Archive for June, 2008

Mexican Fiesta Time!!!

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week, but life has have crazy…fun, but crazy.  Last week I took on the role of Super Auntie and watched my sister’s three little girls for 3 days while she vacationed in Mexico. Right when she returned I had a dinner party that I was catering that very day.  I worked for 12 hours straight and although I was dead tired I had a lot of fun.  I have been doing dinner parties for a group of three couples for their date night out.  We choose a different theme for each dinner party and this one was “A Mexican Fiesta”.  I had a great menu planned and the night was a hit!  We started the night off with Blue Corn Blinis that were topped off with Crab, Pico de Gallo, and Avocado crema.  Next I pulled out a hot Mexican layer dip that had refried beans, group beef and onions, green chile, cheddar cheese, taco sauce, and homemade guacamole.   

I then made the most delicious margaritas ever…Prickly Pear Margaritas.  Yes, they are pink AND delicious! The recipe will come soon in another post!

For dinner we went casual with grilled fish tacos, mexican rice, and fresh fruit.

And for dessert I made chocolate churros with milk chocolate peanut butter and chocolate ganache dipping sauces and flan.  Both desserts were out of this world yummy!  Homemade churros are so much fun to make and are a sure hit for a dinner party.  This flan I got off of Epicurious.com and I loved the recipe.  It was more of a twist between a creme brulee and a flan…creamy all the way through.  Definitely a keeper!

Cupcake Class & One of Sweet Melissa’s Recipes

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Today was a lot of fun as it was the day of my cupcake class at Prep Kitchen Essentials. We had 13 ladies ready to bake, decorate, and eat their way through tons of yummy cupcakes. It was a tight schedule with lots of things to bake, many cupcakes to frost, and lots of decorations to make. I taught them how to make Vanilla, Chocolate, and Carrot Cake Cupcakes. They also learned how to make Vanilla Buttercream, Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Ganache Filling, and Peanut Butter Filling….like I said, it was busy. In addition to cupcakes and frostings, I showed them how to make modeling chocolate roses, use chocolate transfer sheets, texture fondant accents, and pipe flowers. Here are some photos from the fun day!

One of the recipes that we made today was from Sweet Melissa’s Baking Book…it was the delicious carrot cake! I had made this recipe before and loved it and thought I’d share my new found joy with my others. Instead of using the cream cheese frosting that it calls for I opted to use one of Chockylit’s recipes for her Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting since I thought it would pipe better. It was a fantastic recipe and I highly recommend it!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

adapted from Sweet Melissa’s Baking Book

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound carrots, grated medium fine
3/4 cup walnut pieces, coarsely choppe

Before you start

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

To make the cake

1. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs at high speed until light and frothy, about 1 minute. Decrease the speed to medium and add the oil, sugar, and salt, and mix until just combined. Decrease the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.

3. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the carrots and walnuts.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners.

5. Bake 20-24 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Two More Cooking Class…Plus a Fantastic Recipe

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

I have been having so much fun teaching classes at Prep Kitchen Essentials!  They have a wonderful store, staff, and kitchen…plus they do all the dishes for me!  What more could a girl ask for!  These past two weeks I have taught two classes there. The first class was “Elegant Italian Entrees”.  Yes, although I am a pastry chef I do really enjoy cooking food too and love sharing my passion for it with others.  This was a great class with a lot of fabulous food.  The menu for the night was Italian Herb & Cheese Pork Rolls, Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Homemade Pesto, Parmesan Chicken Over Angel Hair Pasta with Pine Nuts, Feta Cheese, and Tomatoes, and Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Saffron Orzo.  

My favorite of the night was definitely the Italian Herb & Cheese Pork Rolls, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you!

Italian Herb & Cheese Rolls

adapted from Fiamma

Makes 4 servings

 

One 1 1/2 pound boneless pork tenderloin, cut on the extreme diagonal into 12 slices

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

 

Lightly pound the pork slices until they are 1/4″ thick.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix the Pecorino, sage, rosemary, and garlic together in a box and then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of herb mix on each pork slice.  Then roll each slice into a cylinder and secure with a toothpick.  Season the rolls with salt and pepper.

 

Place the flour in a flat bowl and then lightly coat the pork rolls with flour, patting to remove the excess. 

 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Add the rolls and cook until browned all over, about 3-5 minutes.  Pour in the wine, cover, and simmer until the rolls are cooked through, 3-5 minutes more.  Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with aluminum foil.

 

Boil the cooking liquid until it reduces to a thick sauce, about 5 minutes.  Return the rolls to the skillet and shake the pan to coat them with sauce.  Serve with any remaining sauce spooned over them.

 

The second class I taught was a “Basic Cake Decorating Class”.  I taught how to split, fill, and frost a layer cake.  I also went over a variety of frostings and their uses and we played around with fondant too.  As you can see from the photos we weren’t trying to turn out the perfectly decorated cake, but rather practice techniques.  Everyone seemed to have a great time and hopefully they learned a lot too!  This weekend I have my cupcake class…should be a lot of fun!

 

 

 

Cakes, Cookies, & a Meme

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Here are some photos of two recent orders I did this past week. One order was actually for a client I met through my blog. I got to know her even more when she attended one of my classes at Prep Kitchen Essentials. She was throwing a shower for her niece who was having a little boy and wanted me to do the cake and cookies for it. When she showed me the invitation I fell in love with the color scheme. It is so fun doing orders that have beautiful colors to work with! The cake was a variation of one that I made for my sister-in-law for her baby shower. Instead of a tiered cake, I just did a 1/2 sheet cake. The cake was a fluffy white cake with lemon cream and fresh raspberries and was covered in swiss meringue buttercream. Overall I was pretty happy with the cookies and cake!

The other order I did was for a neighbor of mine. It was her daughter’s first birthday party and she wanted a simple, but cute birthday cake. The theme was strawberries, so I went with pink and red colors and also put two strawberries on top to hint at what was inside. The cake was a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream and fresh strawberries.

Last week I was also tagged by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink for a meme and I am finally getting around to it. So here it goes…

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Well, I was just finishing middle school…playing soccer, liking boys, and hanging out with the family.

What are five non-working things on my to-do list today?

1. Wish my Dad Happy Father’s Day!

2. Go to the farmer’s market.

3. Relax…since the past three days were crazy with work!

4. Blog…I guess I’m accomplishing it!

5. Exercise

What snacks do you enjoy!

1. Good bread

2. Pinkberry

3. Cheese

4. Ripe fruit

5. My sugar cookies

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

1. Help those around me who are in need of money. (My mom and dad practice this daily and always inspire

me!)

2. Travel…especially to Florence, Italy

3. Save

4. Buy a home in Belmont Shores

5. Put away money for my three nieces for college

Where have you lived?

All in California…Long Beach, San Diego, Costa Mesa, Torrance

What jobs have you had?

1. Babysitter and nanny

2. Grandma’s Ice Cream

3. Memories, a scrapbooking store

4. Teacher’s aide in a couple elementary schools and high schools

5. Pastry assistant at Zov’s Bakery & Bistro

6. Owner of Sweet & Saucy

And I am tagging anyone who wants to share a little bit about yourself with the blogging world. I would also love to know what your favorite blog is…I am always looking for a new blog to check out!

I also wanted to say thank you to The Recipe Girl for giving me the “Yummy Blog Award”.

She has a fantastic website, which you should definitely check out!

Cake Love’s Delicious Pound Cake

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

A couple weeks ago as I was perusing the cookbook aisle at Barnes & Noble a new book caught my eye…Warren Brown’s first book, Cake Love. After skimming the pages I knew I had to buy it! I took it home and read it page by page. Warren Brown’s specialty is pound cake and this books highlights over 15 different variations of it…think “Triple Lime-Chocolate Pound Cake: or “Espresso Pound Cake”. But before trying the variations on his basic pound cake I thought it would be good to start with his staples: Vanilla and Chocolate Pound Cake. As I began to read his ingredient list I came across a couple ingredients that you don’t typically find in pound cake…like lots of booze and potato starch. He says that alcohol gives the cake a nice complex flavor and the potato starch “…is his secret ingredient. It taste clean, absorbs twice as much moisture as wheat flour, cooks at a lower temperature than cornstarch and is softer than grain-based starches.” Well after trying these two recipes and using his “secret ingredients” I was definitely won over. These were the best tasting pound cakes I have ever had! It even got better day by day as I kept them in the refrigerator and ate slice by slice. So here they are…enjoy!

Vanilla Pound Cake

adapted from Cake Love

“Dry Ingredients”

Unbleached AP Flour 2 1/2 cups + 3 T. (13 1/2 oz.)

Potato Starch 1 T.

Vanilla Powder 1 1/2 t.

Salt 1/2 t.

Baking Soda 1/4 t.

“Liquid Ingredients”

Sour Cream 8 oz. (1 cup)

Heavy Cream 2 T.

Brandy 1/4 cup

Amaretto 1 T.

Rum 1 T.

Vanilla Extract 1 1/2 t.

Whiskey 1 1/2 t.

“Creaming Ingredients”

Unsalted Butter, at room temp, 8 oz

Sugar 24 oz (3 cups)

Large Eggs, 5

Yolks, 1

Vanilla Bean, 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the dry ingredients and whisk to incorporate. In a separate bowl combine all the liquid ingredients and whisk to combine.

In a bowl of a standing mixer all the butter and sugar and cream together on the lowest speed for 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla beans to the mixture,

With the mixer on the lowest speed, at the eggs one at a time followed by the yolk, fulling incorporating after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the dry ingredients alternatively with the liquid mixture in 3-5 additions, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Move swiftly to avoid over mixing the batter. Scrape down the bowl and then mix for 20 seconds to fully incorporate.

Spray your pan (loaf, bundt,etc) with nonstick spray and then fill 3/4 of the way up with the batter.

Bake a 12 cup bundt cake for 50-55 minutes and smaller muffin size loafs for 15 minutes.

Chocolate Pound Cake

adapted from Cake Love

Dry Ingredients”

Unbleached AP Flour 10 oz (2 cups)

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 2 oz (1/2 cup + 2 t.)

Turbinado Sugar 2 T.

Potato Starch 1 t.

Vanilla Powder 1/4 t.

Salt 3/4 t.

“Liquid Ingredients”

Sour Cream 4 oz.

Whole Milk 3/4 cup

Brandy 2 T. *I substituted Godiva Chocolate Liqueur because I ran out of Brandy

Vanilla Extract 1 t.

“Creaming Ingredients”

Unsalted butter, at room temp, 8 oz

Sugar 24 oz (3 cups)

Large Eggs, 4

Yolks, 3

(The directions are the same as the recipe above)

I would love to hear what your favorite kind of pound cake is!

Big Cake, Small Cake

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

I thought I’d share some photos with you from two orders I had last week.  One order was for a topsy-turvy wedding cake.  The bride was having a very fun and colorful wedding and wanted a cake that expressed the same thing.  One thing that was especially fun about this cake was the flavor choice.  The bride and groom said they loved tiramisu, so I combined a couple different recipes together and came up with a great flavored tiramisu cake.  The cake layers were buttermilk cake that were soaked with a coffee-Kahlua syrup.  The fillings were a marsala wine cream cheese frosting and a mascarpone chocolate ganache…can you say decadent!  This was my first real attempt at a topsy-turvy cake and overall I was pretty happy with it.  There is a great tutorial on how to do these types of cakes at this link.  The colors for this cake matched the bridesmaid’s dresses exactly, which were from J. Crew.  The bride wanted a simple monogram with their last initial and for a personal touch she had me pipe on some of their favorite song lyrics, which was a surprise for her husband.   

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Another order I did last week was for a small office party.  The client wanted to give one of her co-workers that was leaving some yummy and so she ordered a small 6″ cake and 4 sugar cookies. She said her co-worker loved Hawaii, so we went with a Hawaiian theme.  The cake was a buttermilk cake that was filled with pastry cream and fresh strawberries.  I used brown sugar to create edible sand and then added some Hawaiian theme fondant accents.  

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Here is a shot of the pastry cream…just to make your taste buds salivate.  Look at those vanilla beans!

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And here are the cookies!

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I also wanted to say a couple thank you’s to some people…first I would like to thank Stephane at Chefs Gone Wild for the amazing food prize I won off of his blog.  I just received it in the mail and can’t wait to start munching on all of the goodies from around the world!  I would also like to thank Mindy at The Mommy Blog for choosing my blog as her “Site of the day”.  

 

 

 


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