October 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Wyatt!

Wyatt turned 3 this month. Amy asked for a specifications. I love that!
I'd wanted to do a rainbow cake for a while and it seemed like the perfect thing for a 3-year-old. I had no idea that the party was going to be a carnival. Amy had no idea that the cake was going to be colorful. It made for a great surprise when they cut into it.

June 08, 2009

May Food Fun

Josh and Allison on the water
I missed the Daring Bakers challenge in May, but I have a very good excuse.

Josh was home on leave and thought it would be a good idea to hit the road...and the water...and the air. We'd been dreaming of a trip to Croatia for months, and this was the right time.

Josh came to visit my school on his first Friday in town. We were talking with another teacher after dismissal about what we would be doing while he was on leave. His response to her questions was, "We are going to elope to Croatia...start the rumor." Little did I know that we were really going to go. One desperate phone call explaining the change in plans to my mother and a quick online search later, and we had ourselves 2 tickets to Split. WOW!
Only half of the rumor is true, though. We did go to Croatia, but we didn't get married.

Yes, we did consider it.

Here are some of the highlights from that'll notice a theme in all these pictures...we like to eat.

Our first night in Split. Josh ordered a seafood plate and I ordered scampi. I got a kabob. Not wanting to be rude, I kept it and we worked our way through both dishes. As we were finishing, the waiter came by and said, "Your scampi will be right out." Wait a minute!!?? What? Yes, I got the scampi after the kabob. We were confused and stuffed after that dinner.
Josh first dinner Not Scampi
The mountaintop winery: 
* Prosciutto with sheep's cheese
* Lentils and lamb 
* 'Pancake' with walnut spread
Mountain-top proscuitto   Mountain-top lunchMountain-top dessert

During our drive down to Dubrovnik we stopped at a roadside stand and found strawberries! They were small and juicy and quite possibly better than any strawberries I've had in Wisconsin. We also bought a bag of oranges, and after much prodding by the eager saleslady, a bottle of blackberry brandy. We also tried the olive oil…on our skin. :)
Roadside strawberries 
Dinner in Marina: 
Trogir patioTrogir squid

Gelato in Trogir:
Gelato Allison Gelato Josh
Eating pistachio and tiramisu gelato...or was it kiwi and coffee gelato? We went twice that night.

Lunch at Luna Cafe (right next to Pink Cafe) 
 Luna brochette Luna Clams Luna Scampi Luna Schweppes
* scampi
* mussels in white wine
* Bitter Lemon
* brochette with fresh mozzarella

We saved the best for last. This was our final dinner in Croatia, at a little roadside restaurant on the way back to Split.

 Final dinner


April 27, 2009

Daring Bakers ~ Cheesecake

April's Daring Bakers challenge presented a fun treat and an opportunity to be creative with flavor. Jenny from Jenny Bakes chose Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake. I decided to make my cheesecake in cupcake cups for easier sharing, and then I picked two fun flavors. Since Tony (of Tony's Bistro) makes lunch and dinner for me on a regular basis, I made key lime cheesecakes for him. I'm not a key lime fan, but Tony said they were great. Josh chose the other flavor. He suggested a bourbon dark chocolate cheesecake. I'm also not a bourbon fan, so I substituted amaretto. I used amaretti cookies for the crust and Hershey's dark cocoa for the chocolate. These were wonderful!

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
April 05, 2009

Mason's First Birthday

It's Mason's first birthday. Wendi asked for a monkey cake for the party since Mason is her Little Monkey.

  • Yellow cake
  • Lyda Snow buttercream icing
  • Hershey's dark chocolate monkey
March 31, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is Mom's birthday. Crystal is down here for a visit and we decided to make and mail Mom a birthday treat. Since Mom is a HUGE Hello Kitty fan and we are Bakerella fans, the decision was an easy one. We made Hello Kitty Cupcake Pops.

Here are some pics of the process:

White cake mixed with vanilla buttercream. We formed the heads by hand and placed each on a stick. Then we used white chocolate chips for the ears. Next we froze the pops.

Pops waiting to be dipped.

Freshly-dipped pop.

Pops were dipped in white candy melts.

Hellos are getting bows.

Which bows are on the wrong side?

Bows were made with mini M&Ms and large heart-shaped sprinkles.

Adding fine details. We tried Wilton and Kopykake food-writing markers and neither worked well. We are on the hunt for Americolor pens now.

The final product.

Idea from:
March 27, 2009

Daring Bakers - Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna

Post editing to come...until then, here are some notes and pictures. Yummy!

The recipe we’ve chosen this month is Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food by Lynne Rossetto Kasper (published by William Morrow and Company Inc., 1992).

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers - Chocolate Valentino

We are already at the end of the month. Time flies when you are busy! Luckily, I did find enough time this month to make and enjoy the Daring Bakers challenge.

From the DB challenge post: February’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan

In addition to making the cake, we were asked to make our own ice cream.
I chose a Trader Joe's dark chocolate bar for my cake flavor and made vanilla bean ice cream...the perfect complement to the dark cake.
The cake had only 3 ingredients...chocolate, eggs, and butter. It was very dense and didn't appeal to me. I did like it a little better when I matched it with the vanilla bean ice cream and raspberry sauce, but this is not a recipe I'd choose to make again.

To read more inspiring stories, see what our hosts Wendy and Dharm had to say.

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.
January 29, 2009

Daring Bakers - Tuiles!

This month our Daring Baker challenge was to create tuiles. Tuiles are thin, crisp cookies that have a lacy texture. The traditional shape is a curve, much like a pringle.

Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1xumruehren bitte aka - Kochtopf are the hosts this month. Check out their blogs for full recipes and much better writing. :)

This recipe was quite easy--only a few ingredients and quick mixing and baking times. The challenge was to come up with a great design and accent flavor. I chose to make plain chocolate or other special flavors this month. I do have a few ideas up my sleeve, but an upcoming move to a new classroom (with 18 five-year-olds in tow) is hampering my cooking ad dreaming time this month. I can't wait for summer when I can go back to all the challenges from this year and try them again...variations galore!

I made some tuiles in the traditional curve shape and rolled the rest. Each was drizzled with homemade caramel sauce...a perfect accent to the light flavor of the cookies.

Thank you to Karen and Zorra for a fun month!

Please look at the Daring Bakers blogroll to see how the tuiles turned out for others.

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.
January 28, 2009

Mendhi Cake

For some time now I've wanted to try creating a mendhi design. On a rare day off from school, I gave in to temptation and made a spectacular pistachio cake. Since I was trying new things, I decided to also try a new buttercream recipe. Thanks to indydebi for her great icing.

I used a henna pattern book found in a google search to for inspiration on the design. Dark chocolate made a great-tasting 'ink.' To make the design, I started with the overlapping squares in the middle and worked my way out. The whole design was completed with a #1 tip. I wish I would have spaced the pattern a little more evenly in some places, but I am happy with my first attempt at mendhi.

Working on the sides of the cake convinced me that I need a tilting turntable. The design there did not turn out as planned : (

To up the challenge, I think my next mendhi cake will have a more circular or flowing design.

  • Pistachio cake
  • Indydebi icing
  • Dark chocolate icing