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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Flowers and summer treats

Marshall's will get you in trouble, so don't go in!!! No, but really, I was in there the other day and wanted to look at the dishes and cookbooks(I'm addicted to these sections in stores). I walked around and looked at it all and tried my best to walk out WITHOUT purchasing anything. Yea right, like that could happen. I was doing a good job of it until I reached the cookbook section. Every time I go in Ross I can't find anything I want to buy, but not in Marshall's. I wanted every book on the shelves!!! There were so many good ones that I couldn't walk away without at least one.

My girlfriend tried to ban me from the aisle, yet she was the one who picked up the book you will find below just because it contained lots of gelato recipes. The first recipe to catch our eye was banana gelato since we had bananas at home and all the other ingredients too. Can I say right this instance that this book will get plenty of use out of it and not dust on it! I had some peanut butter cookies in the freezer so I baked up a few and had a PBJ and B dessert(for those who don't get it Peanut butter, Jam and Banana). If this is what heaven is like I want to be there now.

Just random Flower shots

Summer brings so much to the table!

I made some ice cream and of course had egg whites left over and decided to attempt marshmallows. The picture below will explain to you how horribly wrong that went. Don't worry though, I am a determined character and will do it again. It is summer after all which means lots of ice cream or gelato to be made.This little cake was for my nephews birthday and as you can see it was an Avatar theme. Choosing to do something simple, I decided to put Ang's arrow from his forehead and the symbols for Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. The cake was Chocolate covered Strawberry, and yes I tried to do another Strawberry cake (if you remember a previous post).

I used Martha Stewart's Yellow Butter cake recipe and instead of Vanilla extract I used strawberry and then stirred in 1 cup of preserves and 2 drops of gel icing color. My sister said it was GOOD! I guess this ones a keeper.

My oldest nephew was going on a mission trip to China and wanted me to make a pistachio cake for his going away party. Very simple and gone in less than 15 minutes.

Homemade Butter Pecan ice cream, yummmm. I can only imagine how much weight will be gained this summer from ice cream alone, or do I want to know?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June Daring Baker's Challenge

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

Bakewell tarts…er…puddings combine a number of dessert elements but still let you show off your area’s seasonal fruits.

Like many regional dishes there’s no “one way” to make a Bakewell Tart…er…Pudding, but most of today’s versions fall within one of two types. The first is the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry. The second is the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling.

The version we’re daring you to make is a combination of the two: a sweet almond-flavoured shortcrust pastry, frangipane and jam.

This was my first challenge with the Daring Baker's and I absolutely enjoyed it. This was very easy to make and didn't take too much time either. I used store brought strawberry jam this go round, but the next time I make it I will do so wth some of my homemade peach jam.

I don't think this desssert lasted but a few days in my house, if even that. My neighbor had one piece and said he thought about it all night and wanted some more. I had to oblige.

ThanksJ asmine of and Anne of for such a great recipe selection. This is a must make for any baker or foodie.

Monday, June 15, 2009

TWD: Honey Peach Ice Cream

This weeks TWD was Honey Peach Ice Cream selected by Tommi of Brown Interior and it is such a summertime treat. This ice cream was really creamy at first, but after leaving it in the freezer for a week it became less creamy. I'm pretty sure putting it in the door or on the counter for a little bit would bring it back to it's creamy state.

I also had a dislike with the peach bits. They were too icy/hard for my taste, so the next time I make it I will puree all the peaches which should give it a huge peach boost. You can get the recipe from Dorie's book or Tommi's site

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I refuse to spend the whole day in the kitchen!!!!

This is what I said yesterday and meant it too. What did I do today, I started at about 9 something this morning and didn't leave until about 6:30 p.m. Yea, there were breaks in between, but not long enough to enjoy sitting down and relaxing my body. You would think working in a bakery would help cure my need to be in the kitchen at home. Guess what, it doesn't!

Is there a clinic or rehab center to help with this addiction, this obsession, this love affair with food? If someone could point me in that direction I would gladly take the help or at least bake the doctors and nurses something to make them turn their head and give me a clean bill of "cured".

Today I made Herbed Cheese Bread and my inspiration came from my girlfriends suggestion and that darn Subway restaurant(I love that bread).

Then there was this meatless lasagna made with whole wheat pasta, not ricotta here. I can't stand that stuff in lasagna. I just mix eggs with grated parmesan cheese and it taste meaty and yummy. This went well with the bread.

Last, but certainly not least, we have Buttery Nipple cupcakes with Brown Sugar buttercream. The story starts last summer when all the neighbors went out to The Brass Bell and one of the neighbors who happens to be the DJ sent over some drinks. Well it was a Buttery Nipple, and boy was it good. For anyone who has never had one, it is a shot of Butterscotch Schnapps and then you pour(from the side) some Irish Cream Liqueur into it.
As I was looking through Crazy about Cupcakes by Krystina Castella, I came across her Irish Cream Cupcakes recipe and made a few changes to it. Instead of 1 1/3 cups of Irish Cream, I put 2/3 cup and added 2/3 cup Butterscotch Schnapps and I used half all purpose flour and half cake flour.
For the buttercream I used Martha Stewart's recipe for Brown Sugar buttercream from her Baking Handbook. It was a perfect pair since butterscotch is made with brown sugar.

You can tell

a Tupperware Consultant. I think I have gotten better since I don't purchase as much anymore and I have sold some of my products, but I still have plenty...ha.

Chicken Breasts, what to do?

There were 3 huge chicken breasts in the fridge and my girlfriend wanted me to make chicken scallopine with saffron cream sauce. Well, this has been made at least twice and I really didn't want to make it again, I wanted something else, but what? The thought of pot pies came to mind, hey it's been at least 10years since I made some. I'm not one of those cooks who likes to measure ingredients unless I'm following someone else's recipe or I'm baking(if you're a baker you know how important that is).

Needless to say I don't have exact measurements on anything except I know it was 1 1/2 breasts, can of cream of celery and milk, one large potato and half a can drained early peas. I threw dried herbs, salt and pepper in and put it all Hey it came out good and that's all that matters right?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nothing special, just random shots

Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches
I love collecting Coke glasses and decided to take a few shots, I need a better setup, but practice makes perfect.
Coke Float

Smoothie(Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana, Yogurt)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Strawberries, the star of summer

When you think of summer fruits the first that generally comes to mind are STRAWBERRIES. I have tried to imagine summers without these perfect fruits and I pray we never have to be without them. You can freeze them, can them, chocolate cover them, make them into a smoothie, bake them...what really can you not do with them?

These little multifaceted jewels go great with so many other foods.

Biscuits made from scratch and strawberry jam-very simple yet oh so good.

Here we have the pavlova with fresh blueberries and strawberries-that chewy goodness from the meringue topped with cream and fruit, a nice summer treat.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Idle Hands are a Baker's Playground

This weekend was a busy one, not completely planned, but busy nonetheless. On Friday my daughter's friend had a birthday party and I was the cake person. All she wanted was stars and the colors blue and pink. She and my daughter sing in everything at the school so I decided to make a microphone and put some music notes on her cake. She absolutely loved it and gave me a big hug as thanks.

On Saturday I had to take my daughter to a school for her SAT's....gotta be college bound in this day and age. This Saturday it's the ACT, let's make it happen. After work I took a few photos at the Botanical Gardens and you can see a few at the end.

Sunday was an all day kitchen fest. My youngest daughter, who got this itch to throw parties from her mother, decided to have a "Welcome Back Party" for my oldest son. Of course this meant that I was in the kitchen doing most of the cooking. She did help though. I wanted to make a cake and decorate it, but changed my mind and went with cupcakes, which were much easier this time. I had extra icing from the birthday cake so I just colored it and swirled it on top. I showed my daughter how to make the little candies and we just placed them on top of the icing to spell out "Welcome Back Trini".

I had plans on making peach jam since I had extra peaches after making ice cream(more about that next week) so my girlfriend and I stopped at the grocery store so I could pick up a few things and she noticed the strawberries.She asked if there was a way to make banana pudding with strawberries instead. I said yea, but then she remembered the berry tiramisu we had at Macaroni Grill last summer and said she wanted that instead. They used cake instead of ladyfingers, but I knew that I had ladyfingers on my to do list and it hits me...I HAVE to make them today.
I used the recipe in the book below and knocked it out so fast that I wondered why I had never made them before.
This is what they look like after they cooled and with a dusting of powdered sugar.

For this tiramisu I just used some mascarpone, heavy cream, and powder sugar. I split the mixture in half and stirred World's End Sweet Ripe Banana liqueur in one half and Tequila Rose in the other. I layered the mascarpone mixtures, ladyfingers, strawberries, bananas and, in the taller dish, blueberries.
My girlfriend and my neighbor inhaled it like it was the end of the world.

I never knew that jam could take so little effort to pull together. No wonder people can, you know when it's made and what's in it and hey it's rather fun. Now if I could just get some fresh baked bread to make some toast with. I guess I have to go back to the kitchen right?These next few pictures are just some random shots at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.
The Man in the Tree
I was trying to catch him/her while it was eating, but I couldn't.