Saturday, June 19, 2010

Trying to garden.

I'm trying to grow my own food, after all living in Southern California is seems foolish not to. Here are the first "fruits" of my labor.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake versus Organic Chemistry

I've been considering a career change for a while now. To help me along, I've been taking classes at a local community college to explore possible new career choices. This semester I've been taking organic chemistry or as I like to refer to it; my worst nightmare. This class has been a educational Mount Everest for me. It requires hours and hours of studying and class time and labs, plus working full time in my current career. What was I thinking?
Some crazy person in the world likened chemistry to cooking, adding various chemicals to create a compound, is like adding the ingredients to your favorite recipe. Well, I beg to differ, there is no delicious treating awaiting me at the end of my chemical equation just more confusion.
Needless to say this class has been consuming my time taking me away from the kitchen. I was excited about all the possibilities of this challenge but in the end I ran out of time and my creativity suffered. I used ginger snaps for the crust instead of graham crackers and had every intention of ginger syrup and candied ginger pieces but in the end I only managed the crust.

This April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Thanks to my boyfriend for plating the cake, accessories and all and of course tasting the cake and declaring it "Delicious!."

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Elusive Kitchen Aid Mixer

Why? Why kitchen aid mixer do you continue to elude me? I covet the kitchen aid mixer, sad but true. Every gift giving holiday and birthday I yearn for someone who truly understands me to "surprise" me with this miraculous gift, yet it never happens.

I've waited so long that I really should just buy it for my self but it's an expensive item that's hard to justify right now, so for now my arm will remain sore from whipping and mixing.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mmh, salad...

Time is a very precious commodity and I have very little of it. My cooking in turn has suffered. I tried planning better, starting some of the prep work over the weekends but alas by the time I get home at 9:30 I'm hungry and tired and looking for something quick. So salad is the answer.

This salad however was no ordinary salad, with grilled asparagus, heirloom tomatoes, feta cheese and a reduced balsamic dressing it was a salad to be reckoned with.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge 3: Chocolate and Stawberries.

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.
Flourless chocolate cake and I are not unfamiliar. I've baked my fair share of flourless cakes because the fudgey-ness is amazing and it's easy to make dairy free. The recipe given for this challenge did include dairy both in the cake and with the accompanying ice cream. I suppose I could have chosen to substitute soy but I didn't, butter and heavy cream were abundant. The only change I made to the given recipe was to add a bit of vanilla and almond extract.
Admittedly I almost didn't complete this challenge. February, ironically, has been quite a long month. I was feeling tired, overwhelmed and overworked. My main goal of the month was to get enough sleep each night to function the next day. Well, in the mist of my pity party I remembered that cooking and baking are not chores for me, I genuinely enjoy creating in the kitchen. So I dragged my lazy ass to the store for fresh, ingredients and thankfully for my sanity's sake was able to spend a wonderful relaxing couple of hours in the kitchen.
The other unfortunate side of this whole venture is that my decision to make yet another dairy-licious dessert means I was unable to taste my own creation. I'll leave the taste verdict t the boyfriend. How can chocolate and strawberries taste anything but fantastic.

For the strawberry ice cream, I just used my ice cream maker's recipe for a custard vanilla ice cream and added berries to the custard.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
vanilla bean split
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar

Combine milk and cream in a saucepan, Using a sharp knife split the vanilla bean and scrape out "seeds" add both to saucepan. Bring the mixture ti a slow boil over medium heat and then reduce to low simmering for about 30 minutes and stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, combine the eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl and mix with whisk or hand mixer until thick, smooth and pale yellow in color.
Turn off the heat from the cream mixture and remove vanilla bean pod. Take a small amount of the cream mixture and slowly add it too the eggs while mixing. Then slowly add the egg mixture to the saucepan with remaining cream. Heat on low and stir continuously until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
* add strawberries and transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover the custard directly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until thoroughly chilled. Finish ice cream according to ice cream machine directions.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Bakers: My 2nd challenge. Kim: 2, The Kitchen: 1/2

This month's challenge was tuiles. I'll admit yet again I was intimated by the task ahead of me. The batter seemed reasonable- easily accessible ingredients, basic instructions. However what you were supposed to do with the batter presented the biggest challenge. Not only did the batter have to be spread thinly with in the confines of a stencil, but the delicately baked tuiles had to be shaped quickly out of the oven.
Naturally I employed the help of my boyfriend to cut stencils out of cardboard while I labored away on the batter. We started ambitiously, using a butterfly stencil, antennae and all but quickly switched to circle stencil when all my antennae broke off. I quickly took the circles off the silpat mat and shaped into muffin cups. I filled the cups with a vanilla bean pastry cream and topped the cream with raspberries, blueberries, fresh currants and mint. I brought the finished filled tuiles to share at work.

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Uncompleted Challenge:Daring Bakers Challenge #2

I regret to say I was unable to complete this month's challenge. Although it seemed quite intense for a novice baker like myself I was looking forward to the challenge. I am happy to share the reason I didn't participate this month- I'm in New Zealand. For the Christmas and New Year's my boyfriend and I are travelling around New Zealand and Australia. Look for pictures when I return in January.
Well please support those that were able to complete the challenge by going to

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.
They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand

Hope you all had a delicious holiday!