March 27, 2017

Wickersham Dome (March 27th)

Wickersham Dome on Elliot Highway.

    We went to see some white ptarmigans at Wickersham Dome area.
It was not that cold in temperature, but the wind was really chilly and we walked around only a little bit.  We found lots of ptarmigan tracks, but couldn't see any of them.
    Some kind of race was being held there today, and we saw more cars parked at the trail head than ever before.


Can you see a bird on the top of the tree?

We thought it was a grey jay or something, but
it turned out to be a kind of grouse.
Or is it a ptarmigan?
I didn't know the grouse can land on the top of the tree.

It was about 10 °F (about -12 °C) around there.
Not that cold in temperature, but the wind was so strong!

We found lots and lots of ptarmigan tracks.


We found three grouses by the highway on the way back home.


Morning Visitors and More Sweets

A huge moose was visiting our place again!

     When we sat down at our PC desk in the morning on March 14th,
I noticed something big was outside and again it was a huge moose!
After taking a couple of pictures of it, the moose was just running away towards the woods behind our house.
     On the same day, we saw a ruffed grouse was eating some left-over seeds under our bird feeders.  That was our first time to see a grouse coming to eat at our bird feeder.  Our usual visitors are chickadees, red poles nowadays, so it was a great surprise.
     I made another Mille Crêpe and I made some eclairs with fresh fruit at the coffee shop.
The strawberries we can get here in the U.S. is not as sweet as some of the ones you can get in Japan, but they have nice fragrance and tart flavor, which go well with the sweetness of crème pâtissière.

The moose was running away through our property.
The building behind is our shed. 

See you again!

Bonasa umbellus (Ruffed Grouse, Erimaki-Raichou in Japanese).

Bonasa umbellus (Ruffed Grouse, Erimaki-Raichou in Japanese).
It has a cool haircut like David Beckham, 
which was a kind of fad in the early 2000s in Japan and called "Soft Mohican".

Bonasa umbellus (Ruffed Grouse, Erimaki-Raichou in Japanese).

Bonasa umbellus (Ruffed Grouse, Erimaki-Raichou in Japanese).

Bonasa umbellus (Ruffed Grouse, Erimaki-Raichou in Japanese).

Blood orange I found at Walmart.
The inside was amazingly dark purple, practically black.
It tastes a little bitter, but the zest has strong fragrance.

Orange Mille Crêpe.
The composition:  Navel orange sauce with Grand Marnier,
Navel orange flavored whipped cream,
Navel orange flavored crème pâtissière,
Navel orange, Moro orange zests on top.  

I used a different recipe for the crepe itself this time, 
so that I can make the crepe thinner and more delicate than before.
I love to add Grand Marnier flavor to my dessert.

Eclair with fresh fruit and crème diplomat.
 Crème diplomat is the mixture of 
crème pâtissière (pastry cream) and
 crème chantilly (sweetened whipped cream).
I add some crème pâtissière at the bottom of the fruits,
so it has the richness of the crème pâtissière
and also has the lightness of crème diplomat.  
This crème pâtissière contains abundant amount of real vanilla beans.
I ate one by myself and it tastes really good!

March 20, 2017

Green Sweets

I made the Matcha cake at the coffee shop, too!

I made a Matcha (green tea) cake at home the other day, and took a few pieces of the cake to the coffee shop I work for.  They liked the idea and we made the same cake for St. Patrick's Day!   The design on the top of the cake is in homage to an Irish film "The Wind that Shakes the Barley", but I just labeled them as "Matcha Cake", because something simple is easier to order for the customers.
I made some other interesting sweet treats for St. Patrick's Day, too.

Biscuit joconde with Matcha powder,
Matcha Buttercream using pâte à bombe,
and Matcha white chocolate ganache. 

The Matcha pastry cream for the mille crêpe I made at home.

 The Matcha mille crêpe.

This is made of layers of crêpe.
I put Matcha pastry cream and 
whipped cream with a hint of kirschwasser between each layer. 

I liked the Matcha-flavored pastry cream.

 Here is the Matcha financier made with the egg whites,
which I kept when I got egg yolks for the pastry cream out of the whole eggs.

We put some shamrock leaves on the top of each macaron
for St. Patrick's Day.

Here is the shot taken right after they were out of the oven.

The filling was peppermint white ganache.

On St. Patrick's Day, I made Italian meringe buttercream
with peppermint white chocolate flavor for the cupcakes.

I made some buttercream shamrock leaves, too.

Here is the latest macaron I made at the shop.
Matcha white chocolate ganache in each shell.

I hope people will like these.

March 9, 2017

Gâteau Opéra (Opera Cake) - Matcha and White Flower Cake Decoration

Matcha version of Opera Cake.

I made matcha (green tea) flavor Opera cake this week at home.
I have got a bag of matcha powder at a local Asian grocery.  It was 17 dollars or so for 100g.
It was pretty expensive for me, but it is actually the one from Japanese tea leaves, and it tastes exactly like the one you can get in Japan!
I found a beautiful picture of this kind of cake made by a famous Japanese pastry chef.  The cake is called "Bamboo".  I just got a hint from that, and improvised it.


 Biscuit joconde with matcha powder.
This is a kind of cake using quite a portion of almond flour.

Matcha ganache.
I used Ghirardelli white chocolate and added some matcha.
The white chocolate has a really strong milky flavor,
so I used a lot of matcha to match the milkiness.

Matcha buttercream.
I made this buttercream with pâte à bombe
to add some rich flavor of egg yolk. 

4 layered cake with matcha ganache, matcha buttercream. 

The darker green is Matcha ganache,
and the lighter green is Matcha buttercream.

I put some matcha syrup on each layer of the cakes
so that it would be nice and moist.

Here is the decoration for the ordered Birthday cake today at the shop.
I made some roses and English roses.
I hope the customer will like it.

March 5, 2017

New Job and Another Experiment!

Hamantaschen with Prune Filling.
I made these Jewish cookies for the coffee shop I started working.

Finally, I have got a new job here in Fairbanks!
I started working as a baker for a decent coffee shop in Fairbanks last month.
The job in this shop is what I have wanted for a long time.  It is an ideal place to work for me.
I have been making several kinds of cookies, eclairs, French macarons,and so on.
On my off day, I also bake something we want to eat at home as usual.
And sometimes I brought some samples to the shop and share some new ideas.
It is pretty fun!


Chocolate mille crêpe with caramel whipped cream.
I brought some pieces to the shop to share this as a new idea.
It is quite popular among Japanese, but 
most of the people here in U. S. have never heard about it.

I could have put more cream in each layer.

The kitchen manager in the coffee shop gave me a present!

He keeps 2 quail hens and these are their eggs!
I haven't seen the fresh quail eggs since we left Japan.

They are all pretty!

Here are some Alaskan shrimps
we got from the guy selling shrimps by the street.
He was selling 3 pound bags, but
when we asked him to sell by smaller portion, 
he just gave 1 pound of the shrimp for free!
They all have eggs, too.

Here are the quail eggs after boiled.

The inside of the shell was pale blue
and it looked pretty.

We had the eggs with boiled shrimp.
The quail eggs was so rich in flavor! 

These cupcakes were the ordered ones at the coffee shop.
Their request was something navy, teal, and anchor,
so I made some blue flowers with some accent of 
yellow, peach, lavender flowers,
and white anchor with Italian meringue buttercream.
I prepared 4 different kinds of frosting on top of the cupcakes;
Vanilla, Lemon, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter.