Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Of course I had to get one in before the New Year. The past few weeks have been a whirligig of activity. When I last left off I was in the sweet and buttery throes of Cake Party prep. The Party, which feels like a million Saturdays ago, was well attended, and I took the lack of leftovers as a good sign. I made an Upside Down Caramel Peach Pecan cake, which was really great looking- but I did not taste. "Whipped Key Lime Pie In the Rye" was the Summer's greatest hit, I loved it for it's cool and tart mouth. The Chocolate Tart was rich and decadent and unapologetically darkly chocolate. How could it not be amazing when I was using Lindt chocolate? The thing could practically bake itself after all that beautiful chocolate. Since I am a little obsessed with my morning lattes I decided on a Cafe Latte Cheesecake. It was really fun to make, for the "foam"on top of the dense, rich and creamy espress layer I doubled the white frosting I used in the Coconut Layer Cake. It was made with fresh whipped cream, sour cream, vanilla, and of course, sugar- light, fluffy, and a delightful finale. This frosting took on a different character when combined with dried coconut flakes and lushly spread on and in between 3 golden layers of cake. The simple Buttermilk Pound Cake, was Hub's favorite , I gotta give the guy credit, he goes in for simple and pure beauty. It couldn't be easier to make. I used all great quality fresh ingredients; buttermilk, butter, vanilla. The taste was so comforting and sweet and simple, kind of like a Homecoming Queen hiding behind a Plain Jane exterior. Dressed up with a little whipped cream, and tarted up a bit with red strawberries and raspberries- it drew some attention, and was well appreciated. However it was at a disadvantage because it was placed next to a towering Chocolate Layer Cake- that was rescued from deformity by my Mother's spectacular garnishing skills. Of course there had to be something for Munch, it being his 3rd birthday and all. For weeks prior I had him so excited about the Monkey Cupcakes I was going to make, they came out as good as the magazine picture, and bingo! required no artificial coloring. The cupcake was buttermilk banana, but it was neither banana-ny nor fluffy enough. It was saved by the chocolate ganache frosting- but the kids didn't seem to even get beyond the nutter butters and M&M's and 'Nilla Wafers that made up the monkeyface. To round things out I made a tray of shot glass ButterScotchRum Puddings .

With the Cake Party behind me I could focus on my newspaper articles; One, a New Year's menu. The other After-School Snacks Ideas. I decided the theme of the New Year's piece would be how your year should be like a good meal. There was a recipe for a fresh, fruity, sweet, sour, ripe Grilled Fig Salad with a Honey Vinaigrette. And then sweet and sour Pomegranate Barbecue Chicken with Israeli Couscous. The meal ended on an uncompromisingly sweet note with a Greek Honey Cake; the addition of orange extract and rind added an element of brightness to it all. For the After-School Snacks I included the Honey Peanut Butter Cookie recipe, and Apple Oatmeal Muffin to acknowledge that brisk Fall will be here soon. And then a Yogurt Ranch Dip.

We went camping in The Adirondacks for Labor Day weekend, nothing much to say about the cuisinary aspect of the trip- although the pizza and pasta we had for dinner in town was pretty good, especially after a few days of hiking, outdoor adventure, and generally roughing it. We got back just in time for bed, bath, and beyond (Laundry). School began today, and tomorrow is Rosh Hashana Eve. I've been spared from heavy kitchen labor, we're going to Hub's cousin's family. I can't very well go empty handed, so I made a Caramel Cake, a Chocolate Tart (January post), and an Oreo Pudding for the kiddles.
Also due tomorrow is a Dairy-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake with a Chocolate Glaze I was commissioned to make by a neighbor. I had fun with it, and I think it's worth the $40 she's paying me for it.

After New Year I have a whole new crop of projects and commitments. First off: a piece Autumn Pasta dishes. Next Book Club, the menu will have an Autumnal in the South slant, as we read The Help and it will be held during the fall festival of Succot. I am planning to try out a new truffle flavor as well, maybe the Ladies will be my testers?

I always appreciate how Back-to-School and Rosh Hashana are close together, both symbolize fresh starts- where time stretches before you and there is hope that great things will fill it. Have a full and happy new year.

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