I’m back: site redesign and career aspirations

chocolate-meringues

Hello everyone!

It’s been a few months since I last posted, but with a better class/work schedule, my new goal is to clean up this website, cook more and dedicate more to time to this blog.

For those of you that are new to The Glutton Diaries, I first started the website as a college junior fresh from returning from abroad. I came back from Paris with a goal to launch a food journalism career, however I was not sure how to go about it. Since then, my will has only solidified and with it, so has my culinary taste and design style.

With that being said, I plan to return to The Glutton Diaries with an eagerness to continue defining what it is I like to cook and photograph. I am excited for you, my handful of readers sprinkled around the world, to join me for the ride.

This page first started out as a “dabbling” into food writing and photography, and in the last few months I have definitely refined my work. In turn, I plan to clean up some of my older posts to only feature shots of my final products because I do not find the “in-the-process” photos useful. In their replacement, I will dedicate more time to my food styling so that I can play with my technique. After all, this is a makeshift portfolio/diary for me.

So I will end this secondary introduction with a quick recap of the months I neglected to post to The Glutton Diaries. Perhaps it would be best if you knew who I really was? My name is Audrey Perkins, I am almost done with my final year at Indiana University, I practically live at my job as an editor at the Indiana Daily Student and I am likely the biggest food-geek you will ever meet.

It’s nice to meet you guys. Now, for the fun part. What have I been up to the last few months in terms of food?

Since photos are worth a thousand words, here is a sampling of photos of work I have done privately and work I have done at my other jobs. Bon Appétit! (Recipes to come.)

chocolate-meringues-2

rose-tea-jelly

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blueberry-braised-beef

This recipe originally came from a post I made at thelala.com, a lifestyle blog I edit for. Check this recipe out here.

chocolate-cheesecake

This photo and styling is mine, however the recipe is from my friend and coworker Allison Wagner from the Indiana Daily Student. Check it out here.

Popin’ Cookin’

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So for those obsessed with Japanese culture, or absolute foodies like me, you have probably heard about this Japanese toy.

Popularized by Youtube’s RRcherrypie and Sorted Food, demonstrations of Popin’ Cookin’ have flooded the internet. So when this showed up in my local asian grocery store, I had to buy it. Since the link above likely has a better tutorial for this, this post will not be a tutorial, but will just show the steps I took to get the product above. The box was pretty self explanatory.

But what is Popin’ Cookin’? It is an edible candy slash toy where kids, and young-at-heart adults, can replicate cooking. It is very similar to playing with play dough, only it is specifically food themed.

I note, it’s safe to eat, but not tasty. It has a very sweet, icing-like smell. But tastes strongly of artificial flavors and sweeteners. Also, the texture is not appealing. However this is a fun way to occupy your time. It took me about 15 minutes to make the full batch.

What was weirdest about this was the texture. I would compare it most to very dense gelatin. However it looked so accurate. The texture emulates not only dough, but fried dough so well. I was thoroughly confused while making this because it looked good and smelled good. Yet I knew it wouldn’t taste good.

Fortunately, it is edible. I remember hearing about a similar toy being pulled from the shelves in Japan because the ending creation was so accurate looking, I’m assuming kids tried to eat it even though it was not food-safe. The company spent great efforts trying to make the toy cooking-accurate, that certain chemical reactions had to be used to create special effects. For example, you could drop in pieces of “dough” into “oil” and the liquid would start to boil, emulating frying. The end products even floated up when they were fully “cooked.”

There were also props involved that could be misleading, like paper seaweed and plastic shrimp tails.

Popin’ Cookin’ is the end result of that situation. It’s a bit less realistic, but you still get the same play-cooking feeling from it. And you don’t have to worry about it if someone pops it in their mouth at the end. They might regret it though.

 

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Brown butter pineapple upside-down cake

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So this will be a shorter post this time, one without the actual feature of a recipe. In fact, this isn’t one of my recipes. For those that want the original, you can find it here.

However I wanted to use a classic recipe to help bring focus to a specific ingredient: brown butter.

That was the only change I made to the recipe, with the exception of fresh cherries instead of Maraschino. Rather than go the traditional route, I wanted to play with the tangy flavor of fresh fruit contrasted with a really earthy element. Which was why I went for brown butter- it makes everything taste warm and homey.

Instead of using normal butter, I went for brown butter. So if you want to completely recreate the picture above, anytime the recipe calls for butter, use brown butter instead. Especially in the brown sugar sauce on the bottom.

Brown butter, or beurre noisette in French, is a common ingredient in French pastries. it is made by melting butter and slowly toasting its milk solids until the liquid turns brown. The end product will result in a nutty, luscious butter that you can use as a liquid or solid.

I am not exaggerating when I say that your kitchen will smell the best it ever will. It’s hard to even explain how this stuff smells. I know that at the beginning of the post, I listed “warm” and “homey,” but what scents make up those adjectives? If you were to combine the smells of toasted bread, roasted nuts and pure unadulterated butter, that’s what it would be. It’s almost umami. There’s a subtle savory note that makes desserts so complex that you will want to eat the cake batter raw. I was only mixing the butter into the flour, and it already smelled like I could eat it straight.

Either way, like how this BuzzFeed post says, it will take any simple recipe and make you feel like a gourmet chef. And you didn’t have to do anything fancy. Making this stuff is almost like boiling water. Only with fat.

And just because I’ve fallen in love with this ingredient, I’ve thought of a couple different uses for it. Click a choice below if you want to see these desserts come back to The Glutton Diaries in the form of a recipe post!