May 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Pizza?

Another one of my odd pizza creations.  My first Thanksgiving pizza! Why not?  Since I'm a vegetarian, I don't eat turkey and the same o' Thanksgiving sides do seem kinda boring... Hence, pizza with Thanksgiving toppings is awesome!  They are awesome in general. ^_^

Squash, feta, caramelized onions, chive pizza?

Or... Squash, feta, caramelized onions, chive, and dried cranberries pizza?

I like the first one better!  Without cranberries!  The squash was good in its own way, but I think cranberries would be better with  a sweet potato pizza for Thanksgiving.  Sweet potatoes are sweeter, so they can contrast better to the sour taste of cranberries.

This will be what I'm making this upcoming Thanksgiving!

May 24, 2009

What's that cake?

This was Cake X!  It's not a mystery cake anymore, but it was one that I contemplated in making for someone's birthday.  The name of this cake is Mille Feuille Crêpes Cake.  Mille Feuille means thousand layers.

The cake is simply layers and layers (21 of them, specifically) of sweet and soft crepe, with sweet vanilla pastry cream sandwiched in between each.  I decided to play with the flavors a bit by adding fresh slices of strawberry between every five layers of crepe.

This was my first time making a crepe cake, so I was quite afraid that it would turn out very badly.  But hey, a cake's a cake.  Julia Child once said, "the grand thing about cooking is you can eat your mistakes."  And I concur.

In NYC, there is a bakery named Lady M, and its signature dessert is a Mille Crepe Cake.  People have swoon over this bakery, and truthfully, I'm very interested in trying it too.  But since I'm not in NYC, and at $40 for a 6" cake, I think my mille feuille crepe cake tasted pretty darn good too, even if I need more practice making it. ^-^  

If you are interested in making this cake too, then here is the recipe.  It is fun and easy to make; however, time consuming.  Try it out if you have time, and the best part is you don't even have to turn on the oven on a hot summer day.  The recipe also called for making the crepe batter and pastry cream the day before serving the cake.  Yay for do-ahead prep work!

So why didn't I go with this cake, instead of the normal sponge cake for the birthday cake?  Because I didn't really know how to frost it to make it nice and grand.  Also, I  didn't really want to frost it because you wouldn't be able to see the layers and layers of crepes.  This is more of a casual cake.

At least my little nieces and nephews got to enjoy a test run of someone's b-day cake!  ^o^

May 11, 2009

Bear calzones!

Calzone fillings:  grilled eggplant and green squash, onions, feta, tomato sauce, lots of black pepper.

May 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to Chi!

Happy Birthday!  Happy Happy Birthday to you!
3> 100% Homemade from PinkCat's Bakery! <3

Lessons learned from this cake baking experience:  

A.  TRY to sketch out a plan for what the cake will look like.  Don't try to come up with the design last minute as you are assembling the cake together, because the mind will just go blank.  (Like mine did! And I tried to think and think and think....)

B.  If you want to do some handmade chocolate design, then it's best to do it ahead of time.  You need time for the chocolate to harden up again.  

C.  Don't know if anyone tasted the difference, but I whipped my frosting with sweetened condensed milk instead of powdered sugar.  I think it's actually better, because sugar is kind if flat tasting.  I'll try that again next time.

D.  To make fruits shiny, just brush them with a simple fruit glaze.  That is a ratio of one part raspberry or strawberry jam to one part water (or half water and half liqueur).  See recipe here.  These are just minor details, but it does make a cake more attractive, even if you make it hours ahead.  The fruits are not going to look dried up from being in the fridge.
My only disappointment with this cake was that it was not very orangey.  I think I got a bad orange!  I used the zest of one orange just like the last time I made it, but it wasn't as fragrant...  

Sponge cakes can sometimes be plain, which is why I thought of making a different kind of cake for this birthday.  I happened to do a test run of this other cake (Cake X) when my nephews and nieces came over.   They liked it, but I didn't so much.  Maybe I'll give Cake X another chance, since I still have left over creams and fruits in my fridge right now.

I'll tell you more about it in the upcoming post!

May 2, 2009

Piggy Bread (Burger Buns)

Slice it in half and make it a sandwich or a burger!  These are healthy (100%) whole wheat piggy bread.  I wish my other niece was here, she'd love these so much.  I remember the last time I made her piggy shaped buns, she loved it so much and wouldn't eat it.  Instead she'd keep kissing it all the time, until she bit of its nose accidentally and cried.  (^o^)

For these piggies, the dough was different than from the previous time.  This was whole wheat, and the other was white flour.  I'll need do more piggy testing.

2 dinners, 1 night.

Both dinners, all homemade.  

I think I'm very indecisive sometimes, and very gluttonous always.  Or vice versa...?  Hehehe

So, the first dinner that night was a baigan bharta, which is one of my favorite indian dishes.  It is comprised of roasted eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and lots of spices.   This was a lot of fun to make, but took a bit of a long time.  

The second dinner that we also made simultaneously was... pizza!  Having indian eggplant with a side of fragrant saffron rice and cheesey roasted tomato pizza.  It was delicious! ^-^  There was a lot of leftovers from both dinners  for the next day.

Grilled vegetables... It looks like a flower, doesn't it? (Pic Above)
I was the grill master- keeping an eye on my veggies!  I don't know why I did the criss-cross grilled marks, when the veggies will all be blended up anyway!  But it looked cool!  

It was strange, because a few nights later, we unconsciously made italian food with a side of indian, drinking chai... and eating with chopsticks.

I've been very undecided lately...