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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

I thought that after my ra-ra cheering at this dessert, there would be more participation. Alas, only 3 people made this cake. That being said, we did have 1 person playing catch up, which made me happy.

This cake is another winner for the HCBer, everyone who made it loved it.

Lola calls the Chiffonlets a "charming little dessert, not too sweet." She made them in a Maryanne pan, "which gave the perfect hollow for the absolutely yummy topping." The Kahlua syrup adds a nice dimension, making this a superb recipe.

Lois admitted she wasn't excited about this cake, but should be because it was awesome. "The flavors go together beautifully." I love following Lois' shopping adventure in Poland, where she uses the translator app on her phone to figure out which ingredients she should get. This time she discovered what looked like dulce de leche. The translator app on her phone said its "ready cooked sweetened mass."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pita Bread - Finally!!!

Bread is one of those things that I love making but failed often. I know that if I follow Marie's lead and bake through the Bread Bible I will get better, but that's a discussion for another day.

When the bread failed, it's usually still in edible stage, just not the consistency or shape that I think they are supposed to be.

I'm usually blaming the failure on the dryness and high altitude climate here (5,000 feet), and my incompetence. In that order.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

HCB: Coffee Chiffonlets with Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream

I have a confession to make.

I have no idea what Dulce de Leche is.

Don't get me wrong. I have had it. Mostly in ice cream. Haagen Daaz comes to mind.

I know it's sweet and caramel-y.

But I have no idea what's in it.

Until today.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Snap Thursday: Bench

I went for a walk and saw this bench. It doesn't look very interesting but I took a picture of it anyway. Then I came home and process the photo, it looks much more interesting then.

Hope you like it. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

This week's cake, once again, showed to us how amazing Rose is. Sponge cake with brown butter, syruped with passion fruit juice, sandwich with passion fruit curd, and frosted with white chocolate dreamy buttercream. Seriously, who thought of that stuff? The amazing Rose, that is.

But hey, Rose is not the only amazing one here. When I think about our little circle of participants this week, how international we are. We have a Canadian, an Australian, an American living in Poland, and a Venezuelan living in the US. Cool, huh? :)

Kristina, who finished all the cakes in the sponge cake section (Congratulations!), showed off her baking expertise by remaining cool even disaster happens. "When your chocolate and butter starts separating and curdling and generally looking disastrous, don’t panic. Whisk it back together, and you’ll be fine." Kristina always did an excellent job documenting her cake-making process with step-by-step photos and this time is no exception.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fresh Figs with Bacon and Goat Cheese

Would you believe me if I told you I bought a handful of figs to take pictures of them?

It's all because of Helene's post. That 2nd picture of the figs on the wooden pedestal looked so good that it stayed in my brain for days.

And then I borrowed David Tanis' book from the library, titled "A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes." As the title indicated, there is a picture of figs on the book cover.

My next trip to the grocery store, I saw figs by the entrance.

On sale.

That did it.

I bought a pound of them.

And so begin, the photo session.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Snap Thursday - Favorite Tomatoes

My favorite tomatoes are in season!!! They are smaller, rounder, way tastier than the usual grape tomatoes I've seen, but they are grape tomatoes.

They are so good! I ate them with salad or just pop them in my mouth as snack.

How about you? What is your favorite tomatoes?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

Penny was wondering what I was doing by her window :)
Ladies and gentlemen, the vote is in. Everyone loved this cake.

Lois, who hasn't anticipated that the filling has to be made 3 hours in advance, so this became a 2 day project. It is all worth it though, as she liked this cake much better than her Grandma's German Chocolate Cake. "The cake has a lighter texture, more chocolate flavor and the filling is thicker and richer." Curious about the origin of the cake name, she did some research and yield interesting results. "The cake was originally created  by a Dallas housewife in the 1950s; she used German Baking Chocolate.  The manufacturer got news of this and began distributing the recipe on its chocolate which was developed by Mr. German in the 1850s."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Homemade Pizza with Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Tomatoes, and Kale

I love pizza. Hubby does too - he said I make the best pizza in the world. I know he's exaggerating (maybe not in the world but in town) - but is sure nice to hear :).

We have pizza pretty often, not so much in the summer but in the winter every other week we have pizza.

But this past weekend I was craving pizza and goat cheese, which is odd because I do not like goat cheese (and no I'm not pregnant or anything like that). This is just a craving. Plain hunger craving when I went grocery shopping.

So I made my usual pizza dough and topped it with sauteed mushroom, goat cheese, grape tomatoes, and kale.

It is so good.

My go-to pizza dough is from Williams Sonoma. I've tried other recipes but I keep coming back to that one. It is easy and really good. Even if I mess it up sometimes, it still turned out great. Like this time, somehow I couldn't roll it out to be as thin as usual.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

HCB: German Chocolate Cake

I had mixed feelings about this cake. On one hand, I love the chocolate cake base. I've made it last year for the chocolate ice cream cake and it was delicious. On the other hand, the combination of condensed milk, pecans, and coconut does not sound appetizing. I have nothing against the individual ingredients but together I'm not sure about them.

With all my hesitations, I was pretty glad that the cake is easy to put together. The chocolate cake starts off like most of Rose's oil based chocolate cake, mix cocoa powder with boiling water until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Snap Thursday: 5 reasons why I love summer

Snap Thursday

5 reasons why I love summer:
1. It's warm.
2. I can wear sandals.
3. Paint my toe nails bright pink for the whole world to see.
4. There's flower and greenery everywhere (instead of the usual rolling dead grass).
5. Rainbow.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

WHOA! After last week's low participation, everyone is back with a bang this week. Everyone made something different for this week's free choice. It was really fun for me to discover and read everyone's different baking adventures.

Mendy made the No Bake Whipped Cream Cheesecake, with the help of his daughter, looking like such a expert baker already with both hands holding the hand mixer. Mendy thought that the recipe is "rather unique what with the custard, italian merringue and whipped cream cheese." He made some modifications to the recipe, substituting the creme fraiche with cream cheese, reducing the whipped cream cheese, and used more egg whites than the recipe called for. The cheesecake was a hit. "This fabulous cheesecake really is light as feather. Well done Rose, you really captured something nice here."

Modest ECL claimed that her Chocolate Raspberry Trifle is a bit on the rustic side, as she halved the recipe and composed the trifle in a glass container that was too wide and too short. I thought her trifle looks gorgeous, you can see the creme anglaise seeping through and the beautifully pink raspberry whipped cream. (Yes I'm afraid I'm a bit biased as I have a soft spot for whipped cream). In any case, ECL made up for not having a pretty trifle dish by taking a beautiful close up and personal shot of the raspberries. ECL thought that the cake, despite of it having a lot of steps, are all pretty easy. As for the taste, it tasted wonderful. She agree with Rose that it is "deceptively light and very flavorful; the creamy vanilla creme anglaise, the tart strawberries, and the mellow chocolate genoise are a perfect combination."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

HCB Free Choice: Marble Velvet Cake

The first time I made this cake, it turned out so well. I used Hector's conversion to make it in a round cake pan. The cake marbled beautifully and baked up flat. At that time I didn't take a photo. It was late by the time the cake was done and I didn't make the ganache, so I thought next time when I make it I will take a photo.

Since the rules of this bake through is that you must blog about the cakes, here I am giving this cake a redo. This time I made 1/6 recipe of it (Marie, are you reading this?), baked in a 4 inch pan (volume measure 1 3/4 cup), it is teeny tiny.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Snap Thursday: Simple

As you've seen last week, sometimes a simple object can make an interesting photo subject.

Here are a couple of new favorites.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

The slowest week for HCB, with 2 participation. This made writing LC NC depressing. I know some of you have other plans/things going on, ECL made an awesome 3-tiered wedding cake for her friend, Melissa is probably knee-deep in kitchen remodeling, Hanaa has other baking commitments. But I wonder where everyone else is. And whether we will last until November.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

PPB: Apple Puff Pastry

These pastries are simply so good!

I had made a batch of puff pastry back in March. For no reason other than I want to make it. When I got the Pie & Pastry Bible a couple of years ago I made puff pastry, roll it out and bake it, in the hopes of making napoleon. I didn't weigh down the pastry correctly so they all bake up and puff up all over the place. My napoleon turned out great in the taste department, but it's very rustic in the looks. Kinda like how a street looks after harsh winter, with pot holes and bumps all over the place.

Monday, August 1, 2011

HCB: Plum Round Ingots

I think this is the first time in my almost two years baking Rose's cakes that I don't have to use any mixer to make a cake. I use food processor though, as the recipe calls for, so that's something. But still. It feels funny. I'm not complaining. It's nice not to have to wash the mixer bowls for a change!

These ingots are very easy to make. So easy that I didn't even bothered reading the recipe before starting and totally missed that the mixture needs to be refrigerated for 6 hours. By the time I found this out, it was noon.

What's a girl to do?

Cheat of course. And only refrigerated it for 4 hours :). And they turned out fine. I think.

Anyway... Let me introduce you to the cast and crew of this short production.