Archive for August, 2008

Cooking Class Menu Plus the Cookbook Winner

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Last Friday night I taught a class at Prep Kitchen Essentials and we had a great time.  The class was on Fresh & Easy Dinners and it turned out to be a fabulous night!  But before I share all the delicious details from the class with you I wanted that thank you all for you for your great inspirational ideas. I loved reading each and every one and couldn’t pick a favorite, so instead I let the random number generator choose the winner (I know…I’m pathetic)!  Anyways, the winner is BRANDI!!! Congratulations Brandi and I hope you enjoy this book as much as I do!  

Well, onto the menu…

Caribbean Shrimp Salad with Lime Vinaigrette


Rigatoni with Grilled Summer Vegetables & Feta Cheese

Bake Pork Chops with Radicchio Slaw

Creme Fraiche & Lemon Sorbet

Here are some photos from the class…First off is the Rigatoni with Grilled Summer Vegetables & Feta Cheese!

Next is the Bake Pork Chops with Radicchio Slaw & Panzanella..

And the last dinner item was my favorite…the Caribbean Shrimp Salad with Lime Vinaigrette!

And sadly I didn’t get any good photos of the delicious Creme Fraiche & Lemon Sorbet, but here is at least one photo of the bowl!

Well, I couldn’t leave without sharing one recipe with you so here is my favorite from the night…enjoy!

Caribbean Shrimp Salad with Lime Vinaigrette 

adapted from Cooking Light

4 servings 

4 cups chopped cooked shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds)

5 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar, divided

2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon grated lime rind

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 large limes)

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 garlic cloves, minced

Dash of salt

8 cups fresh baby spinach

1 cup chopped peeled mango (about 1 large)

1 cup julienne-cut radishes

1/4 cup diced peeled avocado

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 tablespoons unsalted pumpkinseed kernels 

Combine shrimp, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and chili garlic sauce in a large bowl; toss well. Cover and chill 1 hour. 

Combine remaining 3 tablespoons vinegar, oil, and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. 

Mix together the spinach, shrimp mixture, mango, radishes, avocado, green onions and pumpkin seed kernels.  Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.  








More Cake Designs & A Cookbook Giveaway!

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Hello everyone!  Hope everyone’s week is going great!  I have finished two more cake designs and I thought I’d share them with you.  These cakes are a hexagon shape as you can see in the photos…I think this is a fun shape to play around with and it produces a “different” looking cake that might just be the look a bride wants. The first cake is a fun and funky design that is easy to execute.  Simply cut out fondant dots with a circle cookie cutter and glue them onto your fondant cake with a little water.  As you can see in the photos I used a stamp impression to create a flower design on the yellow dots to give them a different kind of look. You can see this process in a previous post.  I feel like this would be a good cake for a beginner to try out since the look can be easily duplicated and come out crisp and clean looking.  

I then tried out a second look that is more simplistic.  I made this fondant flower a while ago and thought that putting it on the cake as the main focus would be sort of fun.  You can check out the process for how to make this flower on a previous post.

Before I talk about the giveaway I need to thank two bloggers for giving me some awards.  First I wanted to thank Fields of Cake… for the “Kick” Ass Blog” award!  I never considered myself “kick ass”, but maybe now I will!

I also wanted to thank Comida Espanola for the Premio “Arte y Pico” Award.  It is so fun that blogs can reach everyone around the world and I love that even though my blog isn’t in Spanish that people can still enjoy it through photos, so thank you for checking it out!

Now for your favorite part…giveaways!!!  I absolutely love the book Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Conner, so I thought I would share my love and give it to a blogger that inspires me!  

So all you have to do to enter into the drawing is post a comment with an idea for a wedding cake design for me.  I am trying out new designs and always love hearing what everyone’s dream cake would be or what they wish they would’ve done.  I am so excited to hear your thoughts and opinions and will be picking a winner on Saturday night at midnight.  So get your wheels a turning and give me some good inspiration for another cake design.  Thanks!!!  

My New Website & Cake Designs

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Lots of exciting things have been happening for me these last couple months and so I do apologize for the lack of posts, but I am happy to share my news with all of you!  I am so ecstatic to announce that my new business website is finally finished!  There are still some things that need to be added, but overall I am really happy with it and couldn’t wait any longer to share it with you.  My new site is Sweet & Saucy Shop and I would love for you to check it out and give me any feedback you have. My sweet husband, Tim, and one of my best friends, Karrie, created my site for me and I am so blessed to have their love and support for my business.  If you are looking for a great blog or website definitely check out their sites…24 Medium & Karrie Pyke Designs. Some other exciting news happened this week…I was featured in Karrie’s wedding photos that were published on one of the top wedding blogs Style Me Pretty!!!  I absolutely love Style Me Pretty and have always dreamed of having my products featured on their site.

I have also been working on some new cake designs this past week and will continue to do so this coming week.  I feel like I go through periods where I am really into cookies, then cupcakes, and finally now cakes. I definitely get bored doing the same thing over and over again, which is why I love having the flexibility to try new things.  So here are some photos of some recent cakes I made.  I would love to hear which one you like the most and why, so please drop me a comment and share your thoughts.  I tried some new techniques while decorating these cakes and will be sharing more of the details with you in future posts, but just to clarify some questions I know I will be asked I will share some of the details now.  Well, here come the photos!

No, I did not hand pipe this…this cake was done with cake stencils, which I absolutely love!  I will do a more detailed post on how this process is done in the near future and give all my tips and techniques!

I really do like simplistic cakes that have one focal point, so I chose a gorgeous dahlia to be the star this time.  

For this cake I had Karrie design some graphic flower images for me and I printed them on frosting sheets and then applied them to the cake.  Very modern, graphic, and simplistic I think.  Again, I will be doing a more detailed post on this technique in the future.  

And for this last cake I got inspired when I went to my local flower shop and saw this lovely, rustic branch and these button mums. I think this four tier type of cake works well with it too.  

Before I end my post I wanted to share 6 random facts about myself with you since I was tagged by The Cupcakery… 

1) I was actually going to be a school teacher and had almost finished my whole degree when I decided to switch careers and go into pastry school.

2) I have been dying to travel more and can’t wait until I get to go to Europe again…I would love to live in Florence for a couple months!

3) I am a Farmer’s Market fan and love checking out any and every one!

4) I grew up with foster brothers and sisters and now my sister has three gorgeous foster daughters that she is about to adopt…I definitely was blessed with inspiring parents.

5) My husband is the one that convinced me to start a blog and I will be forever thankful to him for that.

6) I actually knew my husband in jr. high, but we didn’t start dating until right after high school and then lasted through college and the rest is history…

Well, hope you enjoyed the random facts and don’t forget to check out all the links at the top!

Anniversary Trip to Jin Patisserie!!!

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

As you know I do love sharing part of my life and travels with my blogging friends so I couldn’t pass up the chance to share some yummy photos from my trip to Jin Patisserie!  A couple weeks ago I celebrated my three year anniversary and my husband took me out for a fun filled trip to Venice again where we ate yummy food and shopped till we dropped…I think I have an addiction to Anthropologie!  So here are some photos from the day…enjoy!

As you will see from the mass amount of dessert photos I couldn’t pass up the chance to sample many of their desserts…this first photo is of their Passion Cake….think mascarpone, passion fruit, and fresh mango. It was so refreshing, creamy, and light, not to mention gorgeous…I loved it!

This next dessert was their Abbot Cake, named after the street the patisserie is located on.  They describe it as “Caramel banana over a honey walnut sponge cake, filled with dark chocolate cream made with semi-sweet chocolate cocoa”…can you DELICIOUS!!!  This was my husband’s favorite!

We also couldn’t pass up sampling their macaroons.  We tried the Caramel Fleur de Sel and the Pistachio. Both were scrumptious!  

Lastly, we tried some of their chocolates.  My memory might be failing me here, but I think we ordered the Cinnamon, Green Tea, and Sea Salt Caramel.  

Overall, we had a wonderful anniversary and our trip to Jin Patisserie lived up to all the dreams I had in my head.  Definitely check it out if you are in the area!


Beau-Coup Winner Plus a Recent Cooking Class

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Thanks so much everyone for the comments you left on the last post…you are too kind!  I am so glad that you all enjoyed Beau-Coup and I loved reading about your favorite finds!  The winner of the $50 gift certificate is Landa from the All-Purpose Blog!!!  Congratulations…hope you buy something fun!

Well, two days before that huge cookie order was due I actually had a cooking class scheduled that I would be teaching at Prep Kitchen Essentials.   The class had been scheduled a while back and while at first it didn’t sound like I would be able to make it through it with a smile on my face (since my legs were about to go out on me) I ended up meeting a lot of great people, cooking some fabulous food, and enjoying the night. Here are some photos from the class and of course I have to share at least one recipe with you too!  

The class was titled: Romantic Italian Date Night for Two and the menu was…

Crostini with Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella and Black Olive Tapenade & Pesto
Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup with Pesto Croutons
Pork Tenderloin with Mint Pesto
Ricotta Beignets with Chocolate Dipping Sauce
Here is the homemade Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup with Pesto Croutons.

Here is the Pork Tenderloin and Mint Pesto.

And finally here are the Ricotta Beignets with Chocolate Dipping Sauce.

We definitely had a great time at the class!

Well, as promised here is one recipe from the class…enjoy!  Also if you are interested in coming to some of my classes you can check out Prep Kitchen Essentials new class list and sign-up!

Ricotta Beignets with Chocolate Dipping Sauce

adapted from Fiamma by Elizabeth Katz

(makes 6-8 servings)

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all- purpose flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 cup finely crushed amaretti cookies (about 16 cookies)
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (5 ounces)
1 cup heavy cream
vegetable oil for frying
powdered sugar for garnish

Whisk the ricotta and eggs together in a medium-size bowl until
smooth.  Add the sugar, flour, baking powder, and amaretti and stir
until well blended.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

While batter is chilling, put the chopped chocolate in a bowl.  In a
small saucepan, bring the cream to a bowl and then pour the hot cream
over the chocolate.  Let it stir for a couple minutes and then stir
until smooth.  Keep warm or re-warm in microwave for a few seconds in

Fill a medium-size pot with at least 3 inches of oil and heat until
the oil reaches 360 degrees.  Carefully drop the crochette batter by
the heaping tablespoon into the hot oil and cook, turning once, until
brown on all sides, about 3 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to remove
them and then place them on a paper towel to drain.  Dust them with
powdered sugar and serve immediately with chocolate sauce.

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