I’m finally in the position to contribute to my blog again. Let’s see what has been happening?
well, i finished my cake project of 2012. In November I made a Almond cake for my friends post wedding party….
and in December I made a Buche de Noel….
In 2013, I’ve decided to take on bread. I got all types on my list and have already made pretzels (which didn’t turn out to hot. I think I fucked up the yeast…must try again!)
and foccacia (which I used to make a muffuletta for the old man)
One thing is for sure, bread is WAY harder to make than cake or pie. It will take me a while to perfect bread…especially all the varieties.
In other food related news, Toddski got me a tagine for xmas and I have been experimenting with Moroccan food and preserved lemons. I just love Mediterranean food and need to eat more of it and less burgers. I AM getting older.
At the end of last year I got to see two of my favorite bands, Neil Young with Crazy Horse and THE STONES! Both shows kicked ass but the Stones really delivered. Complete with Mick Taylor! I am hoping to see Seger later this year and maybe even Fleetwood Mac. I can’t resist the white witch.
Toddski’s book was just mentioned in Publisher’s Weekly and he has a long interview in the current issue of PW Select. Yay! You can buy his book here. It has a new cover designed by our friend Christophe that is far better than the one pictured.
Lastly, I am going to explore the Hudson Valley this year in hopes of moving to a smaller, less expensive area where I can open my dream restaurant/bakery, Kookies. More on that later when I have a better idea of if it can actually happen. If you have any thoughts on upstate towns, please email me!
I realize I haven’t posted anything in a while. I have been stupid busy with work and holiday crap. I have been keeping up with my cake resolution, i even made 2 cakes in November, but I will just post about the Almond Cake with Raspberry jam. This month I will be attempting a Buche de Noel, so wish me luck. I think for the new year, I will be making bread every month. Donuts, croissants, bagels, challah…I’ll figure it out. Anyway, I just thought of something awesome to make my husband for xmas…
You guessed it. I made another birthday cake. This month, it was for my friend Tim (buy his book!). I LOVE anything coconut. Coconut milk, coconut rum, coconut cream pie, Almond Joys, those neopolitan coconut candies made by Brachs, you get the idea. It’s the wonder fruit. So versatile and delicious. Is it a fruit? It is definitely the weirdest one. You need a hammer and an awl to get in one of those bad boys. But then you get to reap the benefits of its dank interior. When I lived in Raleigh, I would every once in a while make a special trip to Hayes Barton for an enormous slice of their coconut cake. (*side note- if ever in Raleigh and you want an absurdly huge piece of cake or pie, go to Hayes Barton. In fact all their portions are huge, so go hungry). I’m not sure if this one is as good, but it’s pretty damn good.
Luckily, Tim also likes coconut cake. He told me tales of his mom’s coconut cake that was “wet” it was so moist. Not sure if I’m picturing that correctly…As usual, I was hard pressed to find a good recipe. My criteria this time though was that it had to be coocnutty (as well as moist and delicious). Just because a cake is white, with white frosting and has coconut all over it, it doesn’t mean that cake is a coconut cake. In fact that is unacceptable. The coconut must be infused. The cake must reek of Coppertone…but not taste of it. The whole thing should transport you back to a 1953 vacation in the tropics when coconuts were exotic.
Every time I get on an express train, I am surprised at how GD slow it moves (I shouldn’t be at this point, but I am). I don’t think anyone at the MTA has any idea what the term “express” means. Well, here ya go MTA:
Operating at high speed.
The key words here are high speed. That does NOT involve stopping every minute mid-route. It also does not involve moving at about 5 mph. Get it together please.
A few weeks ago, I got me a zip car account. I was sick and tired of being stuck in this GD city all the time. I had been wanting to travel upstate and to the beach for years. Let me tell you first off, Zip Car is awesome. They have cords for your ipods, they pay for gas and they have e-z passes so you can pay the tolls later. Also, you can rent hybrids. Sold! Anyway, my first trip was to Storm King.
Storm King is this sculpture museum about an hour and a half away form the city. I had been wanting to go, mainly because there is an Andy Goldsworthy sculpture there. If you are not familiar with the man, I suggest watching the documentaryRivers and Tides. He is the most patient man on the planet.
Once we arrived at Storm King and started walking around, I found there was much more to see. The first thing that really caught my eye was the giant R (first photo)…that’s at least what it looked like to me. In search of the restrooms, we came across this LOTR type sculpture (above) and this overlook of the land (below).
I can’t believe I have followed thru on my resolution this far. It’s already September! Only 3 more cakeys and I will have succeeded.
This month it was my dear friend, Jimmy’s 40th birthday so I just had to make him a cake (next month it is his husband’s birthday so he will probably get one too…). My scheduled cake for this month was a Chocolate Peanut Butter cake and lucky for me Jimmy approved. I had found this recipe on, you guessed it, Smitten Kitchen a while ago and have been dying to try it.
Let me preface this post by saying that my oven has been broken for 2.5 weeks. A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to bring a pie to a restaurant to see if they wanted to buy some to sell. I went to preheat my oven and twenty minutes later it still was not hot… 4 visits by repairmen later (3 by someone who doesn’t fix ovens and 1 by someone who does), and I still don’t have an oven. I am told I will be getting a new one today. We’ll see.. Tim and Jimmy were nice enough to let me come upstairs to make the pie in their oven and it turned out nicely. However, the restaurant in which I took it to turned out to be very un-dude. The owner stood me up (he knew the exact time I was coming) and even though I left the pie with the chef, I never heard back from anyone. WTF? Who does that? You can at least contact me and say one of three things, it sucked, I loved it or just thanks for the pie, we’ll think about it.
So it’s August and pretty hot out. I figured it was high time I made an ice cream cake. I recently acquired the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid. I spent so much money at this one store, they gave me $75 off anything I wanted. I only had to pay $12 for it…well 12 dollars plus the 200 I had to spend to get the discount, but I got a lot of great stuff! Anyway, all summer I have been making small batches of ice cream. First Pistachio, then Lemon Custard (didn’t like that one too much-it needed to be more of a lemon creme cookie filling tasting), then cookies n cream- my childhood favorite and finally teaberry which tastes like pepto bismal but better.
I knew that in August I was going to make an ice cream cake modeled after a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake which features both cake and ice cream, but with the addition of Carvel crunchies. The big decisions came with what kind of ice cream to feature and what kind of cake. TBC after the jump…
Hey! So this month marked my 32nd birthday and I wanted a strawberry cake. I had a small problem though. I also wanted to go to Maine for a couple days. My solution was, bake the cake, freeze it and when I got back from my mini-vacay, ice it and share with friends.
First things first, bake the cake. I don’t know if all of you know this, but summers in NYC suck ass. It’s hot as f?@#, the humidity is stiffling, and people don’t really have central air in their apartments so it pretty much is an awful idea to bake anything or to turn your oven on at all. But GD it, I made a pact to make a cake every month and I’m gonna do it.
After such an amazing meal…we debated over order the one desert offering, cherry pie, until the table next door started describing the blueberry pie they had last week. Forks in hand we dug into one of the best - authentic cherry pies we have every had. the crust was flaky, the filling highlighted the natural taste of the cherries … all setting in a pool of cream.
I know he spelled some stuff wrong, but that sounds good to me! If you would like a pie, email me. I can make all varieties… Here’s a shot of the pie that the Yelper speaks of:
Also, if you like pictures of pies, you can buy some of mine off Instacanvas.
How is any American ok with calling this mockery of food “American” cheese. It’s disgusting, the worst cheese that ever existed. It’s got boring, made-up flavor because it’s a fake cheese. It’s exactly American. (and yes, I was born and bred here) Why do people still buy that crap? Is it for sale in other countries as “American cheese”? If so, what an embarrassment. Foreigners probably point and laugh at our feeble attempt to make cheese. God forbid we make an effort to produce something delicious. It’s fucking cheese! It’s not that hard to make. Come on America, try harder.
I did it! I successfully made a wedding cake. It was a daunting experience and I am glad its over. I would only do it again if the couple was as low maintenance as Tim and Jimmy were….and if they would pay me large sums of money.
As you know, I have been making a cake a month this year (among other things). When I make these cakes, I usually take about a quarter of it up to my neighbors and dear old friends, Tim and Jimmy. (Todd and I can’t possibly eat a whole cake a month. It makes me sick to even think of it.) Well, this is how I wound up making their wedding cake. We met up for brunch one weekend and discussed what they wanted. Jimmy specifically wanted Nutella. Since I know that Nutella is made of chocolate and hazelnuts, I proposed two cakes. One chocolate and one vanilla hazelnut (instead of the traditional almond). Then the research began…
I scoured the internet and my books for recipes and settled on this chocolate cake from Smitten Kitchen and an orange almond cake from a book I have called Ultimate Cake (this happened after I made some test cakes for the fellas to try-that was a nightmare, btw). The woman from Smitten Kitchen had used this chocolate cake for a wedding, so I figured it would do nicely. I decided that each cake would have a chocolate ganache with bits of hazelnuts, to give it crunch, and Nutella buttercream as the fillings. Then I picked a Swiss buttercream for the outside as it is not too sweet and decided to put some nutella buttercream dots around the edge for decoration. Since the cake was for two men, I wanted to keep the decoration simple. Tim did suggest that we decorate with gumballs and circus peanuts, but we decided that might be tacky.
Now that we had picked out the flavors, I needed to research how I was going to make this behemoth. I watched numerous youtube videos on construction and decorating. I joined a Wilton forum to get advice from other bakers. Then I watched more videos. Then I did a bunch of math trying to figure out how to make a huge cake not taste like ass. Jimmy and I took a couple trips to NY Cake Supply to buy pans and piping bags and boards and dowels. Tim and I went and bought all the ingredients and then Wednesday, the 6th of June came….
I placed all of the ingredients on my dining table and made a plan. I had read in one of the forums, a good way to go about a project this size, is to make the cakes in advance, freeze them and then the day before the wedding, decorate, so that was exactly what I was going to do. It was actually the only thing I could do that would work with my schedule. So Wednesday was my baking day and Friday I would take off work so I could make massive amounts of icing and decorate.
Saturday I woke up feeling good. I had a nice work week which ended with pie success. i decided to reward myself, with food, what else? I wanted ribs, of the baby back persuasion. I had never made ribs before, so after an hour of research, I hopped on my bike and went down to the Meat Hook. I bought all the necessary accoutrements to make said ribs and a homemade sauce, biked home and invited a few friends over.
I decided to put a dry rub on the ribs and let them marinate a few hours. This rub consisted of cinnamon, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and brown sugar. I massaged the ingredients into the meat, wrapped them in plastic and placed them on a baking sheet in the fridge. I then busied myself with the sauce.
I have been watching every Simpson episode for the last few months. (I am now on season 13!) What does this have to do with cake, you may ask? Well, there came an episode where Agnes Skinner is showing Bart some pictures of cake in an album she has. She is going on and on about cakes and finally Bart asks if she actually has any cake in the house. She cries, “Oh my no! Too sweet!” and then tells Bart he can take one of her pictures home. He chooses the one of the Lady Baltimore cake. She of course yells at him and tells him he can’t have that one.
Anyway, this reminded me of Lady and Lord Baltimore cakes and I decided to make one. Of course I picked the Lord version as Sir Lord Baltimore is one of the most kick ass bands of all times. But who was this Lord Baltimore? There were actually two Lord Baltimores, George and his son Cecil. They were both British subjects that were awarded land in the New World. When Cecil created the colony of Maryland, he formed it based on the ideas of freedom of religion and separation of church and state. Nicely done. Now onto the cake…
Lord Baltimore cake is a yellow cake with a fruit and nut filling covered in an boiled frosting. It was created to use up the leftover egg yolks from Lady Baltimore cake. For this reason, both cakes are often made at the same time. However, I only made the Lord and have saved the egg whites for use in the wedding cake I am making next month. Both cakes use a boiled frosting and have a fruit and nut filling. This filling also played a role in which cake I chose as I vastly preferred the Lord Baltimore filling of macaroons, pecans and cherries to the Lady’s raisins (yuck), figs (yuck to dried figs, yum! to fresh ones) and nuts.
That stands for New Orleans Police Dept, of course. But what I see is No PD, which is basically what it seems like in New Orleans. I don’t think I saw one cop while I was there and it is semi lawless. There’s gambling, strippers (and prostitutes, I assume), drinking in the streets and loud noise all the time. Lawless.
Sorry I have been slacking recently. I have been working my ass off for a month and a half now. But come Saturday, I am going on vacation to NOLA for my husband’s birthday and upon my return I will not be as busy.
I AM making a wedding cake(yikes!) for my upstairs neighbors’ wedding in June. I am sure I will be posting a bunch on that. I have already spent hours researching but if you have any experience and want to lend some knowledge, I am all ears.
In other news, Jay-Z and Beyonce were at my work last night causing everyone to lose their shit.
It’s time for me to bake again! This month I went with a Spring classic, Carrot Cake. I have always been in awe of cakes made from veggies. Who discovered this? It’s like ginger based desserts. So delicious, but when you think about that root vegetable, bread doesn’t come to mind immediately. Nevertheless, I have also always enjoyed Carrot Cake, especially with scrumptious cream cheese frosting all over it.
My search for a recipe was minimal this time ‘round. At first, I wanted to do the one out of the Amy Sedaris book, I Like You, since I like her and her cakes that I have made have been pretty damn tasty. However, her recipe called for a box of powdered sugar in the icing and that was a no go for me. There is nothing I despise more than a frosting with too much sugar. Just thinking about it makes my teeth (newly cleaned, I might add) hurt.
Last weekend, my pal Mallory of Mallory’s (amazing)Kitchen texted me to see if I wanted to come over and bake. Of course I did, so I packed up my Judas Priest and Alice Cooper records and headed over.
Mallory was wanting to make some macarons. She had recently made some pistachio ones and wanted to try making some rose ones. That sounded good to me too, but I had been wanting to make cinnamon buns for a a while now so I brought over the ingredients for those. She would make the macarons, I would make the buns and we would share. Win win.
I never make bread. This is mainly cause I don’t have a Kitchenaid with a dough hook and I have very little patience when it comes to hand kneading for, what seems like, hours on end. It’s a shame too, because the smell of bread dough is by far one of my favorites of all times. Many years ago, my ex-boyfriend’s mom gave me a recipe for Parker House rolls (totally dank) that can be made into cinnamon buns. I figured it was about time I tried it out…again*.
Making bread is a very long process. There is mixing, kneading, rising, punching, more rising, rolling out, more rising…you get the idea. Despite all this work, it is kind of therapeutic and relaxing.
I remember two things about Easter form when I was a wee lass. The first is Sunrise Service on the water in Miami. There were (maybe there still are) these parks on Biscayne Bay. I remember them being a lot of grass and then a stone wall that came up about a foot and on the other side, a few feet down was the bay. Our church was near one of these and they would have Sunrise Service there on Easter.
The second was the way my mother hid eggs around our small apartment. We had tile floors. The night before Easter, after I had gone to bed, she would dip her three middle fingers in pastel colored paint and make “bunny prints” all over the house leading to the candy. It was pretty awesome.
He has spent the last few years writing a book of entertaining tales of his life on the road with his old garage punk band The Spinns. They were a rowdy trio that got into all sorts of mischief. Think Alvin and the Chipmunks meet Sid and Nancy or something.
He is trying to get this book self published. Since he hasn’t been able to find a job recently, it’s been kinda hard. What is he to do? Oh yeah, start a Kickstarter page. Here is a link to his page. If you can even donate a dollar that would be helpful.
Are anyone else’s parents obsessed with dying? My father (may he rest in peace) wasn’t, but my mother sure is. It is all she talks about. How she’s gonna die soon. How this may be the last time I see her. How she wants to donate her body to science. Her life insurance policy. Jesus. She’s only 65! She wonders why I don’t call often. ANYONE can die at anytime. I could die right now, but I don’t think about it constantly. I would never be happy. I have talked to a few other friends about this and they say their moms are the same way. What is wrong with our mothers?!?!?
Waited on Wienerdog last night! LOVE Welcome to the Dollhouse. I know she’s been in other stuff since then, but that is what I remember. She was very sweet. Also Questlove was seated at my bar for a few minutes….I thought he looked familiar.
Thursday night, after work, at around 11:30pm, I made a pie to sell at work on Friday. I schlepped that mug halfway across town Friday afternoon. By 10pm we had sold out of it. Five hours. My pie is dank y’all. Yay! It’s nice to find out from complete strangers that you are a good cook/baker. (Here’s a photo of the same pie made a couple years ago…Special thanks to Mary Emerson for the recipe).