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    Thread: Ophelia's Food Art

    1. #1
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      Ophelia's Food Art

      So I'm challenging myself to 100 works of art in 98 days (because I turn 40 in 98 days, well now 97, but I started last night). I just want to improve my culinary chops, since I hardly ever break out of my current culinary shell. And I may not keep my current job forever, so it wouldn't hurt to be ready for something else, with some more skills under my belt.

      I'm focusing on classical french stuff, or things equally fancy. And from scratch as much as possible (like if I can make the cheese that goes into the dish, then I have to make it). But if you guys see something amazing, I'll try to duplicate it. I'll post the pics of my results, and recipes too in case any of y'all want to try (and so I can duplicate them in the future ). This thread will really motivate me to kick some culinary butt!

      Oh yeah, comments appreciated. I know y'all can't taste it unless you make it yourself, so any thoughts about the plating or anything would be great. Thanks
      Last edited by OpheliaBlue; 07-07-2014 at 07:14 PM.

    2. #2
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      #1 Boneless Ribeyes with Balsamic Glaze, Rosemary Lamb Risotto, and Sauteed Yellow Wax Beans:



      Spoiler for Recipe:


      Notes:

      Beans should probably be green, or use asparagus. Needs that color in there somewhere. Danny thought the glaze was a little too sweet for the steak. So either make it less sweet or maybe use pork tenderloin instead. Also, your OWN steak seasonings Ophelia, not store-bought seasoning dumbass. The risotto was EN POINTE.
      Last edited by OpheliaBlue; 07-10-2014 at 02:32 AM.

    3. #3
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      Cool idea! There are some great inspirational dishes on the tv show Hannibal (not referring to the human-based ones!) and there must be some recaps of the recipes online I would assume. Quite the works of art.
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      Great resolution! It's really nice you are including the recipes too.
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    5. #5
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      Omg, that looks awesome!

      And yes, kick-ass plan. Wish you good luck with that, I know you can do it.

      Sometimes hardest part is to realize what we need to do, like a change of job or at least prepare for it. Looks like that part is behind you. Now, on to the exciting part of bettering your skills, which are already way up there, judging from your previous foodporn posts. And your passion for food and for doing it the right way, no cutting corners, is something I really admire in you. Also what you told me about taking regular recipe and making it healthier, without sacrificing taste.

      So maybe start an online blog, or photo portfolio, that you can use later at the interview. Also to keep track of what you have done so far. And maybe dual-recipes. One original, the other one with your substitutions for unhealthy stuff, and how it changed taste or consistency.

      And, you using the Montral Steak seasoning. I absolutely love it. I don't put anything else on my steak, just that. Even used it for a steak when made it for my parents on my visit there. There was no talking at the table that night.

    6. #6
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      Lol gab. And I shouldn't have used the Montreal seasoning, unless I made it myself. I just did because Danny loves it So I should have just said salt and pepper.

      Anyway, more pics coming up shortly! Got a couple buns in the oven as we speak. Thanks for the encouragement guys. And don't hesitate to post comments or pictures for inspiration!



      .
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      #2 Fromage Blanc Panna Cotta with Cucumber Salad
      (inspired by a recipe gab submitted: Fromage Blanc Custard with Radish Salad)



      Spoiler for Recipe:


      Notes:

      This dish was just amazing. It was impossibly light, airy, and delicately flavored with ginger. It almost reminded me of something made with goat cheese because of the tart bite that the fromage blanc + ginger added. The homemade fromage blanc had the flavor of greek yogurt, but far more creamy and with a texture that just melts in your mouth. The salad on top cuts through the creaminess a little, and adds a nice little crunch. I ate some with a spoon, then spread some on crackers and was in heaven. I wouldn't serve this after more than 2 hours after it sets, the gelatin sets too much and gets too rubbery. Or make it with fewer gelatin leaves. I'll experiment with it some more.
      Last edited by OpheliaBlue; 07-10-2014 at 02:36 AM.

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      I'm digging that soufflé, gab! You know I only ever made soufflées in culinary school. I made them 3 times, and they came out great the first, but not 2nd and 3rd times. Been meaning to get back on that horse, so I'll make that one next! Next I'm going to post the lava cakes I made last night, per my son's recommendation

    10. #10
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      #3 Chocolate Lava Cake with A Chocolate Fern Leaf



      Spoiler for Recipe:


      Notes:

      I used margarine instead of butter because I ran out. It still turned out perfect, but I think butter would have tasted even more rich. Also, the original recipe I found called for orange liquor with the vanilla. I think it would be cool to add a liquor to this cake, like cointreau, framboise, or even a coffee flavored liquor. Just if you do, you should garnish it with what it is: like a raspberry if you use the framboise. Also, it's easy to over bake these! When it says 14 minutes, it means 14 god damn minutes. The one in the picture was taken out exactly 14 min, but I was afraid it was too soon, so I let the others stay for 2 more and now they're solid chocolate sponge cakes. No lava lol. Still gonna eat them though.
      Last edited by OpheliaBlue; 07-10-2014 at 02:35 AM.

    11. #11
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      #4 Filet Mignon with Bordelaise Sauce and Pommes Anne



      Spoiler for Recipe:



      Notes:

      Everything about everything was deliciously perfect. And easy! So long as you follow things exact and use excellent quality ingredients. I could drink that sauce alone with a straw. Oh yeah, I didn't have shallots on hand, but since shallots taste like little garlicky onions, I just used a little bit of chopped white onion and garlic. It gets strained out anyway. No more than the 1tsp of fresh rosemary because it is STRONG. Oh and the demi glace I had was salted, and so was the butter I used, so I didn't have to add any salt at all to the final product. Always remember to taste before seasoning with salt, especially when you do reductions. You can always add it later but you can't take it away. YUM I'm making this again, especially the potatoes because the whole thing cost like a dollar and took a little over 30 minutes.
      Last edited by OpheliaBlue; 07-10-2014 at 02:40 AM.
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      Anything with salmon please!
      I find its texture to be..quite sensual for a food.

      Salmon done justice is a thing of beauty.

      Even though the fish itself is ghastly-looking.
      Last edited by acatalephobic; 07-10-2014 at 06:53 AM. Reason: ever-tweaking
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      Latest Recipes - Network Ten

      ^These can keep you busy I suppose Press the button at the bottom for more recipe goodness!
      Also: damn you're really good at this! You make my cooking look horrendous!
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      Oh my, Ophie, I can't sleep at night already.
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    16. #16
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      #5 Roquefort Soufflès
      (from a link submitted by gab: Roquefort Soufflés Recipe - Gail Simmons | Food & Wine)



      2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus softened butter for the ramekins
      1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
      3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
      1 cup milk
      Pinch of salt
      Pinch of cayenne pepper
      2 ounces Roquefort cheese
      5 large eggs, separated
      2 tablespoons snipped chives

      Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter four 1-cup ramekins and coat each one with 1 tablespoon of the grated Parmigiano.
      In a medium saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
      Add the milk, salt and cayenne and cook, whisking, until very thick and bubbling, about 2 minutes.
      Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and whisk in the Roquefort and the remaining 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano.
      Whisk in the egg yolks and chives.
      In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form.
      Fold the beaten whites into the cheese mixture until no streaks remain.
      Pour the mixture into the ramekins, filling them three-fourths of the way; set the ramekins on a baking sheet.
      Bake the soufflés for about 20 minutes, until puffed and golden.
      Place the soufflés on plates and serve immediately.

      Notes: The flavor of this was really good, but the texture was too heavy. I think the roux was too thick, or maybe lining the ramekins with grated cheese wasn't a good idea, though it's traditional to do that in cheese souffles. But it was more like a poofy quiche than a light, airy, melt-in-your-mouth souffle like I'm used to having. Maybe I made the whites too stiff, or I should have pulled them out a bit sooner. They just seemed dryish, but OK. I served them with some of the left over creme fraiche from the other day and it was an improvement. I'll try the recipe again another time, and I'll whip the whites a little less, and take them out of the oven a bit sooner. Souffles are hard to get right, I messed them up alot in culinary school. But they're cheap enough to make (don't HAVE to use the most expensive blue cheese), so I'll keep trying
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    17. #17
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      #6 Asparagus Tart



      For the pastry

      300g all purpose flour
      50g grated parmesan
      150g butter
      Pinch of salt
      70ml ice cold water

      For the filling

      16 heads of asparagus (2-3" in length)
      3 eggs
      150ml heavy cream
      Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
      Salt and pepper
      3 spring onions, chopped

      Method

      Yes I really used metric measurements. I have a little digital scale. I wanted to see the difference in weighing dry ingredients, vs using volume in cups. To make the pastry: mix the flour and parmesan in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and salt, and mix until the ingredients resemble breadcrumbs. Add the water very slowly until the dough starts to come together. Once all the water has been added, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead by hand 3–4 times before wrapping tightly in clingfilm. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

      Once it's rested, roll the pastry out to around 1/2 centimetre thickness in between 2 sheets of parchment. Using parchment means you don't have to add in more flour. Don’t worry if it starts to crack around the edges or ends up a strange shape, there will be more than enough pastry to allow for this.

      Press into a tart pan that has been lined on the bottom with a circle of parchment, and greased with butter. Press gently into the pan and trim edges. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan. I think I did like 375F. Blind bake the pastry crust for 15 minutes.

      To make the filling:

      Saute asparagus in butter until al dente. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cream, nutmeg, and seasoning, and mix well before adding the spring onions. Pour the egg mixture into the cooled, parbaked tart shell. Top with the asparagus. You can do a fancy fanned out pattern or, if you can't be bothered, make it look rustic like I did

      With the oven still at 180ºC, bake the tart for 30–5 minutes or until the surface is puffy and a light golden brown colour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

      NOTE: Depending on your tart pans, oven, skill, or other variables of incompetence, the pastry crust could be still raw on bottom. In my case, I'm blaming the tart pan I used because I had the same issue with the mini pans in the next recipe: Cheese Custard Tartlettes. So what you can do at this point, is remove the tart completely from the pan, peel off the parchment, and check if it is brown and crunchy, or still wahite and raw and poo. Then bump up your oven to 500F. Wait until it is preheated to 500F, then cook the tart right on the rack (or better, a preheated pizza stone which is what I did). You can cover the top with foil so the egg doesn't overcook. The pizza stone was great because it was on the bottom of the oven, and browned up that tart bottom super fast without overcooking anything else. This would be really great in a catering application: simply follow all the steps above, and take your parbaked tart(s) to the party and brown them there. This tart and the following tartlettes were freaking delicious by the way.

      and Cheese Custard Tartlette (from same pastry crust)



      Filling (for 4, 3" tartlette shells)

      1/2 cup finely diced cheddar cheese
      4 unbaked 3" shells
      2 eggs
      1 tsp flour
      pinch each of salt, turmeric, nutmeg and cayenne
      1/3 C milk
      1/3 C heavy cream
      1tsp melted butter

      Blind bake the tartlette shells as in above recipe for asparagus tart. Divide the cubed cheddar evenly into each cooled shell. Beat the remainder of the ingredients and pour into the shells. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 375F. Cool and remove from tart pans, then finish as with the asparagus tart in the NOTES section. These stay really well in a covered container at room temperature, then baked for a few minutes in a preheated 500F oven. I know because I made them yesterday and just had one for breakfast!
      Last edited by OpheliaBlue; 07-12-2014 at 07:08 PM.

    18. #18
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      #7 Mushroom Risotto, with Homemade Chicken Stock



      For the Risotto

      2 Tablespoons chopped onion
      2 Tablespoons olive oil
      4 Tablespoons butter
      1 cup SHORT or MEDIUM GRAIN rice (such as arborio, calrose, sushi etc. I used sushi because so adorbs)
      2 Cups mushrooms (one cup chopped, and 1 cup sliced for the garnish)
      2-4 Cups hot white or brown stock (recipe follows)
      1/3 Cup dry white wine (I've used chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio.. all whites work well just nothing sweet)
      1 teaspoon salt (salt based on how salty the stock is, and how much you use.. ALWAYS taste for seasonings)
      3/4 Cup finely grated parmesan cheese (seriously, finely grated.. like parmesan dust so it melts properly and doesn't turn to rubbery strings eww)

      Cook onion in oil until transparent, try not to brown or burn. Then add 2 tablespoons of the butter.
      Then add the rice and cook over medium high heat until the rice turns from clear to white and opaque.
      Add the 1 cup of chopped mushrooms, and let them saute for a few minutes, always stirring (don't want the rice to ever turn brown).
      Add the wine and stir until it's almost all the way evaporated (watch for steam! wine facials are not fun lol)
      Add the hot stock, 1 cup at a time, and keep stirring until it's almost evaporated, then add the next cup and so on.
      You don't have to constantly stir like a maniac, just don't let the rice stick to the bottom. Makes a shitty mess, I've done it.
      Keep adding the stock until the rice is al dente (no longer crunchy in the middle, but not soggy either).
      Don't add any more broth at this point or the grains will split and ruin the texture. You can always save any left over broth for something else.
      Take it off the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted, then add the parmesan.
      Meanwhile, saute the 1 cup of mushrooms in a separate pan, and keep warm while plating the risotto.
      IMPORTANT STEP: When it's time to plate, if the risotto has become really thick, add a bit more hot stock. If it's a little too runny, reheat and stir a bit. You want the texture to be thick enough to barely hold it's shape, but not too thin that it's soupy. Think of a 1/2 way melted scoop of ice cream.
      Now just plate up a scoop of risotto, and garnish with the sliced mushrooms. As Ina Garten says, "I like a dish to look like what it is."

      Notes:

      It's good to keep the stock hot in a separate pot. Not boiling, just hot. I added the demi glace to it, 1 teaspoon I think. I prefer some herbs and definitely fresh garlic to be added to this dish, but I was following a pretty strict french recipe. You can use other hard grating cheeses too, like Gruyere or aged gouda. And trust me, you don't need THAT much butter and oil. That's such a french thing. This rice becomes so creamy and yummy from it's own starches. I've made it with just 1-2 tablespoons of oil or butter (or one each) in the beginning, and then only added the cheese at the end and it was just as good. Let the rice be itself. I wouldn't make risotto with store bought bouillon cubes. They have too much salt and you'd need way too many to get the right amount of flavor, and then the final product would be too salty to eat. But canned broths work really well. Just not as good as homemade stock. Next time I'll try a roasted homemade chicken stock. Better flavor and color in my opinion. Again, I was just going by really basic, traditional french recipes here. Speaking of: ....

      Plain White Stock

      2 Pounds shoulders and knuckles of veal (I didn't have this so I substituted already prepared veal demi glace, same diff)
      4 Pounds chicken parts with bone (I used legs, but you can use thighs, leg quarters, wings, wing tips, back or neck. NOT breast/rib.)
      1 Tablespoon salt
      2 Quarts water
      A few small carrots, whole
      1 Medium onion, peeled and cut in half length wise, keeping the root intact
      2 Ribs celery, chopped into 2-3" chunks
      2 Leeks prepared same as celery (I didn't have leeks, so I used a little extra celery and onion, plus there were leeks already in the demi glace)
      1 large bouquet garni (bay leaf, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary and fresh sage tied into a bundle with twine)

      Add bones to a stock pot and pour water on top. The water needs to cover the ingredient by 1 inch. Add salt.
      Bring to boiling point, skimming off scum that forms as it rises to the surface.
      When no more scum rises, add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil.
      Then simmer partially covered for 4 hours, never allowing it to boil again (so it doesn't get cloudy).
      Add extra water to maintain the 1 inch cover.
      After 4 hours, remove the bones, and let cool so it can be strained.
      Strain through 2 layers of fine cheese cloth that has first been wrung out in cold water and placed over a colander.
      Refrigerate until the fat on top hardens and can be easily peeled off.


      Notes:

      The final stock will literally look like chicken jello, then you know you're done! You can use it in a TON of things, from sauces to soups, to anything that needs broth added to it. It's so much better than canned broth, because it's fresh and you control the sodium level. You can freeze it for ages. If you boil it down even further after removing the fat, you can reduce it to a thick syrupy glace. This can be chilled, cut into cubes, and literally used in place of bouillon cubes. One cube of this over any finished meat product in place of a sauce, will melt into a pure savory heaven. You can do the same thing with all veal bones, or beef bones. Having glace on hand is like having pure gold.
      Last edited by OpheliaBlue; 07-13-2014 at 11:36 PM.
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    19. #19
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      #8 Profiteroles



      Chou Paste or Pate a Choux (the biscuit looking part)

      2 cups water
      1 cup butter
      1/4 tsp salt
      2 cups sifted all--purpose flour
      8 large eggs

      Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In 2 quart pot, combine the butter and water. Mix together the flour, salt and sugar in a separate bowl. Bring the water and butter to a rolling boil, remove from heat and dump the flour mixture in all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate.

      Return the saucepot to high heat and cook, stirring, for about one minute. The mixture will form a ball and coat the pan with a thin film. You'll know when it's ready when it starts to look AND smell like instant mashed potatoes. It's funny, but true.

      Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl or standing mixer equipped with the paddle attachment. Mix the dough for a minute or so, on low speed, to release some of the heat. Add the eggs, one at a time, completely incorporating each one before adding the next. Beat until the dough gets thick and ribbony.

      Fit a pastry bag with a round tip and fill with the warm dough. Line a heavy cookie sheet with parchment paper and anchor it to the tray with a little dab of the dough at each corner. Pipe about forty to forty five 1 1/2-inch mounds about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Or 24 medium ones. Or 12 really freaking big ones. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden and puffed. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes or until they are golden brown and there are no droplets of moisture in the crevices. Turn off oven and leave the choux to dry for another 10-20 minutes in the oven. Use when cool, or freeze, wrapped in a plastic bag, for 2-3 months.

      Notes:

      In my whole life making these, I've many times undercooked rather than overcooked them. After the first 15 minutes (or longer depending on size), check to see if they are poofing up really good. Honestly, you want them really poofed up about halfway through the cooking time, so that the last half of the cooking time is to finish cooking the insides. Then that last 10-20 minutes, drying out in the turned off yet still hot oven, just really seals the shape. If you don't let them cook long enough, they'll fall flat as they cool. And that's a crying shame because they'll "look" done long before they are actually done. Trust me, I've done this. And cried. These bastards are truly better when slightly over done than underdone. Meaning they need to look done before they're done. Ok I'm done.

      Crème Pâtissière (the gooey part under the whipped cream, also the lighter colored cream on the plate)

      1/2 Cup sugar
      4 tablespoons corn starch
      Pinch of salt
      2 cups whole milk
      4 large egg yolks
      1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

      You see a dozen different ways to cook this, from combining and cooking ingredients separately, over a double boiler, tempering... nonsense. Combine everything in a pot, whisk really well so there are no deposits on the bottom of the pot, then cook over medium/high heat until thick and just beginning to boil, whisking the whole time. Cover with plastic wrap as it cools so it doesn't form a skin on top. Boom done.

      Thick Chocolate Sauce (all the chocolate parts you see)

      1 cup milk
      1 cup cream
      2 tsp vanilla extract
      2/3 cup sugar
      1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
      Pinch salt
      4 large egg yolks
      6 ounces dark chocolate, melted

      Same as pastry cream, mix everything (except the chocolate) and heat until thick and creamy. Don't boil this one though, it doesn't have as much corn starch to save the day. Once nice and thick, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth. When this sauce is hot, it's a wonderful, dark, chocolate coating or sauce. When cold, it's like Belgian chocolate mousse. Incredible.

      Chantilly Cream

      1 Cup heavy cream
      2 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar
      1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

      Beat all 3 in a mixer until stiff peaks form.

      TO ASSEMBLE:

      Spoon hot chocolate sauce onto a plate and spread it into a circle. Put some of the still warm pastry cream into a small pastry bag (or small ziplock bag, with one of the corners cut impossibly small. Can always cut bigger if necessary). Draw lines across the chocolate with the pastry cream (if it's too thick, thin with a little milk or cream until it's easy to pipe). Take a tooth pick and draw it across the lines, perpendicularly. Take one of the cooled cream puffs and cut it in half. Fill the bottom with pastry cream and set it on the decorated plate. Put chantilly cream in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe on top of the pastry cream. Take the "lid" from the cut cream puff, and dip it generously in the still warm thick chocolate sauce. Set on top of the cream at an angle without smashing it down.

      Notes:

      Everywhere it says eggs in these recipes, I added an additional yolk. I don't think our eggs are as big as the french's eggs lol.
      Last edited by OpheliaBlue; 07-15-2014 at 05:00 AM.

    20. #20
      strange trains of thought Achievements:
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      This thread makes me salivate.

      That last one looks...almost unnaturally appealing. All glossy-looking.
      Like the fake food made for commercials almost. The thought of eating it seems wrong after all that work to make it so lovely, but to eat not eat it would be even worse because I'm sure they are delicious!

      Major kudos to you. At first I was wondering how food could be art, but after seeing this it seems obvious now.
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      Mmmh!
      You're not making it easy for yourself - exquisite stuff!
      #2 Fromage Blanc Panna Cotta with Cucumber Salad - I might try that out!!

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      Profiteroles, eh? By the looks of it, I am SO making that.
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      You're not going to master the rest of your life in one day. Just relax. Master the day. Then just keep doing that every day.

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      #9 French Country Loaf

      Last edited by OpheliaBlue; 07-17-2014 at 04:34 AM.
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      #10 Tenderloin of Pork Belle Fermière



      I'll get the recipes posted soon.
      Last edited by OpheliaBlue; 07-17-2014 at 04:31 AM.
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    25. #25
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      So many nice works! You are very talented!! Food Art Indeed!
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