Summer so far

June 28, 2013

It has been quite uneventful summer so far.

Well, few “eventful” things did happen. We finally said goodbye to “little Saturn that almost could” and bought a new car. And Chris’s sister got married. And taking a couple of summer classes online and accounting is kicking my butt.

And since baking isn’t exactly the most fun thing to do in warm weather, instead, I started to paint my nails. It all started when Ariel came to visit me in April. She and I went to get a manicure (it was a first for me – shocked, I know). Afterwards I decided I wanted to get some nail polish and I’ve been changing nail colors every so often ever since.

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Speaking of which: pictures from when Ariel came to visit me in April – in conclusion, there was a lot of food involved. We made ravioli, chocolate truffles, mocktails and savory pie. Oh and I made birthday cake for Ariel since she visited me right around her birthday. It was a slap-together version of black forest cake but it turned out okay. I used my go-to sour cream chocolate cake recipe and made whipped cream. I tried to pipe out her name out of melted chocolate, it turned out okay but it was indeed a pain in the butt to do. I suppose it was A-okay for efforts.

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… and that pretty much summarizes the summer so far. Ciao.

More Necklace-On-Cat

June 24, 2013

Still not impressed…

Another necklace-on-cat.  Still not impressed.

How to embarrass a cat

May 30, 2013

Put on a necklace.

Not impressed

Special

May 22, 2013

Chris came home from work a bit earlier than expected and said “Yep, my girlfriend is special, she baked in this eighty some degree weather.”

Yeah, so it’s true. I am that special.

At least the plan was to finish up baking before Chris came home so he doesn’t have to walk into a hot apartment. Too late.

I made some mexican wedding cookies (or russian tea cake or whatever else people call them) and some lemon glazed cookies. I woke up late, didn’t really have much to do so I thought oh I’ll bake. I didn’t exactly calculate in the fact that baking equals turning on the oven equals hot apartment. Go figures. Well, at least baking is more productive than, say, turn on the TV and dwell on CNN all day (I did that yesterday for few hours, that was pretty depressing).

So I present you, fruits of early summer baking.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Lemon Glazed Cookies

And tomorrow is (or looking at time, today) the last day of my first semester in, oh, over a decade. Yay!

Choux à la crème chantilly

April 2, 2013

Choux à la crème chantilly, or cream puffs. Why do things sound a lot fancier in french? Well, I guess they just do.

Choux à la crème chantilly

I will admit, at first, the idea of “french pastry” seemed intimidating. But in the end, I was pleasantly surprised how easily it came together. The basic ratio for the main ingredients I used was from Michael Ruhlman.

Bon appétit!

Pâte a Choux: makes approx 3 dozen medium puffs if using 1.5 TSP scoop

1 CUP water
1/2 CUP unsalted butter
2 TSP granulated sugar (more or less to taste)
1/4 TSP salt
1 CUP flour
4 LARGE eggs

1. In a medium sauce pan, bring water, butter, salt, and sugar to a simmer over medium-low heat. Dump the flour to the pan, and using a wooden spoon stir like you never stirred before. Once the mixture resembles a dough ball, continue cooking (and stirring) for another 2 minutes or so.

2. Move the dough to a stand mixer, with paddle attachment. Let it run in low speed for few minutes to cool off the dough. Once the side of the bowl is lukewarm to the touch, beat the dough at higher speed and add the eggs one at a time. The dough will be smooth and sticky when it’s completed.

3. You can refrigerate the dough, or bake immediately. To bake, you can pipe the dough or drop with a cookie scoop. Preheat at 425 for about 10 minutes then drop the temperature to 325 and bake for another 30 minutes (more or less depending on the size of the pastry). DO NOT open the oven door no matter how tempting it is, until at least you’re more than half way through the total baking time.


Crème Chantilly: This will make enough to fill about 12-18 of above mentioned sized puffs.

1/2 PINT heavy whipping cream
1 TBSP bakers sugar (or you can use granulated)
1/2 TSP vanilla extract (more or less, to your taste)

1. Put all ingredients in a bowl. Using a mixer with whisk attachment, beat until soft peaks form (or until they look like what whipped cream should look like).


Assembling Choux à la Crème Chantilly
1. Make sure the puffs are completely cooled before adding the filling. Cut the puff in half, scoop or pipe the cream on the bottom half and put the top back on. A dusting of confectioner sugar would definitely make your puffs look fancier and add extra sweetness.


Note
You may want to half the dough recipe or double (or triple) the cream recipe if you want to have enough cream for all puffs. I think I’m going to make ice cream sandwich with the rest of “leftover” puffs.

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