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105degrees, L2/W2/D5: Academy Specials!

December 11, 2010

Over the course of the last week or so, my classmate Cristina and I teamed up to create a raw meal of an entrée and dessert. We brainstormed, conceptualized, tested, developed, perfected, prepped, and executed our recipes, and last night, we actually sold our dishes as Academy Specials on the dinner menu at 105degrees! Ready to see what we came up with?

For dinner:

Spanish Garden Paella

That is one huge bowl of goodness!

The finished product was truly something to behold.

We used approximately a million different techniques (slight hyperbole there) to best prepare all these veggies, but it paid off.

If that’s not an absolutely gorgeous raw dish, I don’t know what is.

Though we collaborated on both dishes, Cristina took the helm on the paella while I concentrated more on the sweet stuff.

Its multiple components all required advanced preparation.

Some took trial and error, while others worked well from the get-go.

When the day of service arrived, I was armed and ready.

Haylee and Cristina both encouraged me to try a plating inspired by my second strawberry tart, and I’m glad they did, because it came out looking great.

For dessert:

Cinnamon Crumble Coffee Cake
Espresso Reduction, Vanilla Bean Crème, Maple Tuille

MAJOR, MAJOR SUCCESS.

Impressive to look at, extraordinary to taste.

The cake: moist, dense yet tender, and just sweet enough.
The crumble: nutty and cinnamon-y with a slight crunch.
The reduction: sticky and viscous with strong coffee flavor.
The crème: rich, creamy, velvety, and luxurious.
The tuille: thin, chewy-crisp, and unmistakably maple.

Don’t just take our word for it—everyone who tried our dishes agreed that they were TDF (= to die for). We were proud, proud mamas.

I wish you all could’ve been there to taste the magic!

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44 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2010 7:50 pm

    It all looks wonderful! Congrats on the sell. Did you make any profit from it?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:37 pm

      Thank you! Well, we didn’t make any profit…but the restaurant did 😉

  2. December 11, 2010 8:05 pm

    Oh wow, I really want to eat both of those dishes. Your dessert is especially spectacular, it looks so moist and dreamy!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:38 pm

      Thanks! I am quite certain you would love the coffee cake 😛

  3. December 11, 2010 8:13 pm

    mmmmmmmmm that dessert looks amazing!!
    Keep up the AMAZING work!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:38 pm

      😀 Thank you, Sarah!

  4. December 11, 2010 8:31 pm

    Yes! I really do wish I had been there to taste the magic! Lol. It all looks delicious!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:44 pm

      Hehe. Thanks, Jess!

  5. December 11, 2010 8:36 pm

    Your meal looks amazing! We have no fine dining raw restaurant here in Atlanta, but these kinds of pics make me want to open one.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:46 pm

      I know what you mean! KC doesn’t have one either…yet 😉

  6. Laura Harvey permalink
    December 11, 2010 9:07 pm

    Yummy! I would looove to have me some of that!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:46 pm

      😛 Thanks Laura!

  7. December 11, 2010 9:08 pm

    beautiful food! i love the presentations, so colorful and fun 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:46 pm

      Thanks, Rachel! The paella really was a rainbow of gorgeousness.

  8. December 11, 2010 10:48 pm

    Yes, that dessert and paella look out of this world good! Great job!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:47 pm

      I know you would’ve loved both of them, Noelle! 🙂

  9. December 11, 2010 11:20 pm

    you girls rocked it@! the paella and the cake both look divine. definitely special 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:47 pm

      Thanks, Nina! Wish you were still here to taste it!

  10. December 11, 2010 11:56 pm

    Oh lord oh lord oh lord! Some of my favourite flavours right there – cinnamon, coffee, maple. Oh, Amber. I think I need to get a proper paying job so I can hire you as my personal chef FOREVER.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:49 pm

      I KNEW you’d love the look of the coffee cake! Oh my gosh, please do get filthy rich ASAP and hire me… 😉

  11. December 12, 2010 2:56 pm

    Beautiful, bountiful, trial and success! And best of all, you look and sound so happy with it. As a restaurant patron, that must be such fun, to get to try out the newest creations, be in the crucible.

    So is that the end of level 2 or do you have one more week to go?
    love
    Ela

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:50 pm

      Thanks, Ela 😀 If only you could’ve tried these dishes! I have a feeling you’d especially like the paella; it was very light, yet satisfying.

      Last day of Level II is Wed 12/22!

  12. December 12, 2010 6:38 pm

    Oh. my. gah. Your coffee cake truly does look TDF. How about sending me some? It’ll make it to Vermont, right?! I wish 😛 It looks like you both did fabulous.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:51 pm

      Hmm…given sturdy enough packaging, and with the components packed separately, this cake might just be shippable… 😉

  13. December 12, 2010 9:34 pm

    I wish I’d been there to taste the magic, too! I love a good, colorful dinner entree like your raw paella (we actually had vegetarian paella at a holiday party last night!). And the coffee cake definitely looks to-die-for, as you classmates noted!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:52 pm

      I agree; every time I eat a dinner packed with this many colorful veggies, I wonder why ALL my dinners aren’t like that. 🙂

  14. December 12, 2010 11:10 pm

    Wow congrats and among the best pix I’ve seen. Looks like heaven on a plate! And I’m a Omnivore at heart!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:53 pm

      Thanks so much, C.J.! These dishes (especially the coffee cake) are definite omni-pleasers!

  15. December 13, 2010 8:18 am

    Okay now you have to share the recipe ! Those look amazing! I’m partial to the crumb cake but both would make my palate happy!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:53 pm

      At some point in the future, in some venue or another, I promise to share the recipes! 😛

  16. December 13, 2010 6:20 pm

    I wish I could be your taste tester!! That coffee cake looks incredible. Wow.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:54 pm

      I wish you could too! Hey, if the elusive cookbook deal that I dream of ever comes along, you should be a recipe tester 😀

  17. December 13, 2010 7:52 pm

    wow! look at all that! It looks so good, especially that dessert!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:55 pm

      Thank you! I am rather proud of that coffee cake. 🙂

  18. December 14, 2010 8:57 am

    Amazing, amazing, amazing! I love how you took and idea and worked with it until your “got it right!”

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:55 pm

      Aw, thanks so much! Trial and error in food is often worth it…especially with desserts 😛

  19. December 14, 2010 10:22 am

    That paella looks down right amazing! I sure wish there was a way I could come down there are get a taste. 😉

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:57 pm

      Thanks, Hannah! I wish so too! 🙂

  20. theflourishingfoodie permalink
    December 14, 2010 3:42 pm

    Wow that stuff looks amazing!! I would love to eat at 105 degrees!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:57 pm

      If you ever come through the Midwest, it’d be SO worth it to swing by here, even if it requires a bit of a detour!

  21. December 15, 2010 11:04 am

    That dessert looks phenomenal! I would also love to eat at 105 degrees. You would have to drag me away from all that food! 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:58 pm

      Thanks Michelle! I really do hope you get to dine at 105 someday. 😀

  22. December 18, 2010 10:13 pm

    I’ll be your taste-tester for sure! Once again, everything looks amazing.

    Whitney 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:58 pm

      Hehe. Thanks, Whitney!

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