Friday, January 24, 2014

Photography Practice / Cooking Demo Review / Can't Sleep

Well I got my camera and if you couldn't tell by my last post I've been trying to take some decent pictures.  I never even really took pics besides outfit pics on my iPhone so any kind of photography is new to me; please bear with me during this learning process.  I am still trying to figure out all the settings and all the things I can do and what the hell all these terms like ISO even mean.

Jacket: Diane Von Furstenberg 'Paulette' // Top: Theory 'Juin' // Pants: Vince // Boots: Vince Camuto // Bag: Balenciaga

I'm also trying to learn how to smile and not be awkward.

The camera is pretty cool so far.  It's small and (relatively) lightweight, and it has plenty of presets that make it easy enough to fiddle around with and learn by using.  Here's an example of the difference between using the camera on 'auto' mode and one of the 'art' modes:

Blueberry mojito in regular mode

Blueberry mojito in Pop Art mode

Now I can't tell which looks better because I'm pretty dumb about these things but I can see a difference so that's cool.

Tonight we went to a Cooking Demonstration at Society Fair here in Alexandria.  We had actually done this once two years ago and had an amazing meal and an even better time.  This was our first experience with frisee salad with thick cut bacon (lardons, to be exact) and a poached egg and we have been trying to recreate that thing ever since.

This time, our menu included:
  • Amuse bouche of charcuterie
  • Roasted shrimp bisque
  • Andouille sausage and chicken Jambalaya
  • Beignets with 'Cafe au Lait' sauce
Naturally I took this to be a good opportunity to try out my camera and hopefully only be moderately obnoxious in the process.  It's embarrassing as hell whipping your camera out but other people do it so there.

Chef Larry's set up

The beautiful ceiling and pan-hanger-thingy

Charcuterie.  My favorite was the prosciutto, whole grain mustard and cheddar.  The rabbit terrine was okay considering it contained bunnies.

I tried getting Chef Larry but mostly got my wine glass whoops

He was moving too fast adding cream to our shrimp bisque.  Vina in the background shared some funny stories with us.

I caught him better as he was getting ready to plate our soup

Roasted Shrimp Bisque

This soup was out of this world.  Considering that he made it in front of us all in about twenty minutes, it was incredibly packed with flavor and just so rich and delicious.  I kept trying to stop eating it because it was very filling but this proved very difficult because it just tasted so damn good.

Jambalaya - not my best picture eh

The Jambalaya came next and it was amazing as well.  Cooked to perfection, everything about it just really hit the spot.  There was definitely some noticeable heat in it, although I wasn't sure where it came from.  I happily finished this plate in its entirety.

Pouring powdered sugar on those beignets

Plating beignets fresh out of the oil.  This setting has a name but I forget it right now, it's "grainy [something]" and I'm into it.

My beignets

This picture does not do these justice.  They were like eating clouds, little sweet pillows of heaven, and even the dipping sauce was incredible to me despite my not-dislike-but-definitely-not-love for coffee.

We had planned on getting two slices of cake on our way out, one of which we had last time and blew my mind (Big Ass Chocolate Cake) and the other of which we had never tried but appeared to have vanilla buttercream on it (Circus Cake), but these beignets really just hit the spot and made the thought of anything else unnecessary.  We were filled to the brim, particularly because we got the wine pairing to go with the meal (something we promise ourselves we wouldn't do since we are not really wine people at all) so we skipped out on the cakes but on the way out we promised each other to return tomorrow to get them.  I'm holding my mom to that.

This is sort of a science blog from time to time, don't forget!

It's always amazing to me how much chemistry goes into everything, particularly cooking.  As the chef shared his tips I couldn't help but notice how all of them pertained to issues that learning chemistry and fluid mechanics teaches the reasonings behind.  I appreciated that he seemed to know a lot of the reasons behind these things too, mentioning using knowledge of the surface tension of a fluid (here, soup) to keep it from spilling as you ladle it into your prepared bowls.  

All in all it was a great evening.  I'm here now watching 'The Beach' starring Leonardo DiCaprio because I can't sleep, and honestly haven't been able to for days and I don't know why.  By the way, how am I supposed to represent movie titles?  Apostrophes, quotation marks, bolded text?  I always seem to forget which convention I choose and I feel like I just change it every time.

I'm going to read the Wikipedia about this movie so I can find out how it ends and won't feel too obligated to stay up and see for myself.  I've been posting most of my pictures on Instagram lately if anyone wants to follow along my little menial adventures!

What is everyone else up to this weekend?

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