April 23, 2017

New Kinds of Eclair (April 22nd & 23rd)

Éclair salé au saumon fumé.
Smoked Sockeye Salmon Eclair with Crème Fraîche & Dill.

At the coffee shop where I work, we made 2 new kinds of eclair this week.
One is the savory kind with high-quality smoked sockeye salmon.
The other is the one with some tropical fruits.
Now I make 4 kinds of eclair at the shop on weekends.


The kitchen manager made the cream and cut and trimmed the salmon,
and I assembled them into these eclairs.
I added some cucumbers, red onions, a little slice of lemon, capers and fresh dill. 

The eclairs with tropical fruits,
which are mangos, pineapples, kiwi fruit, and blueberries for accent color.
I put some fresh mint leaves.

Here are the tropical fruit ones with a blackberry added.

This week's berries eclair.
More blackberries this time. 

April 18, 2017

Creamer's Field (April 17th)

Cygnus buccinator (Trumpeter Swan, or Naki Hakuchou in Japanese).
They are now in Creamer's Field.

 Snow has been melting here in Fairbanks and the waterfowls are coming back to Creamer's Field!
There are lots of swans, geese and ducks now.
It was pretty cold outside on that day, so we had to take tea breaks in our rig twice while we were taking pictures of the birds.
There are many other people coming to visit the field in order to see and enjoy the arrival of the birds.  I was amazed at the size of the swans.  It seems bigger than the ones we can see in Japan, which are Cygnus cygnus (Whooper Swan, or Oo Hakuchou in Japanese) and Cygnus columbianus (Tundra Swan, or Ko Hakuchou in Japanese).
Most of the geese we could see there on that day were Branta canadensis (Canada goose),
but we found some Anser albifrons (Greater white-fronted goose, or Ma-gan in Japanese), too.
For ducks, most of them were Anas platyrhynchos (Mallard, or Magamo in Japanese), but we also found some Anas acuta (Northern pintail, or Onaga-gamo in Japanese) and Anas americana (American wigeon, or America Hidori in Japanese).  We saw the former in Japan before, but we saw the latter probably just once in Tokyo, because almost all of the wigeons you can see in Japan are Anas penelope (Eurasian wigeon).
I wonder when Sandhill cranes will be back to this field.


Swans and geese and ducks are now back to Creamer's Field.

There were many lovely couples of swans.

In the morning, the surface of water was still frozen
and they were walking on the thin ice.

Amazingly huge!

Cygnus buccinator (Trumpeter Swan, or Naki Hakuchou in Japanese)
and Branta canadensis (Canada goose) behind.

A flock of Branta canadensis (Canada goose)
was marching on the ice.

Many Branta canadensis (Canada goose) were
resting on the snow.

How many kinds of waterfowls can you see?

The immature swans were gray.

Anas platyrhynchos (Mallard, or Magamo in Japanese).

How could they hold their heavy body with only one leg?

Branta canadensis (Canada goose).

Branta canadensis (Canada goose).

Anas acuta (Northern pintail, or Onaga-gamo in Japanese).
We saw them in Tokyo, too.

 Anas americana (American wigeon, or America Hidori in Japanese).
We maybe saw one just once before in Tokyo.
Most of the wigeons you can see in Tokyo are Eurasian wigeons.

Anas americana (American wigeon, or America Hidori in Japanese)
in center.

Anas americana (American wigeon, or America Hidori in Japanese).

 Anser albifrons (Greater white-fronted goose, or Ma-gan in Japanese).

Anser albifrons (Greater white-fronted goose, or Ma-gan in Japanese).
The ones with Orange-White beak.

Anser albifrons (Greater white-fronted goose, or Ma-gan in Japanese)
and Anas platyrhynchos (Mallard, or Magamo in Japanese).

We found a bug in our house...

It was a kind of Ichineumon wasp.

April 17, 2017

Easter Sweets (April 16th)

French Macarons for Easter!

I made some special French macarons for Easter at the shop.
I have been drawing some ideas on paper and ended up using simpler ideas,
because I like the shape of macaron itself.
It was purely joyful to see the customers buying something I created and to imagine that they enjoy seeing and eating them.
"I want to make people happy with something I create."
That is the biggest part of the reason why I like working as a baker at the shop.
For Easter, I also made eclairs with fresh fruits and berries and I bought some of them myself and took them to the party after work.  Our friends liked the eclairs, too!


The first drawing of the idea of the macaron.
At this point, I couldn't figure out what to do with the bunny's ears...

Here are the chicks I created!
The fillings are fresh zestful lemon curd
and white chocolate ganache.
I love lemon curd.
It is so refreshing!

They are lovely especially when they are all gathering.

Here are the bunnies!
I decided to draw the ears with darker pink icing.
They look somehow kind of traditional Japanese sweets "Wagashi",
which seems to tend to abstract the theme on the sweets.

They have also lots of brothers and sisters! 
The fillings are raspberry jam (of course, I made it by myself)
and rose-flavored buttercream.
I added a little bit of rose extract to the macaron shells, too.
Rose fragrance goes well with almond flour, I think.

The eclairs with various berries.
I put strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

These are the ones I made for last Friday
and I added a line of raspberry jam to the ones 
I made for Easter.