching and really enjoying a great view of the city- although it comes at a cost! Typical brunch with champagne goes at $80 bucks a pop!! Plus, gratuity automatically gets added to your bill at the end of the meal so be prepared to pay a pretty penny.

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470However, the brunch menu is unlimited! Every week, we prepare a dessert buffet that’s differs from the last! Nothing ever stays the same! And of course, there’s a raw bar, garde manager items and a hot bar with all you can eat. YUMMMMMM. The dessert bar always has some type of cheesecake, cookies, shot glass item and martini glass items as well as anything else we dream up in the pastry kitchen! I figured I’d post some pictures of our desserts thus far below so be prepared to drool! Note: Not everything was made entirely by me but the pastry team! So excited to be a part of something great!

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Opera Cake!

Opera Cake!

Brown Butter Blackberry Tarts!

Brown Butter Blackberry Tarts!

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Burnt Honey Cheesecake with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Honey Gelee

Burnt Honey Cheesecake with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Honey Gelee

Keylime Torte

Keylime Torte

Midnight Chocolate Torte!

Midnight Chocolate Torte!

Cherry Chocolate Torte

Cherry Chocolate Torte

Oreo Cheesecake with Cookie Crust and Oreo filling on top!

Oreo Cheesecake with Cookie Crust and Oreo filling on top!

Cookies for VIP's:- from L to R: thyme sable with lemon curd, almond thumprints, orange sable, chocolate cookies with Dulcey chocolate drizzle

Cookies for VIP’s:- from L to R: thyme sable with lemon curd, almond thumprints, orange sable, chocolate cookies with Dulcey chocolate drizzle

Orange Mousseline with caramelized white chocolate crumble

Orange Mousseline with caramelized white chocolate crumble

Check back on Tuesday for another Post Grad blog about how I’m slowly but surely becoming a bad ass. ….Kinda. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!