Sunday, December 6, 2009

Shame on me...

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

I feel guilty. I have practically abandoned my blog. I haven't, however, abandoned my baking. I've lost over 10 pounds since my wedding (YAY!) so I HAVE abandoned eating my baked goods. :-)

I must admit I wasn't thrilled with the way the cannoli turned out. I love cannoli but I thought that the ones I made were merely okay. On top of that, the pictures turned out HORRIBLE! One of these days I'm going to learn how to make fabulous looking desserts and how to take fabulous pictures of my fabulous looking desserts. That day, however, is not today. Therefore, I have no pictures of the filled cannoli (imagine these cannoli wrappers filled with something resembling oozing pus...mmmm....pus).

To quickly recap my cannoli making experience I'll just say that the dough didn't have enough liquid (I ended up having to modify the recipe a little). I made three fillings...plain, dulce de leche, and peanut butter (with chocolate covered cannoli wrappers). The process took several HOURS longer than I was expecting and the results were only eh. For me, making cannoli is a little like childbirth...I will only try it again after enough time has passed that I forget how horrible the experience was.

It wasn't all bad, though, I made them while my mom and I watched a really stupid movie about Jane Austen's life. It was a bonding experience. :-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Job

It's amazing how a job that gives you satisfaction can improve your entire well-being. I just got a new job selling shoes at a locally owned shoe store and while I have only been doing it for four days now I absolutely love it. It's a complete deviation from my career path (ultimately, I'd like to become an escrow officer) but I work with dynamic people, the pay is great, and I can see myself doing it for a long time. I loved my previous job as a property manager but I only worked a few hours a week and it didn't pay nearly enough to sustain my cost of living (let alone increase my bank account). Now, I'm excited to go to work and instead of coming home exhausted I come home energized. I just hope this honeymoon phase lasts...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Turn obstacles in to popsicles...

Whenever I am feeling down, cranky, or upset I always try to remember to "turn obstacles in to Popsicles." I read that phrase in a magazine many years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. It may not make any sense but it is whimsical enough to get me out of any funk that I'm in. The hard part is remembering to remind myself to say it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's been a while...

I must admit I haven't had much to talk about. Nick and I had an amazing honeymoon at Disneyland and ever since then we've been playing catch up with our lives. I officially changed my last name but haven't yet informed the DMV, my bank, or any of my insurance companies. I really need to get on that.

I have my Halloween costume picked out. Nick and I are going to be Gomez and Morticia Addams. I'm also going to be having a Halloween party on Sunday. Unfortunately, my house is not nearly as decorated as I would like for it to be. I need to get on that, too.

I've also been trying to get the house back in to its clutter/mess free state. I had both my house and my car spotless before the wedding. However, Nick's friend attacked my car with chapstick and that stuff just doesn't seem to want to come off!! The house got bombarded with wedding presents. Boxes, wrapping paper, bows, instruction manuals, cards...all sorts of things were randomly thrown about. It's funny because, in my head, when I pictured us opening our wedding presents it was considerably more organized. I finally got the mess taken care of but I must admit quite a few of the presents are currently living in the garage because I haven't yet found room for them in the house. Yup, I need to get on that.

What can I say. I've been lazy.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Daring Baker Challenge: Vouls-au-vent

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.
This challenge was super fun. I was terrified it wouldn't puff because the butter kept oozing when I rolled it and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't roll the dough into a perfect square or rectangle. Still, it came out great. When completed, the pastry dough tastes very similar to that of a turnover. Yum.

I used heart shaped cookie cutters to make the sides and bottom.

I've always been a fan of lavendar pudding (and lavendar cheesecake!) so I decided to try to make lavendar pudding to fill these adorable pastry puffs. In order to make the lavendar pudding, I adapted a vanilla pudding recipe that I have. Here is the recipe:

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% milk
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon dried lavendar (I actually used 2 Tbsp but it was very strong!)

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Add the dried lavendar. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.

Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolk; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in butter and vanilla.

Cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the pudding through a cheesecloth to remove the dried lavendar. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour


I was surprised to discover that the dried lavendar didn't add any color to the pudding so I added a little bit of purple food coloring. However, that didn't seem to make much of a difference so I added A LOT of purple food coloring. OOPS! Now the pudding looks like the purple people eater. Oh well. As for taste, the pudding was way too strong to just eat with a spoon but it was great with the puff pastry. The puff pastry seemed to settle the flavor. It was very good. I later tried to cut the taste of the pudding with whipped cream which made it much tastier to just eat but not as good with the pastry. :-) Since I had so much dough, I tried other types of fillings, also. I made a pumpkin pie filling and a pineapple with whipped cream filling. My favorite was by far the pineapple with whipped cream. The acidity from the pineapple really seemed to compliment the pastry. It was fun experimenting with the different types of fillings.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Most Amazing Day of My Life

The wedding is over and I had the bestest time. It couldn't have turned out better. It was a whirlwind of fun and excitement. The few days before the wedding were spent with close friends and family. The day, itself, went rather smoothly. The only real hiccup was our musician didn't show up. Luckily, I had the foresight (and paranoia) to bring along a cd player and a wedding song compilation cd that I received as a free gift from Macys. I was ever so slightly worried that our officiant wouldn't show up since she was the only other "non-do-it-ourself" aspect of the wedding. I had a back up plan for her too since my ex-brother-in-law (who was a guest at the wedding) is ordained in the state of Oregon. My fears were unfounded, however, as she not only showed up but she did an amazing job. She really helped make the day special.

Nick and I both wanted a very intimate, very inexpensive, but very special wedding. And I am happy to say that's exactly what we got! Some of the unique aspects of our wedding is that we had polaroid cameras for our guests to take pictures of their favorite moments. We set up a shrine by the fireplace to display pictures of our married guests on their wedding day. We had a picnic reception with blankets set up on the grass inviting our guests to sit down (and play with bubbles) but we also had picnic tables set up so that our older guests also had a comfortable place to sit. Nick and I are both kids at heart so it is no surprise that our wedding was tilted towards the whimsical. We had a cotton candy machine (which was a huge hit with both kids AND adults), pinatas, chalk for the kids to draw pictures on the ground, and pinwheels. I was tickled when I over heard my niece exclaim "This is the BEST wedding ever!!" :-)

The best part of all is the total cost! While we didn't reach our original goal of keeping the wedding under $1,000, we only over shot by about $200 (not including attendant gifts and a very expensive locket that I bought for my mom as a thank you). The most expensive aspect of our wedding was my dress, alterations, and undergarments which came out to about $640 (over half of our total wedding expense). The reason we were able to keep our expenses so low is that we did practically everything ourselves. The roses and hydrangeas were picked from my mother and her co-worker's backyard. We did purchase some extra flowers from the grocery store the day before on a half off sale. Practically all of the decor including tablecloths, serving utensils, plates, baskets, blankets, candles, etc were all things we already owned. We gathered everything from my house and my parent's house a few months in advance and just filled in what we needed from the dollar store. My Aunt Jan and my mom made the delicious sandwiches, desserts, and side dishes. It also helps that one of my best friends is an amazing photographer. She took all the photos and her husband did the videography as a wedding present. I made our own wedding cake so it only cost me the ingredients (which was about $20). We did splurge on reserving the location for our wedding ceremony and reception (you can get married there for free but for a whopping $75 you are guaranteed the space for the whole day...BTW, that was sarcasm. I'm fully aware that $75 is very cheap for a location).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wedding Bliss

I am in the throws of "wedding" bliss right now. With my wedding just slightly over a week away I find myself absolutely thrilled, nervous, excited, and about a billion other adjectives right now. A few nights ago I began battling some serious wedding-induced insomnia which forced me to wake up at 4am and peruse wedding blogs for a few hours before I could finally fall back asleep. While not ideal, I did find a few photos during that time that remind me of the plans I have for my big day and I've decided to share them with you ...
I plan on topping my homemade hummingbird wedding cake with two little birdies very similar to this one.

My wedding flowers are going to be big pink cabbage roses from the same bush as the flowers my mother used in her wedding bouquet.

Nick and I have rented a cotton candy machine for the big day. I have the feeling that this along with the big rose pinatas that my mother and I made (Thank you, Martha Stewart) will keep the kids very happy.

I stumbled upon this picture a while back and have decided to incorporate the idea in to my wedding as an alternative to a guest book or well wishes book. After the wedding, it will live in my kitchen. :-)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My first daring bakers challenge!

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

I had my parents and Nick's parents over for dinner to officially meet for the first time and I decided that this would be the perfect dessert for such a meeting. I, personally, had never heard of a Dobos Torte until this challenge but I was so excited to give it a try. While the 6 layers seemed daunting, I was determined to get it right. My eagerness paid off because the end results were absolutely fantastic!

The dobos torte is a multi-step process. First you start with thin sponge cake layers. My first attempt at making the sponge cake layer was a dismal failure. I tried to interpret the directions the best I could but having never made a sponge cake before I wasn't sure how long I was supposed to beat the eggs. Needless to say, I severely underestimated how "frothy" they were supposed to be and the first attempt resulted in something more resembling crepes than sponge cake.

In frustration, I decided to youtube how to make a sponge cake. After watching a few videos I felt a little more confident about what the batter should look like so I tried again. This time I was highly successful! Another trick I used was instead of making a circle on parchment paper and filling in said circle, I just covered the bottom of a springform pan. It was easy and resulted in even circles.

I made the buttercream frosting and top caramel layer just as stated in the recipe. However, when putting all the layers together, I brushed a thin coat of hazelnut liqeuer on each of the sponge cakes and I used ferrero rochers to hold up the caramelized pinwheel layer, as opposed to a plain hazelnut. YUM!

Verdict: HUGE SUCCESS! It was amazing. Both my dad and my BFF said it was better than Sweet Life (an amazing local patisserie that my family frequents religiously). Nick's parents, who typically eat less than the average four year old ate a generous portion of lasagna, salad, bread, and zucchini (Nick's dad even had seconds!) and still managed to eat all of their serving of Dobos Torte. Which is especially amazing because 1. they aren't big on desserts 2. the servings were twice the size they should be since I couldn't cut in to the caramel layer.

I will definitely be making this again sometime. It requires a lot of time and effort but if you find baking therapeutic and/or fun I definitely recommend trying it. Next time I am going to follow Audex Artifax's brilliant idea of making chocolate sponge cake layers soaked in coffee with alternating coconut and chocolate buttercream frosting. Mmm...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The County Fair

I am very happy to announce that while I didn't win a first place ribbon at the fair, I did win two second place ribbons and a third place ribbon. I also won a $25 gift card to Kabuki's and Molasses and Honey from GloryBees. I think I was pretty successful, especially considering it was my first time entering anything in the fair. I'm already thinking about what I can enter next year. :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tapping in to my animal instincts

Let me share with you my newest fashion obsession: Animal prints. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for all things leopard but in the past week and a half I have managed to acquire three new animal print pieces.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What is a cake without a cake stand?

Nick and I have one regular, reoccuring fight (well, I wouldn't really call it a "fight" so much as an "argument") and it has to do with my obsession with cake stands. I absolutely love them. They are my crack. We have a very little house with an even smaller kitchen and not much room for my ever growing cake plate collection but whenever I see a cute cake plate I can't stop myself from buying. Here are a few I'm jonesing for right now:

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name...

There are many things I have grown to love in my lifetime. The crisp chill of fall, the flavor of onions, a really good cry, and my name rank at the top of the list. It wasn't until I was of an adult age that I started to appreciate the joy these things can bring to a person's life. Of course, my name is unique to me and, therefore, wouldn't necessarily bring joy to anyone else. But I have come to appreciate it through the years.

My name is Brandy Rose. I get irrationally upset when complete strangers spell my name "Brandi"...I am especially outraged when good friends and even family members do it (and yes, they have). Part of me wishes that I could go back in time and have people call me by my first and middle name instead of just my first. Brandy Rose. It has such a nice ring to it. It conjurs up pictures of a southern woman sipping sweet tea on a wrap around porch. I'm not southern, I don't have a wrap around porch, and I've never had sweet tea but I want to be that woman.

Just for the fun of it, here is a picture of another "Brandy Rose":


I completed my first daring baker's challenge. It's too early to reveal it so I can't say much except that I am so excited about being a daring baker. I love the concept of being given monthly baking challenges. I'm sure it will help me build on my baking repertoire.

Speaking of baking, I have decided to enter a few choice items in the upcoming Lane County Fair. I have never entered anything in the fair before and I'm a little nervous. I don't care about prizes but I really want to win a ribbon. Nick says that I shouldn't feel pressured to win anything because I've only been cooking for about two years now. However, I'm in it to win. I'm going to be entering my carrot cake, cheesecake, chocolate cake, and cupcakes. And if I don't win anything this year, I will come back with avengence next year. :-)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Here On Earth by Alice Hoffman

I am in love. Okay, I was already in love but now Nick has some competition. A few months ago, Nick and I decided to take a trip to Bandon, OR because his Aunt and Uncle own a beach house there which they let family members use for the lovely price of nothing. :-) Anyways, in preparation of being at the beach for several days with no television, no computer, no real forms of entertainment besides looking at the glorious ocean and visiting gift shops in the vary quaint "old town" district, Nick and I decided to pick up a couple of books from St. Vincent DePauls. I decided to dedicate that weekend to Sula by Toni Morrison.

However, this post is about another book that I picked up during that trip: Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman. I finally started reading it a few days ago and despite only being on chapter six, I'm on pins and needles wondering what is going to happen next. It's one of those amazing books that you know has the power to break your heart. I've started reading it at the most appropriate time, too. Despite being the middle of summer, the weather for the past week has been rainy and cold with a constant gray haze very reminiscent of fall...which perfectly suits the tortured love story. Anyways, I'm going to cut this blog short so that I can read another chapter.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Don't Have a Thing To Wear: A guide for organizing your closet

I picked up a book called "I Don't Have a Thing to Wear" by Judie Taggart and Jackie Walker about a month ago and I am completely smitten with it! I feel like it's a 7-step program for clothesaholics such as myself. The book is absolutely brilliant in its simplicity. The information in the book is all common sense but it really made me think about my closet and my shopping habits. I have a very full closet. VERY full. I run out of hangers on a regular basis. However, I spend more mornings than I care to admit searching for something to wear only to throw my hands up and exclaim in tears "I hate all my clothes!" Why?! Why has this happened? Nick thinks I'm insane and, honestly, so did I until I read this book.

The first step in the book involves some math. Figure out how much of your day is spent doing certain tasks. For instance, if you work 5 days a week and on the weekend you go motorbiking, approx. 70% (5/7) of your closet should be work appropriate clothes and the remaining 30% (2/7) should be motorbiking attire. Makes complete sense, right? Well, after you do that go to your closet and separate your clothes into the categories you made up and see how close they come. My closet was completely out of line with my life.

The next step is to determine what is your personal sense of style. The book warns you about allowing yourself to get sucked in to your friend's style. I'll be the first to admit I am guilty of this. One of my best friends has a very cute sense of style. She is very trendy and tends to buy all of her clothes in the junior's section. I have a classic sense of style with a hint of romantic, and I prefer clothes that are more mature (verging on old lady). Why, then, do I have half a closet full of denim mini skirts, tank tops, and bright floral prints (all purchased from the junior's section...and all of which I hate to wear)? Because my BFF looks so great in those styles. When I go shopping I buy things that remind me of the things that she looked great in. Only, I don't feel great when I wear them because they are so not ME. So, I spend every morning scouring my closet for something to wear only to find that I hate basically everything I own.

If you find yourself frustrated with your lack of a cohesive wardrobe, I highly recommend you get this book. The authors give practical advice on everything from figuring out which proportions work best on your body, shopping in outfits instead of individual pieces, and how to stop making the same mistakes over and over again.

I am proud to say that after reading this book, I have finally changed my shopping habits. And while I, unfortunately, don't have the money to invest in a whole new wardrobe (Stacy and Clinton, where are you when I need you?!), I am making smarter choices every time I go shopping and now I have multiple pieces that create a variety of looks all of which are uniquely me. You can do it, too. Just remind yourself of what your style is before you go shopping and while you can admire things that don't fit your style, don't buy it unless you think you can integrate it with your style. Otherwise, it will forever live in the back of your closet.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lovin' life

I feel so blessed right now. I've had a great life. Sometimes I forget that, especially in a moment of stress or anxiety. I wish that I could be happy 100% of the time but I suppose that's a little unrealistic. Truth be told, my life really couldn't be any better right now. I'm getting married to a man I absolutely adore. I own a house outright and am having the best time fixing it up. I have an amazing family and caring friends. I have a college degree. And I weigh the same amount as I did when I was in high school! Life is pretty good.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

So you think you can dance!?

With my wedding day looming (46 days away and counting) and my dress currently being altered into a slightly-tighter-than-skin-tight-won't-be-able-to-get-on-without-the-corset-or-the-jaws-of-life version of my dream gown, I've been having weight anxieties. What's a girl to do? Dance of course!

I've been exercising every day. I used to be more obsessive about keeping a strict exercise program (cardio 3-5 times a week for at least 45 minutes, weight training 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes, and some sort of extensive stretching exercise (ie pilates) at least once a week for flexibility). But I never really lasted on such a program. I could make it work for 1-2 weeks tops. Now, I just try to get 30 minutes of some form of exercise in to keep the guilt away. Lately, I've been very in to dancing. There are three forms of dancing that I really love and practice regularly. My favorite is probably ballet but I don't do it very often because I've only taken a couple classes in high school and only have a few ballet based workout videos, my second form of dance is bellydancing, and my third is pole dancing! That's right, there is a stripper pole at my house. I suck at it because I just started doing it a few months ago but it is so much fun and I'm amazed at what it has done for my arms.

Anyways, if you ever get a chance to take a pole dancing class I highly recommend it. Don't be shy. Think of it as vertical gymnastics. ;-)

Baking Bread in Five Minutes a Day?!

As I mentioned in a previous post, Nick's mother loaned me a book about making bread in five minutes a day. While I feel the title is misleading (it takes at least seventy minutes from the time that you decide to turn the pre-made dough in to fresh baked bread to the time it comes out of the oven and that's not including the time it takes to make the initial dough) the book itself is pretty amazing. Baking bread is easier than making pancakes! Seriously, you just mix dough, flour, water, and let it rise. Put it in the fridge and let it rise some more. The next day, cut some of the dough off, let it rise for 40 minutes and bake it for 30 minutes and just like that you got yourself some delicious bread.

The funny thing is, we screwed up the recipe in every conceivable way and it still turned out great. We used bleached flour (when it calls for unbleached), we don't have any of the proper equipment (pizza peel, bread stone, serrated bread knife, etc.) so we improvised with two baking sheets and a steak knife, and we cooked it too long because Nick was worried it wasn't done. We have since made two more loaves out of the pre-made dough in the fridge and we still have enough dough for about two more. Good thing, too, because the bread doesn't even last a day in our house.

Weddings galore

My sister's wedding is in two days and I am thrilled! Okay, truth be told there has been a lot of drama associated with her wedding. First, she got engaged four months after me but chose to have her wedding one month before my wedding. I'll be honest, that irked the crap out of me at first. I felt like she was stealing my thunder but I quickly got over it because of drama reason number two which is...(drum roll please) it's her fourth wedding. But nothing compares to the last piece of drama. She's not even officially divorced from husband number three. So, you may be asking yourself, how is she getting married in two days? Well, technically she isn't. But she is having a wedding in two days with paperwork to follow. I'm still very excited because it should be a fun party and I really like my fourth soon-to-be brother-in-law. He's good people.

Anywho, back to the reason for this post. My sister is having a multi-colored citrus themed potluck wedding. So, I gave a lot of thought to what I should make to go with the wedding theme and after careful deliberation I decided to make layered jello. It's easy, can be made in advance, and is definitely colorful. I'm very happy with the finished product.

For finishing touches I plan on adding some whipped cream to the top and a cherry (with stem, of course). I was planning on having another layer of cherry jello but I ran out of room. Oh well, it's still plenty colorful. And, although gifts are not required for aforementioned reasons, I got my sister a beautiful picture frame, photo album (which I added a picture of the two of them to) and a bottle of wine.

It's funny how this whole event is making me feel so grown up. I believe this is the first of my sister's weddings that I have picked out a gift and purchased it with my own money (a task that normally would have been handed down to my mother) and I even made a side dish. It's such a small thing, I know, but it is a reminder that I am fully in charge of my own life. What a great feeling.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Old-fashioned Raspberry Tart Recipe

Yesterday, I decided to make a raspberry tart in an effort to use all my delicious fresh raspberries. I've had a fruit tart only once in my life and have never attempted to make what better opportunity for me to grow as a baker, right?! A google search brought me to this simple recipe and I decided to give it a go.

Sweet Pastry Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 egg
1 tablespoon cold water

Pastry Cream:
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 pints raspberries, blueberries or strawberries or a combination of fruit
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

To prepare the pastry dough, place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse to combine. Add egg and water; pulse until dough forms a ball. Shape into a disc; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours to overnight. (The recipe says that it is not necessary to refrigerate but I put my dough in the fridge over night.)

Preheat the oven to 350F. On lightly floured surface, knead dough lightly to soften. Roll into a 12-inch circle; press on bottom and sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Prick with fork. Bake 15 minutes or until light golden. Cool on rack. (I do not have a tart pan so I used a springform pan instead. The edges didn't have the beautiful scalloping that you get from the tart pan but it worked perfectly fine in all other regards.)

To prepare the pastry cream, combine 2 tablespoons sugar and flour in a medium bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition. Combine milk and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat. Whisk about one-third of the milk into egg mixture. Gradually whisk egg mixture into remaining milk in saucepan. Whisk and cook over low heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 20 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and butter. Pour into a bowl; press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold (I prepared the dough and the pastry cream the day before and let both sit in the fridge over night).

Stir pastry cream to lighten; spread in tart shell, cover with berries and sift confectioners’ sugar over top. The final product:

The verdict:
Nick and I both thought that the recipe turned out great. It was easy to make and had very simple flavorings that worked well together. As an added benefit it is only 200 calories per serving (not bad for a yummy dessert). I would rate it a solid A. My only complaint is that I wish there was more of a wow factor. I think I might try it again someday but add some rosewater to the custard and a sprig of mint for presentation. Or maybe I will try making a syrup to go over the raspberries just to add a little excitement. Still, this recipe is a great basic and with a little imagination has the potential to become amazing. I would very much like to thank relish magazine for sharing this recipe.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


So after the disappointment of Coburg Golden Years, I decided to salvage my day by going with my family to Detering Orchards where I picked out delicious raspberries, plums, nectarines, and peaches.

My fiance, Nick, and I then went to his parent's house where they promptly added to our haul with home grown zucchini, green beans, and beets (as well as some smoked salmon which I only mention as an aside because I hate fish. I'm sure the majority of you think I'm crazy at this point). Lucky for us, his mother had just finished making homemade bread and so we each got a slice. Mmm... I have never made bread before but am very eager to do so. Knowing this, his mother loaned me a book on how to make bread (without the use of a bread machine) in five minutes a day. I am going to be experimenting with it in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned. In the meantime, I have to figure out what I'm going to make with all this delicious fresh produce.

All Things Golden

Today was the last day of Coburg Golden Years, an annual fair celebrating the history of the small town of Coburg (for my fellow Gilmore Girls fans, Coburg is a dead ringer for the town of Stars Hollow). As a child, I have fond memories of walking in the parade (in a victorian style velvet dress complete with hoopskirt in 90 degree weather), participating in Pow-Wows, visiting the various arts and crafts booths, and eating delicious chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick (Yum!). For at least 24 years it was the same celebration, the same pow-wow, the same booths, the same parade. It was a constant in my life that I could always count on.

However, it now appears that the good times are over. I don't know what was the catalyst for this unfortunate change but last year they decided not to continue on with the pow-wow and, subsequently, all the vendors decided not to participate in Golden Years. This year, a total of 4 food vendors and a temporary tattoo booth were all that comprised what used to be a glorious event.

What a sad day.

Oh well. You know what I always say...when life gives you lemons, you should get a temporary tattoo.

I live dangerously.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Welcome to my blog

I am a blogging virgin. Please be gentle.