Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cake! Scones! Oh my!

I’m worse at uploading pictures that I expected I would be. I was looking everywhere for my camera cord for a few days before I decided to check the obvious spots and found it in my computer bag. Silly me.

Note that the berry sauce looks globby because, well, it was. I don't have a strainer because I'm far too lazy to ever actually use one. So the sauce kind of looked like congealed blood. Which was highly amusing to me because my friend made blood sausage for the main course. We didn't plan this, I swear!

The cake turned out decently. The next evening it was decent, although my friend said you could tell it was gluten free (darn it!), but the day after it had an aftertaste that I disliked thoroughly. I had three people at work ask me for the recipe though so apparently it wasn’t that bad! Maybe they were just trying to flatter me, who knows.

I threw out what was leftover and made another batch of scones over the weekend (Jenna is killing me with the scones recipes – I can’t stop!). I had to double the amount of cream and they were still much drier than the strawberry ones and crumbled too much when eating. That said, they were much easier to handle and not as messy getting on to the pan. I know she said these were her best scones yet, but I like the strawberry ones better. It’s all about personal preference! Sorry about the photo, my photography skills need some help!

I also made carrot cake oatmeal via Oh She Glows over the weekend although I made some minor tweaks to her recipe due to the ingredients I do/do not have – and after two trips to the market, I wasn’t going again! I’m still trying to figure out what else I can do with all the carrots I’m getting in my CSA but I think it’ll be more carrot oatmeal, at least for the time being. I wish I could figure out a lower calorie way to make it creamy than using milk/cream, especially since I personally don’t feel like almond milk heats well (although I see people do it).

No baking coming up over the weekend – I’m cutting myself off! – but I may make a batch of chili if I have time…

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Beg, Borrow, Blend

On Monday, my friend and I decided that we were going to get together and make classic cocktails one night this week. This is exciting on a number of fronts:
- I really like classic cocktails - yummy!
- He knows them better than me and has experience making them
- Cheaper than drinking them in bars

I was super excited all day long and yesterday so I did the customary, polite, thing and offered to bring something, and he says "dessert!". (Disclaimer: This could be because I may have bragged about my baking all weekend and now I have to represent.) I love dessert so this was perfect for me plus there was an extra exciting, challenge that my friend is gluten-free. I have never cooked - nor even tried - to make gluten free anything and I have to admit that I was at first confused at the idea that desserts could be make without gluten, even though I've had many. I was perhaps having a 'duh' moment.

But I got over my 'duh' moment and moved on. I debated either going to the store and buying something that easily fits the requirements or stepping up to the challenge and making something. Given that I am who I am, I decided to make something. That 'something' was Judy's flourless chocolate cake (are her pictures amazing or what?)! Minus the white chocolate, of course, because it's not really chocolate and therefore has no place in my stomach. Just fruit and chocolate cake please.

A quick trip to Whole Foods and some begging for a super small cup of coffee from my local coffee shop later and I was ready to go - measuring and pureeing up a frenzy. Trouble began when I had to borrow baking soda from my neighbor ("dear neighbor, do you have any baking soda so I can make a cake and not share it with you?") as my roommate had decided to utilize mine for the litter boxes and the store next door was sold out. Trouble continued when I got to the part about where it mentioned "whipping until light and fluffy" and I looked around my apartment, hoping a hand mixer would magically appear. Hand mixer...where art thou? Oh wait, there isn't one. Because I don't own one. In Cupcake land, apparently Le Creuset ranks higher than useful kitchen appliances. Which means I should probably change the title of this blog from "Cupcake in the Kitchen" to "Using cast iron in the kitchen".


Expletives were abundant- why do I not read recipes in advance and instead only look at pictures and ingredients? Am I the only one who does this? Anyways, half of NCIS was spent with me beating eggs with a fork. Then I got impatient. And blended (yes, you read that right) from there on out.

I have to say, the blender seems to have worked. I will know for sure when we - hopefully - devour the cake tonight with our raspberry French 75s but it looks great. I will post pictures when I get it decorated (and yes, it'll be in a Le Creuset dish)!

Tonight is going to be AWESOME!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dinner Party Baking

This weekend, I had to break out the desserts for the first time since Christmas. I was attending a pot luck dinner party Saturday night and since my friends are all amazing cooks, I had to step up my game.

Luckily, Jenna at EatLiveRun came to my rescue with her stockpile of amazingly delicious recipes. I made both her Strawberry Pop Tart Scones and her Salted Fudge Brownies. The brownies didn't last long enough for photos but I managed a camera phone shot of a scone, which looks mighty pretty, if I may say so myself!

Overall, I must say that the desserts were a big hit and stood up solidly against the chili, stuffed jalapeno peppers and vegetarian lasagna that comprised the rest of the menu. I might add that the brownies stuck to the tin foil so much that I think we all got an added dose of aluminum in our diets - even with spray - so I will be much more diligent about PAMing it up next time. Maybe use the special baking one?

I didn't manage any other cooking this weekend but did make it out to way too many places for food and drink consumption. Yey for tasty food!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ankle Update

While I started this blog with good intentions and lofty goals, they've already slipped away. Well, I need to stop making excuses and dreaming of blog entries and actually *do* them. It's an amazing concept, isn't it?

I was rereading my previous entries and I feel like I should provide an update. Unfortunately, my ankle is still bothering me. A good friend of mine put the fear of serious injury into my mind over Christmas so I finally went to the doctor in late January - it took that long to get an appointment!

It turns out that I have a sprain of my Achilles tendon and an overstretched ligament on the inside of my ankle. Basically this means that it hurts. I'm in PT which is going so-so and I'm doing my exercises regularly in hopes that I can get back up and running soon. I have ambitious goals for running and my health this year so I'm anxious to start achieving!

Friday, November 12, 2010

NYC and the Ankle

This is a short tale of last weekend when I went to visit a college friend in NYC. We laughed, we ate, and we walked a lot. To summarize: it was a rather perfect weekend.

And now for the details...

I enjoyed my first visit to Chelsea Market which was amazing! Unfortunately, I didn’t eat anything there as the food just wasn’t speaking to our moods (however, the breads and soups smelled so good, I can’t wait to go back) so we wandered over to Vinyl for brunch. They had the closest thing to migas* I’ve had in a long time which they called the Latin Scramble. Major props to them for putting this on the menu, it made my day completely. It was missing salsa but otherwise it really hit the spot. I’ve been missing Austin lately and this filled that gaping void inside me. Anyways…onwards!

We wandered around the city for the rest of the day, just taking it easy and with no particular agenda. We wandered over to Sweet Revenge for amazing cupcakes. Seriously people, forget all other cupcake bakeries in NYC and just come here. It’ll be worth it, I promise. The pumpkin spice cupcake was perfect and was paired with a Pear Cider (from Sweden, which instantly meant I had to try it!). They went very well together and, combined with the general warm and relaxed ambiance of the place, I had an incredibly difficult time leaving. But we finally left, with hot cups of delicious Mighty Leaf tea in hand.

Sunday morning I had a healthy version of huevos rancheros – think of egg whites, mushrooms, salsa, turkey bacon wrapped in a spinach tortilla (yummy!!!) - and then caught my bus back to Boston. All in all, a very fun and delicious weekend! I succeeded in getting a [fake] Austin ‘fix’ and am now sure that I can mentally survive the impending Boston winter.

Physically surviving the winter is a whole ‘nother story! My horse bucked on my last week and I hurt my ankle in an effort to stay on and balanced. What I thought was just a muscle pull was seriously irritated with all the walking around in NYC and now I’m in serious amounts of pain. I’ve been taking it easy but I’m incredibly frustrated because my running has now been put on hold for an indeterminate amount of time. Sorry for the whining!

Off to enjoy a lovely weekend…

* If you don't know what Migas are, please look at this article and then go cook the Tex-Mex ones immediately! You won't regret it!

Special Moments

I hate to start my blog with an old post but I wrote this post as my first entry a few weeks ago and then got distracted, for reasons I may detail in the future, so here we go...

Lately, I’ve been having a certain type of day. It’s the type of day that is generally unremarkable, maybe even slightly on the disappointing or frustrating side of things. But then, something changes and suddenly the day is so remarkably different that everything else fades away. You have one of those “this is what life is meant to be” moments. Aren’t they fantastic?

And rather than spew out a stream of little moments that have happened to me recently, I’m going to focus on today. To give some context, last week I committed to running a half marathon with my college friend in February. Which is five months away, yes I know, but I haven’t runs seriously in a few weeks and I need all the time I can get.

Today was my third training run. It was also my third training run that I’ve done while battling a cold/allergy attack so I wasn’t really looking forward to it. But, I got out there. It was sprinkling that neat coastal rain which was perfect because it cleared the sidewalks of pedestrians and enabled me to go along my way. And go along my way is exactly what I did! I had an amazing run. The type of run that makes you think you can be a “runner”. Yes, it was that good. I did the first two miles (run three minutes, walk one) in good time and then slowed down quite a bit for the last mile because it was hills. I went longer than was necessary on the training plan but when something is working for you, why stop?

After my run I was stretching out in front of my apartment building and saw the tiniest maple leaf. It was so adorable and made the perfect end to my day.