March 6, 2017
Today in Food Styling we had out midterm project, which went along with our shopping trip last Monday. Last week I pick out jumbo shells as my product to replicate. I was optimistic that I could replicate it.
First I gathered all my ingredients from last week to get started. I decided that I would par-boil the shells so that they would be slightly pliable, yet still stiff to sit up. I then got all my cheeses for the filling. (Plan A) I also decided to make mashed potatoes as the filling if cheese filling recipe on the back of the box didn’t work. (Plan B)
I combined ricotta cheese, mascrapone cheese, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese together as the cheese filling, per recipe on the back of the box.
I also peeled, diced, and boiled two russet potatoes, then mashed them with so ricotta cheese and milk.
Here’s what the shells looked like when they were par-boiled. I decided they were too pale. So I decided to use them raw. (Plan C) But they needed to be slightly shiny, per the picture on the box, so I sprayed one with Pam, cooking spray. (Plan D)
I looked at the mashed potatoes and they were the right consistency, but too cream colored and not shiny like the picture. I added some corn syrup to give it a sheen. (Plan E) That helped with the shine factor, but it was still to cream, yellowy color. So I decided to go with the cheese mixture.
The cheese mixture was the right color, but not shiny. I took some out and added corn syrup to that, but it made it too runny. (Plan F) So I decided to use the plain cheese mixture and just spray it with the Pam as well. (Plan G)
I put the cheese mixture in a piping bag and piped with just the end snipped off.
I then piped them in some of the select few raw shells that I hand picked out of the bunch in the box.
I then decided on the three shells that I would use. Then I chopped up some fresh parsley and grab some tweezers to place each speck in the perfect position based on which shell was which on the box.
I then sprayed the shells with Pam.
Next up the sauce. I started carefully spooning on the marinara sauce that was suggested to use per the recipe on the back of the box. After using the sauce on the back of the box. I realized that it had parsley throughout. That was a problem due to the fact that sauce in the picture had no parsley. I was just plain. One of my class mates had some other brand of marinara that was plain. So I used that instead. (Plan H) I also lined the plate that I choose to use with paper towels to keep it clean.
Next up the melted mozzarella cheese on top. This gave me the most trouble out of all the steps. First I started by melting some cheese on the metal counter with a torch.
The torch just burned it too fast instead of browning it. I then put some in a skillet and melted it together into a big round and torched it to get brown spots. But they were more black spots and not big enough. (Plan I)
Next I put some on a sheet pan and popped it in the oven. I turned out nice and browned and bubbly.(Plan J) Then I used scissors to cut out the shapes I wanted and laid them on the corresponding shells. However the cheese became stiff when cooled and wouldn’t lay right. So I held the torch slightly above the cheese so that it would melt onto the shells, but not add any color. (Plan K) It worked!!
Now for the picture with the prefect angle. I used some blue trays to create the backdrop. I think it turned out pretty good. It gave me some trouble, and I went through Plans A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J & K; but I persevered to get it the way I wanted it to the best I could.
I’m pretty happy with it in the end; considering it was my very first time trying my hand at food styling and replication.
Next week is Spring Break and I oh so ready! When we come back we will be making our display products for Homecoming!