Monday, August 30, 2010

Black and Green

I have a research paper due in my chocolate class. The paper is not due for another week two weeks but a slow night at work has helped boost my motivation to start said paper. It was a pretty easy assignment - write two to three pages (double spaced) on a chocolate company of my choice. I chose Black and Green because we all know I have an new found interest in organic, vegetarian, or vegan products now that I am becoming savvy to how things are produced. My paper still needs a few final touches but here is my rough draft for your viewing pleasure. I will also be purchasing Black and Green chocolate for the class to taste so I will be able to post a review of my first taste of organic premium chocolate!

Black and Green, a chocolate company named after the rich dark brown (almost black) color of the chocolate they manufacture and the term “green” being another name for organic, [1] produce organic chocolate for baking and eating alike. They have quickly gone from the dreams of a co-founding couple to a booming fair trade business bringing organic chocolates to the masses.

Black and Green was founded in 1991 by Craig Sams, the founder of Whole Earth – the United Kingdom’s pioneering organic food company [1] and his wife Josephine Fairley, an environment columnist for The London Times. [1] After they tasted a bar of dark 70% chocolate made from organic beans the dream of bringing this delicious treat to the masses became a business plan they put into action. Today they operate with what they refer to as “small team, which simply means that every person is as vital as the next." [1] The company is comprised of offices located in both London and New Jersey as well as many organic farmers in Belize and the Dominican Republic.

Black and Green's Chocolate bars are available commercially for the eco-conscious organic chocolate lovers of the United States. The bars can be purchased at Whole foods, Wild Oats, and Targets nationally. They can also be found in the natural foods sections of most Meijer's. Black and Green's first product was a high-quality, bittersweet dark chocolate bar, made with 70% cocoa solids. [1] As time has passed and their fallowing has grown they have been able to expand their product line to include flavors such as almond, peanut, toffee, milk, white, 70% dark, and 85% dark chocolate as well as a baking bar, free trade cocoa powder, and hot chocolate mix.
Black and Green became a fair trade company (meaning that they pay fair prices to farmers for their ingredients, in Black and Green's case this pertains to the bean of the cacao tree) during 1994 while visiting Belize on vacation where the witnessed the devastation of the local farmers due to the drop in cocoa prices. Craig and Josephine established a relationship with these farmers in Belize and this has become their main source of cocoa beans as well as organic beans sourced from the Dominican Republic.

The beans used to produce Black and Green chocolate bars are primarily Tinitario beans - the highest quality cocoa bean. They are always grown free of any chemicals or pesticides using sustainable and biodiverse farming methods. [1] Once farmers harvest the organic beans they are fermented for five days (an important step that insures the chocolate flavor we love) and then laid to dry in the sun before they are shipped to Black and Green for processing. [1] Once the beans arrive at the factory they are roasted and ground before bourbon vanilla and organic sugar are added. The chocolate is then conched and tempered before it is able to be molded into the bars that are available for purchase.

From the time of the company’s creation through it’s growth and success to its current position in the world ever growing organic market, Black and Green has stayed true to its original dream of producing premium organic chocolate bars for the general population. They have maintained an environmentally conscious outlook when it comes to their ingredients and the farming methods used to produces them. They have also upheld their decision to pay a fair price to their farmers for their product. So during this short but successful beginning that Black and Green have created for themselves they have not only produced a first-class product but have also helped improve the quality of life for many, sustain the environment for generations of chocolate lovers to come, and hopefully inspired others to fallow in their company’s footsteps

Monday, August 23, 2010


I'm not really sure who i am anymore blog... and it very hard to write you when I am having an identity crisis because I cant write about the things I know and like if I'm not sure exactly what that is. So I'm going to put on my self analyzing hat and try to figure out what my trouble is.

Let me tell you a bit about me blog.

1. I am in my twenties
2. I have my associates in English
3. I am almost done with my schooling to become a pastry chef
4. I still live at home
5. my parents got divorced when I was in 7th grade
6. I have experienced heart break
7. I am in a committed relationship
8. I don't have many friends due 3,7,9
9. I work in customer service
10. I am a pleaser
11. I am a vegetarian
12. I analyze a lot
13. I am broke
14. I feel like I am going insane

I know that you are thinking blog - she knows all this but she doesn't know who she is? Exactly! So this is what I think is the trouble. The most important number on that list is number 10. I AM A PLEASER! this means I like to make other people happy. Not so bad right? not really, unless it means you make other people happy and neglect yourself. Number 10 is directly connected to almost every other number on that list that can be helped.

I want to make people happy and I lose myself. I become what I think makes the people I am with happy. That means I have many different faces - the student, the daughter, the girlfriend, the friend, the employee and so on. I know it is true to say that everyone has these faced but I feel like mine are completely separate from one another. It is exhausting to keep up with myself like this.

I also limit myself. I keep myself from doing things because i think it will upset someone (writing this blog for example.) I decide what I can and cant do based on what other people think and like. Then things I enjoy get forgotten or they become a guilty pleasure (Like listening to the radio.) After I go at this for a while I hit a rut and I'm not sure how to get out of it because I don't even know who I am anymore since my true identity had been beaten to death by my many persona's. Yikes!

So how do I solve this blog? I need to un-train myself. I need to become a me pleaser. do you have any idea how to go about that?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fancy Pants Berries

What did I make last night that was Black White Red and Completely awesome?

Fancy pants berries! well Maybe fancy jacket berries... They are best known as tuxedo berries.

I was amazed at how beautifully they turned out (and how easy they were to make.) So when I got home I did some quick google searching to see how much these little darlings are sold for. I was SHOCKED. A dozen of these can be sold between $35.00 and $60.00! For 12 strawberries? Sheesh!
while I do understand these are an ala minute item and must be shipped over night if they are being sent anywhere - driving the price up. they are so easy to make I'm not sure why any once would fork over the cash for that. Can you imagine the cost for serving these at a wedding reception?

Here is how you make a Tuxedo berry
  1. clean your fruit and dry it. Water getting into your melted chocolate will cause it to seize up.
  2. melt a bowl of dark chocolate and a bowl of white chocolate coating disks. Chocolate coating differs from premium chocolate because it have a vegetable fat in it rather than cocoa butter. Chocolate coating is preferred when dipping strawberries because it does not bloom (the fat/sugar does not separate from the cocoa mass causing a marbling/streaking) when its refrigerated.
  3. grasp the clean dry strawberry by the hull (leafy greens) and dip the front only in whit chocolate. No need to get the back - it will be covered by dark chocolate. set the dipped strawberry on a paper line sheet tray to set up
  4. once the chocolate has set dip each side in dark chocolate. This will cover the back also and leave a white V shape in the front. made sure to shake all excess chocolate off so you do not get chocolate "feet" where the chocolate pools below the berry.
  5. again set the strawberry to set.
  6. Once set use the remaining melted chocolate in small paper piping cones to pipe on the three white buttons below the V of the shirt and the dark chocolate bow tie inside the V. the bow tie is made by connecting two filled in triangles.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What is Black White Red and Revamped?

When I created Black White Red and Awesome I had a game plan and fuel to burn. I was on a mission to tell everyone all the things I knew and all the things I was learning. I wanted a way to connect (anonymously) with the world and show people how passionate i am about... well my passions. But there are a few things I learned quickly.

1. No one reads my blog
2. It is hard to make an anonymous connection.
3. Writing one thing and one thing only leads to no writing at all.

why would I want to be anonymous when no one reads my blog you ask? well because I have loved one who feel like my cyber diary is an invasion of their personal privacy - the reason my last attempt at online writing was silenced and my social networking sites were dismantled.

Well, this is the decision I have come to - while I respect their concerns and i will do my utmost to keep their names and personal information as well as my own off of the Internet I would like to post whatever I feel like posting. It has been very hard trying to post information without any personal touches i.e. Pictures, locations, opinions. I know I have shared this information to an extent but it has never been very specific and it was never personal. So that is going to change.

Now, Black White Red and Awesome started as the adventures of a aspiring pastry chef/student (now that I am not being completely anonymous I can share all these details) but my posting dwindled... not because I do not eat sleep and breath baking and pastry - oh how I do! It is simply because its not fun to wrap yourself up in a box - especially when you are in that box 24/7. So, yes I do love baking and pastry especially of the vegan persuasion BUT it will not be all I post about from now on.

That being said - please stay tuned for new improved Black White Red and Awesomeness

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Granny's Garden

This past week has been a little hectic. I had my finals at school - 3 classes and 5 finals which included two lab practicals and three written tests. But once the test taking madness was finished and I had all my finals under my belt I was offered a fantastic opportunity.

After class I was on Saturday I was asked if I would like to spend time volunteering in Granny's Garden.

Granny's Garden is an organic garden located at an elementary school in Loveland. I believe it is the only school in this area to have an agricultural program. I did not get an opportunity to meet the woman who tends the garden but I have heard many nice things about her. I believe her name is Roberta and she is "Granny" of Granny's Garden. The Garden has many types of vegetables, flowers, and raspberry bushes.

Granny's Garden has paired up with my school to turn the fresh produce into good eats. Right now it sounds like some of the chefs at the Art Institute will be catering an event for Granny's Garden using the some of produce that we harvested on Saturday.

I spent most of my time picking ripe raspberries. They smelled fantastic! I was very excited when I found I was able to take the raspberries home with me because they didn't want them to go bad. I also took home a head of lettuce, fresh dill, beets, onions, and a bouquet of fresh flowers. It felt great to help out. At the end of the two hours I spent there, aside from being pretty sure I was sunburned, I felt like I had spent time doing something important. I would really love to work with Granny's again in the future.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Mystery Box and the Golden Spoon

In my Advanced Cakes and Classical Tortes Class we had a Mystery Box Challenge this week!

Contrary to popular belief I am not a Food Network watcher. I only catch it here and there when it is on. But I am told our Mystery Box Competition is similar to the show "Chopped."

Rules: You are given a container with mystery ingredients in it. Using those ingredients you must put together a plated dessert within the allotted time that can be submitted for judging

My Mystery Ingredients day one:
-Almond paste
-dried cherries

What I made: Cherry Limeade cupcakes - white cake with lime zest topped with a swirl of lime buttercream and raspberry cherry butter cream.

results: Epic Fail! The cup cakes did not turn out (i think it is because I had to use the almond paste in the batter) I also didn't get to use cupcake liners so not only did they not turn out but they wouldn't come out of the tray. This resulted in a sloppy plating which the judges deemed too sweet.

My Mystery Ingredients day two:
-almond paste
-dried cherries
-white chocolate
-coffee flavoring

What I made: I altered a almond cranberry coffee cake recipe to create a cherry apple coffee cake (I don't think coffee cake is a good description. I think it is much more like a pound cake. In my mind coffee cake is light and fluffy and this cake was very dense) I brushed the coffee cake with a orange glaze that i made from sugar orange juice and orange zest. The dessert was plated with a white chocolate sauce, coffee sauce, and Candie Orange peel as a garnish. I wasn't as pleased with my plating but it turned out far better than day 1.

Result: I took home the golden spoon! First Prize!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Can you blow out 102 candles?

June 9th was my Great Grandmother's 102nd birthday.

I was asked to make the cake which was exciting and nerve wracking the the same time. I suppose i should tell you that I am the first in my family to attend a school for baking and pastry but I am not the first baker. My great grandmother was an amazing baker and many of our favorite family recipes were passed down from her to my grandfather (her daughters husband) who then took up the baking cause. Until recently he was the go to baker of the Artisan Assassin clan. When I was asked to bake the cake I knew that, while my great grandmother would be happily content with whatever I put in front of her, My grandfather would be a hard man to please... He was an engineer before retirement, a profectionist by nature and (i think) secretly perturbed that he has been robbed of his baking crown.

Here is what I made: A two layer chocolate devils food cake with a ganache icing from the A.I. On Baking book. (this cake recipe always turns out. Favorite!) I know it sounds very plain and simple - because it is. But is is also delicious!

Here is what happened: Upon my mothers request and against my better judgement I only leveled on of the two cakes. This means that my layers were disproportionate. YIKES! as soon as a cut into that sucker I know my grandfather would say something like "Is this your signature make? that one layer is a half size bigger than the other." which is exactly what he said. He also made a comments about how the cake wasn't very decorative. Come on, really? its ganache... But my Great Grandmother (who hasn't eaten more than two bites of something since her mid nineties) ate her whole slice!

Rating: I think I got a "Meh, I could do it better" from grandpa and at "Yumyum great!" from the original Artisan Assassin.