Monday, September 26, 2011

Julie & Julia

Another obsession, especially over the last few days since I am still not fully over this head cold. Ugh.
I've had the movie playing on repeat since sometime yesterday afternoon. Fell asleep while watching it last night and started it again this morning. It's on right now as I'm blogging.
I find it inspiring and all I want to do is cook. But I DO NOT want to get up and go grocery shopping or actually put forth the energy to do the cooking. So instead, I sit, watch and drool. lol.
I've been wanting to make the bruschetta she makes. I've made bruschetta before but not the way she does in the movie. She grills the bread in a frying pan with butter before topping it with ripe tomatoes, mozzarella and drizzling it with olive oil. Delicious, yes!? At least, I think she puts mozzarella on the bruschetta, if not, she should. I definitely will!
And the chocolate cream pie she makes, ummm, yummy!!
I think I have a problem. I told you, all I seem to think about is FOOD!

I did make chicken and dumplings last week, for the very first time, and it turned out wonderfully. I was impressed with myself.
I used Rachel Ray's recipe, but I added a few more vegetables than she called for, 3 large carrots instead of 2 and I used about 6 small red potatoes rather than a russet potato. And to the broth, I added some Chardonnay, because let's face it! Wine makes everything better.
For the dumplings I used the Bisquick heart healthy biscuit recipe and added parsley just like her recipe calls for.
And let me tell you, this meal was fabulous. Especially with the cool fall weather we have just been able to enjoy.
I've included a picture of my delightful little masterpiece. I will definitely be making this again. It's a must have meal for Fall.

Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes!!

For the last couple of months all I seem to think about is food. Cooking, baking, dreaming up recipes, salivating over my ideas and "creations". It's pretty ridiculous. I watch the Food Network constantly. As well as Cake Boss, Cupcake Wars and any other baking/bridal show. It's become quite and obsession that has turned into a passion.
So, this past Saturday my friend Courtney and I decide to attempt baking using our own recipes. Well, we attempted to bake from scratch. Not using a box from Pillsbury or Betty Crocker.
I had a few ideas I wanted to try. We used a basic batter recipe and frosting recipe and then added ingredients in to change the flavors.
I have to say, it was pretty challenging, but a lot of fun. We made a huge mess, twice! I should have taken pictures of the kitchen, lol.
About 4 or 5 hours after we started baking in the kitchen, we had 48 cupcakes that needed to be frosted.
This was the fun part. Or, at least it should have been the fun part.
Our lemon-basil frosting did not hold up very well. It tasted amazing, but it sort of liquefied after sitting out for a while. The maple-brown sugar cream cheese frosting was way too soft. It didn't hold up well in the piping bag and as soon as it hit the cupcake, which had been cooled off for quite some time now, it began to melt and drip off the sides. Very tasty, but again it did not hold up at all.
The fudge frosting with almond extract for the cocoa-almond cupcakes, was to thick and refused to budge from the piping bag. Another frosting disaster.
As for the cupcakes, well, they all tasted fantastic, however, the basic batter recipe we used seemed to be to heavy. All of our cupcakes were on the dense side.
All of our hard work, only to prove that we've got A LOT of work ahead of us!

If anyone has any ideas/tips that could help us with our frosting, I would greatly appreciate the assistance. I think the lemon-basil frosting for the strawberry lemonade cupcake went south when we added a bit of lemon juice to it. I think maybe the acid in the lemon broke down the butter and made it runny....? I'm not sure.
As for the cake batter, well, we just need to try other recipes. We'd like a basic, yummy, moist vanilla cake recipe that we can modify/add to for each cupcake flavor. Any recipes or ideas are greatly appreciated!!
I've attached a picture of our cupcake creations. They all looked and tasted great, but the consistency was off......for all of them. So disappointing. But, practice makes perfect! And I am a perfectionist! =)

Stay tunned for more cupcake creations!

Oi Vey!!

Wow. My last blog post was really on January 4th!!? That's terrible. It's official. I'm a blogging loser. lol.
I'm extremely terrible when it comes to actually sticking to something. I decide to start on a new project or commit to something, like blog once a week, and then, it never fails. I don't stick with it.
Well, I'm going to say it again, and hopefully I actually stick to my word this time, I AM going to post at least ONCE a week from now on. And that's final. Hopefully my fellow friends, and the few followers I have, might be able to help keep me on track.... Maybe? ;)